One song the band MikeMickXer covers sums up their June attempt to play in the Music off Main series: Aint No Sunshine. At the rain-out make-up date Thursday, the group hopes its more Lets Get it On.
Those two ditties hardly reflect the full range of the eclectic cover band. Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye merely form the tip of an iceberg for a group that plays songs from each decade since the 1950s and regards reggae and rockabilly as its stylistic roots.
While they are familiar in a way to a lot of our listeners, the average cover band is not playing the same tunes were choosing to play, said Mick Voiland, who plays organ and bass.
The event on the Garner Performing Arts Center lawn is free and will again include Market off Main, where local artists and businesses will sell their wares. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will also be sold, and coolers are allowed.
Aside from R&B and Motown, the band will play rock, reggae, country and pop, often bringing elements from one genre into another.
Fans might hear Van Morrisons Wild Nights followed up by Chris Isaaks Wicked Game, only to be All Shook Up by a transition to Elvis. Johnny Cashs Ring of Fire could later subside into A Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Freddy Mercury before Bob Marley comes in to Stir it Up.
The band plays at bars and other events largely around the Triangle area, where they have generated a name for themselves as a consistent, energetic presence.
The thing about this trio, its really different, said Voiland, the elder statesman at 63. The respect we get from audiences, (theyll say) Theres no one doing what youre doing in the Triangle, you mix it up.
Voiland pulled the group together in 2009, taking half of a six member zydeco band (a Cajun, rhythm and blues blend) he helped start in Raleigh a couple years prior. The recently-retired college professor and New York native pulled in Mike Davis for lead vocals and guitar and Gary Grier on drums in an effort to try something more genre-bending.
Davis, who grew up in Greenville, has been playing in bands his entire life and has a strong reggae background. Characterized by waist-length dreadlocks featured prominently in the bands logo, the front-man also belongs to a steel band.
Grier, meanwhile, is the youngest in the band by nearly two decades at 32. The Raleigh-area native has played rock, funk, R&B and especially the blues.
As with all bands in the Music off Main series this summer, the group claims some Garner roots. Grier lives in the White Oak area of Garner, and Voiland and Davis live near Highway 42 in unincorporated territory between Garner and Clayton.
Voiland moved to the area from upstate New York in 2006 after retiring from a career teaching at Cornell. He took a job at N.C. State University directing a marine science program, he said. Although he played in high school as a teenager in Long Island, he said he basically didnt play music from age 18 to 52. But in 2003 he picked up the keyboard and got into zydeco.
When he reached the Triangle he realized he couldnt find a zydeco band to join so he started one. That band dissipated in 2011 as MikeMickXer half its act took off in the local scene.
The group hopes to get beyond the Triangle (and occasional weddings up and down the coast), Voiland said.
Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @GarnerCleveland.