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The Redlight District

The Redlight District 1 Photo

The Redlight District is a psychedelic rock and roll quartet from Santa Cruz, California. The band is comprised of Stephan Sams (vocals), Ravi Lamb (lead guitar), Dan Leitner (keyboards), and Keoki Thompson (drums). Their frenetic live performances blend elements of delta blues, jazz melody, and soul, weaving meticulously embellished, percussive guitar lines with dynamically intricate rock-organ. Thompson brings a relentless battery of off-kilter beats to the table, locking-in with Leitner's bass hooks. These provide a backdrop for Sams' baritone croon, which moves from tranquil melody into manic wails.
 The band was formed by singer Stephan Sams in Marina, Ca. After a fateful chance-meeting with the Doors’ guitarist Robby Krieger during which he charged Stephan with starting a band of his own, Sams began a quartet featuring a guitarist, a drummer, and a keyboardist, allowing for his poetry to take flight into motion. Drawing from his roots, many of the first songs were blues-driven vignettes about the poverty and violence he witnessed growing up in Salinas. This lead him to name the band after the infamously dangerous part of town where he spent parts of his youth. Quickly moving to Santa Cruz with close to nothing, he endured seasons of homelessness to become immersed in an artistic community. After several iterations, this eventually afforded the permanent members of the band. Stephan met keyboardist Dan Leitner through fellow musicians upon his arrival from New Jersey. Berklee- graduated guitarist Ravi Lamb joined after meeting the two at a church-turned-co-op. Soon after, fellow Hawaiian transplant to Lamb and determined drummer Keoki Thompson signed on as a hired gun introduced by Leitner, only to remain after the first show together revealed the completion of the band.


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