Welcome Back: The Ridges Return

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After an eventful summer, area orchestral-rockers The Ridges are returning to their hometown this Saturday for a performance at Casa Cantina.

"We have an incredible fan base in Athens and we’re ready for a wild, cool night," said frontman Victor Rasgaitis.

The Ridges will be joined by two Columbus-based acts: Indigo Wild and The Weight of Whales.

"Indigo Wild is one of our favorite bands and they’re our friends," Rasgaitis explained, going on to detail the lengthy history his group has with Columbus' self-described purveyors of "free range indie rock."

"We’ve been playing with them for years now, and we really feel like our sounds compliment each other. And it’s great to play music with friends," he said.

The Weight of Whales is a "heavy folk-rock" band that happens to share drummer Jason Winner with Indigo Wild.

"Yeah, Jason is going to be doing double-duty Saturday night," remarked Rasgaitis. One of the reasons The Ridges are sharing the bill the two bands is that both of the acts share a certain spirit–and instrumentation–with The Ridges.

"There’s something about trying to play (acoustic) music that is as aggressive as a band with electric instruments," Rasgaitis said.

He also noted that, unlike many other acts involved in the indie rock scene, The Ridges are made up of a large number of musicians.

"The band is made up of upwards of 20 revolving members, so there's a large rotating cast that may be able to play with the band on any given night. Typically we try to get five to 10 of those people on stage for a performance."

The same passion that drives the core of The Ridges’ music is the same passion that landed them a spot at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, earlier this year–an experience that Rasgaitis recalls as a milestone in the band’s career. (Rasgaitis filed a SXSW report for WOUB; click here to read his account of the trip.)

SXSW proved to be a challenge, since the group typically played select weekends, with few back-to-back dates. After the trip, the band felt like they had discovered their capacity to play several consecutive shows.

"A lot of bands just sort of sit on their asses after they play SXSW," Rasgaitis joked, "but we really wanted to keep up the momentum."

In order to retain the driving force that had made their shows at SXSW so memorable, The Ridges began planning several mini-tours for the summer. Ultimately, the band decided to tackle the East Coast early in the season, playing shows in New York City and Washington, D.C.

In addition to upcoming shows in September (including a slot at Cincinnati's MidPoint Music Festival on Sept. 28), the group is continuing to hone their long-awaited full-length album.

"We’ve been working on the record for a while. It’s burning a hole in our pockets, but we really want it to be right. We want to have music that sounds combustible while still sounding well thought-out," Rasgaitis said.

Saturday's Casa Cantina show kicks off at 10 p.m. with The Weight of Wales, followed by Indigo Wild and The Ridges. Visit The Ridges' Facebook page and Twitter account for regular updates.

The Ridges at Casa Cantina (photo: Steve Rybka)