L Shape Lot with Special Guest Stray Local to benefit Toys for Tots 2014

Written by Kelsey Berish

On December 19, the Brooklyn Arts Center hosted the Kraken Christmas Concert featuring Wilmington’s legendary L shape Lot and the up-and-coming Stray Local. The evening was a way for the community to say “we love you” and “good-bye” to LSL drummer John Kovalski and benefited Toys for Tots.

Audience members were encouraged to bring Christmas gifts as a donation to the Toys for Tots Foundation...and, boy, did they! By the end of the evening, everything from Darth Vader action figures to tricycles was placed underneath the BAC’s eleven-foot evergreen tree—enough gifts to fill a pretty big truck...and bring lot of smiles to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have had any gifts this year.

After an opening acoustic set by Scott and Brian, a duo from Shelby, NC, who showed off some damn fine guitar skills, Wilmington’s Stray Local took command of the BAC stage. Members Jamie Rowen, Hannah Lomas, and Nick Simon just released their first album, The Sun Still Shines, and it has received rave reviews. Stray Local’s acoustic sound is fresh and unique, with intricate, gorgeous vocals and a percussionist who play what Lomas calls, “the washtub bass, a bass with a face and mustache.” Playing with L Shape Lot at the Toys for Tots concert was a dream come true for Stray Local, seeing as how the band has been and remains huge fans of the veteran group. “I was so excited to get the call asking for us to play at the show,” Rowen said. “L Shape Lot was the first local band I listened to when I came to Wilmington. So when they asked, I was just like wow, yeah!”

The Kraken Christmas Concert had the bands’ and the crowds’ emotions running high because it was LSL founding drummer John Kovalski’s farewell performance. “I’m nervous,” Kovalski said before the show. “I don’t think leaving will settle in for a while, but it’s been fun, and I wouldn’t change a thing.” For the past 13-years, L Shape Lot’s four members, Eric Miller, Alex Lanier, Rick Miller, and Kovalski, have been Wilmington’s very own rock stars. “Eric and I had no intention of starting a band,” said Kovalski. Before LSL began their set, a special slideshow of L Shape Lot’s time together was shown to their devoted fans. And then...all bets were off as L Shape blew roof off the BAC.

From donated Christmas gifts to a funny photo booth for John, to a young fan dancing on stage with LSL, to the loyal fans who have followed L Shape Lot since the start—it was a night to remember.