The Felix Culpa at Emmanuel Lutheran Basement Feb. 10

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11394302777675.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of‘, ‘The Felix Culpa’);

Rockford has been called a little city and a big town. As in most towns, big or small, it’s easy to believe that you know everyone and that you’ve met all your neighbors. But chances are you’ve never met Mark Hladish, Tristan Hammond and Joel Coen—collectively known as The Felix Culpa.

In a town that has earned itself a reputation of being far from a safe haven for budding musicians, The Felix Culpa defy the notion that musical creativity has died in Rockford. Their finely crafted songs take the thickly painted line between indie/art rock and hardcore, and smudge it almost beyond recognition. Their reputation for fast-paced and unpredictable live shows has earned them places playing alongside bands like Emery, Underoath and Engine Down as well as slots on the Vans Warped Tour.

The success of their Common Cloud Records debut Commitment and recently-released DVD/EP Thought Control has sparked interest from numerous major labels and given the band more incentive than ever to continue their busy tour schedule. And while going largely unnoticed in and around the Rock River Valley, they have even garnered praise in the mainstream press, earning several mentions in Alternative Press magazine—one of the largest music publications in the country—where they were compared favorably to bands like Brand New, and Coheed and Cambria.

After reading all of this, one might think the opportunity to get up-close and personal to these budding local leaders of rock has long since passed. Fortunately for music-loving Rockfordians, after spending the last year playing across the United States, The Felix Culpa makes its triumphant return to the Forest City this Friday, Feb. 10. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. at The ELB (Emmanuel Lutheran Basement), the band’s intense live show will be on display in the most intimate of settings.

The ELB, which began as a place designed to give kids a safe place to be on weekends, has become one of the best (and only) local venues for all-ages shows. At 920 3rd Ave. in Rockford, the ELB may not have a professional light and sound setup, but it is a great place to see up-and-coming musicians showcase their talents. Tickets for The Felix Culpa’s “Return to Rockford” are $6 and are available at the door the night of the show. Opening acts include Inspector Owl, El Oso and Killer Apathy.

Hladish, Hammond and Coen are on the fast track to becoming national ambassadors for the original live music scene in Rockford and re-affirming our place as a destination for aspiring touring bands. This Friday, meet The Felix Culpa—the neighbors you never knew you had.

For more information, visit Be sure to check in with The Rock River Times next week for complete coverage of The Felix Culpa’s show at The ELB, including photos and an interview.

From the Feb. 8-14, 2006, issue

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