Nio

Reggae and funk meet progressive rock in this skillful mash-up more than 20 years in the making. In band member Rio Mariucci’s words: “We like to make the crowd comfortable with reggae music and then halfway through turn it up to 11 with intense almost prog-rock instrumentals. Like your back is turned and then bam … roundhouse to the face.” Nio’s name, like its style, is a mashup—a combination of Rio and sibling Nik Mariucci’s names. Rio drums, plays piano and sings; Nik plays guitar and sings. They are the founders of the band, though bassist and guitar player Josh Schuchard joined very soon after its inception. Their songs start out groovy and mellow, then morph into something more intense and soulful—with complex guitar solos and hard-hitting drum fills. “We’re like a hot pepper that isn’t wrenching on the palette,” says Rio. “We are sort of sweet and juicy at first … but just wait, and we’ll give a flavor and burn that might make your ears hurt, but … you’ll end up wanting more after it’s over.”

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