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In Athens there are three major music scenes: the indie/folk scene, the DJ/dubstep dance scene and the hardcore/punk scene. Neo-soul band the Paul Elisha Band does not fit into any of those. So, why then have they gained a strong following in only a little more than a quarter, filling The Union Bar & Grill regularly?
“Every show we do brings out new people and those who seem to be at every show, because we work out a set that is current to what's going on,” said lead vocalist Paul Elisha.
The band has done a Michael Jackson night, Marvin Gaye Dad's Weekend night, a Valentine's Day show and a special 4/20 show. As a result, they have created a catalog of '90 songs, which includes primarily covers of soul revival bands such as D'Angelo, John Legend and Alicia Keys.
Elisha has found that the lack of soul’s presence in Athens has helped them grow such a strong fanbase. Fans have told him, “‘The songs you play aren’t typically my style, or I don’t know the originals, but I love hearing you play the song.’”
Just being different and mixing up setlists however, doesn’t keep crowds coming. Bands must be talented and entertaining.
The Paul Elisha Band is definitely talented. Elisha, Allison Woods and Sharrell all have the pipes to lead any band of their choosing. The band behind them is just as strong. Jack Gould, of Sassafraz (a First Street Heat spin-off band), is a phenomenal sax player. Gould will be bringing fellow Sassafraz member guitarist Zach Ponzer onto the stage for the show Friday.
For the first time, they haven’t learned a whole set worth of new songs for the show, which should allow the band, as Elisha put it, “to be tighter. We’ll know exactly what to expect from each other.”
One thing you can definitely expect is to do some dancing. The band definitely knows how to put on a show, and is definitely “not a karaoke band.” One reason fans enjoy their music so much is because they don’t play exact replicas of the originals, but instead put their own twist on the track.
Unfortunately, for this dedicated following they have created, this will likely be the band’s last show. Every member of the band has so many other obligations, be they Section 8, Title IX, Sassafraz or school, that the Paul Elisha Band just doesn’t have time anymore.
Opening for them on their farewell Mom’s Weekend concert will be Florida natives the Jacob Jeffries Band. Explaining his first reaction to hearing the Jacob Jeffries Band, Elisha said, “I thought immediately of Billy Joel or Elton John, in a good way. He has a voice that you could hear in musicals.”
And Jeffres has the voice and licks on the keys to garner such comparisons. He should also have no issue putting on a show, as the band has been performing together since 2006, completed four U.S. tours and will be releasing an album, Tell Me Secrets on May 18.
So, make your way out to The Union on Friday, as it may be your only chance to see the Jacob Jeffries Band, unless you are heading to Florida this summer. It also will almost certainly be your last chance to see the Paul Elisha Band perform.
Bring your mom, too, that is unless you are worried about her being swooned by the sweet vocals of the delightful Paul Elisha and company.
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