Music

Behind the Beat: No Alternative

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Thursday, January 19, 2012
Rob Sabonis, ImageProUSA.com Photo
Plan B

For many bands, hard truth dictates that members have to hold down day jobs in order to pursue dreams of music stardom.

Not every act can be signed by a major label, of course. And often the thrill of playing in front of a crowd of admiring fans in some small club can make the whole venture seem worthwhile. Just ask the local rockers of Plan B.

"Plan B was democratically chosen as a short and catchy name from a list of over 200 choices," says guitarist John Romanelli. "Since Plan B represents an alternative, we like to think that this is our alternative to our day jobs. That said, we adopted the tagline 'Plan B... because there is no alternative' because we don't play alternative music."

First forming in 2008 and filling out the current six-piece lineup in 2010, the band originally started out playing a set list filled with '80s hard rock and metal tunes from the likes of Van Halen, Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne. As a concession to current lead singer Toby Turschman's vocal style, the guys have since added more '90s material to their set as well as more complicated songs that take advantage of both guitarists' considerable lead-playing skills.

Still, operating purely as a cover act (so far) has often led to Plan B having a difficult time choosing the numbers it plays when performing live.

Romanelli says, "We've tried every process imaginable, from democratically voting songs off of each other's lists, to jamming on an old song in rehearsal, to people emailing songs to each other. No matter what system we use, someone tends to be dissatisfied with the fairness of it. We do try to balance songs that have good keyboard parts with songs that are realistic for the lead vocalist, while keeping in mind what people want to hear. Lastly, we have to want to play it. If we're not enthusiastic about it, neither will the people be who come to see us."

It is in a live setting that Plan B truly shines. The group has already established a local following at Club Meadows in East Longmeadow. And the members have also recently finished recording their first CD, Taking Flight, which features six of their best covers.

"We are also excited to announce that we are playing at The Waterfront in Holyoke on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, which should be a great show," says Romanelli. "We are one of the more fun shows of live music in the Pioneer Valley. There is no greater pleasure than to perform live music in front of an audience that wants to hear you."

Plan B performs March 17, The Waterfront, 920 Main St., Holyoke, (413) 532-2292, www.waterfronttavern.com. For more information, visit www.planbma.com.

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