By Nick McCabe, Front Row Photo
This past Thursday evening (August 29th) a brand new musical revue titled “Dance To The Music”, featuring the music of Sly and The Family Stone debuted in Harrah’s South Shore Room at Lake Tahoe. The program was produced by Nathan Owens, co-produced by Marten Benatar, and features a ten member ensemble of musicians with years of professional experience behind them, many of whom have played together for years.
It was a fantastic show. The fact that it was the first public performance of it was completely undetectable. They started off the show with Sex Machine, segued into Dance To The Music and continued from song to song without more than a moments break through a 70 minute set that ended with a high energy rendition of I Want To Get You Higher. They came back to the stage and encored with Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin. For most of the evening the audience was on it's feet dancing and singing along, reliving days gone by.
This was more than a group of musicians playing songs by Sly and The Family Stone. They became Sly and The Family Stone, wearing period costumes complete with Afro wigs, headbands, peace signs, and far out hippie glasses. The groove was infectious. The heart of the rhythm section, Marten on drums and Nathan's brother Ralph Owens on bass guitar laid down a heavy back-beat that made it easy to move your feet. With funky guitar licks by Rick Kingsbury, singing coming from every section of the stage and the NorCal horns filling in, the stage was alive with talent.
Front and center was Nathan Owens as Sly Stone on keyboard, guitar, lead vocals, and acting as musical director. Also on lead vocals, background vocals, and keyboards was Jamie (Lynn) Palmer. The rest of the band is made up of Jerry Owens - lead and background vocals, Rick Kingsbury - guitar, lead and background vocals, Ralph Owens - bass guitar, lead and background vocals, T.C. - lead and background vocals, Richard Owens - lead and background vocals, congas and percussion, Marten Benatar on drums, and the NorCal Horns.
Nathan and Marten have an impressive track record for putting together successful stage shows. Producer Nathan Owens is no newcomer to the music scene and comes with a diverse background in successful R & B shows such as the critically acclaimed Nathan Owens “Motown After Dark”. Marten Benatar, who is co-producing of “Dance To The Music” is an entertainer who has been on the scene co-producing and co-starring in his own show, Rubber Biscuit’s Rockin` Blues Revue as the famed Elwood Blues.
With the talent that makes up this group of performers, and the rich material that they have to work with, this show is bound to morph into something even better as they perform it over and over again. As mentioned earlier, this was the debut performance. The interaction of the individuals on stage has limitless possibilities for fun. Each player has the opportunity to step forward and shine, like T.C. the background singer / dancer who took center stage late in the set and laid down some funky robot moves that thrilled the crowd. The stage is set for a successful run of Dance To The Music.
...and the beat goes on.