Local rockers Animal Grace to perform farewell show

Springfield rockers Animal Grace will mark 30 years with a farewell show concert at the Buckeye Sports Lodge on Saturday. CONTRIBUTED
Springfield rockers Animal Grace will mark 30 years with a farewell show concert at the Buckeye Sports Lodge on Saturday. CONTRIBUTED

They’re about to bow out with Grace, in an Animal sort of way.

Animal Grace, a Springfield rock institution for 30 years, will play a farewell show concert with its original lineup at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Buckeye Sports Lodge.

Animal Grace has weathered numerous lineup changes and changing music tastes since forming in 1988, but stuck to its guitar-driven rock approach.

The journey has included four CDs and opening for national recording artists. Guitarist and lead vocalist Tony Powell said the time is right for several reasons.

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“We felt we couldn’t take it any further. We took a break and decided there was nowhere else to go, so let’s go out on a positive note,” he said. “For me, as much as I’ve loved playing in the band, it’s time to move on to other things.”

The classic lineup of bassist Todd McKeever, drummer Pete Pemberton and guitarist/vocalist Denny James will join Powell.

“We’ve come full circle since the spring of ’88,” Powell said. “We were four guys who couldn’t be more different, but when we put all four together the sparks fly. There is an unpredictable beauty about it.”

The set will include a lot of the ’80s and ’90s classic rock songs the band has been playing since its inception, along with some of its early originals.

Also expect some guest musicians to sit in. The Buckeye is an ideal environment with its big room, lighting and PA system.

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Animal Grace formed at a time when hair metal was big, followed by the rise of rap, country, grunge and other genres. The band experimented with grunge, which wasn’t far off from its roots.

“I always liked that era, it was still guitar-driven,” Powell said. “Same stuff, different clothes. Every decade has its own things.”

He confessed the late 1990s and early 2000s were Animal Grace’s toughest times, when screaming was a vocal style they wouldn’t follow.

“I’ve always been proud to have two guitars driving us,” said Powell.

There’s been some animosity in the band, but he claims everybody’s currently good. If there is anything he’d like to do over, it’s having the technology available today to create music.

Back in the day, it meant having to go to a studio, which cost big money.

Though it’s the end of Animal Grace — Powell says there won’t be any further reunions — the instruments won’t go silent. Powell said the members have other music projects.

He has performed solo for the Summer Arts Festival’s Live on the Terrace and Live at Lunch events in downtown Springfield among other events, and is interested in maybe playing blues in the future.

“As much as I’ve loved playing in this band, I’ve had a hankering to do something fresh,” said Powell. “In the end, we were all Springfield guys and proud to be from Springfield.”

The concert is open to everyone, Buckeye Sports Lodge members and non-members. Admission costs $5.


What: Animal Grace Farewell Show

Where: Buckeye Sports Lodge, 126 West High St., Springfield

When: Saturday, Oct. 20, 8:30 p.m.

Admission: $5

More info: www.facebook.com/animalgracerocks/

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