Love Canon, an immensely popular regional band out of the Roanoke area, is visiting The Tri Cities on Saturday, playing at Holston River Brewing Company on the Volunteer Parkway. A perfect description was provided by Peter McElhinney of Style Weekly.
Love Canon doesn’t cover the music of the ’80s as much as kidnap it and take it on a bluegrass-tinged joyride. There’s no shortage of clever musical re-enactors giving the first generation of MTV an ironic makeover: a fool’s errand, given that the music already was soaked in postmodern irony.
By contrast, Love Canon refreshes and extends the originals with affectionate humor and effortless virtuosity. The players — including Old School Freight Train’s Jesse Harper and Darrell Muller, Virginia Commonwealth University guitar and banjo master Adam Larrabee, Mandolin Virtuoso Andy Thacker, and dobro Jedi Jay Starling — add layers of depth to the still-appealing pop hooks.
They romp on throwaway classics such as ZZ Top’s “Legs” and “She Blinded Me With Science.” On their excellent version of “The Boys of Summer,” the folk instrumentation adds a traditional context to the time-capsule lyrics. After blazing through other up-tempo material, they shift to a slow burn on “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” It’s an unlikely choice for an all-male band, but they strip the song down to its bittersweet, feminist heart. Tickets are $15 in advance and $22 at the door.