Like a flood, middle school make out, or amateur adult film, it all began in the basement. The now-famed Yacht Rock Revue was once a band called Y-O-U, pursuing dreams of indie rock fame, when they were given free reign over Thursday nights at 10 High. In the Virginia-Highland’s subterranean music lair, they did everything from original tunes to theme sets like Led Zeppelin vs. The Who to comedy (which bombed). But it was the impulse idea to smoothly croon ‘70s light rock (Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald, Linda Ronstadt, etc.) whilst wearing polyester, aviators, and captain’s hats that captured the people’s hearts. In early 2008, Yacht Rock became a weekly occurrence; by 2009 the city’s cool kids were packing out 10 High on Thursdays nights and tossing back PBRs in their own captain’s hats, and by 2010, the eight guys (only one of whom has since left the band to join Blackberry Smoke) quit their day jobs and began stockpiling polyester suits.Did the indie rockers dream of being a cover band? About as much as a Rich Girl wants to get a job at Shoney’s. But they were tapping into an underserved genre of music, captivating folks both young and old, and their legions of cultish fans are glad they stayed swayed with it. When they finally moved the tunes up to sea level, it was for a holiday show at the Variety Playhouse in 2009. They’d never heard of a local band renting out the place for a concert, so decided to give it a whirl...and it sold out. Yacht Rock was legit.
Larger gigs poured in (corporate events, weddings, Park Tavern) and the band wondered if they could get the very artists they covered to join them on stage while they were out on tour.
Spoiler alert: They could (everyone has a price). It started with Walter Egan at a show in Nashville, and they have since shared the stage with Eddie Money, John Oates, and Bobby Kimball from Toto, to name just a few. They’ve played at the Playboy Mansion (obviously), sang the national anthem at the Atlanta Braves game on Fourth of July (complete with Greg and Nick jumping off stage and rounding the bases), opened for Ludacris and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis during the Final Four, sailed on music cruises with Kid Rock, Train, Heart, Weezer, and Kiss (for the record, they do NOT drive the boat), and have packed out shows in NYC, Nashville, Los Angeles, and more.
The guys (who actually like each other in real life) have developed a flawless, signature style with spot-on renditions, refreshing comedy, and energetic stage presence any band would covet. They’ve received accolades like “Best Place to Get Drunk With Your Dad” to “Best Overall Music Act in Atlanta” to “Best Place to Start an Extramarital Affair,” and have been name-dropped by the New York Times, Pitchfork, the Guardian UK, Spin, TimeOut New York, Billboard, MTV.com, and (probably) your mom at her last Tupperware party.
And it’s not always pure AM Gold glory, as they perform under many aliases: Please PleaseRock Me (Beatles), Reagan Rock (Smooth ’80s) Uno Dos Tres Catorce (U2), Dazed and Confused ('70s Stoner Rock), Rock Fight (Led Zeppelin vs. the Who, Tom Petty vs. Fleetwood Mac, etc.) and so forth. Yacht Rock Revue also performs many classic albums in their entirety, including Michael Jackson's Thriller, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Prince's Purple Rain, the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, XTC's Black Sea, and Led Zeppelin IV. But no matter what they’re playing, it’s always a license to let loose. Smooth rock on, y’all.
Tickets: $20 and up.