Female rockers Antigone Rising have played gigs all over the world, but one important venue has been missing from their roster: Sea Cliff Beach. This will be amended this weekend, with a free performance on the beach in the village where half of the band members live.
“A gig like this is so special,” says bass player and founding member Kristen Ellis-Henderson, who grew up in Glen Cove and now lives with her family in Sea Cliff. “It’s a beautiful beach and concert setting, and will be the most special show we’ve played in a while.”
She says the band has a devoted fan base who follow their shows, in addition to the large contingent of family and friends who live locally, and adds, “I think our fans will travel in for it.”
Ellis-Henderson and her sister, lead guitarist and band co-founder Cathy Henderson, are both graduates of Glen Cove High School and have been playing shows in Glen Cove their entire lives (“We’ve been in bands together since we were 2 and 4,” notes Ellis-Henderson) and Antigone Rising has headlined shows for the Downtown Sounds Concert Series in Glen Cove. But, aside from a benefit concert at the Sea Cliff Yacht Club after Hurricane Sandy, this is the first time Antigone Rising will perform a show in Sea Cliff that is “accessible” to fans.
“I hope it will be really fun,” says Ellis-Henderson. “We wrote a song called ‘My Town’ that is largely inspired by Sea Cliff. It will be special and cool to play that song for our friends and family.”
The song —which has not yet been released—is decidedly an ode to Sea Cliff, as it references specific places in the village while paying tribute to the community mindset aspect of those who live there. It will be on the upcoming six-song EP, Whiskey & Wine Vol 2, which is expected to be released on Oct. 28. Antigone Rising released a five-song EP Whiskey & Wine, Vol 1 in March.
Ellis-Henderson says the original plan was to organize a larger scale music festival on the beach, but things didn’t work out this year.
“It was a matter of timing…by the time the corporate sponsors came on board, the artists weren’t available. We wanted to bring our friends who we’ve toured the world with to our home, where all our friends and family are.” She adds, “It will happen next year.”
One artist who remained available is Trina Hamlin, who will perform at the beach as well on Sept. 13.
Antigone Rising has been busy in recent years. While the band’s first major label debut hit Starbucks in 2005, giving them a huge push in the industry, the band has been nonstop in the past three to four years; they released an independent full length CD in 2011, then began recording the songs for the Whiskey & Wine EPs, which includes the current lineup of Nini Camps on lead vocals and rhythm guitar and Dena Tauriello on drums. They are currently touring, and will be hitting up Indianapolis, Knoxville, TN, Decatur, GA and Chapel Hill, NC in the week following the show at the beach.
Ellis-Henderson and her wife, Sarah Kate Ellis-Henderson, were featured on the cover of Time Magazine last year in the gay marriage issue. Sarah has since become the president/CEO of GLAAD. The couple has 5-year-old twins who started kindergarten this year at Sea Cliff Elementary. Balancing the demands of a music career that requires touring as well as time to create and record with the demands of parenthood is not easy.
“I apologize a lot,” says Ellis-Henderson. “I have a lot of family in the area, and that helps a lot.” With her wife’s new position, she is required to travel a lot as well.
“She’s suddenly become the higher profile half of the couple, so now I’m more so in the driver’s seat with children.”
One plus of living in a small town is knowing your neighbors well: lead singer Camps lives down the road and has a home recording studio and the two also make time to play on a women’s soccer team together every Sunday.
“This town is amazing. Living in Sea Cliff is like being on a season of Lost” it has a really small town feel, with so many artistic, creative minded people,” says Ellis-Henderson.
After graduating from high school, Ellis-Henderson says she left for college and didn’t think she’d ever come back to the area. But, after traveling the country for several years, “I just woke up one day and realized, everyone’s here, my family is here…I know everybody and it’s so nice; why would I want to be anywhere else?”
The show begins at 5:30 p.m. on Sea Cliff Beach on Saturday, Sept. 13. Visit antigonerising.com for more info and to download music.