VINTON – Benton County’s Countryfest is going rock with Arch Allies, billed as America’s Premiere Tribute Band.
They rock into town this weekend along with opening acts Beau Timmerman and Caitlin Wolfe, who have performed at the two previous Countryfests.
Arch Allies will perform two sets for a two hour show
Arch Allies works to keep alive the music of Journey, Styx, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon and Boston – bands that dominated the late 1970s and the 1980s.
“We are called the six pack of rock,” said Scott Gunderson “What they are going to get is some of the best of the ‘80s.”
During the first set, Arch Allies perform the combined works of Styx, REO Speedwagon and Boston. Following a costume change they return to the stage for the works of Journey, Def Lepard and Bon Jovi.
“It don’t get any better than that,” said Gunderson.
The vocalist, Scott Calderwood, is the best front man and most entertaining that Gunderson has worked with.
Gunderson has been playing since just seven years old. He still performs because “once a musician, always a musician.” When they began as a tribute band, people showed up at the concerts and seemed to enjoy it. It sparked memories.
“They would come out and go ‘God, I remember what I was doing when that song came out or I couldn’t talk the next day because I sang so much,’” said Gunderson.
“It is feel good night out with us. Do we make money? Sure. But, we love what we are doing too. We love taking people down Memory Lane.”
Gunderson said the band performs non-stop and is not an audience participation band. But, fans should bring throat lozenges because everyone is going to be singing.
“That is what this is all about. We are going to take you down Memory Lane,” said Gunderson. “Even the kids today understand the Age of Rock.”
While singing classics from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, Gunderson said Arch Allies fans range from eight to 80.
“A lot of young kids come out. They just enjoy it,” said Gudnerson.
Arch Allies, based out of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, has been performing under that name for 11 years. Originally, the band performed Journey, Styx and REO Speedwagon.
“It gets a little stagnant after a few years,” said Gunderson “A year and a half ago, we decided to freshen it up.”
They added Def Leppard, Boston, and Bon Jovi.
All band members are professionals, said Gunderson. The bass player, Dugan McNeill, has a gold record for his work with Yanni.
“Our guys are true rock and rollers,” said Gunderson.” We are very friendly, very approachable. We like meeting with the people and taking pictures, signing the autographs.
“We enjoy being entertainers. We don’t come across like rock stars.”
Although their act is a tribute to the most popular bands and the sounds of the 1980s, Arch Allies do not attempt to appear on stage looking like the performance to which they are paying tribute. They don’t wear wigs. Six costume changes would be a challenge.
One reason for doing so many bands and such a long show is what they encountered while performing just one band. A sound check was conducted early and the band members had to sit through the sound check and performance of the opening act before taking the stage for their own show.
“A lot of times the entertainment value was not what you would probably expect if you went to a regular concert,” said Gunderson. “A lot of our people would not be showing up until 10 or 11 when we went on.”
The band decided to open up for themselves, featuring the songs of three bands.
Ironically, two band members did not think the idea would work, but 15 years later the band is going strong.