Armchair Boogie is taking Wisconsin by storm. Over the past year, they have played 13 different events all over the state, from Appleton to Madison to La Crosse to here in their hometown of Stevens Point.
The band was established in the winter of 2014 and has grown from a duo to a four-man-team, consisting of Augie Dougherty, Ben Majeska, Eli Frieders and Dan Waterman.
A self-proclaimed bluegrass-jamgrass-funkgrass band, Armchair Boogie’s music is a mixture of banjo, harmonica, bass, drums and vocals that bring their music to life and provides their classic sound.
According to their Facebook page, “Armchair Boogie takes the essence of traditional bluegrass-folk music and molds it to their own youthful, energetic and improvisational style.”
The band plays mostly original songs, though they have also been known to incorporate covers into their set lists. The band takes the freedom to cover not only traditional bluegrass songs but music from all genres and interpreting them into their own bluegrass style.
It all started for Armchair Boogie when Ben Majeska and Augie Dougherty would get together and play bluegrass on Dougherty’s front porch. From there, the duo made the move to begin playing shows at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus and around town.
Over the past two years, the band has grown, both in number and in fan base.
At first glance, one of the most unusual aspects of Armchair Boogie is its name.
Ben Majeska is the guitarist and vocalist for Armchair Boogie and arts management and public relations major at UWSP.
“The idea for the band name came from our friend Jake Ponkratz, a genius of sorts in the ideas department,” Majeska said. “Story goes that he woke up in a great mood one beautiful morning, looked across his bedroom and saw an American flag draped over his armchair. He thought to himself, ‘This is an Armchair Boogie kind of day.” It’s grown on us quite a bit. Now it’s not just a band name, it’s the band.”
2016 has been a groundbreaking year for Armchair Boogie, having played shows consistently throughout the year, including some unexpected venues and festivals.
In the upcoming year, the band hopes to expand its scope out of Wisconsin.
“2017 is going to be the year of Midwestern expansion for the boogie boys,” Majeska said. “We’re stoked to get out of the state for the first time. I guess my hopes are really just continuing growing the band and the amount of people we get to connect with.”
Armchair Boogie is also looking forward to releasing a full-length album in 2017.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth in a very short amount of time and we owe our gratitude to our friends, family, fans and all those in the scene who continue to help us,” Majeska said.
Catch Armchair Boogie on Friday, Dec. 9 at Fire on Water in Milwaukee from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.
The band will also be playing at the Minocqua Brewing Company on Friday, Dec. 23 and at Cranky Pat’s in Neenah on Friday, Dec. 30.
“We really love what we do and give every show our all, and having receptive audiences that give us just as much energy back can be breathtaking,” Majeska said. “Music really has the power to bring out the positivity in the room. Plus, I love just jamming with the band-mates whether it’s on or off stage. I’m always itching to play.”
Find Armchair Boogie’s music online at armchairboogie.bandcamp.com/releases.