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Wednesday, 10.18.23

Charleston Pour House

Main Stage

9pm doors /10pm show

after Dead on the Deck w/ The Reckoning

$10 General Admission


Sneezy is a Fusion Rock band from Chicago, IL that draws its innovative sound from Rock, Hip-Hop, and Soul influences. Sneezy’s eight members have been building musical chemistry together for over a decade. Live performances are best characterized by engulfing grooves, crowd interaction, and occasional freak dancing!

Like James Brown, Sneezy turns in a killer show and leaves it all on the stage every time, and like Phish and the Grateful Dead, Sneezy’s a jam band whose cascading rhythms spiral around and around leading scores of carousing fans dancing and singing along with songs they know by heart. As Sneezy front man Brett O’Connor says, “We’re having fun on stage, and you really get our music when you see us live. We create community though our music.”

Now, with their third album—their major label debut by way of popular new indie outfit Color Red Music—Open Doors, Sneezy delivers a rollicking, raucous, funky collection of songs that does just what the title track and album title calls for: throws open the doors, inviting listeners over the threshold to dance, sing, and groove to infectious tunes that leave us smiling after the last note fades. Written during the pandemic, the fourteen songs on Open Doors drive down smooth R&B straightaways and careen around funked up rockers tinged with hip and flights of free jazz. “Ben Paulson and I worked on these songs every day; he’d be in the basement in the morning coming up with piano hooks, and I’d come down in the afternoon, and we’d sing the songs together, and then we’d send them out to the rest of the band for their input.” As O’Connor comments: “That’s what makes us different, too; we write all our songs together. One of us might come up with a melody or hook or lyrics, but we’ll then send it around so everyone can put in their ideas. Some songs change a lot from when we start on them; someone will come up with a better ending or take it in another direction that works.”

“Vibez” kicks off Open Doors in true Sneezy fashion; it’s a raucous party song, riding along soulful keys and soaring choruses, weaving hip hop and R&B that propels people out of their seats and gets them moving to the swaying groove. “Ben wrote the chorus, and right away we knew it was powerful. We left the mic on in the studio and caught all the background conversation like we were at a party and just left it in on the final cut.” “Battles” floats along a Chicago soul groove with its vocals that spiral ever higher over a bed of sparkling keys weaving around smooth sax. O’Connor recalls, “Instantly, Ben heard this as a Curtis Mayfield song, and I heard it as a soaring emotional melody. Other members of the band wrote this, and Jack Holland and I put our vocals on it.” The brightly echoing hip hop soul groove “Nu Things” is “a simple song that came about pretty quickly; it’s a swaggering song.”

Sneezy’s sound encompasses a variety of different musical influences – for example, with echoes of Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration,” Sly & the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music,” and the wailing organ of Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express; “Pieces of a Puzzled Heart” is a funky groove that celebrates unity. “Jack wrote this at the height of time where everybody was doing Zoom, and he thought about all those pixels being pieces of the ones you love,” O’Connor recalls. However, “Crème Brulee” would fit well on a Steely Dan album – it’s a song that came together by happy accident. “Nathan Mark wrote it and uploaded it; he wasn’t finished with it, but we didn’t know that,” O’Connor laughs. “Ben wrote all the lyrics except one verse, which I wrote.”

The organic sound Sneezy produces on Open Doors comes naturally to this band of brothers from the Chicago area, some of whom have been playing together since third grade. O’Connor recalls: “Jack’s parents were musicians, and they set us up with instruments that we didn’t yet know how to play.” By third grade, the O’Connor and Holland were playing in the school talent show, and by their junior year in high school, they were really starting to find their voices and Sneezy was born. Although the members have changed over the years, the core of the band consists of O’Connor on vocals and harmonica, Holland on vocals and guitar, Austin Lutter on guitar, Ben Paulson on drums and keys, Pat Girdaukas on sax, Austin Koizol on drums, Nick Guzman on bass, Tom Hannum on bass, and Nathan Mark on drums. The band has developed a huge following in the Chicago area, selling out shows whenever they play, and that have developed loyal fan bases in Door County, Wisconsin, and Colorado. “We really started playing music just for our friends; our shows turned into a community right off the bat,” recalls O’Connor.

With the release of Open Doors, that community is going to grow even larger because the listeners can feel Sneezy’s sound flowing out of the speakers, and feel the band inviting them to come along and groove with them to the music.