by Paul Landkamer
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Taking off from an earlier article at Suite101.com on starting a coffeehouse, you're going to hear about our first experience, and a fun band.
I asked Connie Whitlock of KC Christian Music for pointers and recommendations on our up-coming coffeehouse, and among a couple other bands, she recommended Dear Thaddeus. Dear Thaddeus responded to the plea. I read about the band and was intrigued at their description and the story of how the band got its name. Yeah, I instantly found stuff in common with this band.
I think it was Beth's dad, Doug, who answered my first few e-mailings. Doug told me about Steve, his son and Dear Thaddeus' drummer, being in Iraq --another thing in common, with my twenty-years of military service. I found the band's MySpace website and got myself a membership so I could talk to 'em there. By the time they got to our coffeehouse, I'd talked with Beth's dad, Beth (guitar/keyboard/BG vocals), Ashley's dad, Terry (manager and sound tech), and Josh (bass and other guitars). It was fun to actually meet them.
In the days leading up to opening night, we had local brainstorming meetings, e-mailing and phoning and some uncertainty over who was going to play. When Dear Thaddeus finally confirmed, we advertised by word of mouth and e-mail and church bulletin. (Tip: That's Not Enough!)
The concessions people had drinks and snacks under control. Technical people said they'd be there to help. The band was looking forward to playing. I had coffee, cups, coffeemakers and other stuff rounded up and all seemed ready to go. Still, I was nervous. I wanted the day to be there, the event to be underway and over with all at the same time. I just wanted to know things would work out.
My daughter and I got to The Warehouse at around 5:45. We got the room set up and coffee and water-heating started. Technical folks, Dear Thaddeus and the concessions crew arrived. Everything fell together smoothly. As I listened to the band warm up, I was put even more at ease. I thought, "Hey, this is gonna be good!" It was.
Other people arrived and the band began to play at 8:45. I should have introduced Dear Thaddeus, but was glad that they took the initiative and ran with it. I'm not really a public speaker. There were close to 50 people at The Warehouse that night --lots less that I'd hoped for. I wasn't aggressive enough in advertising, and the Wednesday youth service at which we were to make a big announcement, was cancelled for snow. If you readers ever attempt something like this and think, "We could advertise here," --DO IT! And insure it's "WE," doing the wrok. Don't try to do it alone. Anyway, there was good fellowship, good drink and food and a great band.
Now for the real reason for this article:
Described as "alternative, blues, acoustic," with sometimes a punk sound, and with female vocals, Dear Thaddeus had me thinking they'd have, at very worst, an interesting sound. I was impressed, and everyone else who expressed an opinion, said, "We gotta have these guys back!"
Try to picture Superchick, but with less pop and more solid rock added. I'd call Dear Thaddeus a female-fronted alternative band with lots of retro influence. They also demonstrate diversity to take their sound in many directions. I, of course, with my late '60s to mid-'70s rock taste, loved their blues-rock version of "Amazing Grace" and their heavy "Oh Holy Night". They also did a beautiful piano-backed duet medley of "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." They played their favorite song, "Excuse Me", twice. They called it "punked-up." I thought it was just good hard rock. Part way through their performance, Terry (Ashley's dad) asked me, "Well, what do you think?" I actually told him there was a negative point. He looked slightly worried until I said, "They don't have a CD I can take home." Dear Thaddeus put out powerful, rockin' music, but one can get that kind of music from many bands' CDs.
What you can't get from a CD is Ashley's active and confident stage presence. She was all over the place. Beth's smiles were infectious. Steve and Josh came across as more serious, but during breaks they were friendly and talkative. I liked seeing the band members all communicating with smiles, nods, etc. A CD also wouldn't give the warm family feeling so evident with being with them. Ashley's dad, mom and brother were there. Beth and Steve's dad was there and he even played drums a bit while they warmed up. It sounded like he could fill in easily if they needed a drummer. If you've read other articles of mine you know I really like to see family involvement in music. It was also fun to see the band members switching instruments --and playing all of them well. Dear Thaddeus is a real treat to experience. I'm glad to have them among my friends and Christian family.
If you've got a youth venue where you want some good clean live music, definitely get in touch with Dear Thaddeus. You'll be glad you did. I know we're going to try to get 'em back.
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