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Grumble as I may about ubiquitous disposa-pop, there’s good music to be had in Dewey Beach. The Bottle and Cork brings an increasingly diverse string of performers every year – Old 97s, George Clinton and Citizen Cope, to name a few – and every Wednesday night, Laura Lea &Tripp Fabulous rock The Starboard.
Enjoying the Dewey music scene is, in essence, a study in what makes a good cover band. Like a good Italian dish, all it takes is the elegant combination of simple ingredients.
Get kinetic – or, as House of Pain said, jump around. You’re reheating decade-plus-old hits that weren’t masterpieces to begin with, so don’t expect your audience to patiently appreciate your craftsmanship. Lean into it. Strut a little. Laura likes to lean on her mike and bend forward into the crowd – watch, imitate.
Embrace the pathos. Singing Blink-182 reveals not only your age but your adolescent bad taste, but who cares? Everyone else is singing along, so stoke their nostalgia. Change up a riff or two but stick to the simple arithmetic of a 90s rock anthem. Pump your fist and shout “Na Na Na Na” like the rest of us. When Tripp Fabulous started playing “All The Small Things,” I actually laughed – then sang along.
Love the town. The one surefire thing you have in common with your audience – besides the Bud Light at your feet – is location. Laura’s been playing Dewey for seven years, but you can’t expect to have that kind of cred. Give the town a few shout outs, but don’t go as far as to signal your “homies on Dagsworthy Avenue.” Trust me, my friend, you have no homies on Dagsworthy Avenue.
Get sentimental. When your audience is more than a little tipsy, add some depth to your set by busting out Oasis’ “Wonderwall” or, as Tripp Fab did, Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper.” Get heavy. Get deep. And when you’re done, take a break so the audience can get drunk.
Love what you do – above all, play with some heart. You can’t fake it, not even with a crowd of flagged freshmen. Talking to Laura between sets, she knows why she plays The Starboard every Wednesday. She doesn’t even have to think.
“You see those bumper stickers where it says ‘Dewey is a way of life?’ It’s true,” she says. “We do this because of them, the Dewey crowd. They make it so easy.”