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'STACHE! chicago-based cover band deluxe offers working-man's rock

A band called wha? 'stache! ...?
Okay...usually I don't like to spend my "live music" leisure time going to see/hear rock cover bands, especially when it comes to garnering viable content for this ROCKzology blog of mine...(images in order of appearance: Ryan Schoonover-lead vocals, Jay Pullano-rhythm guitar/vocals, Terry Karaboyus-lead guitar, Pat Aquilino-drums, Kevin Glenn-bass guitar/vocals) I like to experience live music where originality is displayed (a reason for my great love of jazz music in particular-checkout my other blog JAZZzology) with two exceptions...Tributosaurus and Chicago Catz...the band 'stache! has just become my third...all three of these cover bands are Chicago-based, but thats about the only thing they have in common besides a desire to offer up a high quality performance. I consider Tributosaurus a fantastic cover band of classic rock where they strive to create authenticity of sound and music detail applied to their folio of songs by devoting each of their once-a-month shows at the venue Martyrs to re-creating a band from the classic rock era incorporating whatever configuration of musicians is needed to be authentic...Chicago Catz I believe to be the best rhythm and blues cover band without a doubt in the Chicago area, if not the midwest, in fact, probably in the country...their music will just not let you stand still, you have to dance! And now this is where a band like 'stache! comes in...they are not r&b particularly or are trying to re-create with great accuracy a particular rock band from the past...'stache! just does really great, solid, rock versions of cover tunes from various bands ranging from the 70s, 80s, 90s through today...and they do it professionally, with style and a performance that continually engages their audience.

I met with three of the 'stache! band members pre-show (which I typically don't do-usually interviews are done after-show but I was short on time)...lead singer Ryan Schoonover, rhythm guitar/vocals Jay Pullano (only been with the band 5 months) and drummer Pat Aquilino (the other two members are Kevin Glenn bass/vocals and Terry Karaboyas lead guitar)...the band was formed only two years ago (they are so good it seems hard to believe) with an average band-performing experience of seven years for each of the five members...they have a repetoire of about 150 to 200 tunes with about 80 to 85 that they play on a regular basis for their 6 to 8 gigs per month. When I asked them why they weren't expending their talent on doing original stuff, Jay matter-of-factly responded without hesitation, "It's for the money", then pensively adding, "...and the music". Besides, all the band members have day-gigs anyway. Okay...that's cool...did the same thing myself once, for the same reasons. So what's with the name? Their moniker Ryan indicated is really a business-generating gimmick which is humorous, fun and marketable and it refers to the word "mustache" they can advertise having "mustache shows" or "mustache parties", where people have to come wearing a mustache or some such thing as that...whatever works I guess. Most of the band's following is based in the city of Chicago and they are actually the only other cover band that is ever allowed to play the Martyrs venue besides Tributosaurus, since the spot usually devotes itself to promoting up and coming original-music rock bands and arcane pop music shows. As the 'stache! website states, the band offers "songs that soundtrack your life". Here is an example of their typical set list currently:

Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon
Are You Gonna Be My Girl - JET
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Last Nite - The Strokes
I Believe In A Thing Called Love - The Darkness

THE 90's:
Basket Case - Green Day
Self Esteem - The Offspring
Santeria - Sublime
Buddy Holly - Weezer
Cherub Rock - Smashing Pumpkins

Inside Out - Eve 6
Flagpole Sitta - Harvey Danger
My Own Worst Enemy - Lit
Song 2 - Blur
Possum Kingdom - The Toadies

THE 80's:
Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi
Take Me Home Tonight - Eddie Money
Your Love - The Outfield
Jack and Diane - John Mellencamp
867-5309 - Tommy Tutone

Dirty Little Secret - All American Rejects
All The Small Things - Blink 182
The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
Love And Memories - OAR
Semi Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind

Mr Jones - The Counting Crows
Wonderwall - Oasis
All For You - Sister Hazel
Laid - James

Cover bands are great for dancing...and I love to dance! If the guitar riffs are half-way accurate and the vocals are close to the original these type bands can usually pull off a good job of imitation...but this band, 'stache! seemed to go a step beyond that, injecting energy and enthusiasm throughout their performances. At one point during the show lead singer Ryan yells out jokingly, "Don't want to hear any "B" sides today?"...on the first tune they opened with "American Girl" their 4th tune they had a request from the audience for "I don't want to lose your love tonight" to celebrate a couple's 30th wedding anniversary (Jerry and Collette) which the band immediately obliged...about a dozen people on the dance floor by the fifth was great how the band did not break between songs, but drove right into the next one to keep people on the dance their tenth tune the room had about 100 people there to check them out. The great venue they were playing at is a spot that was recently renamed "Fitz's Spare Keys" which is located in downtown Elmhurst, Illinois (home of my old school Alma Mater Elmhurst College) about a half mile north of the train station on York offers a mini-bowling alley and pool tables along with a horseshoe-shaped bar area that is separate from the back room where the stage and an ample supply of couches, tables and high-top table seating is available with a nice over-sized dance floor. The couple sitting next to me watching the band, Mark and Kathleen, seemed to really be getting into the music (particuarly Mark)...when a band can get people moving in their seats thats a pretty good sign that they are above average in their renditions. The first set consisted of about 16 songs (such as "What I Like About You", "Love and Memories", "Slide", "Last Night", "All The Small Things"). They did about another 20 tunes for their second set (for instance "Dancing With Myself", "Dirty Little Secret", "Free Fallin", "The Joker"). The band had a sign-up list on a clip board at the front of the stage encouraging people to get on their distribution list for the band's shows, with Ryan adding "We really don't have time to spam ya!". The band's sound is tight and clean and comes off professional, but also full of fun. Ryan makes for a good emcee and communicates with the crowd from time to time getting them engaged in the show and ensuring everyone is enjoying themselves. This cover band is very good at what it does...and what it does well is to make sure you know that its party time...its not like the cover bands of old...they keep it fresh and the audience wanting to hear more...youthful energy abounds...definitely not your father's 'stache! 'Nuff Sed.


Band Members:
Ryan Schoonover-lead vocals
Jay Pullano-rhythm guitar/vocals
Pat Aquilino-drums
Kevin Glenn-bass guitar
Terry Karaboyus-lead guitar


Next Show:
Saturday October 2nd, 10:00 PM
Uncle Fatty's
2833 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

Here is a video of the cover band 'stache! :

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