By Janee Law
Dark Star Orchestra, a Grateful Dead tribute band, will bring The Paramount to life for two nights next weekend.
“We call it lift off, when the room comes alive and everybody is kind of on the same page as everybody, and you can see on their faces that they’re all having a good time,” Dino English, drummer, said. “You see everybody connecting on a visceral level and that’s what I enjoy about performing. It’s all about getting the audience together and making the room come alive.”
The seven-member band also consists of Jeff Mattson on lead guitar and vocals; Lisa Mackey on vocals; Rob Koritz on drums; Skip Vangelas on bass guitar and vocals; Rob Eaton on rhythm guitar and vocals; and Rob Barraco on keyboards and vocals.
English said that for the two-night show, which is set for Nov. 25 and Nov. 26, the audience can expect something different from what Dark Star Orchestra typically brings to The Paramount, which the band has played at before.
“We try to play a different style show every time we go into a place from the last time,” he said. “We keep things fresh for the people who are seeing a repeat of shows.”
The band narrows down a list of around 300 songs to find the 20-30 that they perform on any given night.
English joined Dark Star Orchestra in 1999, but the band formed two years earlier with the mission to re-create the Grateful Dead’s live experience. After the Grateful Dead stopped touring in 1995, Dark Star Orchestra wanted to keep the music going.
“We all love Grateful Dead music and we wanted to present it and keep the music alive,” English said. “The idea was to give people a place to come see it played at a high standard, and more traditionally in the style of how the Grateful Dead actually played it.”
The band’s membership has changed throughout the years, he said. Whenever a position is open, Dark Star Orchestra hosts auditions to find a new member.
“We audition people from the whole country to find the best people we could because we started becoming a nationally-touring band,” he said. “With every new person that comes in, the dynamic of the band changes a little bit and we’ve continued to improve along the way.”
In regards to their upcoming performance at The Paramount, English said the band members are excited.
“The Paramount fans are awesome, they always support us well and we always enjoy playing the room,” he said. “It’s a great crowd for us to play to because they know the music really. The fans in that area are just really knowledgeable about the music and they know how to make that magic happen with the band.”
Doors on both Nov. 25 and Nov. 26 open at 7 p.m. The show is expected to begin at 8 p.m. on both nights. Tickets are available at the box office, or from Paramountny.com, for $35-$75.