If you have ever channel surfed at 2 a.m. chances are you have been sucked into watching a Time-Life info-merical pushing a multi- CD collection of soft rock hits from the 1970s and '80s. Those same soft rock hits from Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggins, Hall & Oates and many others are also known by another name: Yacht Rock. Yacht Rock is not only a classification of those smooth sounds, but it is also an embracement of the attitude associated with those who constantly listened to the mellow hit makers, often mustached men wearing leisure suits. If you are feeling nostalgic for that time and those hits, you don’t need to get your remote and credit card ready, you just have to head to the 10 High every Thursday night. The members of Atlanta’s talented original band Y.O.U. are blowing the dust off these hits and providing a great party at the same time. One year after this experiment started, the Yacht Rock Revue shows no signs of docking.
“Yacht Rock started as Mark [Cobb]’s baby and everyone else threw in their ideas,” says Nick Niespodziani, lead singer of the Yacht Rock Revue and Y.O.U. “Mark was into more '70s rock than Peter [Olsen] and I. We weren’t as familiar, but now we love it as much as everyone else.”
“I had seen the Yacht Rock sketches on the internet on Channel 101,” explains drummer Mark Cobb. “The ideas were great and I think they were executed okay. I never found myself laughing out loud, but the fact that they tried to tie the Eagles with Steely Dan and make these rivalries with smooth rock bands was great, and making it pretty nostalgic at that time.”
Y.O.U. is the basis for the makeup of Yacht Rock with core members Nick Niespodziani, Mark Cobb, and Peter Olsen bringing their tight sound from their original music and adapting it not only to these soft rock favorites, but bringing their creative stage ideas as well as additional band members.
“We have a show approach of eight guys doing every little part,” describes Niespodziani. “There’s the horn of smooth [a conk shell], sax, prizes, video screens, etc. The whole approach is more fun artistically.”
“The idea was lets build this around costumes that look like what musicians would wear in these bands or what you’d wear onto a yacht and try to create that atmosphere,” says Cobb. “We’ve managed to transform the 10 High, which is usually a metal club, into something completely different.”
Who would have ever thought that music popular thirty years ago and dated with keyboards and shuffle beats would find new popularity mostly among Atlanta’s twenty and thirtysomethings?
“Our first performance of Yacht Rock was more crowded than any other ideas we’d had before, and our second show was even more packed,” says Cobb “We’ve been doing this every Thursday since the end of August and haven’t missed one.”
“I think we’ve created a monster and now we’re in the process of trying to control it,” says Niespodziani.
“We haven’t done that much promotion. I think we just filled a void for people,” explains Cobb. “We have tight harmonies and provide entertainment. It’s campy and there’s a theatrical value that brings more people then if we were robotic. Everyone’s dancing and having a good time. People are doing the side step shuffle, wearing costumes, and acting like they normally wouldn’t.”
Although Michael McDonald and Ambrosia may never be considered as hip as The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, there is a reason why we all know the lyrics. Even after all these years they are still incredibly catchy.
“Its fun to make fun of these songs, but at the same time its legitimately catchy good music,” says Cobb. “I find that the music holds its weight as far as some of the best catchy songwriting. Now it happens its also some of the most sappy lyrics, like ubersensitive men begging women to sleep with them. There is nothing rock about it, but by the time we as a band get to the second set and have a few drinks we start jamming the way a hard rock band would.”
Whether you are a “Rich Girl” or an “Easy Driver,” grab your shades, order a Tom Collins and join the fun at the Yacht Rock Revue. Even though the party is jumping, the grooves are still all so smooth.
In case you have been growing- or supporting the growth of- a moustache this month to raise awareness and money for the fight against prostate cancer, there is no better place to showcase your stache than at Metromix’s Movember Stache Bash with Yacht Rock. Come out Thursday, November 20 to 10 High and catch the Yacht Rock Review, raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Society, and help us crown the Metromix Man of Movember. The lucky Mo Bro will win a trip to the Movember Gala in Chicago. So come out and rock your stache…smoothly, of course.