Yacht Rock Revue docks in Albuquerque - Albuquerque Journal

Yacht Rock Revue docks in Albuquerque

From left to right, Mark Dannells, Peter Olson, Nicholas Niespodziani and Greg Lee of Yacht Rock Revue. The cover band is set to headline Downtown Summerfest on Aug. 6, at Civic Plaza. (Courtesy of Zach Wetzel/Yacht Rock Revue)

Music lovers don’t need a powerful vessel or large body of water to groove to the smooth sounds of Yacht Rock Revue.

They just need a way to get to and from Downtown on Aug. 6.

The Atlanta-based soft rock band is scheduled to headline Downtown Summerfest, the third installment of the four-concert series hosted by the city of Albuquerque. The popular act found fame as a cover band, but they’re starting to slide in original material during sets.

“Because our band is in this strange in-between land, between the normal cover band circuit and being legitimate artists, we aren’t deemed a fit for festivals a lot of times,” Nick Niespodziani, lead singer of Yacht Rock Revue, told the Journal about participating in Summerfest. “So it’s kind of a fun thing for us.”

The ensemble draws inspiration from the sound of the ’70s and ’80s with fluid rock rhythms accompanied by brass and synthesizers. They cover the likes of Hall & Oates, Steely Dan and Kenny Loggins.

Yacht Rock Revue originally began as a novelty tribute act to the feel-good songs of a breezy, bouncy era of music. They grew in popularity and eventually packed venues around the nation.

Yet, as composers with an eclectic musical background that includes a stint in the early-2000s indie rock world as the band Y-O-U, their desire to create remained a necessity. Yacht Rock Revue released their debut album of original tracks in 2020, “Hot Dads in Tight Jeans.” Regarding the lively title, Niespodziani shared that the group combined has at least over 10 kids between them, ranging from pre-K to college.

He said about touring as a family man, “It is a challenge, especially with little ones, to say goodbye. They’re at the age where they cry when you’re leaving, and that’s heartbreaking no matter how many times it happens. … They’ve kind of grown up understanding this is what daddy does.”

Yacht Rock Revue still primarily plays covers during their set, but are slowly blending their originals into the mix. Niespodziani admitted it was intimidating to slot the band’s songs next to the hits of classic artists, but was also surprised audiences have embraced the band’s original tracks, which has been rewarding.

“The limitation of writing within yacht rock almost became an inspiration within itself,” Niespodziani explained about the band’s sound. “We wanted it to be true to the genre that we play, but we didn’t want it to be a pastiche. … We wanted it to have some modernity to it, we wanted it to be true to ourselves.”

The 10-song album expertly captures the aura of the generation they cover. “Step” and “House in the Clouds” have infectious beats, and “Bad Tequila” is an easy song to sing along to – and will bring out the innate human instinct of dancing to a catchy melody, even if it’s just a toe tap for the self-proclaimed rhythmless individuals.

With their polished mellow cadence, Yacht Club Revue is ready to help music lovers from any generation move and groove to the classic hits of decorated artists – and perhaps discover some new modern favorites – this Saturday under the desert stars. No boat required.

Niespodziani said about performing in front of fun crowds, “That’s the ultimate thing for us, that’s our fuel, that’s what makes us go. That exchange of energy with the audience … we completely vibe on that.”

Baracutanga, Phil Rocker and Black Pearl Band NM will join Yacht Club Revue on the bill. The concert will begin at 5 p.m. at Civic Plaza.

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