Friday, March 1, 2013

A Party for shore and slopes

A beach band works pretty well on a mountain too, or so learned Straightjacket Slumber Party.  When the band formed in 2009, Straightjacket Slumber Party focused on Cape Cod gigs.  Then a friend of the band wooed it to Sugarbush where SJSP now plays annually.

This year the group grabbed a winter gig closer to home and hits the Coppertop Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.

“We found the same vibe,” SJSP bassist Ted Wyman says of beach and mountain. “In both cases people are coming to see us after they’ve been doing some other planned activity and just want to unwind. It’s like coming off the beach and grabbing a lobster roll or coming in from skiing and grabbing a thick ale.”
Straightjacket Slumber Party

In either case, SJSP’s mission is clear: “We play short and danceable rock 'n' roll songs,” Wyman says. “We keep an eye on what keeps people interested and gets them up dancing.”

SJSP guitarist and songwriter (and snowboarder) Bob McKelvey taps into English pub rock, garage-punk,  and reggae/ska for his songs. The band puts out songs every few months, with a couple of fresh tracks worth checking out online at

Wyman recalls SJSP's  early days when clubs only wanted bands that were playing cover songs. “We had to teach them they didn’t want that,” he says. “If we’re playing three sets, then we’ll definitely put in some covers, but plays songs you never hear other bands playing live.”

Wyman points to tunes by the Pixies and Lemonheads (a little Mass love) and by the Clash and English Beat as examples of artists that SJSP likes to cover when necessary.

That’s good company to keep, but SJSP's songs sound like the band doesn’t get overwhelmed by its influences. The slinky “Be Alive,” for example, really shows off the group’s originality.

“That song has such a different groove that at first we didn’t see people dancing,” Wyman recalls. But it eventually sunk in and this past summer, “Be Alive” had people “going nuts."

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