Members: Billy Mandarino (vocals/guitar), Justin Michael (vocals/guitar), IZE (rapper).

Album: Four-song EP Acoustahop.

Style: A fusion of acoustic guitar and hip-hop.

Influences: Bob Marley, Beatles, Seal, Dave Matthews, Coldplay, Peter Gabriel.

Prior Gigs: Rocks, Wildcat, Velvet Jones, SOhO, Legends, El Presidio Chapel, and the Green Room.

The Skinny: Change uniquely blends acoustic music and rap and exudes a spirit of unity. The band, which coined the term “acoustahop” to describe its unique sound, calls to mind Philadelphia’s the Roots and G-Love. Just two years ago, Mandarino and Michael rearranged their store of original songs with the help of rapper friend Nat “Natronics” Gonzalez. While improving, the group’s sound evolved into the current blend of acoustic grooves and freestyle lyrics. Adding the Pacific Coast’s best unsigned rapper, IZE, Change now rotates drummers and bassists to allow for ultimate diversity. The band has performed more than 80 shows in town, including charity gigs for AIDS, safe sex ,and Hurricane Katrina. Their concentration on the power of the human spirit and need to help the community is apparent in their words as well as their actions. The infectious lyrics of “You Change Me” won $30,000 of free press from and received national airplay. But the breakthrough didn’t end there. The following month, Change’s “The Way” won’s next contest and more airtime. The band is now working on a follow-up EP, but check out their favorites at or

Upcoming Gigs: Friday, September 15, at Rocks.

—Stephanie Cain

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