‘Love and War’ goes to Bakersfield

Local band opens for Alien Ant Farm Sept. 9

‘Love and War’ goes to BakersfieldBobby Steele, Zach Schiavone, Matt Kirk, Anthony Agostinacci, and Ryan Ines of “Love and War” perform at the Ridgecrest Music Festival earlier this year — Courtesy photo

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By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Platinum-certified rock band Alien Ant Farm can expect a healthy turnout of Gen Xers for its concert at Bakersfield’s 1933 event center on Sept. 9. But for followers of the local music scene, the bigger news might be about one of the opening acts — Ridgecrest’s own Love and War.

“We were all pretty stoked when we heard,” said Bobby Steele, Love and War’s bass player and “Official Pastry Chef.”

The band’s drummer Anthony Agostinacci said his cousin was working with the promoters organizing the event and casually asked the band if they wanted to play with Alien Ant Farm.

“It came out of nowhere,” said Steele.

“This is our first out-of-town gig, and it’s pretty humbling to be sharing the stage with a band with so much renown,” said guitarist Zach Schiavone.

“Especially since we’re barely established,” added Agostinacci. “This is only our third show.”

Alien Ant Farm came to prominence when its cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” topped the Billboard charts in 2001. The band gained further fame, and no small amount of notoriety, through crashing various Hollywood events in the mid 2000s with surprise performances and music video shoots.

Rounding out Love and War’s lineup are guitarist Ryan Ines and Matt Kirk, vocalist, songwriter, and “Band Speech Therapist.” Ines and Steele also provide backup vocals.

Band members describe their music as “throwback emo” rock, influenced by bands like Taking Back Sunday, Rufio and Saosin (which featured Ridgecrest vocalist Cover Reber for its first two albums).

Their sound is a well-rehearsed, tight weave of rapid-fire drum beats, cyclonic guitar riffs and yearning vocals on top of the unrelenting bass.

The band said Kirk came up with the name Love and War, inspired by the phrase “all’s fair in love and war.”

While the current lineup is only about a year old, all of the band members are long-time valley residents graduating from Burroughs and Trona High Schools. Most have been active members of the local music scene, performing with associated acts including “Flames Embrace” (Agostinacci), “I, the Skyline” (Kirk, Schiavone) and “Breaking Atlas” (Ines, Steele).

Band members thanked other local musicians, The Whatevers, Alas de Liona, Duendes and the Ridgecrest music community, for their support of local music and helping bands like Love and War to keep performing.

“It’s such an awesome musical community in this town,” said Kirk. “People need to support local music.”

“I always hear people say there’s nothing to do here, but these groups are actively performing all the time,” added Schiavone. “People just need to show up.”

Tickets from Ticketmaster for the Sept. 9 concert are sold out, but locals can still get tickets ($18) by contacting the band directly at loveandwarca@gmail.com or through Facebook (facebook.com/LoveAndWarCA).

The 1933 event center is at 7900 Downing Ave. in Bakersfield, and the concert begins at 4 p.m. Other opening acts include The 08 Orchestra, Stoneshiver and Art and the Resistance.

Love and War is planning to put on another local show before the year is out — possibly late October — and is also making plans for its first professionally recorded single.

You can still find the band’s material through “basically any of the online music services” says the band. Its songs are available on iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, SoundCloud and more.

See the band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/244288163041665/ for more information about the event.

Story First Published: 2018-08-31