Hair metal and rock n roll put fire to the stage at the Legion in Galt with the Band Lift. Along with classic tunes like Here I Am by the Scorpions and some Kiss, the boys made a medley transitioning The Zoo by the Scorpions into the YouTube record breaking pop song Gangnam Style, which was followed up by more real rock n roll and heavy metal. Halfway through the show a well known Cambridge musician, Chris Julke, jumped on set to do a few songs including some Alice in Chains.
It was clear through how tight the band was and how accurate their covers were that they’d been playing for more than 12 years. One of the founders of the band, Jim Billard (who was celebrating his 50th birthday) who does vocals and plays guitar, says they have a solid following in Cambridge and over the years have gained a reputation.
“If we play a club we’re guaranteed a few thousand people,” said Billard.
He said when he first moved to Cambridge it was a hotbed for bands, but things have changed.
“When you used to go out to clubs it was an event—people would come out just because,” said Billard. “The thing that makes it hard now is they (clubs/bars) don’t want to pay the money. There’s no bars here; it’s a shame.”
Billard said they used to be guaranteed about $1,000 a show about ten years ago but are lucky to get even $500. This isn’t the case in just Cambridge, but when Billard was in New York City he had to pay about $100 to play.
Despite all the doom and gloom for artist that want to make a buck off playing, Lift doesn’t really do it for money.
“I didn’t do this because I want to get paid, I just love it,” said Billard.
When he started off labels gave out development deals that would allow artists to reach their full potential, but also gave them some slack and opportunity to party. Now it’s a matter of the deal being gone after the hit is released and death by nostalgia takes its effect.
Billard reminds up-and-coming musicians that they need to be focused on the music and not get discouraged.
“If they’re good, I’m the first person to back them up,” said Billard. “It’s not only music, it’s a business—if you don’t remember that, and you’re just out to party, you won’t make it.”