Birmingham’s Eyes Like 20 emerge from 18-year hiatus to rock local bar scene
by Kristen Bonner
Special to The Star
Sep 08, 2013 | 3580 views |  0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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When Birmingham rock band Eyes Like 20 releases its first full-length album next month, the name may raise a few questions. But “Magicicada,” the scientific term for the Cicada insect that emerges from its underground habitat every couple of decades or so, made perfect sense to the guys who first began playing together about 20 years ago.

“Cicadas lie dormant in the ground for 17 years before they come up. We feel like that kind of goes along with our story,” explains guitarist Richard Boyd. “We laid unseen for 17, 18 years and now we’re coming up out of the ground again.”

After a “dormant” period of nearly two decades, Eyes Like 20 has shed its 20th-century exoskeleton for its new album and an upcoming show at Brothers Bar in Jacksonville. The original five band members — vocalist Jonathan Lucas, guitarist Brent Martin, bass player Justin Naramore, drummer John Kennedy and Boyd — formed the band in the ’90s, but soon went their separate ways, Boyd said.

“About 18 years later we got back together and said, ‘Ya know, we’re not kids anymore, lets try to do this thing the right way this time,’” he recalls.

After reuniting in 2011, the guys immediately began writing new material, even recycling old songs and turning them into newer, updated versions of the originals. “That’s what we do,” says Boyd. “No covers, just our own stuff.”

Eyes Like 20’s original sets and self-described “heavy groove” sound makes for an energy-driven atmosphere when playing live. Laughing, Boyd describes the group’s shows as “loud and heavy, very balls to the wall.” And they’re a real crowd pleaser with the locals.

“We love playing in Jacksonville,” says Boyd. “You’ve got JSU up there and it’s always great to have all the students come out, excited to hear new music.”

Eyes Like 20 has traveled all over the Southeast rocking bars and other music venues, he continued, but the guys feel at home at Brothers Bar.

“Brothers is about the only place in town that will do all original bands, especially of our genre.”

Brothers co-owner Dan Nolan also owns The Nick, a landmark venue of the Birmingham music scene for more than 20 years.

“We were playing at The Nick 20 years ago and still play there quite a bit,” Boyd said. “We always consider Brothers to be sort of like The Nick’s little brother.”

Visit Eyes Like 20 online at eyeslike20.com and facebook.com/eyeslike20.

IF YOU GO...
What: Eyes Like 20 with Desperate Hero and Sweet Violence
When: Saturday, 9 p.m.
Where: Brothers Bar, Jacksonville
Admission: $5, ages 19 and up
Info: www.brothersjacksonville.com
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