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Taking you back

Cassandra Tomlin/A rizona Daily Wildcat
MOCK-yeah, ING-yeah, BIRDS-yeah, YEAH-yeah ... Mockingbirds guitarist Benjamin McCartney rocks out at O'Malley's Sept. 15. YEAH-yeah.
By Susan Bonicillo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 22, 2005
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Mockingbirds echo rockin' sound of '80s

Think of it as the decade that just won't die.

We may be well into the 21st century but that 10-year span between 1980 and 1989 will not go quietly into the abyss. And if local cover band The Mockingbirds has anything to say about it, then the decade of Reagonomics, legwarmer chic and pre-Kabbalah Madonna will continue to live on.

The Mockingbirds have been around for seven years. Most of the original members of this band, however, moved to San Diego two years ago. Jason Claybaugh, lead singer and bassist, is the only original member who remains.

Rather than be just another one of your defunct '80s new wave cover bands, Claybaugh reformed the band with guitarist Benjamin McCartney, keyboardist Gregory Robinson and Erik Truelove on drums.

Ever the consummate crowd-pleasers, the band plays a variety of songs - anything from Journey to The Cure to INXS. However, Wham will not be performed for obvious reasons.

Complete with punk rock costumes, The Mockingbirds are all about showmanship armed also with an unwavering commitment to remain true to the music.

"A lot of these '80s cover bands play with a lot of backup and sampled materials. We play live so everything sounds more realistic and not so much canned," Claybaugh said.

Performing for the college crowd during their weekly performances at O'Malley's, the band makes sure that the crowd gets a memorable evening.

"When you go see an original band you wait around for most of the set to hear one or two hit songs performed, whereas we play songs from a large variety of artists so every song that we play is a hit. It's a guaranteed good time because everyone knows the songs and everyone's having fun, and that's really what I think music is about," Claybaugh said.

The band's vibe promotes a dance-friendly environment. Fans, usually of the female variety, can be found on stage rocking right along with the band members, desperately trying to look sexy while horribly off tempo. But that's OK for The Mockingbirds; any sort of enthusiasm, no matter how inept, is always appreciated.

"Coming from a classical music background, there's a definite difference from the older crowds. The energy is amazing," McCartney said.

From their rollicking shows The Mockingbirds have generated a devoted fan base from the UA student body.

Jennifer Short, an economics senior, is a regular at The Mockingbirds' show at O'Malley's. "I think they're awesome. My sister is 35 so I grew up with a lot of that kind of music. I love their Cure covers the most," Short said.

While some of The Mockingbirds fans truly do enjoy the music others prefer the general ambience that the band creates.

"Their performances are good. It's a good way to relax as the week winds down," said Matthew Caskia, an anthropology senior. "It's so bad that it's good. It's stuff that you remember and stuff you can sing along to."

Musical preferences aside, The Mockingbirds will certainly show you a good time. They perform at O'Malley's with no cover charge every Thursday after 10 p.m., and at the Chicago Bar, located west of Wilmot Road at 5954 E. Speedway Blvd., every Monday. Tomorrow they perform at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road, at 8:30 p.m. The cover charge is $5. Both venues are 21+.

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