Well, there was one time in Chicago, back during the band’s first run, before frontman Stewart Bronaugh put the project on hold and started playing bass for indie songwriter Angel Olsen, he said. But only a few people showed up, and he can’t even remember the venue’s name, so that doesn’t count, he said.
So when Lionlimb plays a 4 p.m. headlining set Saturday at the Bishop, Bronaugh said he’ll consider it the band’s first. Tickets to the all-ages show are $5 and available at thebishopbar.com.
In September, the group released its debut 7-inch single through Bayonet Records. Having only a handful of songs available to the public can make performing a challenge, Bronaugh said.
“You definitely have to try to win people over when they’re not familiar with you in a live situation,” he said.
But Bronaugh and drummer Joshua Jaeger have toured heavily with Olsen, and Bronaugh said they’re now more prepared for a live setting than they were before they put Lionlimb on hiatus.
“I think probably one of the biggest things is just being comfortable on stage,” he said. “With her music especially, it’s knowing how to hold back, let her do her thing and not take guitar solos and drum solos all the time.”
The two songs on the 7-inch come from some of the same sessions as their upcoming record, “Shoo,” which Bronaugh said will come out in March. The band recorded the songs on a half-inch tape machine he bought off Craigslist, giving the singles a warm, lo-fi sound he said continues on the album.
As music blog Stereogum noted when it premiered “Turnstile” in August, Lionlimb’s guitar-piano-saxophone combination makes 1970s rock an apparent reference point.
Though Bronaugh said that era of music has influenced him, he also draws from other sources: the skate punk bands he grew up on, such as Rancid and the Suicide Machines, and the jazz greats he was listening to while working on “Shoo,” such as Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman.
“Any music I’ve ever been into, it’s about hitting pleasure centers, whether it’s punk or ‘70s rock or jazz or classical music,” he said. “That’s my goal: a sensory thing that hits pleasure centers but in not a specific genre.”
After two years of nearly ceaseless touring, he settled in Nashville, Tennessee, and focused on writing, Bronaugh said. In the past month, he has recorded parts of 16 songs, he said, many of them instrumental.
But the material that appears on the 7-inch and “Shoo,” he said, reflects his time on the road.
“When I was writing the songs, I’d been touring two years nonstop,” he said. “I didn’t have an apartment or anything. I’d spend time between tours in Nashville. Traveling so much, it inspired the writing — trying to live a normal life but traveling a lot.”
But even after just a few months of being settled down, he said, he’s itching to go back on the road. For him, it doesn’t matter how big the crowds are or where Lionlimb slots on the bill.
“I want to be busy next year,” he said. “We’re going to try to play a bunch. I miss touring a lot. ... The tour we did in August — it still excites me to drive to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and play a show for seven people.”