TricksBlog Late 2019

Blog - December 2019
Dec 31 - New Year's Eve party at Allegan Eagles

Tricks played for the Allegan Eagles NYE party last year, and they immediately asked to book us for this year. Steve immediately said no, but the rest of us said yes. We had to find a suitable stand-in to play drums in Steve's place. We didn't have to look very far. Skip Herrema has been connected with the Tricks band since 1980, when the Herrema family lived next door to our practice house in Hopkins. In his pre-teen years, Skip and his sisters spent a few Saturday afternoons sitting in the corner of our rehearsal room, while Tricks put our cover songs together Skip says that experience was a key influence that led him to be a rock and roll drummer for the rest of his life. Skip was the drummer in Bassbeast's band "Meanstreak". When we hired Bassbeast in 2008, we also reconnected with Skip. He has played drums with us for several parties over these past ten years. But, we've never played a bar gig with Skip. So, over the past couple months we put in some rehearsal time at Skip's shed - at his mom & dad's house, just south of Hopkins High School. We were pretty merciless about cramming four hours of songs into Skip's head. Most of those songs we had played before with Skip, but only a few times at those scattered summer parties. Our rehearsals paid off and our show at the Allegan Eagles was a big success. People were cheering and dancing from the git-go.
Downtown Allegan was packed full of cars, because they have "The Biggest Ball-Drop in Western Michigan" on the riverfront. They had a freezing live band playing, along with food and beverage tents, and lots of outdoor heaters. We thought that action would take our crowd away, but the Eagles actually had so many people they had to set up two extra tables. The crowd thinned out just before midnight because people wanted to go check out the action at the riverfront. Besides the ball drop, they had a fireworks display over the river. But, by about ten after midnight, a bunch of people came back to end the night with some hot Tricks action. We only played a little after 12:30, because we started early at 8pm. That's a long four and half hour gig, with lots of demanding dancers to entertain. It helped that we had Don Welsh there to sing classic Bob Seger and a few other favorites. Don is always a big hit, and the Allegan fans gave him lots of love. What a vocal powerhouse! The favorites are always "Night Moves" and "Summer of '69". Thanks so much to Don and to Skip for helping Tricks make this NYE party a fantastic rock-fest. Thanks to the Eagles for hiring us. Thanks to Dave Lopez our soundman; lots of people remarked about how good the mix sounded - it's a good-sounding room, a lot like Wayland Hotel, but with a much bigger dance floor and cheaper drinks. Thanks to everyone who came out to join in the fun. You gotta work hard to play hard. You know it. And, oh yeah, ... thank you dancers! Happy new year / Happy new decade!

Dec 21 - 3rd Annual Phelps Ugly Sweater Party, Fennville VFW

Krys and Rick have played dozens of parties for various Phelps family occasions, going back to about 2004? We invite Steve to play drums each time, but Steve hasn't played at a Tommy & Tara party since 2006, at their pool party for Tommy's birthday that July (Check out the photos at the Tricks History page for mid 2006.) We were surprised when Steve said "yes" for this Ugly Sweater party, because we only asked Steve about one month ahead of time. All the stars aligned and we ended up playing with the big Tricks band at the Fennville VFW. Tommy & Tara have always had the Phelps parties at their property, usually up in Irons. When we celebrated the ten year anniversary of Phelpstock in July of 2017, Tommy said, "we need to have an annual winter party at our new home down in Fennville".Thus was born the idea for an "Ugly Sweater" party. After two such parties at the new Phelps place, Tommy decided it would be easier to hold the party at the Fennville VFW. Less cleaning and setting up and after-party clean-up. Sometimes a party is just too much work for the hosts to have any fun. This full-band Tricks at the VFW was the perfect idea. We had a real drummer, we had lots of food, we had club-price drinks, we had room to dance, we had lots of ugly sweaters and a contest for top three best ugly sweaters. No snow made it good traveling weather, so we had a packed house, with VFW members, Phelps family and friends, and Tricks friends. I could go on, but just check out the photos that speak for themselves. Thanks to Tommy & Tara for hiring us. Thanks to everyone who brought food. Thanks to everyone who decorated the hall. Thanks to everyone who wore the best ugly sweater to make the entire event look super festive. Thanks to the VFW people. Hope to be back with Tricks next year, maybe for a summer VFW event.

Dec 6 - Dorr Moose

The Moose Club in Dorr is our one and only Dorr venue (not counting Steve's basement) since AJ's finished having live bands. Unlike AJ's the Moose is a one-nighter. But, they have a big dance floor, drinks are cheap, and the band hours are nice and early. One huge benefit of having no regular bar gigs, we can get home on Fri & Sat before 2am. We had a decent crowd this Saturday night. people were in the holiday mood and dressed up for Christmas. Nearly every song had a few dancers out on the dance floor. Thanks to our friends and family who came out to support Tricks indoors in Dorr. Thanks to the Moose for hiring us. I'm sure we'll be back a few times in 2020.

Blog - November 2019
Nov 27 Wed & Nov 30 Sat - Thanksgiving Weekend at Wayland Hotel (Final Tricks at the Wayland Hotel)

"The End of an Era!" would not be an overblown description of this final Tricks weekend at Wayland. Tricks started playing weekends at the Wayland Hotel way back in 2002, March 15 of 2002 to be precise . So, let's do the math. If we played 17 years of our 43 year Tricks career, that's, um, ... over one third of our bar band career. Not sure if you can quantify all the fun and festivities that Tricks has hosted at the Wayland Hotel. These great-sounding walls have seen parties for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, bachelorettes & bachelors, and even more "just because" get-togethers for hanging and banging with Tricks. Rick always says, "you work hard all week, now you deserve to play hard". We spent hundreds of hour here at the Hotel, re-living memories and making new memories.  
"Turkey Eve" Wednesday |Saturday


Blog - October 2019

Oct 26 - Tricks at Allegan Eagles Halloween Party

Tricks or Treats, anyone? We love rocking the Allegan Eagles Club. They have a big dance floor, and those people really love their classic rock. Don really wowwed the crowd with his classic Bob Seger and other great 70s tunes. Check out the costumes and decorations. Thanks to the Eagles for having Tricks. We'll see you here again to celebrate New Year's Eve.


Oct 5 - Tricks at the Gun Lake Casino "We're baaaack!"

And we're back. Tricks played at least a dozen gigs at the Gun Lake Casino, back when they first opened in 2011. Strangely enough, our first GLC gig was Ozzy's 7th gig as the new Tricks bass player. And we played on Easter Sunday. Tricks played about every other month for a couple years. In fall of 2013, the GLC management (the tribal elders council and Station Casinos Management LLC) decided that they would have football on the big screen instead of live music. Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football. Wednesday is blues night, and Fri & Sat they bring in the 80s or 90s tribute bands. That only leaves Tuesday for us local bands (even though their billboards still best "Best In Local Live Music"). So, Tricks fell off the GLC radar, and we didn't care much because we didn't like the lack of decent dancefloor, the smoking, the cramped stage, and the whole casino vibe where interest in live music is way down the priority list.
So, now what?
The Gun Lake Casino has tried various ideas for bar entertainment at their "Stage 131" lounge. They do the football watching parties, the dueling pianos, the solo dude with a loop pedal, karaoke, and so on. They still have great bands on Friday and Saturday, with bands on and off through the rest of the week. What got Tricks back on the radar was the Casino's decision to try out having two live band shows on Saturdays; one band from 4pm to 8pm, a second band from 9pm to 1am. The Wiser Productions booking agency was forced to dig a little deeper for bands to fill that early slot on Saturday. So, poof! We're back.
Our first return show to GLC was super fun. Lots of fans and friends came out to fill the Stage 131 lounge. They have remodeled the stage, bar, and dancefloor, so there is better space for the band and for the dancers. Sorry, we can't take photos of the casino or its clients, so we only have a few photos of our friends. Thanks to Ann for her photos. The band won't be taking photos at the casino. So, that means you'll have to show up at GLC if you want to see the action. The casino remodel job is nice. They have a new poker room, and the dining areas are nicer. The buffet is awesome, as you might expect at a casino. Part of what's nice for a band playing the GLC is that they provide the sound and lights. We only bring in our instruments. Sad for our soundman Dave, but an easy set-up and tear-down for the band. Tricks is back in Jan and July in 2020. Thanks to Curt Wiser and the tribe for hiring us. Thanks to Tom and Fran Pratt for putting a good word in for Tricks.


Blog - September 2019

Sep 14 - Pig Roast / Kegger / Tricks Party in Schoolcraft

This is the type of Tricks show that we live for. A roasting pig, a couple kegs of beer, a trailer for the band's stage, and a whole bunch of family and friends eating, drinking, and dancing. Without our man Don, this wouldn't have happened. In early August, Don told us that he knew of a pig roast party looking for a band on Sep 14, but we were scheduled to play the weekend of Sep 13 & 14 at the Wayland Hotel. In mid-August Rick met with the Hotel owner Josh to verify our two remaining weekends for Wayland Hotel in 2019. Josh is backing away from hosting live bands at the Hotel. I won't go into a long Rick story about our Tricks history with the Wayland Hotel. It suffices to say that Tricks started playing at the Hotel when Richie was our bass player and even before the Hotel was remodeled with a great stage and dance floor. In 2019 there were only two bands playing gigs at the Hotel; The Decades Band and the Tricks Band. Turns out we were justifiably nervous about our 2019 dates at the Hotel. The Decades band is not playing there any more, and when Rick talked with Josh, we decided to drop the Sep 13 & 14 weekend, and switch our other remaining weekend to Thanksgiving weekend. Actually, the first words out of Rick's mouth were "I need to know if Tricks is confirmed for the weekend of Sep 14 because we have an offer for a party gig that Saturday". Josh simply replied, "take the party". Rick called Don on the drive home to Allegan to confirm that Tricks was available for that pig roast. Don called his friend, who called his friend Doug, who is the pig roast party host. We met up at the party site (a few miles West of Schoolcraft) to decide how the band would be set up. Doug was a bit leery about hiring a band that he never heard before, but Rick reassured him, "this is gonna be great; everyone is going to love Tricks, and you'll want us back next year". Funny; as the band was packing up and loading up to leave last night, Doug was handing out bags of leftover pork to the band. When he got over to give Rick a bag of leftovers, Doug said, "you know, when you first came here you said that I was going to want you back next year, and that's exactly right". So, I guess we'll see you all here next year. Gotta love it! Thanks so much to Doug and his family and friends for making some great memories. The moon was full in the sky and people were dancing on the asphalt driveway. Great food as well. Lots of Tricks virgins getting their first taste of our hard-driving sound. Fun! .

Blog - August 2019

Aug 3 - Sandy Pines Annual Benefit Color Run, Brat Cookout, and Tricks Concert by the Lake

Thanks to Steve and his longtime relationship with Sandy Pines, Tricks has been playing this annual concert in the park for a few years now. The day is the annual Benefit Color Run, which starts with a Run/Walk around the Sandy Pines resort, lunchtime with Dick's Bratwurst Cookout at noon time, and then a Tricks concert at the lakeside in the evening. Golf carts line the streets and parking areas, while familes get comfy on blankets and lawn chairs. It's a real festive atmosphere because Sandy Pines is the get-away fun place to be during summertime. For an exrtra blast of fun, we brought along our guest singer Don Welsh to add some variety to our show. Thanks to the Sandy Pines people and workers. Thanks to Tom and Fran for helping with photos.


Blog - July 2019

July 27 - 44th Annual Camp-O-Rama, Otsego Moose Campground

This gig is a good example of how one great gig leads to another. Some of the Otsego Moose folks are also regulars at the Allegan Eagles. When Tricks played at the Halloween party at Allegan Eagles back in 2017, we soon got a phone call from Tony at the Otsego Moose. He saw all the good fun we were stirring up at the Eagles, so he wanted us to play a couple dates at the Otsego Moose. The only date we could come up with in 2018 was the date of their Halloween party. In the middle of that Halloween party at the Moose, we were invited to come back again in 2019. The only date we were available ended up being their 44th Annual "Camp-O-Rama", a fundraiser weekend of festivities at their Otsego Moose Campground, which is right behind the Moose Lodge, hidden back in the woods behind the Moose parking lot.
We had only heard about this Camp-O-Rama event a couple times before, when we had some gig in Allegan where people said, "you might not have a good crowd tonight because this is Camp-O-Rama weekend at the Otsego Moose. That didn't tell us whether this was a rock n roll crowd or not. The Friday night before our Tricks show, Rick and Don went over to the Moose for a little surveillance. The Friday night band was pure country, like 50s style Hank Williams, complete with steel guitar (although they needed a fiddle). The main thing Don and Rick learned was that the crowd was a dancing crowd. Rick said, "i'm going home to revamp the first set, so we start with the dancing tunes instead the usual mellow stuff". Good thing we showed up with the "bring it" attitude. It turned out that we had dancers from the git-go.
We went there very early to set up, around 5:30pm, nearly four hours early. Steve even showed up very early to set up his drums. When we were all ready to go a good half hour before our 9pm start time, we decided to just go for it. There were a couple hundred people wandering around the campground, having all kinds of fun. There was a raffle going on, and everyone was excited to be there at the pavilion when the raffle drawing started around 8pm. We started our Tricks show right after the drawings, at 8:30. People immediately started dancing. They were expecting a good time, so we knew we had to deliver. Some people were saying, "I remember you guys from our Halloween party last year, what a blast that was." Some of the most enthusiastic dancers were from the neighboring Moose Lodge in South Haven. Not sure what the story was, but they all had neon green "Pirate" t-shirts on. It looks like we're hooking up with the South Haven Moose Lodge to play for some of their events next year. As I said, one gig leads to another. Despite our early start, we ended up playing until almost 1pm. Tear down in the dark was rough, but we always have fun moaning and groaning together. We didn't pull out of the campground until about 2:15am. That's 9 hours of "Work Hard / Play Hard" excitement. As Joe Walsh once said, "Sleep all day, out all night".
My favorite part of the hot sticky night was the little kids dancing. There were a half-dozen tiny tots out there dancing with the adults. One especially tiny and adorable little girl became enthralled with the band action. Her family tried to keep her dancing with the adults, but the little girl kept breaking away from the dancers; she wanted to get a close look at the band. Check out the photos for that story. Thanks so much to the Otsego Moose for having us. Thanks to Rick and Tony and all the volunteers. We appreciate your work. Thanks to the party people and last but not least; Thank you dancers!


Jul 6 - Third Annual Jam 'N' The Cove, Lake Allegan Nethercutte Point

Might as well keep a good thing going. The first two years were a roaring success; let's try it again. To go over the basic story; Back in the summer of 2015, Keith Dawson did some drywall and tile work for Rick & Krys. Keith charged a very unreasonbly low price for the work, so Rick insisted on doing some bartering. "How about if Krys & I play a party for you, for free"? Since Keith is a construction contractor, he loved the idea of throwing a Christmas party for his employees and sub-contractors in early December. After Keith committed to the idea of a December party in his basement, Rick suggested making it a Tricks Lite party, with Steve on Edrums and Ozzy on bass. The party was an awesome get-together with lots of drinking and dancing and socializing. The day after that party, Rick came over to pack it all up, and Keith had an inspiration. "We should do this two or three times a year, every year. We could do one in the summer outdoors and one in the winter in the basement, and maybe one more in between". The following year and Christmas came and went, with no more parties planned by Keith. It was early 2017 when Keith was working on Tim and Sandy Miller's house at Indian Shores. When Rick happened to bump into Tim at a little neighborhood party, Rick said to Tim, "when you see Keith, tell him he's all talk". When Tim asked what that was about, Rick explained the story about Keith saying "we should do this ... every year". Tim texted Keith right then and there. The next day Rick's phone rang and it was Keith. Keith had the idea to do a "Jam N The Cove" at the little cove by his house, where all the cool boaters congregate regularly. He thought we could have a free-for-all afternoon jam session out on the sandbar near the entrance to the cove. Then later in the evening we would have grills set up onshore at the cove and the Tricks band would be ready to go after dinnertime. We've been lucky all three years, with great hot weather for an outdoor party. Thanks to Tim and Keith, and property owner Joe, and various helpers. Thanks to all the party people who came out to hang and bang with Tricks. This year we spiced up our show with an appearance by our guest vocalist, Don Welsh. Don sang a few Bob Seger songs, as well as some Bryan Adams, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, and Ted Nugent. Grrreat job, Don! See Don's video below (and last but not least; Steve's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida drum solo).

to Early 2019
to Early 2020 website was started in March 2004.
Rick is webmaster, with graphics help from Krystal.

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