‘Scaramouche: A Tribute to Queen’ takes the Town Hall Theater stage this Saturday
Almost everyone knows Queen — the British rock band formed in 1970 with members Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (lead guitar, vocals), Roger Taylor (drums, vocals) and John Deacon (bass guitar). Their big hair was par for the course at the time, but the band’s progressive rock sound and Mercury’s flamboyance and outrageous stage presence took audiences by surprise.
This Saturday evening, Town Hall Theater will put away most of their risers, create a dance floor and welcome five local musicians who will perform “Scar-a-mouche: A Tribute to Queen.” The theater will transform into a rockin’ dance party with a cash bar and snacks available.
Rockers Clint Bierman, Peter Day, Tyler Mast and Steve Hadeka will create that infamous Queen sound with Josh Panda up front as Freddie Mercury.
“We love having Clint, Josh and the gang here,” said Haley Rice, Operations Manager/ Marketing for Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater. “We’re up for anything they want to do because whatever they do is amazing! Josh Panda has this voice that just grabs your soul and he’s so flexible — he can sing anything. Rumor has it, Panda will be sporting a sweet Freddie Mercury mustache.”
Indeed, Panda will take the stage with a very full, black faux mustache.
“When Panda puts that mustache on, he becomes Freddie Mercury,” Bierman said.
But it takes a heck of a lot more than a mustache to pull off Queen.
“Performing Queen is another level of technical ability and weirdness,” Bierman added. “It’s no joke.”
By 1975, Queen had gained international success and solidified their place in the hearts of true-rockers with their immortal “Bohemian Rhapsody” — a six-minute suite written by Mercury and debuted on the album “A Night at the Opera.”
“The lyrics of Queen are so complicated especially in Bohemian Rhapsody,” Bierman continued. “They were so theatrical and odd, but at the same time accessible. Their music is ageless.”
True for Bierman and his two sons (5 and 7 years old) who all love the stuff.
“I’m most excited to perform for my kids,” said the dad, who maintains his recording studio above Mendy’s on Main Street in Middlebury.
That’s saying something, because just a couple months ago the group performed this same tribute show for a Select Sessions performance — shows put on by Select Design in Burlington. Bierman has been part of Select Session from the beginning; probably because he’s good friends with Rich Price, the director of strategy and development at Select Design. Price (’99) and Bierman (’97) first met at Middlebury College and have been collaborating on music events since 2012.
“We started to see a percolating energy in a bunch of different industries,” said Price, who lives in Chittenden County with his wife and five sons. “There was a real sense of a creative renaissance in Vermont. So I used my connections with musicians who could pull off something really amazing. Music brings people together, and so we could celebrate creativity by doing the Sessions.”
Bierman has been a key member of the Sessions band from the beginning. Panda joined him shortly after and a rotating mix of musicians have come and gone since; including three members of Phish: Jon Fishman (drummer), Page McConnell (songwriter and keyboard), and Ray Paczkowski (keyboard). For these Sessions, Bierman’s band has performed complete albums by The Police, Tom Petty, Guns N’ Roses, Motown, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers, Van Morrison, Bob Marley, The Doors and, of course, Queen.
“They are not a cover band,” clarified Price. “It’s a group of guys doing this music one time or a couple times — it speaks to their level of musicianship. Clint’s lead guitar is a critical component of communicating the music of Queen to the audience — they’ll feel it.”
This isn’t the first Select Session Bierman has brought to Middlebury. He brought The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Simon and Garfunkel to the Town Hall Theater. He also presented The Doors to the Marquis Theater.
“I enjoy bringing these shows to the area,” Bierman said. “You never see Queen performed live. I know people are going to enjoy it!”
“Go and enjoy the show or soak in the musicianship,” advised Price, who’s seen the show. “It works on both levels.”
Saturday’s show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 (+ $2 preservation fee) and are available at the Town Hall Theater, by calling (802) 382-9222 or visiting townhalltheater.org.
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