A Cincinnati band’s positive message

T here’s more than enough negativity in the world today, in my opinion. Turn on the nightly news, check in with your preferred social media platform, or pick up the latest issue of your favorite magazine—does anyone still do that?—and you’re likely to find mayhem, chaos, anger, and sorrow galore, right at your fingertips. What […]

Lift the Medium returns to Englewood’s Courtyard Lounge


Lift the Medium at the Bunbury Music Festival: LJ Lillie, Joey Vasselet, Jake Bartone, and Joe Bartone (l-r).

by Tim Walker

There’s more than enough negativity in the world today, in my opinion. Turn on the nightly news, check in with your preferred social media platform, or pick up the latest issue of your favorite magazine—does anyone still do that?—and you’re likely to find mayhem, chaos, anger, and sorrow galore, right at your fingertips. What has killed our happiness in these United States of Acrimony? What happened to that glorious world of tomorrow that was once envisioned for our 21st century, a future where poverty, disease, famine, and strife would be all but forgotten? Where, I ask you, is all the love?

Lift the Medium, a four-piece rock band from Cincinnati, is on a mission to change all of that. Spreading good feelings and a resoundingly positive message through their rocking live shows and two albums’ worth of original material, the band is once again bringing its upbeat, motivational music to the Courtyard Lounge in Englewood this Saturday, August 4. The show, which will also feature sets by Fairborn’s own RIND—‘Rock Is Not Dead’—and Tracksuit Lyfestile from Indianapolis, begins at 9:30 and is 21 and up. There will be a $7 cover charge.

“It’s just positive, feel-good rock,” says Jake Bartone, drummer, background vocalist and part-time keyboardist, when describing the band’s music to the Dayton City Paper recently. “I’d call it modern rock, with a touch of progressive instrumental structure. Very driving, progressive rock riffs. Lyrically, it’s very uplifting and motivating. And harmonies… we’re very big on harmonies.” Bartone cites an eclectic list of bands—Queen, Pink Floyd, Alice in Chains, Boston, Foo Fighters, and Tool—as influences on the band’s songwriting and musical style.

“I’d say we’ve played at the Courtyard probably four or five times at this point,” the drummer continues. “We’ve been up there a handful of times, and it’s always a blast there. We’ve started to build a good scene up there in Dayton, so we’re pretty excited about the upcoming show.”

Formed five years ago, in June 2013 in Cincinnati, Lift the Medium still has three of its four original members. Drummer Bartone started the band with his brother, guitarist and singer Joe Bartone, and lead singer and guitarist Joey Vasselet. Bass player and vocalist LJ Lillie came aboard in January to round out the band’s current lineup. Mastermind, the band’s first album, was released in June 2014 to great reviews, with the follow-up album Moment in Time released last year in August of 2017. The band has seen its following grow steadily larger in the Dayton area, and Englewood rocker Lora Badders counts herself among the band’s biggest fans.

“They are one of my very favorite bands,” says Badders, co-owner of the Courtyard Lounge. “They are super cool guys and yes, very positive as well. So much talent it is mind-blowing!”

Musical chops aside, this is a group of players with a vision, and that vision has remained a focus for the musicians throughout the band’s performing history.

“I guess that what’s core to this band is that it’s more than just a bunch of guys getting together and jamming and putting together some good songs,” continues Bartone. “The message was always really important to us and kind of core to where we wanted to go and where we wanted to take it. So it’s always been at the forefront of our message, I would say. It’s that ‘carpe diem’ kind of feel to it. We’ve all been really big advocates of that. It’s very spiritual, but not religious.”

Bartone pauses briefly and laughs before continuing. “We’re not a Christian band. All of us—it’s just that ‘living in good faith, taking people at face value, and finding the best version of yourself’ kind of message that we’re trying to project.”

At its best, rock and roll music has always been an uplifting art form, and Lift the Medium aims for just that result. With four great musicians onstage, all harmonizing and using their ideas and musical talent to cut through the negativity that so often surrounds us in this modern world, there’s no doubt that this Saturday night’s show at Courtyard Lounge is one every local rock fan will want to check out.

Lift the Medium will perform at the Courtyard Lounge, 320 National Road, Englewood, Saturday, August 4th. Also performing that night will be RIND and Tracksuit Lyfestile. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. and is 21 and up, with a $7 cover charge. For more information, call the club at 937.836.9511, or liftthemedium.com.

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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com

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