Beer bongs and back flips

Livitz Livitz offers a ‘straight-down party vibe’ to local music fans

Funk, punk, ska, reggae—Livitz Livitz plays it all.

Funk, punk, ska, reggae—Livitz Livitz plays it all.

Photo By David Robert

A Livitz Livitz crowd is a captive crowd. There are no glassy-eyed stares, no impatient sighs and no dismissive glances at a rock show masterminded by the Livitz boys: lead singer Ryan Puliz, guitarist Jim Kress, bassist Dan Warrel and drummer Shayne Delarue. The band’s predominately college-age following crowds the stage enthusiastically, bouncing or nodding along to the music.

There are plenty of reasons behind the collective buoyancy displayed by a Livitz Livitz crowd. Fans get served a pretty juicy mix of funky ska, mellow punk and reggae-flavored rock. The songs are driven by a rousing bass line and Puliz’s charming (and not altogether predictable) vocal delivery.

“We play a good mix of music,” Kress and Warrel explain. “We’ll play a reggae song, then we’ll play punk, then ska. We try to keep the crowd on their toes, because they never know what we’ll play.”

Puliz gets a bit more specific.

“If O-Town and Suicidal Tendencies got together and had a baby, and that baby grew up in Jamaica, that’d be our sound,” he says.

And speaking of the charm and unpredictability of the band, Puliz’s onstage antics, which include beer bongs and back flips, certainly don’t diminish the band’s crowd appeal.

“Ryan has a lot of energy on stage,” Warrel says. “He could get anyone to do a beer bong—or at least, get anyone up on stage. We have beer bong races.”

The beer bong, Kress says, is pretty characteristic of their attitude at shows.

“We have a straight-down party vibe,” he says.

The band’s name also reflects its party attitude. Puliz said they chose Livitz Livitz in part because they heard it means “circus circus” in Hebrew. But mainly, it just sounds cool. And although Livitz Livitz’s tight sound suggests that these guys turn pretty serious at practice time, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“On stage is when it just comes together,” Kress says. “In practice, we suck. But when we come on stage, we all get that energy.”

For Puliz, the energy has an athletic outlet.

“The crowd seems to love it when Ryan does back flips,” Kress says. “We’ve yet to see him eat shit. He did two at [a Zephyr show]. You know it’s a good night if he’s doing two back flips.”

The risk-taking isn’t relegated to excessive alcohol consumption or acrobatics. Generally, Livitz Livitz produces the mix of ska, punk, reggae and funk quite seamlessly. Every now and then, though, the guys spice things up by throwing in just the slightest hint of death metal, or a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” infused with more insurgence than angst.

One of the most surprising moments of the Livitz Livitz show I attended came when Puliz asked the crowd, “Do you like ‘80s rap?” The band then launched into the guitar riff of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Alabama.” Puliz completed the down-home tune, however, with a nice old-school rap ditty.

The crowd loved the Lynyrd Skynyrd rap, just as it loved the covers of Radiohead and Sublime, the ska and the funk. They roared and bounced along, totally smitten with the music—so smitten, in fact, that they were quite forgiving when they discovered that Livitz Livitz had accidentally left the beer bong at home.