On September 10, 2014, Concert Drive visited the great University of Houston to give us a live performance at the Lynn Eusan Park. People were lured into the concert by the Bajan style music where they sat on blankets and were happily eaten by mosquitoes.
The smell of OFF was thick in the air as T-Ray (a.k.a. Chocolate Thunder to the ladies), opened up the show sitting on his cajon (drum instrument) by introducing his fellow band members. Four friends from Barbados, four years ago, made their fame on Youtube making covers. The lead vocalists, Amanda Reifer, the guitarist/keyist , Barry, the drummer/backing vocalist, T-Ray, and the bass guitarist, Jamar, are now performing their own original songs on the grande stage.
The first song performed was a cover mix of Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” and “Locked Out of Heaven.” This was a nice warm-up for the crowd and an amazing introduction to the groups style for those listeners that had not heard the group before that concert.
Following next was their original song, Whatever Suit You. You should do whatever you want. Don’t mind what anybody says. Then drift away, riding on the Bajan style. All their jokes aside, the band played perfectly. The vocalists and instrumental stayed together and from what the crowd knew, not a key was out of place. Barry was an awesome guitarist. “Everything is awesome.”
Giving the audience a cultural lesson, Amanda asked them to stand up and learn how to dance like they do in Barbados. The crowd interaction was a key quality in the concert and it increased appreciation for the music that was meant for body movement. Amanda herself performed captivating dance movements that excited and encouraged the audience into joining.
Their original songs, “Wrong side” and “Easy Life” are both memorable and the lyrics are easy to relate to. “Easy Life” was especially a joy to listen to because not only was it a personal song about how life could have turned out for Amanda, but also, it had great lyrics that you makes you think about where our lives are going or where they could have gone. The lyrics and the instrumental created a story that you want to hear.
After 8pm, they had the crowd in the palm of their hand as they make them sing along to the cover remix of “Rude” and a plethora of songs. T-Ray gave an amazingly high-speed rap verse during “Can’t Hold Us” and the whole crowd went crazy. It was a fun time for all new and old fans to sing-along with the band.
The show ended with a cover remix of “Let’s Get It Started”, “Fancy” and original verses. It was simply a blast. The crowd dispersed to gather flyers to sign and phones where brought out to take pictures with the band. It was comfortable atmosphere around the members. One of the pros of a rising band is that everybody can get a picture and a handshake. People were just liming with the band at the end. Liming, a phrase they taught us, means to hang out. It will be trending on twitter when the tour is over.
This band, made famous in the United Kingdom with 5 top 40 hits and 3 top 10 hits, lives up to its name and beyond. From the sound check until their closing cover, Cover Drive gave a phenomenal performance with their professionalism, alluring stage presence, well-received humor, and their first no. 1 single, Twilight.
T-Ray’s rap verses was not only pleasant because of the bajan accent but impressive to hear. Jamar played his bass with true showmanship while keeping his nice hat on. Barry with his guitar did not fade into the background despite not having any vocal part. Amanda kept your eyes glued to the stage but not without the help of her experienced band members.
Their covers of various popular songs had the crowd singing along and dancing to the island flavor that they had incorporated into the remixes. They not only attempted to do the versions with their own style of music and added original verses but, for me, succeeded in doing so. Their original songs were those of professional’s level and well worth the mosquitoes bites to listen to live. In my opinion, I liked their version of “Fancy” better than the original.
Right now Cover Drive is sticking to a college tour, consisting of 84 colleges in the United States, and can be followed on Facebook and Twitter. The groups music can be found and purchased on Itunes and Spotify. Also, look at their websites wearecoverdrive.com for their webisodes to watch them on their journey.
Cover Drive already has two albums out, Bajan Style and Liming in Limbo, and is now working on a third. So be on the look out for that one coming soon.
Some of songs that were performed and that you should listen to if you want a taste of the band music.
By Jatoriyae Dupree-Jones