Spokane's melodic heavy metal group Oceans of Red have a soft spot in their hearts for the Tri-Cities.
"To me, the little towns are the gems and the little cities are the places I love to go and play," said guitarist George Silva. "Ray's Golden Lion is just a really good time. You always see a familiar place and familiar setting, and when you're on the road, any bit of familiarity that you get helps you feel like home."
The band will be performing at 8 p.m. Jan. 30 at Ray's in Richland, along with Voice of a Liar, Bring Me Solace and With Scars to Prove.
"We're trying to concentrate on making waves close to home and build a fan base close to home," Silva said. "We're really staying focused on the West Coast to build a strong following so you can keep yourself busy touring in that circuit."
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Fans will be able to hear new frontman Derek Hendricks, who took over after former lead singer Joel Howard decided to pursue his solo work.
"Joel is going to be greatly missed, but Derek is an amazing addition to the family and brought the brutality of the music to a whole new level," Silva said.
The band formed last year. When Silva's band Takeover broke up, he started hanging out with bassist Ron Shafer, guitarist Jon Hollingsworth and drummer Chris Moseley.
"I was in Takeover for three years before this band, so this is my new baby," he said. "When Takeover broke up, I was in The Hallowed and we signed a deal to Rise Records, but before we could release the record, family issues arose and the band had to part ways. When that happened, this kind of came about."
The band has a self-titled four-track EP, but plans on releasing a full-length record in the spring and has already been discussing possible distribution with several indie labels.
"I think we're kind of gearing towards being more independent, self-sufficient and try to get ourselves into a mode where we're touring on our own as much as we can and go from there," Silva said. "For now, we're happy just being independent and making our own decisions."
And those decisions include traveling to Richland to play at Ray's as much as they can.
"The thing about Ray's is it's a diamond in the midst of a bunch of oversaturated venues," Silva said. "All these big cities, places like that have these revolving doors. So the unsaturated markets are the best places to go and play where kids are a bit more starving for good entertaining and we just try to come and bring that every time we come through. We'll definitely be playing in Richland a lot. It's definitely a beloved place for us 'cause it's always been good for us."
Ray's Golden Lion is at 1353 George Washington Way.
For more information, go to www.myspace.com/oceansofred.
◗ Bethany Woo: 582-1465; firstname.lastname@example.org