By MIKE CHAIKEN
If you like the timeless classics from artists like Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, The Everly Brothers, and the Beach Boys, you will find kindred spirits on the stage of the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den on Friday.
Under the Streetlamp has its origins in the stage show “Jersey Boys,” in which some of the members had been part of the cast.
But the group these days, Eric Gutman, David Larsen, Brandon Wardell, and Shonn Wiley, step out beyond the tunes of Valli and company. The group’s setlist has included songs from Dion and the Belmonts, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, and Del Shannon.
All of this music, said Larsen, is special because most people, regardless of their age, have grown up with the songs.
Wardell, who performed in “Jersey Boys” in Chicago, learned to love the music of the Four Seasons while he was in that show. From that launching point, with his interest piqued, he set out to discover other artists of that era.
“Even before I was a performer, I loved the Beach Boys,” said Larsen. He loved the harmonies. In particular, he is an especially big fan of the group’s classic “Pet Sounds.” (“It’s such a great album.”)
Looking at the members resume, there are a stack of credits from stage shows of all kinds.
“We all have backgrounds in theater and music,” said Wardell.
Unlike a stage show, where they follow the instructions of a director as to what they do and don’t do on stage, Wardell said with Under the Streetlamp, the four members get to explore their individual talents. For instance, Wiley is a tap dancer. So, said Wardell, Wiley gets to show that off that skill for one number. Gutman and Wardell both play guitar. Thus, they get to step out and duet on an Everly Brothers as they strum.
“The cool thing about what we’re doing is, yes we’re band, but it feels more like a show,” said Larsen. It’s a full visual experience with full choreography, said Larson.
Under the Streetlamp recently released a live album, “The Hits: Live!”
Larsen said the group, which has been seen on several PBS specials, often meets with fans after a performance. Larsen said fans have been begging for some Under the Streetlamp recordings.
For this album, said Larsen, the group designated a couple of different shows they wanted to record. From that selection, he said the group picked the best performances.
Wardell said the new album is a way to help introduce the newest members of the group to its fans. It also allows the new members to put their own imprint on the songs performed by Under the Streetlamp. Oftentimes, Wardell said a new member will help transform a song.
When fans come out to the Mohegan’s Wolf Den, Larsen said fans should expect a real live rock and roll experience and the chance to hear the songs the way they were meant to be heard: live.
“It’s a high energy show,” said Wardell. And people are going to get excited.
And if you go to the show, you just might hit a jackpot out on the casino floor, said Wardell.
“We’re told we’re a good luck charm,” said Wardell.
Under the Streetlamp perform a free show (first-come, first-serve) at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den on Friday, May 17 at 8 p.m.
For more information, go to MoheganSun.com or UndertheStreetlamp.com.