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MuchMo brings Motown to Peninsula
The poster for the MuchMo' Band's upcoming gig this Saturday (June 9) at the Royal Canadian Legion Crescent Branch 240 tells it like it is.
When you're a group dedicated to classics of the Motown era – with a few compatible genres thrown in – 'Dance Party!' seems to say it all.
Although this is the first big public show of the newly-minted band, trial runs at local venues such as West Beach Bar and Grill, and successful house and garden party sets, have already told them there is a ready-made market on the Peninsula for the sound.
MuchMo' vocalists Diane Cadieux and Rosie Flanagan say the minute people hear the familiar beats and hooks of the solidly rhythmic, totally feel-good music – particularly those old enough to have grown up with the sound on record players and transistor radios in the `60s and `70s – they're up on their feet dancing.
"It's such uplifting music," Flanagan said.
"It touches everyone and brings them back to their youth," said Cadieux. "Where were you, when you first heard Heard It Through The Grapevine or Stop In The Name Of Love? I know I used to pretend I was Diana Ross when I was a little girl.
"Whenever we've played at garden parties, everybody's been singing right away – everybody knows the words."
It's a great vote of confidence for the musical choices of the band's core quartet – Cadieux, Flanagan, singer-guitarist Peter Tennant and singer/upright bassist Ched Miller – unified, as they are, in a love of Motown and classic R&B.
Tennant is well-known in the music industry, with chops honed in a wide variety of musical styles over the last 30 years, while Flanagan, a Grade 4 teacher, writer and former theatre major, works regularly with partner Miller, who also plays bluegrass and lounge music, in their nostalgic duo Sentimental Journey. Cadieux, also a teacher and sometimes actor who grew up surrounded by jazz and blues in Winnipeg, is only now fully indulging her passion for singing and performance.
Both Flanagan and Cadieux are full of praise for the other musicians, and their adeptness at creating arrangements to fit the group's vocal ranges and joining in with harmony lines.
"It seems they can pick up on just about any harmony," Flanagan said.
"Pete plays incredible rhythm guitar – he's a drummer, actually, and you can hear that beat in anything he plays – and Ched's so consistent with the upright bass," Cadieux added.
Flexibility is the watchword as far as their own vocals are concerned, they said.
"We trade off leads, and we're singing harmony and back-up when the others are singing lead," Cadieux said.
"One of my favourite songs is I Can't Get Next To You, because we all take turns on the lead," said Flanagan.
The two are particularly excited about Saturday's dance date, because the core band will be augmented by special guests including lead guitarist Mickey Hovan (well known in local musical circles and from his work with the Wheat In The Barley), plus up and coming musicians Mike Fergusen (drums) and James Martin (sax).
"At rehearsal, when the sax started playing, I really felt like dancing," said Flanagan of the expanded sound.
Also rounding out the vocal presence will be well-known locals – and friends of the band – Lois Stewart, Phil Q. Davey and Frisco Read.
"This is just a dream for me," said Flanagan.
"We look at each other and say 'isn't this fun?' And the answer is, yes – it's a blast. We're really enjoying doing this fantastic, terrific music."
Adding to the pleasure of bringing MuchMo' – several years in the making – to the public is the positive feedback they have already received, Cadieux said.
"The tickets for Saturday are selling well," said Cadieux. "We're really overwhelmed at how the community is supporting us."
Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and tickets ($12 advance, $15 at the door) are available at the legion (2643 128 St.)
For more information, call 604-536-1490.