Ekoostik Hookah brings the jams

Katie Young

Ekoostik Hookah with the Flying J’s

Friday 8 p.m.

The Kent State

$17, $15 with student ID


Ekoostik Hookah has been around for a while, and it plans on sticking around a lot longer. The band is set to play a show at the Kent Stage Friday to release its new album Under Full Sail: It All Comes Together.

Drummer Eric Lanese thinks everyone will enjoy the show.

“Bands don’t stick around this long if people don’t like them,” he joked.

Ekoostik Hookah, which formed in 1991, describes itself as a fusion of “psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll, blues, funk, jazz and bluegrass.” Band members include Dave Katz (vocals/keyboard), Steve Sweney (lead guitar), Cliff Starbuck (bass), John Mullins (vocals/guitar) and Eric Lanese (drums).

Since its formation, the band has played shows in more than 30 states, as well as in Jamaica and the Netherlands. The band was even invited to play at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Members of Ekoostik Hookah make music their full-time job. Each member also has side projects. Both Katz and Mullins play with bands that bare their namesake, Katz-n-Jammerz and The Mullins Band. Starbuck plays with Blackdog, Sweney sits in with The Spikedrivers, and Lanese plays drums for Screaming Peach. They all still make Ekoostik Hookah their first priority.

“You just have to be careful you don’t overbook yourself,” Lanese said.

One of Ekoostik Hookah’s biggest accomplishments to date is their twice-annual Hookahville Music Festival, which is held at various campsites across Ohio.

“If you’re in a band, it gets everybody a chance to play outside, and everyone can enjoy it,” Lanese said. “It’s just more fun.”

This spring the festival will be held at Legend Valley Concert Venue and Campground in Thornville during Memorial Day weekend. Past artists who have shared the Hookahville stage include Willie Nelson, Blues Traveler, Robert Randolph and David Crosby.

“(Hookahville) is definitely something we’re really proud of,” Lanese said.

Another thing that Ekoostik Hookah is excited about is their current tour. The band has shows throughout Ohio, as well as out-of-state shows in Denver and Ashville, N.C.

Those who plan to attend an Ekoostik Hookah show can look forward to a lot of energy and a good time.

“We enjoy playing music, so people can expect an energetic show,” Lanese said.

Lanese also spoke highly of the fans and encouraged unfamiliar listeners to join in the fun as well.

“Our fans are very friendly and will really encourage people to get into it,” he said. “We encourage everyone to come … The more the merrier!”

Contact all reporter Katie Young at [email protected].