Most cover bands around the country play a gig. There are only a handful that put on a show. It's the entertainment business after all, and every musician and cover band artist is, by sheer nature of the job, an entertainer.
It takes a lot of work to conceive, create and implement an entertaining show. But even beyond work, it takes a strong passion and desire to produce an original performance - one that caters to the younger crowd - and utilizes the available modern technology to aid in pulling it all together. A great example of a cover band leading the charge is Garden State Radio.
Calling their show "An Audio/Visual Experience That's Out of This World," GSR delivers a performance fit for the times - incorporating a stunning laser and light show, glow effects, costume changes, and a state-of-the-art video screen that perfectly syncs with music that people want to hear today.
Check out the promo clip below from 2013 that showcases edited video and live performance.
The New Jersey cover band doesn't have their act together by accident. Garden State Radio is fronted by American Idol vet Kelly Caruso - whose confidence and swagger on stage, along with the ability to transform her voice into believably mimicking many of today's top artists, makes for an engaging lead vocalist.
There is an obvious joy and sparkle in her eyes when Caruso chants through Icona Pop's "I Don't Care" or perfectly duplicates Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball." Her infectious spirit and tireless enthusiasm is a rare find in the world of cover bands, and it causes club goers everywhere to join in, and helplessly dance and sing along.
Holding down the bottom end is former Lifespeed bassist and NJ club veteran Bobby August. His incredible range with lead vocals and experience that he brings to the table are a tremendous driving force in the success of the band.
For just a small taste of August's ability, check out his impeccable version of Neon Trees' "Everybody Talks," or Fall Out Boy's "Light Em Up," or any of the other several videos that you can find on You Tube.
Not only can Bobby sing and play bass (and of course we know that bass players rule), but he's an integral part of what has driven the band to greater success since he joined the fold.
Seasoned axe-slinger P.J. Zitarosa is no stranger to the live music scene either. A mainstay for years in one of Jersey's top cover bands New Power Soul, Zitarosa has also toured with singer/songwriter Jon Jones, 80's hard rock band Tyketto, and can also be seen gracing the stage with the popular Van Halen tribute band Unchained.
In addition to his extreme guitar playing prowess, P.J. provides the rap/hip-hop element to the Garden State Radio performance - rounding out a seriously strong front three.
No band at this level of performance can function without a solid foundation, and drummer Ryan Kelly binds it all together with perfect precision. It is not an easy task to work with tracks in a live setting where the timing is essential, but Kelly holds it down and keeps the show moving, keeps people dancing, and is an integral part in making the music shine.
The road to success doesn't come without its bumps, and just recently in January of 2014, GSR suffered a minor setback with an unfortunately timed water main break at Bar A in Lake Como, NJ, where the band currently plays every Tuesday night.
The leak caused the stage to be flooded, and thousands of dollars of equipment damage for the band.
But of course the bright spots always trump the difficult ones, and the band has since bounced back even stronger than before. Just this past weekend, Garden State Radio was honored to participate in THON - an annual even held at Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania by the Penn State IFC in an effort to raise money for pediatric cancer. GSR was fortunate enough to play a set in front of 16,000 people, and the contributions by all over the course of the three day dance marathon helped to raise a record 13.3 million dollars for this incredibly worthy cause.
If you're a musician and want to learn how to put together a cover band show, check out this band. If you are just a fan of music and going to clubs with your friends, check out this band. Garden State Radio is leading the way into the new age of what a cover band is capable of, by putting in a lot of hard work and care into creating a show that's not just a bunch of musicians playing songs, but rather, an entire visual and audio experience that is the epitome of entertainment.
For info on Garden State Radio's schedule and more, check out their website at gardenstateradioband.com