Bob Dylan meets Nirvana, on a stage shared by The Beatles…

No, this is not a dream concert organized for a VH1 special. This is the self-described blend of influences that make Rouse one of the most unique bands to ever grace the bright lights of the UCF Arena. 

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For those who remember, this is the group that won the UCF 2008 Battle of the Bands. Their catchy “folk-grunge” sounds were rewarded when Rouse was chosen to open for the Motion City Soundtrack and Lupe Fiasco concert last October, a highlight for a band whose usual venue trends towards the cozy bars frequented by UCF students.

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“Watching the evolution of the band has been amazing,” says UCF senior Teddy Toggweiler.  “Building off the songs Jon worked on in his solo act, they meshed multiple genres and added unique sounds like the song ‘Girls I’ve Seen,’ while keeping close to home with songs about local places, such as ‘Lazy Moon.’”

Lead singer Jon Serluco at the 2009 New Times “Battle of the Bands” in Miami, FL
Lead singer Jon Serluco at the 2009 New Times “Battle of the Bands” in Miami, FL

Formed in September 2007, Rouse is the product of UCF students Jon Serluco (vocals, guitar), Alex Pax (guitar), Dylan Osborne (keys), and Vishal Gulati (drums).

After a jam session at Osborne’s home on Rouse Road, this group of high school friends decided to galvanize their eclectic sound into a single entity. With the later addition of Chris Vallone on Bass guitar, the initial lineup was set. The end result was a group of musicians coming together to transcend any one genre of musical art.

All was not to remain as it started. The year 2008 brought changes to the band through the departure of Osborne, and the arrival of keyboardist Cris “Coog” Echeguren.

With fresh ideas and new talent, Rouse was able to refine their sound behind such popular songs as “Be My Bride”, and “Its All For You”.  

Sadly, Echeguren chose to part ways with the band in March 2009, providing an incredible opportunity for current keyboard player, Dan Lacey, to demonstrate his talents.

“Dan is a musical genius, and has been a wonderful asset to the band,” Serluco says of his newest bandmate.  

Getting ready to go on stage at the UCF Arena, October 2008.
Getting ready to go on stage at the UCF Arena, October 2008.

On the right night, a patron of the UCF nightlife would find Rouse playing at Backbooth or Underground Blues.  That is not to say they are limited in their appeal; having spent this past year blowing away lesser groups in a slough of “Battle of the Bands” competitions, rocking downtown Orlando for the Florida Music Festival, and electrifying crowds at the Hard Rock Live and Gulfstream Park in Miami.

To the dismay of many, that will all come to an end this week, when Rouse plays its final concert at Backbooth in downtown Orlando. The final concert will also serve as a release party for their first, and consequently, last album titled “Country Breakfast”.

“Sadly, our guitarist is moving to Pasadena soon, and the band’s fate will go with it,” says Serluco. “We figured what better way to show off two years of fun and hard work than with an album!”

The journey ends Saturday, Aug. 8 at 8:00 p.m., at The Backbooth in Downtown Orlando. Admission is $12, and gets every guest a copy of their new full-length album.

The show will also feature local acts Ben Prestage, and An Introduction to Sunshine.

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