KR-3, ekoostik hookah to Reignite Jam Band Scene in Wheeling

Ohio-based jam band ekoostik hookah will perform tonight at River City Ale Works in Wheeling with special guests, KR-3.

One of the most highly acclaimed live acts in the Midwest, ekoostik hookah has played to crowds across the nation and even a number of international engagements since forming in the early 1990s.

In addition to headlining tour dates throughout the region and anchoring music festivals every year, ekoostik hookah showcases the band’s talent every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend with its own music festival – Hookahville.

Music legends and big names from Willie Nelson to David Crosby, Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane, Les Claypool of Primus, the Neville Brothers, Blue Oyster Cult, Parliament Funkadellic, Gov’t Mule, Dr. John, Blues Traveler, Rusted Root, Arlo Guthrie, The Wailers, Little Feat, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Ricky Skaggs, WAR, Bela Fleck, Bruce Hornsby and scores of other talented musical acts have performed at past Hookahvilles – opening up for ekoostik hookah.

Tonight’s show at River City will be ekoostik hookah’s first Wheeling performance since 2005 and the final performance before this year’s Fall Hookahville – now known simply as “The Ville” – this Labor Day weekend at Clay’s Park Resort in North Lawrence, Ohio, along with moe., the Wood Brothers, Zach Deputy, the Rumpke Mountain Boys, KR-3, Blue Moon Soup, The Congress and others.

Led by founding members Dave Katz and Steve Sweney, ekoostik hookah has evolved over the years, and the lineup of the band has changed, bringing a new energy in the mix.

Today’s dynamic quintet has longtime drummer Eric Lanese sharing more vocal duties, along with bassist Phil Risko taking lead vocals on occasion, as well. Guitarist/songwriter Eric Sargent has emerged as a new frontman, providing lead vocals on a new complement of songs in ekoostik hookah’s expansive catalog.

Newest members Sargent and Risko have been with the band since the beginning of 2010, and many fans agree that the lineup has hit its stride, with keyboardist/acoustic guitarist and lead vocalist Katz fronting the classic ekoostik hookah favorites and new songs as well, and renowned lead guitarist Sweney delivering unforgettable solo and lead guitar work that always leaves fans in awe.

In the same vein as great jam bands such as the Grateful Dead and Phish, each performance by ekoostik hookah is unique, with a set list that differs from any other show the band has played before.

With a total of 2,420 shows played over the past 22 years, ekoostik hookah recently surpassed the Grateful Dead’s career tally of 2,318 performances.

Opening tonight’s show will be emerging original rock talent KR-3, the Wheeling-based indie/jam outfit that has made a splash with its most recent release, “Fractures and Sparks” on Perpetual Harmony Records.

The five-piece band features the talents of songwriter/frontman Tim Boyd on lead guitar and vocals; Travis Hoard on keyboards, saxophone and vocals; Shane Lundy on guitar and vocals; Steve Fullerton on drums; and Ian Varlas on bass.

KR-3 has burst onto the regional music festival circuit this year and will be joining ekoostik hookah again at The Ville in two weeks.

Doors to the River City show open at 8 p.m., and music starts at 9 p.m.

For more information about ekoostik hookah, visit For information about KR-3 or for discounted advance tickets to tonight’s show (available until early afternoon), visit