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Playing tough, swaggering '70s-styled rock & roll influenced by the Faces and the Rolling Stones, Vancouver's Lions in the Street are a band who've learned the hard way the value of doing things your own way. Lions in the Street formed in 2000 as the Years, with Chris Kinnon on lead vocals and guitar, Sean Casey on guitar, Enzo Figliuzzi on bass and vocals, and Jeff Kinnon (Chris' brother) on drums, keyboards, and vocals. As the Years gained a local following, their sound became stronger, louder, and more in tune with the sounds of rock & roll's more dangerous past. In 2004, the Years were spotted by a major-label A&R man who signed the band to a record deal and hooked them up with a manager based out of New York City. However, what seemed like a dream come true became something of nightmare -- while the group was courted by several big-name producers, they didn't seem to be the right fit for the music, and the label decided not to release the album the Years had been recording on their dime. After hiring a lawyer to get them out of their contract, the Years returned to Vancouver in early 2006 poorer but wiser and holed up in their basement practice space, where they worked up a batch of new songs and began committing them to tape using a battered eight-track recording deck. The band decided to mark the new era by changing their name to Lions in the Street, and their basement sessions resulted in a five-song EP, Cat Got Your Tongue, which the band opted to give away as a free download on their web site. The gambit created a powerful buzz for Lions in the Street, who responded by hitting the road hard in both Canada and the United States, earning a potent fan following and winning rave reviews for their showcase set at the 2007 South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, TX. ~ Mark Deming