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ALO stands for Animal Liberation Orchestra – because music liberates the inner animal, of course. As liberated as they come, Zach Gill, Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz, and Steve Adams have certainly been at this a long time. The trio met while still pre-teens in Saratoga, California, where they quickly connected through their love of music.

In junior high, they got the idea to put together a band for their eighth-grade talent show. Zach recounts the struggle of the emerging artist thusly: “It’s hard to get all the pieces right, you know, you’re chasing a dream and an abstract vision, and you’re going through puberty. It’s kind of a lot.” Lebo elaborates, “We met at a time in our lives where we were coming of age and craving identity. Music, and more specifically, our band, gave us a vessel with which we could ‘set sail’ on the ocean of life”.

And the rest is history, but history is always a crooked path. You end up where you belong, but the journey is never quite what you expected when you took the first step. Twenty five years in, Gill (keyboards/vocals), Lebo (guitar/vocals), Adams (bass, vocals) and newest addition, Bay Area drum legend-in-training Ezra Lipp (drums, vocals), have recorded their greatest work to date. Quite simply, this is what happens when a band doesn’t break up – the culmination of a lifetime of shared effort and camaraderie, four master collaborators at the peak of their craft with nothing left to prove, a near-telepathic cohesion.

These guys have played with everybody. From royalty like Phil Lesh and members of the Grateful Dead to So Cal surf-troubadour Jack Johnson. If the show happened in California, you’ll almost always find one of them in the corner of the shot and, sometimes, even in the center.

But you don’t really hear the band’s magic until you hear them together. And it urges repeat listening, because it’s a rich stew that only fully reveals itself with time, attention, a few tears, and a lot of love.

ALO call their music “jam-pop,” and the description is apt – meticulously-crafted/accessibly-hooky compositions laced with improvisational departures, in which the band melds into a single organism in voice and consciousness. They’re always exploring, but never wandering. There is always intention, momentum, and a patience and confidence that can only be wrought from a quarter century of collaboration and water under the bridge.

The band’s new full-length album Silver Saturdays is a celebration of that crooked path, of having lived through a turbulent phase of human history, and of the winding road still to come. Won’t you join us for the ride?

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