On Saturday night, my buddy Barrett and I went to the UW-Madison union to see a band called Explorers Club. He liked this band so much, he had their album \”Freedom Wind\” on his Top 10 best albums of 2008 list (which can be heard on the podcast we recorded). They sound a great deal like the Beach Boys – and by \”a great deal,\” I mean \”exactly like.\”
This kind of makes them difficult to judge as a band – I mean, their album is really, really good. But how many demerits do you issue them for sounding exactly like another band? In some respects, every artist steals a certain style from someone else. But this is SO blatant it\’s distracting. On the other hand, they\’re stealing harmonies from one of the greatest bands of all time and making them their own, which is a technical achievement in itself. Look – here\’s the deal – we can go around and around all night on this, or you can just start making me a sandwich. Your pick.
The band is a bunch of young guys from South Carolina, so you can imagine their disappointment at the front row of their show being populated by a bunch of 30-something dudes. I would think they probably don\’t make much money (and what they do make, they have to split seven ways), so the only benefit they get is the occasional starry eyed college girl. While most of the guys in the band take turns singing, there\’s one guy who is clearly the \”lead\” singer. But it was weird, because he tucked himself all the way in the corner, and his microphone was turned way down. It was almost as if he were embarrassed to be the lead singer, which was ridiculous, because he could really, really sing.
So, of course, after the show (and a few beers), I accosted this guy. I told him he needed to get out of the corner, turn up him microphone, and be the damn lead singer of this band. There may have even been some finger wagging involved. I pleaded with him to have more confidence in himself, because he\’s a great singer (he also happens to be kind of a chubby guy, so he may not believe in his ability to be a front man). I am 98% certain he thought I was hitting on him.
At the end of the evening, we ended up destroying some French toast (pardon me… \”freedom\” toast) at Perkins. (Me and Barrett – not me and the guy from the band.) Like Grandma always said, there is no sadder place on earth than Perkins at 2 AM.
Anyway, here\’s a live-ish performance of \”Don\’t Forget the Sun,\” by Explorers Club: