Woo woo! It’s summertime at the beach and that means it’s time for Concerts On the Coast. Every Friday from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. Property Owners Association (with help from some very generous sponsors) hosts a series of free concerts just over the bridge on the Island.
This year, the Entertainers opened the series, followed by local classic rock band, Bailout, and then the Imitations on June 11. If you missed those, not to worry, we’re still got 12 more concerts throughout the summer.
Coming right up on Friday, June 18, will be Legends of Beach. And I’m here to tell you, these guys really are legendary. They’re some of the finest vocalists and musicians in beach music today. Lead singer Jackie Gore was the songwriter for the beach music classic “I Love Beach Music” back in 1979 when he was with the Embers. R. Mark Black (vocals, saxophone), Gerald Davis (bass), Jeff Grimes (guitar, saxophone) and Johnny Barker (vocals, keyboards) were all Embers, too. I saw this group at the Spanish Galleon a couple months ago and they were phenomenal, one of the best in this genre that I’ve ever seen.
The Attractions, known for their monster horn section and their number one hit single, “Zing Went the Strings,” take the stage on June 25. This popular group has opened for the Tams, Clifford Curry, Fifth Dimension and the Platters, just to name a few. This should be another great show.
On July 2, another of my favorite groups will be at Ocean Isle – Mark Roberts & Breeze. Formed in late 2007, MRB was named New Group of the Year at the 2008 CBMA Awards. They rock, they roll, they’ve got soul, and they’re going to get you on your feet. If we’re lucky, they’ll do Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell In Love. If we’re really lucky, they’ll follow it with Gary Moore’s “Still Got the Blues For You.”
The next Concert on the Coast is Craig Woolard Band on July 9. For those of you outside the beach music community, Craig has also been lead singer for the Embers. In fact, he took Jackie Gore’s place back in … what year was it, Craig? Since forming in 2004, CWB has evolved into a powerhouse of a band, combining soulful blues with R&B to deliver one great show after another. Visit cammy.org to see for yourself all the awards Craig and the group have won.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Continental Divide is known for their happenin’ horn lines and professional performances. If you’re into Motown, soul music, oldies and beach music, plan to attend this July 16 show. And wait until you hear lead singer Gene Pharr.
That brings us to July 23, when the big sound of Band of Oz returns to Ocean Isle Beach. Originally from Raleigh, N.C. Band of Oz was born in 1967 as a part time band playing frat parties and proms. Today the’re one of the top bands on the beach music circuit, playing the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia. Boasting a formidable horn section and the not-so-secret weapon of Jerry West’s guitar, Band of Oz draws a crowd wherever they go.
Churning out classic rock and blues, GB4 Band is on the roster for July 30. This is a group I haven’t heard yet, but I’m looking forward to the show. They’re known for playing everything from classic rock to funk, soul and blues. Something tells me they’re going to rock the beach!
Goldrush, in the August 6 slot, will be performing a happy mix of oldies, R&B, blues and beach. Together for 32 years, they are one of the few groups asked to perform at the very first beach music awards show in Myrtle Beach. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Percy Sledge and more.
The next group coming to town is another of my faves. The Holiday Band. So mark your calendar for August 13 and get yourself over the bridge to Ocean Isle Beach. Whether you’re a shagger, a blues mama, a beach purist, a party animal, you just can’t go wrong with the Holiday Band. They’ve played everywhere from Lincoln Center in N.Y.C. to House of Blues in Myrtle Beach. But they’re still a bunch of sweet ole boys. (Okay, sorry, you’re not really ole.) A word to the wise: bring your boogie shoes to this show. You be dancin’!
Here’s another first time group at Ocean Isle! Jim Quick & Coastline will hit the stage running on August 20. For the uninitiated, these are the bad boys on the block. Led by wild man Jim Quick, this rock ‘n’ soul group is known for their hard-drivin’, kick-ass, no-holds-barred brand of swamp funk. Don’t worry about the kids though, these guys have a soft spot for the young ‘uns. Another must see, in my book.
Now, just in case you made the mistake of missing Craig Woolard’s July 9 concert, CWB will be back for another round on August 27. If you’ve never heard Craig sing, make sure you catch at least one of these shows.
Closing out the summer season on Friday, Sept. 3 will be the mighty, mighty Tams of Hotlanta, Ga.! “Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me,” “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy,” “What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am).” Need I say more? Come out to see “Little Redd” Cottle and the rest of this legendary group.
The concerts run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and draw about 1,000 folks from the area. There’s an area for dancing right in front of the stage, and don’t forget to bring lawn chairs. See you there!