Josie presents :
Hometown, Lehigh Valley
Larry Warner- guitar and lead vocalist
Joe Cenchitz - Bass and vocals
Shane Stoneback – Lead guitar and vocals
Dave Parfitt – Drums and vocals
Photo credit - John Millington
There are plenty of cover bands in the area and to be one of the most popular ones is quite an accomplishment. Without a doubt, Social Call is one of those bands. Here’s my take on the situation.
First of all, let me admit, that I went to the Social Call show literally looking for something negative to report. Why? Because they are so well-liked in the area, and so well discussed that people HAD to be missing something. No cover band is THAT good, I figured. So, I went to the show looking for the needle in the haystack. Guess what, no needle. I couldn’t find a viable reason to dislike them-and as much as I hate agreeing with the masses, this time, I have no choice.
That disclaimer aside, I went to the show and considered the things I always do when reviewing a cover band. I listen for musical talent, vocal similarity to the original, audience engagement, and overall performance value. Social Call had stellar marks for all categories, and I had a great time. The four man band is comprised guitar-playing-crowd-pleasing-front man-vocalist and local celebrity, Larry Warner (who is shockingly good at all of those adjectives), gig-booking-bass-thumping sometime-vocalist that sports the biker-look without the tough guy attitude, Joe Cenchitz, long-haired, introspective, wind-machine-loving lead guitarist, Shane Stonebeck and fun-loving, rhythmically-gifted, always-smiling drummer Dave Parfitt’ The band has great chemistry and the fans eat it up. It doesn’t hurt that they are easy on the eyes either!
Social Call does music I like to call danceable rock and roll. Their set includes songs by The Toadies as well as AC/DC-which works itself into a great combination actually. Their sound is meant to be identical to the originals and is close enough that you don’t think they are doing someone else’s song. Everyone in the band sings on occasion, even if just backups, and it’s nice to have that type of variety available. Larry and Joe are the big crowd-pleasers as they do most of the interacting while Shane and Dave focus on their musical contributions. But don’t get me wrong, all four men have their own crowd of fans. When you put all those fans together, you get sold out venues and bookings a year out!
Social Call wasn’t the first venture of these seasoned musicians, so don’t think they are new to the stage, or to marketing, or to crowd-pleasing stunts. Prime example is the nightly “social” where the audience participates by responding “Social” to the bands “1,2,3”chant and everyone takes a swig of their drink in unison-toasting to each other, to the band, to the night. It’s a nice way to make sure everyone feels like part of the show.
They regularly stand for pictures with fans after the shows and you can find any of the members out supporting other local music when they aren’t working themselves. The key to their success is simple, they are a bunch of great guys who mastered the art of music. Carry on Social Call, I raise my glass to you! (one..two…three...SOCIAL)
Roi and the Secret People – Truck Stop Sushi
Mike Roi - Vocalist
Craig Martyn- Drummer
Jason Hedrington on Moog/Keys
Glen Radomski -Bassist
Ed Golden on Guitar.
This review is late for the album release which happened in June 2017 - but timely for the LVMA’s. The LVMA’s are the Lehigh Valley Music Awards and Mike Roi as well as Roi and the Secret People have been nominated in multiple categories including album of the year. I recently received this from the artist for radio play on Steel Waves Radio (www.steelwavesradio.com) and was so impressed that I wanted to share my review with all of you!
I didn’t have the album in its entirety but what I did have was enough material to form a solid opinion. Roi and the Secret People have found their unique niche of music! The musical complexities coupled with storytelling lyrics results in an aurally pleasing and mentally satisfying collection of songs that are true artwork. As I listened; each piece of work was masterfully done in its own exclusive form- what I mean by that is that RSP has their own “sound” but each song stands alone in design and composition. This is not a band where you would complain that their music “all sounds the same” – for their music not only doesn’t sound the same as each other, but also, not the same as anyone else’s. I certainly heard influences in each of them and will share that opinion with you, but the final result is all the brainchild of RSP (Roi and the Secret People)
Highlights as follows: 1st of all - THEY HAVE A BLUE VINYL RELEASE!!
With a live bonus track that you need to hear called “Maria” my impression of the song is that it consists of storyteller-type lyrics with a nice beat that is almost like a salsa sound, there is a really interesting combination of instruments used. If Harry Chapin Carpenter fell down the psychedelic rabbit hole in Cuba, he’d emerge with a song like this!
From the album “Truck Stop Sushi” itself (lets pause to reflect on the name a moment…. ….ok, pause complete and smirks abound-I have GOT to ask them where the name came from because my imagination just won’t stop..)
“Saturn Girl” reminds me of a Bowie tune for some reason, and I love the drum tracks in it –it has a vintage sound to it….my thoughts are that it’s probably too progressive for your average listener but fans of RSP are sure to be calling it a cult favorite in no time!
“Hungry” is another one of those songs I can see being on the tip of everyone’s tongue. When considering sounds and how to describe it to a reader I came up with this…– Saving Abel guitar start, with The Doors feel to it. The track sports great vocals and an anticipation-forming intro that leads up to musical explosion. The song really has perfect composition and music students everywhere should be listening to it in Music 101 class. Roi’s complex lyrics make you want to listen to each one (but there is too many words to sing along…lol) The song must be close to the heart-lots of passion heard in Roi’s voice, and the chorus gives me goose bumps. I could easily envision this song lasting 10 minutes in a live gig as a jam….
Ship Song –Is another one that brought the late-great David Bowie to mind … Or Billy Joels’ “Captain Jack”- love the lead guitar riffs in this.
If I had to classify it in a genre I’d make up a new one and call it alternative psychodelia (yes, I made up the word-poetic license and all…). Its entertaining, pleasing, interesting and has a solid rhythm. You’ll enjoy it!
It’s a great piece of work and may I be so bold to suggest that Roi and The Secret People will no longer be anywhere near a secret…the word is out, the album is a hit, and the future is now RSP….run with it baby! We’ll cheer ya along from the sidelines and tell our friends how we “knew you when….”
A song released previously has become my most recent "ear worm" (I'm sure you're familiar with the phenomena - when you can't get a song out of your head) The RSP hit is “Drive”- upon first listen I loved it. The song has audience appeal because its dance-able and the hook is fabulous. Although vocals have a Petty-esque sound (which I often hear Mike Roi compared to) I think the music is more complex than that – Echo and the Bunnymen perhaps…. The combination is killer and this song is now in my personal library. Go ahead and give it a listen from their Reverb Nation page
- then check out their website and show them your support by buying something! -