“We’ve had some fun, sweaty shows in Toledo, I can tell you that,” said Will Pugh, lead singer and frontman for the band.
Cartel will return to Toledo to headline the University’s Music Fest Wednesday, Aug. 31. The band’s stop at UT is part of a 10-day tour in the Midwest that includes three shows with the pop-punk band All Time Low.
“We’ll have the chance to play some headliner shows, and we haven’t done that for a while,” Pugh said. “It’ll be a lot of fun.”
Cartel officially formed in 2003, though Pugh said he and his band mates — rhythm guitarist Nic Hudson, lead guitarist Joseph Pepper, drummer Kevin Sanders and bass player Jeff Lett — had been playing together in different groups for years.
“We played in about three or four different bands that all came together, and that’s how we started playing together and being friends,” Pugh said. “Cartel is probably the fourth incarnation of bands, if you will.”
Inspired by Newfound Glory — a band they toured with in the mid-2000s — and Jimmy Eat World, Cartel keeps shows lively to make fans feel the same way its members felt when they went to concerts.
“We’ve always drawn from our roots of going to shows together and stuff like that,” Pugh said during a phone call from Atlanta, where the band was recording new music. “Those are the bands that showed us the ropes kind of indirectly as far as what we wanted to accomplish in the band, both musically and career-wise.”
Cartel has released three albums and is in the final stages of completing the EP Lessons In Love, which the band recorded, produced and is publicizing on its own. Cartel debuted in 2005 with Chroma and released the self-titled Cartel in 2007 and Cycles in 2009.
The title track for Lessons in Love was released on iTunes last month with the rest of the EP due out in late September.
Fans at Music Fest will hear not only the new “Lessons in Love” when Cartel takes the stage, but songs from each album.
“My personal favorites have to be, on a short list, a song called ‘I Will Hide Myself Away’ from the second record, probably ‘Burn This City’ off Chroma, and ‘Deep South’ and ‘Faster Ride’ off Cycles,” Pugh said.
Music Fest 2011, which is free and open to the public, also will include performances by singer-songwriter Abigail Stauffer, country singer Glen Templeton, the ’70s funk band the Ohio Players and jazz artist Alexander Zonjic.
The event will begin at 2:45 p.m. with Stauffer. Cartel is slated to appear at 9:30 p.m., and the event will conclude with a fireworks display at 10:45 p.m.
For more information visit utoledo.edu/musicfest.