Gilbert Band Lydia Returns for Pressroom Concert

Lydia is a homegrown success story.
Lydia is a homegrown success story.
Dirk Mai

Vocalist and guitarist Leighton Antelman's musical career started early, when he and some friends from Gilbert's Greenfield Junior High School got together and formed a band called Rolo 15. That band went through some changes, and ultimately it was Antelman and guitarist Steve McGraw who stayed together to create music, eventually going on to form the indie rock band Lydia, adding drummer Loren Briton and bassist Dustin Forsgren. The band's driving, melodic songs loaded with layers -- at times minimal, at times monumental -- helped them gain quite a loyal following and they spread those tunes around through some extensive touring, hopping on large scale music events like the Warped Tour, and the Bamboozle Festival. Though there were personnel changes throughout, the band had a pronounced break in 2010, when they announced they were calling it quits. That said, things started back up in 2011, and for Antelman and crew and since, there have been a couple new releases and active touring.

We asked Antelman what the impetus was to get the band going again after such a definite split.

"Well," he said, "after we took some time off and let everyone do their own thing, a couple of us still really wanted to make music together. It was really just as simple as that."

See also: Lydia Does It for the Fans

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The band has been through a lot of line-up changes, including the addition and loss of vocalist Mindy White, who was on the band's 2008 recording, Illuminate. Leighton is happy with his current team, saying "I used to do most of the writing myself, but now the other guys contribute much more to the recording process -- along with all the work that goes into performing and live shows. I think they've helped the band grow quite a bit.

Lydia's current lineup is all Arizonans, and though Antelman doesn't cite anyone specifically, he says region's music has been influential.

"At some point or another, it definitely has been," he says. "We have all lived here all of our lives, so I am sure some Arizona bands have crept into our brains."

Even with all the touring, the band is interested in who is doing what around these parts and tries to stay on top of what's happening in local music.

"We are gone a bit so it's hard to stay up to date and catch as many shows as we'd like to see. I feel like Arizona has always had great bands and continues to produce more."

As far as what he is personally listening to lately, Antelman says that he's really digging both Andrew Belle and April Smith. He also tells us that if you're heading out to see Lydia live at the Pressroom, to expect "a lot of variety from all of our albums."

"We re-did some tracks so we are excited to play those along with some songs we haven't played in quite awhile," he says. "It's been really fun rehearsing the last week or so and we can't wait for this show."

Lydia is scheduled to play the Pressroom on Saturday, December 14.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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