Pop rock bands Sparks the Rescue and Rocky Loves Emily will meet for the first time when they embark this week on a month-long tour together.
And they'll meet right here in Altoona.
Their tour will kick off Monday when the bands play at 5 p.m. at the Fort Apache/ Juniata VFW in Altoona.
Members of Sparks the Rescue include (clockwise, from left) Alex Roy, David Pait, Toby?McAllister, Dylan Taylor and Mike Naran.
Openers include tourmates Aristo, along with The Big Time, The Baby Grand, Goodnight Moon and Donavin.
For Portland, Maine, natives Sparks the Rescue, this will be their first headlining show in more than a year. Toby McAllister, guitarist for the band, said they're excited for the opportunity to play longer sets and kick off the tour in Altoona.
"We'll be able to sneak in some old songs that people always ask for, but we never really have time to play on tour," he said,
If you go
What: Sparks the Rescue with Rocky Loves Emily, Aristo, The Big Time, The Baby Grand, Goodnight Moon and Donavin
When: 5 p.m. Monday
Where: Fort Apache/ Juniata VFW, 126 N. 16th Ave., Altoona
Details: Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.
The band broke onto the scene in 2009 with their debut album "Eyes to the Sun," and released its follow-up, "Worst Thing I've Been Cursed With," in 2011. Both were released on Fearless Records, but when Sparks the Rescue was let go from the label late last year, they started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the purchase of a new tour van and the recording of a new six-song EP, which the band hopes to release next month.
Because of fan support, they ended up making more than double their goal.
"It was just crazy," McAllister said. "It definitely told us that there are still people out there who care about our band."
McAllister said the band will play two or three new songs live on the tour, adding that they're more alternative and less "cookie-cutter pop rock" than what fans have found on past releases. The absence of label pressure and freedom in the studio have made them "some of the best songs we've ever written," McAllister said.
"By doing it yourself, your fate is in your own hands, and you can do what you want to," he added. "You make your own decisions. If you make a wrong one, then it's on you, and if you make a right one, it feels really, really good."
Another "right" decision Sparks the Rescue made was bringing Michigan-based Rocky Loves Emily out on tour. McAllister said they're all fans of the group.
"Musically, we're all very similar bands," he added. "We've got the pop rock vibe going on."
But Andrew Stevens, guitarist for Rocky Loves Emily, said the band's recently released full-length album, "Secrets Don't Make Friends," offers more of a '90s feel than past releases. He added that the band took a live approach to recording it in order to achieve a more organic sound.
"I think people have lost the ability to appreciate just raw music," he said. "I feel like it allows a lot of musicians to cheat the system, to make themselves sound good when they're not necessarily going to sound like that live."
Rocky Loves Emily can't wait to play their new songs in a live setting, Stevens said, including the piano ballad, "Dream," which is unlike anything they've ever written.
"There are more honest songs on the new record that I think are going to be a lot of fun to play," he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.