Concert Review: Blue Oyster Culture Club / Dolewite / Radkey at the American Legion in St. Joseph, MO 11/21/12

Cover bands play music for people who don’t like music. There is a large group of who don’t care what is going on in the music world and pay no attention to what the next great band might be. These people did care about music once in most cases but other things in life have replaced the part of them that once was concerned with concerts and records.

They don’t want to see a band do something new and creative. They have reached their musical capacity and don’t want to hear a song they have never heard before. This is where Blue Oyster Culture Club (B.O.C.C.) and Dolewite come in. B.O.C.C. plays a smooth blend of 1980s cover songs while Dolewite plays rap and hip-hop covers from the early 1990s.

Editorial Note: This review is exclusive to VocalsOnTop.com, I also wrote a less opinionated and more observational review for tuningfork.tv. You can read that article here.

The “Night Before Thanksgiving Throwdown” features these two bands annually and is quite a big deal in St. Joseph. The show, now in its 4th year, has to be held at the American Legion because the size of the crowds can’t be contained by any of the other “traditional” venue in town. This show brings out people who haven’t been to any concerts all year because music is simply not a priority for them. They will pack in the smokey American Legion along with about 1000 other people and sing aloud to the songs that were popular back when they cared about music.

Blue Oyster Cluture Club / Dolewite / Radkey Thanksgiving Eve 2012 poster.

Blue Oyster Cluture Club / Dolewite / Radkey Thanksgiving Eve 2012 poster.

At the less than ripe time of 7:30 the first band would take the stage. This year a third band would be added to fill out the bill and in vast contrast to the two cover bands that would take the stage later in the night, Radkey, a band that writes their own songs, would play. Radkey makes sense at this show though. They aren’t a cover band and don’t play 80’s music (like B.O.C.C.) or rap (like Dolewite) and they play punk rock. The reason they fit is that they may the best band in town. This night showcased the biggest bands in St. Joseph so it makes perfect sense to add the one of the most talented group of musicians in town writing their own material to the bill.

Radkey hammered out 8 of their best tunes to a fairly decent crowd response. Decked out in their typical shtick of jean jackets and flannel they blasted through a half hour set of all original songs. They would tempt the early crowd to come closer by assuring them “It will sound better if you come closer to the stage.” The three brothers would force themselves to perform an intense set highlighted by many of their standard tunes. “Out Here In My Head” is always a personal favorite for me as is the big chorus of “Mind Ride.” They would take on “Cat & Mouse” after a little self-promoting that they have a spiffy music video for the song. Then they would end by playing “N.I.G.G.A. (Not Okay)”, a song that is a statement about how it isn’t okay to spell the word that way. I initially thought the song was a little gimmicky and didn’t like it much but it has now sunk its hooks into me and I can’t resist the big chorus.

Radkey rocking out live at the 2012 Thanksgiving Eve show at the American Legion show in St. Joseph.

Radkey rocking out live at the 2012 Thanksgiving Eve show at the American Legion show in St. Joseph.

Much to my surprise Blue Oyster Culture Club would make their way to the stage next. There was no doubt in my mind they were the main attraction so I was shocked to see them take the stage at 8:25. The early start time would be necessary for the band as their set would clock in at over two full hours without a break.

The sing-alongs would be plentiful at this show. It would be a perfect show for anyone not wanting to hear anything new. The band has a ton of talent so they nail the songs and still maintain the big hooks, keeping everyone into the show. Guitar-heavy cover tunes like “Whip It” and “The Gambler” were highlights for me because of how much they differed from the originals. Some covers were straight forward and not very entertaining unless you wanted to try to shout over the person next to you (which many people did). I’m looking at you “Jukebox Hero” “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Purple Rain.”

Some personal favorites were hearing a Springsteen song (“Dancing In The Dark”) and an absolute tear-a-hole-in-your-head rocking version of the Ramones “I Wanna Be Sedated.” The latter song being a rare moment where B.O.C.C. let the wheels fly off and really jammed. “Boys of Summer” was good and so was the gentle pop of the now dated “Video Killed The Radio Star” but most songs fell in the jukebox category. It was appropriate that the band played “Jukebox Hero” because essentially that is what they were, jukebox heroes. They were simply that cool 1980s playlist we all keep tucked away on our iPods. A crowded bar with these songs ringing from the jukebox with this amount of alcohol flowing would garner a very similar response. It would also not be lost on me the beautiful irony that Blue Oyster Culture Club would not perform any songs by Blue Oyster Cult or Culture Club. I wonder if anyone else noticed that?

Blue Oyster Culture Club busting out some covers at the 2012 Thanksgiving Eve show at the American Legion show in St. Joseph.

Blue Oyster Culture Club busting out some covers at the 2012 Thanksgiving Eve show at the American Legion show in St. Joseph.

Dolewite would get on stage after a long half hour of switching out equipment. Many of the attendees would leave during this time if they came to see B.O.C.C. The crowd that was sparsely spread out for the earlier part of the show would pack up to the front as everyone who was still there was there to see Dolewite.

The about seven member band would switch vocal responsibilities according to what rap songs they were mimicking at the time. Many of the members were wearing big gold chains to fit the part they were playing. Other accessories included sunglasses in the dark venue and backwards baseball caps. The setlist for Dolewite contained no big surprises. “Ghetto Superstar” would start things off and move into rap favorites like “Nothin’ But A “G” Thang” and “O.P.P.” causing massive sing alongs and waving hands in the air.

A female vocalist would help Dolewite attempt songs like “Shoop” and “It Takes Two” as well as performing the very important intro to “Baby Got Back.” By this point thousands upon thousands of dollars in alcohol had flowed through the bloodstreams of the eager audience making them dance crazy and act like they were 18 again so the crowd was quite worked up and crazy. I wanted to see Dolewite to know what the group was like and I’m glad I did. If you don’t like any rap or hip-hop I wouldn’t recommend them though.

Dolewite making the whole room bounce at the 2012 Thanksgiving Eve show at the American Legion show in St. Joseph.

Dolewite making the whole room bounce at the 2012 Thanksgiving Eve show at the American Legion show in St. Joseph.

The night that started with hard-edged originals by youngsters Radkey had come full circle with B.O.C.C. covering the sing-along classics then Dolewite letting the crowd indulge in their secret love of early rap and hip-hop. Exhausted, I looked back at the show and realized that the short half-hour set by the rowdy boys of Radkey was the best part.  It is safe to say Dolewite is not the band for me. B.O.C.C. was an entertaining band to see but I have all those songs on my Now That’s What I Call 80’s cd. Next year I recommend you attend; drink, smoke; sing and dance; I’ll see what is going on elsewhere.

Radkey setlist from Thanksgiving Eve show at the American Legion in St. Joseph, MO:

  • Where Do You Stand
  • Mind Ride
  • Is He Alright?
  • Out Here In My Head
  • Little Man
  • Pretty Things
  • Cat & Mouse
  • N.I.G.G.A. (Not Okay)

Blue Oyster Culture Club setilst from Thanksgiving Eve show at the American Legion in St. Joseph, MO:

  • (Don’t You) Forget About Me
  • Jesse’s Girl
  • Whip It
  • Safety Dance
  • Here Comes The Rain Again
  • Straight Up
  • Let’s Go Crazy
  • Video Killed The Radio Star
  • Boys of Summer
  • Jukebox Hero
  • Holiday Road
  • Pride
  • Dancing In The Dark
  • I Wanna Be Sedated
  • Purple Rain
  • The Darkside
  • When Doves Cry
  • Get Out Of My Dreams
  • Total Eclipse of the Heart
  • The Gambler
  • Take On Me
  • I Would Walk 500 Miles
  • C’mon Eileen
  • Love Is A Battlefield
  • Rebel Yell
  • Don’t Stop Believing
  • Lose Yourself

Dolewite’s partial setilst from Thanksgiving Eve show at the American Legion in St. Joseph, MO:

  • Ghetto Superstar
  • O.P.P.
  • Nothin’ But A “G” Thang
  • Bust A Move
  • Brass Monkey
  • Shoop
  • The Humpty Dance
  • It Takes Two
  • Baby Got Back
  • Paul Revere
  • California Love
  • Jump Around
  • Insane in the Brain
  • Killing Me Softly
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10 Responses to Concert Review: Blue Oyster Culture Club / Dolewite / Radkey at the American Legion in St. Joseph, MO 11/21/12

  1. Keith says:

    Is this a joke? Did you stop to proof read this? You write a horrible review, leaving out key facts like, Dolewite packs people in by the thousands every single weekend in the Kansas City area? Or that they play some of the most hopping clubs in the Ozarks? I agree with everything you say about BOCC and Radkey, both are awesome. But the hatred for the most successful band in St Joseph history is unwarranted if not completely inaccurate.

  2. Thanks for the comments Keith and Ashley. I like feedback good or bad.

    First of all: No, this is not a joke.

    Keith, I did leave out the fact that Dolewite is big in Kansas City and in the Ozarks. I was seeing and reviewing the St. Joe show and have never seen them in KC or down south, so I couldn’t say if that was true or not.

    I have no hatred for Dolewite and I’m very glad for them that they are so popular, I wish them all the success in the world. If Yanni were from St. Joe, I wouldn’t have the greatest review of him either, it just isn’t my kind of music. I didn’t say anything about them being “bad” either, they are very good at what they do. I mention the crowd rushing to the front and being very into the show; this is similar to the way they are in Kansas City and the Ozarks I’m sure.

    My review of Dolewite can best be summed up by my line: “If you don’t like any rap or hip-hop I wouldn’t recommend them though.” I am among this group.

    What inaccuracies are you speaking of? I don’t see any.

    Seriously, thank you for your comments and I would happily entertain changing any facts I have gotten wrong, but not opinions.

  3. John says:

    So, are you saying that a person can only like cover bands or original bands? One or the other? Old music or new music? I go see one cover show and have a good time, and all of a sudden, in your view, I don’t care about music anymore?

    Fuck you, dude. You’re a putz and a shitty writer. Why didn’t you do a little “creative” work and ASK people why they were there, instead of making a stupid, broad and totally inaccurate assumption?

    • John says:

      I mean, instead of beginning the piece with a vague, unsupported conclusion about the kind of people who go to cover band shows, you could have started out the piece with the question “Why do people go see a cover band when they can listen to a CD or a jukebox”? Ask that question to people, then you’ll have something. As a reader I felt repelled by your opening, not drawn in. Then, the rest of the piece leaves me with the idea that I shouldn’t care about these bands… but, then why did you write about them? Why do you tell me about things I shouldn’t care about? Why??? That’s what I mean by “shitty.”

      • VocalsOnTop says:

        John, thank you for the feedback. I wrote this article as an opinion piece. I was writing in generalities and was obviously not referring to you specifically. I think I did hook you with my opening line though, you read the article didn’t you?

        My goal with my writing is to encourage thought and entice opinions, which I have done. Having an opinion that you don’t agree with doesn’t make me a putz or a shitty writer.

  4. Kyla says:

    Cover bands exist to provide listeners with a go-to product they’re familiar with. In the case of BOCC and Dolewite, who pack in crowds in Missouri, an appropriate comparison might be to that of the current number of fast food and chain restaurants versus their original and locally owned counterparts in the same state. Name recognition does much for a band; music consumers in the Show Me State favor bands whose songs they can sing along to and musicians they’ve heard of before, just like they enjoy their McDonald’s and Applebee’s.

    However, and I think this is the author’s point, a music scene can’t grow if its audience’s tastes won’t. Maybe it’s our rushed lives, but it seems our priority isn’t so much to find new music, but to find something that comforts us and reminds us of our good ol’ days, whenever those days were. Radkey blows both BOCC and Dolewite out of the water because they refuse to let their audience be comfortable. This is why, unlike either of those jukebox heroes, Radkey may be on the cover of Rolling Stone or Kerrang! someday.

    And when you think about it next time, remember that music provides the listener with a wholly subjective experience, and an opinion blog is just that.

    • VocalsOnTop says:

      Thank you Kyla, well said. Cover bands serve their audience what they want and some are very good at what they do (like B.O.C.C.) but I feel people who really like music will always look for innovation and something different, not want to hear what they have already heard.

  5. Lil Chris says:

    As a member of BOCC, I was initially offended by this review. The more I thought about it, there is nothing here to offend me. You bring up very valid points about cover bands. We tend to cater to folks that want ro hear something familiar. BOCC was not created to do that, however we have grown into that. The more I read this review, the more I treat it as a testament to us. It is a travesty that cover bands now get more attention than original bands. That being said, it makes sense that a cover band would draw a bigger crowd than an original band. People want to hear tunes that they know. BOCC was actually created as a joke. It grew into what it is now. We all love original music, hell we are all in original bands. I believe the point of music is, do what you love. Listen to what you love, play what you love. BOCC loves the tunes we play. We also love the fact that a large group of people love hearing those tunes! I also love te 20 people that come to my original shows! I don’t believe one is greater than the other. Either way, this is a great, honest review of our show. Thank you sir for both the compliments and criticisms!

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