Our friendly, neighborhood theme park is not only making history with its 301-foot, tallest-ever-built-at-the-park “Windseeker” ride, Carowinds is also breaking new ground in the Charlotte corporate world by hiring original music artist Lucky Five for its VIP media event instead of the usual cover-slinging, weekend warrior band. Amid a flurry of TV cameras, tuxedo-clad strawberries, and excited/nervous VIPs ready to soar to the top of the new tower ride, Lucky Five took the stage and provided masterful background sound to the event. Just like at most corporate events, the band members realized they were not the main attraction. Furthermore, the element of being the soundtrack to the other hubbub was magnified by the 301-foot monstrosity that is Windseeker, operating just behind them. Still, the guys thought it pretty cool to perform in a place where they’re surrounded by rollercoasters and tall, shiny towers full of screaming riders.
Adding to the whimsy of the event, Lucky Five’s song “On and On” features the lyric line “It’s like a rollercoaster loving you,” which fit in perfectly with the setting of the show. The humor of this juxtaposition was not lost on the event-goers or on the band. I could see each of the band members smile as they realized the line was quite appropriate to the venue. Guitarists Shago Elizondo and Jonny Fung said they hadn’t made the connection between the lyrics and the location until they were on stage playing the song. A couple of the more attentive members of the audience had an amused smirk on their faces, too.
Although it outwardly appeared that no one was listening, with the ground in front of the stage relatively void of the usual group of transfixed listeners, the guys received tons of compliments from people between sets and after the performance. The staff at Carowinds expressed their satisfaction with their choice of bands—Lucky Five blended right in with the upbeat, playful mood of the event. Even if the lack of direct attention was a significant change from the front-and-center, paparazzi onslaught that the band experienced earlier in the month at the indie rock Mecca that is the SxSW Festival in Texas, this is probably the first gig that involved a free preview of a record-breaking ride as part of the perks. Two of the guys in the band were brave enough to ride the huge tower—which they said was very cool, though they recommend waiting awhile before riding if you’ve just eaten something.
Carowinds continues its support of local music with their “Live, Plugged, & Local” high school rock band competition throughout the week of Spring Break (April 2- 6) with Bale & Smyth Company, Bullettprooff, Butterfly Corpse, Based on a True Story, and NF52, in that order, performing at 3pm each day this week at the park.
I’ve really got to hand it to Carowinds for recognizing that there is real songwriting talent in the Charlotte area and utilizing that talent in a corporate event setting. Hopefully other large, Charlottean businesses and corporations will follow suit (cough, cough: ALIVE AFTER FIVE, cough) and put some original artists on their event stages as well. Watch out, cover bands: we original bands you’ve been laughing at are fighting for a share of that corporate turf.
Want to ride the 301-foot-tall Windseeker at Carowinds? Your best bets for cheap tickets are either buying online at www.carowinds.com or grabbing a coupon from your neighborhood Jersey Mike’s sub shop. Carowinds is open this week for spring break, and every Saturday and Sunday until it changes to daily operation the week of Memorial Day.
Check out Lucky Five either on Facebook or at their website, www.luckyfiveband.com to hear some fantastic, retro-fueled funk rock—and jump on that quickly if you want to say you “knew them when…” because these guys are on the verge of joining the big leagues.
Buy Lucky Five’s Albums on iTunes