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Local Beat: Rockslide Plays The Great Basin Brewery in Sparks

Rockslide
Rockslide
all photos by Nick McCabe - Front Row Photo

Rockslide at The Great Basin Brewery

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By Nick McCabe - Front Row Photo

In the world of rock and roll bands there is a definite hierarchy. The broad base of the pyramid is populated by garage bands. At the peak of the pyramid are the superstar headliners, many of whom started as garage bands. Between those two extremes are several levels which all have their shining standouts. One of the most thickly populated and hardest working of those categories is the bar band. A good bar band requires a group of talented and seasoned musicians who are in it for the fun of performing live to an enthusiastic crowd. They can step in to a bar, a wedding, a private party, or any number of regional events and kill it with four or more hours of classic fun hits. If you add up the hours or rehearsal, preparation, and drive time, they end up doing it for less than the time and effort that goes into it would pay at a fraction of minimum wage. Such is the life of working class musicians.

I recently heard Rockslide play to a packed house at The Great Basin Brewery in Sparks. Bar bands don’t have roadies, so their shift starts hours before show time. We got there at about 5:30PM and they were already setting up for an 8:30 show. By the time they started their first set I’m pretty sure that about ¾ of the bar was filled with their fans. It looked like they were greeting everybody in the place like an old friend. I’m an old friend of Tom, the bass player so we visited for a couple minutes.

They started playing right on time at 8:30PM. The sound was good and the song selection was well thought out and seemed to hit the mark. When they fired up We’re An American Band by Grand Funk Railroad the floor filled up. Their set list is comprised of classic rock and roll and blues songs like Southbound, Black Magic Woman and Sweet Home Alabama. They were having fun and sharing that with the crowd.

Rockslide has been playing together for over 20 years. They are also spread out over a large area ranging from Carson City to the Bay Area. That’s a lot of ground to cover for one night gigs. That’s what I meant when I said ‘hard working’. The five man band consists of Tommy Valentine from Carson City on bass guitar, Dominic Pieranunzio on guitar, providing the edge for Rockslide is lead vocalist/guitarist Tony T. both from Northern California. Filling out the musical texture of the band is multi-keyboardist/vocalist Thad Foster. The newest addition to the lineup is Rick Jensen, a professional drummer and vocalist from Livermore, California. I believe this was his debut performance with the band (at least in Nevada).

Rockslide is a professional group of players and regularly performs at nightclubs, corporate events, and private parties. If you have a need for a reliable group of guys that love what they do, look them up at http://www.rockslide.org/home

For a cleaner slide show, click here

…and the beat goes on.

Nick can be reached at nick.frontrowphoto@gmail.com