Tribute Bands that Pack ‘Em In!
By Sherrie Shepherd
The Rock Shoppe brings to SL the best in Tribute Bands paying homage to the classic bands of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, such as NickelBack, Pink Floyd, Motley Crue, Skid Row, KISS, TOOL, Pat Benatar, Kid Rock, Judas Priest, and current artists like P!nk, Adele, the late Amy Winehouse, and more.
Co-Owner and Manager of the Rock Shoppe, Highscreen Gumbo, along with Alexander Constantine, are committed to delivering authentic performances while streaming the classic hits of over one hundred and fifty iconic bands based on taped live concert performances. They meticulously replicate the physical appearance of the original band members to include clothing, skins and tattoos, the musical instruments they play, and their performance styles on stage.
Highscreen Gumbo himself is a hands-on manager who personally performs with seven of the bands. With a total of 25 performers, Gumbo makes sure that everyone has an opportunity to get up on stage, even if only as a fill-in for an unavailable band member. Some of the band members are actually musicians in RL but Gumbo says, “The love of music has brought everyone together.” He further explains, “we do it for enjoyment and to provide people with a good time.”
Each of the bands has a team lead that is responsible for organizing the bands, recruiting band members, and doing all of the coordination with the band members by way of group conference IMs. All members of Rock Shoppe Inc. pull their weight as team leads for one to several bands, which contributes to the continuous growth of the group. Most of the team leaders are also DJs who stream the music for their performances. Gumbo himself stands ready to assist if any problems occur during a performance.
Reflecting on how Rock Shoppe got its start, Gumbo was guided by, and attributes the credit, to a group of friends with a dream and a love for classic bands. Gumbo’s continuous dedication to the Rock Shoppe brand and team has helped grow Rock Shoppe into what it is today; a hugely successful business and a widely known and popular choice for countless events around SL.
The bands are consistently booked weekly at numerous venues including the Rock Shoppe’s own club at Daytona Beach (180,68,23). They perform every night at these clubs, as well as being hired to perform at special Second Life events like the Relay for Life “Fashion for Life.” They normally play to packed crowds with a minimum of 30 to 40 concert-goers at every performance. Gumbo remembers one night in particular that drew a crowd of 115 that essentially “locked up” the sim. Gumbo personally builds stages along with some of the other group members, all of whom pay close attention to making them as realistic as possible to include spectacular lighting effects and even designing an elevator platform that raises the KISS band to the stage for a dramatic effect.
What sets them apart from other Tribute band groups in SL is their keen attention to realistic performances. For example, when their KISS Tribute Band performs, they make it a point to interact with the audience as the original band would do, jumping from the stage to engage the audience and pulling women on stage to play directly to them. If you attend a Motley Crue performance you’ll see them pull ladies on stage when they sing the classic, “Girls, Girls, Girls!” Team Lead AJ Blaylock emphasizes that, “The ability to interact and the quality of the performance are what makes the performances so realistic.”
Always expanding their collection of bands, several more are in the works. Each new band goes through a thorough session of practices before they are booked. Gumbo says that their practices are always well attended by loyal fans, yet keeping the new bands under wraps until their first performance is an important element to protecting their creative property. As Gumbo asserts, “its fine to copy our creation after we’ve performed but we certainly don’t want to be a copy of anyone else.”
The team spirit of the Rock Shoppe bands is a big part of the reason for their success. Members continuously pitch in to apply textures to the stage builds, to do scripting, or to just contribute their ideas. Gumbo’s RL and SL partner, Kasha, has also helped significantly in assisting with some stage designs and also to help style the band members in the likeness of their RL rock star counterparts including designing unique skins for the perfect look.
Gumbo explains that they do this mostly for the love of music and “we do this for people in here who have never been to a RL concert and haven’t been able to see their favorite bands. “ Speaking directly to the SL community, Gumbo says, “ROCK ON!” and “please enjoy what we have to offer.”
To book one of the Rock Shoppe bands or to obtain more information, contact Highscreen Gumbo.
Be sure to check out their Google Calendar, Facebook page, and their blog: