SYRACUSE On a single Saturday night in December, the Dean Brothers Band sold out the little RedHouse Arts Center in Armory Square to an enthusiastic audience. No surprise.
The long-time, SAMMY lifetime achievement-winning, CNY-based rock and roll band made up of three actual Dean Brothers (Robert, Peter, John) and lifelong friend Holly Greg, still has a strong nostalgic following; while the Red House has only about 100 seats.
What blew the audience away, besides the Deans’ lush vocal harmonizing and actual command of their instruments, was the band’s arrangements of their own new and old material, which included more strings in the form of Ted Williams on mandolin, Emily Dean on Cello and Caroline Dean on fiddle. Plus, the Deans’ entertaining stage repartee added a level of showmanship in two one-hour sets that took the live performance up into the category of “show business.”
The fact that these men know each other so well, like CNY’s Barrigar Brothers (Loren and Kevin), and are so comfortable on stage, it’s just hard to fake that kind of intimacy and brotherly ribbing with tight playing and seasoned vocalization.
Holly Gregg’s introduction to each song gave the audience something more to chew on, while the band took listeners on musical journeys where each song represented its own adventure.
The evening was recorded by SubCat Studios, so it will be interesting to see how it translates from live performance to audio keepsake.
The Deans also announced they are scheduled to play Auburn’s Public Theatre in March, which is another small venue like RedHouse (200 seats), giving area music lovers another opportunity to see and hear the Deans like they may never have heard them before.
The Deans’ Live at RedHouse ranked up there with many top entertainers, including shows such as Bonnie Raitt at the Landmark Theater, Sting at SPAC during a full-on lightning storm and Martin Sexton’s one man show at a RedHouse fundraiser.
Ellen Leahy is a former editor of the Skaneateles Press. She is now the managing partner of bc Restaurant in Armory Square.