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Sunny Music Brought to You from Rainy Seattle

by Jennie McKeon

Michael Benjamin Lerner of the band Telekinesis plays drums, acoustic guitar, sings and writes. He doesn’t move objects with his mind, but he does hope to move the audience at Deluna Fest.

“I just want people to walk away feeling really happy,” Lerner said in an e-mail interview. “I mean, a rock show is supposed to take you away from all the troubles and problems in your life. We are entertainers when it’s all said and done with. So hopefully you feel like you have been entertained.”

It won’t be hard to enjoy a Telekinesis set. With a sound reminiscent of The Cure — where melancholy lyrics are matched with an upbeat tempo — you forget your worries while you dance along to the beat. Lerner says the happy sound is habitual.

“It’s sort of by happenstance,” Lerner said. “I grew up on 60s pop music by The Beatles, and The Kinks, and Donovan and the like. So, even when I try to write a sad sappy song, the music still always comes out sunny and poppy. Hopefully that’s a nice juxtaposition for people. It’s really the only way I know how to do it.”

While Lerner could easily be a one-man-band, he is joined by Cody Votolato on electric guitar and Jason Narducy on bass. With only a few EPs and two LPs released, the latest being “12 Desperate Straight Lines,” the band has been getting a good reputation. Shortly after signing with Merge records in 2009, Spin magazine chose the band as one of the South by Southwest’s picks that year.

Their live show may not be showy, but their honest performance is what makes them an enjoyable act.

“I think watching a band that looks like they are phoning it in is a bummer,” Lerner said. “We try our best not to look like that. It’s really fun to play live, so hopefully that comes across.

Someday it’d be great to have a killer stage and light setup. I saw Wilco recently, and their stage and light setup really added to the whole ‘show.’ It was pretty stellar.”

Telekinesis is happy to spend some time out of rainy Seattle and visit sunny (hopefully) Florida. Former member and Pensacola native Chris Staples has already given the area a rave review so the pressure is on.

“I’m super excited to visit Pensacola Beach,” Lerner said.  “One of the TK alumni, Chris Staples, grew up there. He has talked very highly of it, so it’s got quite a lot to live up to at this point. So far, we’ve only driven through, so I’m excited to spend a day there.” {in}

TELEKINESIS AT DELUNA FEST
WHEN: 1:30-2:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15
WHERE: Wind Creek Stage