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Jammin’ with My Sister Sarah By RJ

A Newport club manager told me “Your paper is nothing but cover bands... You even have one on the cover...” He wanted nothing to do with me after that meeting. The guy rallied a disgust for local cover bands. So much so, he feels his original band schedule need not be included among our band listings. As if our reader’s taste in entertainment is beneath his standards. I explained to him CV always covers original bands, when they’re good. We focus on the bands that are popular period.
I cover bands that put asses on the dance floor. Bands that draw crowds that cause serious concern for the club’s capacity rating, pushing the limits on sales versus fines ratios. Crowds that form long lines outside and even longer lines in front of the bar. Bands that have the crowd-power, I write about. Original or not. There are exceptions. But few.
Sure there are dozens of great original bands playing any given Saturday in Cincy. But if the band + staff outnumber the crowd... how good could it be? And even if it is good, it can’t be much fun. Therefore you’ll more likely find me pushin & shovin my way to the front of a crowded club carefully clutching a $1000 camera under my arm, stage front for another cover band. I experience the show from the front line. To tap into the full vibe, it’s the only way to go. Plus, I need the photos.
In my experience, the bands with the biggest draw are the ones who focus on the showmanship. Not screaming solos, or slick song writing, rather crazy costumed antics and 22 minute 80’s medleys. Face it, bands are booked to entertain the 40 work week folks. Those folks want to cut loose, stack up some drinks, dance with their date (or meet a new one) and they want to hear songs they know. They worked all week and they just wanna have fun and hear the good tunes of their youth. The recipe to success for local bands is to A: Play DANCE music. B: Be humorous and entertaining throughout the show. C: Play songs everybody knows and can sing to. D: Keep the dance floor crowded. Simple, yes. Easy to come by, no.

Only about 5% of all the bands in Cincy can pull it off consistently. My Sister Sarah is in that 5%. I guess The Southgate House would hate them. I bet they would be disgusted by the non-stop barrage of 90’s pop hits like Billie Idol, Bobbie Brown & the Beastie Boys. They might hurl like a frat boy at the first note of a Snoop Dog tune, Dr. Dre or Vanilla Ice. The crowded dance floor would throw the bartenders for a loop. “Oh my God! They’re actually playing the Humpty Dance! What the F@ck? What do we do now?
The live disco set would have the manager furiously flipping the stage breaker. If not, the 80’s rock medley with the Ramones, Anthrax & Public Enemy. Busting out with (a stellar version of) “Don’t Stop Believing” would seal the deal. MSS would be tossed out the back like the trash. Gear, instruments & cases in a heap.
After all, what self respecting club owner wants to put up with dealing with capacity crowds, extra long bar lines and all that cover pop crap music? Not to mention a dance floor so crowded you can’t even film a CD release video!
Who wants to shell out a grand or two for another costumed cover band that gets off wailing on Rick Springfield, Tone Loc and Kriss Kross? “Damnit! Look at them now... Climbing up over the crowd screaming “Jump around jump around jump up jump up and get down. Jump Jump Jump!...” F@ckin’ idiots!
Should we dismiss the cover bands out of our paper altogether. Buy a fist full of tickets for a “exciting six original bands in a row extravaganza show” and stand off to the side, pay attention, nod to the beat, tap our toes and listen. Keep our distance from the awkwardly empty stage front. Enjoy the fine unknown music here before us and learn to like it. Because it’s original and original music is the only good music period. With enough practice, we too can be hip.

J-Hall, Pirates Den, Rick’s Tavern, Win Place or Show, Knotty Pine and other big band bars are still doing just fine. Much of that is due to their band booking, advertising and promotional skills. They book the bands the people want. Period. Like a Mac, it just works. It’s only (cover) rock & roll but we like it.
So, you wanna party? You lookin’ for a hot party? Jump on the Cover Band Wagon! My Sister Sarah is a sure bet. MSS members Corey Ziehm (Lead Vocals), Curtis Sanford (Drums/Vocals), Chip Stewart (Bass Guitar/Vocals) and Sunil Mungur (Lead Guitar/Vocals) have played the Fox19 Morning Show, WKRQ-Q102’s “Party at Sawyer Point”, The 2009 Cincinnati Brew Ha Ha, The Taste of Cincinnati, Put-in-Bay at the legendary “Roundhouse”, and many more. They put on a crowd cheering show that’s cool, comical and damn entertaining. This is what crowd-power is all about.
See for yourself at Putters - West Chester Township (Sat, Dec 3), Turfway Park (Fri, Dec 16), JAGS - West Chester, Ohio (Fri, Dec 30), Hyatt Regency Columbus - Columbus, Ohio (Sat, Dec 31), Longworth’s (Fri, Jan 6), Putter’s - Maineville, Ohio (Sat, Jan 7), Turfway Park (Fri, Jan 13), The Pirates Den (Sat, Jan 14) and The Venue (Fri, Jan 20).
See & hear more about the band at www.mysistersarahrocks.com or on our site.

 

 

 

 

 

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