May 28, 2010 – I walked into Skully’s on High at about ten thirty on Friday night and decided to review the first band I saw to grace the stage. It was West Unity’s Click To Play which includes former members of Columbus’ Uni-soul. There were about fifty to sixty people at the bar. I heard the night was suffering from a few scheduling conflicts which meant Click To Play didn’t actually get on stage until a little after eleven.

Click to Play

Click to Play

I sat at the bar in the room with the stage and my first glimpse of the band was of the lead singer and rhythm guitarist Kelley. She was joined by her keyboardist, B-Sharp. The first song was slow and haunting, but pleasant enough along with twinges of country and gospel. Kelley’s vocals were precise, bold, and impressing to me within this first selection.  She sang lines like “I promise I won’t forget, all we’ve done has been washed away” and “Of the sixty or so in attendance there were  really only half in the room watching at the beginning.”

Their second song, which was Tom Petty’s “Last Dance with Mary Jane,” is when I realized I was in the throws of a, and I gasp, cover band. I will admit that I was slightly disappointed and it really takes all the fun out of being a music reviewer when reviewing cover songs. Lets face it; all the chances of being in the presence of the next Led Zeppelin goes out the window at this point, so exuding a sigh I pushed onward. Kelley’s vocals left a little  to be desired at this point. I was expecting her to sing Like ol’ TP but I didn’t expect her to sing so choppy and without any heart, seemingly opposing the first song. The other musicians played well enough but how do you mess up a Tom Petty song? This is cover band 101 folks.

Click to Play

Click to Play

The third song wasn’t a selection I was familiar with and maybe it was an original but it was a  little too country and folk for my taste. In my opinion, the piano should have been much louder. Their fourth was everybody’s favorite “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals. In my opinion it was the highlight of their set and people seemed to fill in a little bit more to watch the band at this point.

On a side note, I’m not proud to live in Columbus because of their diverse cover band scene, when it’s the original music scene which I love. I always have felt that cover bands want to play their own music but don’t quite have the balls to lay their own heart and words on the line. I  understand that it’s better for the pocket book, but its hard for me to respect them.

Yet even as cover bands go, these guys need to start getting their stuff together before they can really start pulling in the big bucks. A good example would be the likes of local cover band favorites Swagg. This was very apparent in their next song, “Dust in the Wind” originally by Kansas. It started strong enough, but somewhere in the middle of their version, it became an 80’s hair metal version with a Survivors “Eye of the Tiger” vibe. At this point they lost the crowd. All in all they ended with a nice eerie jam which may be the second highlight to their very short set. If you do want to see a mediocre cover band perform live, come out and give it a shot. Honestly I would rather go watch and sing karaoke.

-Oddfellow