‘Grooving and moving’ Seven-piece band to rock the Riviera

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‘Grooving and moving’ Seven-piece band to rock the Riviera

Three Rivers Commercial News | Samantha May, Staff Writer

THREE RIVERS ― A seven-piece energetic groove band is scheduled to rock the Riviera Theatre with classic vinyl hits and a Motown feel.

Each member of Memphis Underground brings a unique sound to the stage. With a horn section, female and male voacls, two keyboardists, a drummer anda smooth guitar player, the band plans to bring the audience to their feet during their performance at the Riviera on Friday, Oct. 19.

Co-managers and founding members, Shawn and Steve Toepp, gathered their “band brothers” and formed the Memphis Underground nearly three years ago. From weddings to late night parties, the band has explored many venues until stumbling upon the Riviera Theatre during a performance by Kalamazoo native Nathan Moore.

“We were so taken back by the people in the room that night that we said, we just have to play here. People were dancing in the hallways, they really listened to the musician,” he said.

Being drawn to Nathan’s passion, the couple invited him to join the band on stage for their upcoming perforamnce. Shawn said that each emember of the band brings a distinctive element to the overall sound, with Nathan being a great addition.

The Audience on Oct. 19 can expect to hear familiar songs from classic vinyl to Memphis funk and Motown feel, including covers from The Temptations, Same and Dave, Stevie Wonder, Bob Segar, and the Rolling Stones. The band may even surprise the audience with a twist to modern songs from Bruno Mars or Adele.

“I love when each musician can bring their own groove and talent, to bring the way they hear the music to the band’s sound. Each person has something unique that they are bringing together,” Shawn said. “It is really an art to bring people together and make it work on stage with our own groove.”

For the Riviera’s performance, Steve said that band would be performing alongside keyboardist Jon Steepleton, who’s sound is typically less digital and more piano and organ oriented. Other band members will include guitarist Steve Whalley, drummer Doug Lim, bass player Dominic Rappelli, and percussionist Jim Grevlich.

“All of these guys do it for the love of the music,” Shawn said.

Although the band invites the crowd to sing along and dance, Shawn said the connection with the audience is the most important, which she felt during her last visit to the Riviera.

“When I sing, I try to connect with people out there, and you can see it. People don’t have to be up dancing to enjoy the music, you can just tell that it is reaching them,” she said.

The band’s goal is to cultivate an experience that’s fun for everyone. In the past, Steve said he has invited the children in the audience to perform with tambourines and form the “Memphis minis”.

“We are an entertaining group of people. It is not just about our instruments and how well we play, but it’s also about the interactions between band members and interactions between the band and the audience. We want the experience to be fun for everyone, just to get them to have a big smile on their face,” Steve said. “When we get them dancing, we hope to keep them dancing. If it’s a floor, it can be a dance floor. That is what we like to tell people.”

Tickets for the show are available at the Riviera Theatre, or by visiting www.trriviera.com