I really don’t want to like this band. One of their biggest claims to fame is that some spoiled sixteen year old brat had them play at her birthday party on MTV’s My Super Sweet Sixteen back in 2007. The lead singer, Cass Cates, boasts in their promo materials that they are the next big thing. They’ve got a fresh style and a familiar sound. They’re edgy enough to draw a young crowd, but mainstream enough to appeal to the older generations. It all seems very planned and purposeful, and I don’t want to like it. But, I do.
Ashley Red performs a wide range of modern dance/pop covers like “Tonight I’m Loving You” by Enrique Iglesias and “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. If I’m honest, they nail each and every song… some songs sound even better than the original artist.
And then they do something else that makes me not want to like them. Cass gets on the mic and says “That was just karaoke.” Really? It seems to me that’s a bit of an insult to all the great cover and tribute bands that I love – and to the musicians (Hector Rios, John Kurimai and Thor Jeppesen) standing behind him. He probably doesn’t mean it that way, but that’s just the way it hit me. Then they go on to play one of their original tunes.
And I don’t want to like it, but I do. I just can’t help it. The band has a great sound. Their original songs sound just as polished and are just as catchy as anything on the radio today. They get the crowd into it. The lead singer will jump off the stage and run out into the crowd to get people dancing. The whole band seems to be having a good time. They get members of the audience to sing a few words. It’s interactive, its alive and it’s fun. When Ashley Red is playing it feels like a party.
The lead singer may be right. Ashley Red may really be the next big thing. Check them out while there’s still room in front of the stage.
- Ashley Red plays at the Fremont Street Experience every Thursday night in June (free).
- You can also catch them at Blue Martini in Las Vegas on June 26th.
- If you like to buy your music the old fashioned way (on a disc in a case with art and stuff) I’ve seen Cass selling the band’s CD at their Fremont Street shows.
- Contrary to my initial impression (from checking out a few videos on Youtube before deciding to go out and see their show) the band is actually very approachable.
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