When Baton Rouge-based band Levee Daze signed up for Battle of the Bands last semester, the members didn’t realize they would end up playing on the same stage as Lupe Fiasco because of it. The band will do just that Saturday along with other big-name artists at Groovin’ on the Grounds.
University students Andrew Borniak, Dom Dejuilio, John Trufant and Scott Graves comprise Levee Daze. The group went head-to-head last semester with three other bands participating in the music competition at Free Speech Plaza to win its coveted position on the Groovin’ bill.
The members look forward to the gig and see it as an opportunity to showcase their far-reaching influences, which include 1970s classic rock, funk and more.
“We’re like a big melting pot of jazz, blues, funk, reggae and rock-n-roll,” said bassist Borniak.
The band cites Herbie Hancock, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Santana and Grateful Dead as just a few of the group’s major influences.
The members, who hail from far-flung locales including Chicago, Austin and Asheville, N.C., value their proximity here to the New Orleans music scene, from which they also draw influence.
“The musicians [in New Orleans] are always excited by what they’re doing, and it’s contagious,” said drummer Graves. “There’s a lot of history of innovation and creation in that music scene, and just being around those feelings is influential in itself.”
The New Orleans sound is especially apparent in the band’s improvisational nature, though the group also prides itself on its tightness.
Borniak, Dejuilio and Trufant began playing music together in early 2011 and after meeting Graves by chance in an English class, they began performing under the name Levee Daze. The band said the name was equally inspired by its roots influence and “dazed” sound, as well as the members’ geographical proximity to the Mississippi.
The band spent much of its spring break playing at various venues near Asheville, N.C., where keyboard player Dejuilio is from. Now thoroughly warmed-up, the group looks ahead to its big show Saturday.
The band will play at 9 p.m. at The Library on Friday and at its Groovin’ show at 6 p.m. Saturday on the Parade Ground.