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A ‘Rush’ to judgment

posted Jul 2, 2017, 9:02 AM by Steve Sauer   [ updated Jul 27, 2017, 6:37 PM ]
With a Saturday night where I didn’t have to go play a gig, I showed up at Tellus360 to catch the performance by Solar Federation. They’re a renowned tribute band performing the music of Rush. Within the first few songs, I realized a few things: For one, there are probably way more Rush songs that I don’t know compared to the ones I do, and I felt outnumbered in that regard. The fans up front, and those sitting on the sidelines too, knew exactly what rhythmic changes were coming next as they sang along, shook, bopped their heads and cheered in all the right places.

Something else I observed early on in the show, and again and again throughout, is how well the band members themselves executed all their parts. They all shine, but one member stood out in particular to me. Maybe I’m biased since he is a very dear friend, but I can’t imagine anyone disagreeing with this: Solar Federation is such a great vehicle for showing off the mad skills of Mike Bitts on bass. I don’t think I ever fully appreciated how crucial that instrument is to Rush music, not until I saw Mike playing it last night. He is a friend of mine as well as somebody I look forward to playing alongside quite often, but I wasn’t ready for just how much of a monster he is on the bass within the context of this band. My hat is WAY off to this guy.

What’s more, it gives me great joy to break some news here. At an upcoming Solar Federation concert they will have as an opening act another band very dear to my heart: Presence - A Tribute to Led Zeppelin. In that group, Mike’s bass and my keyboards combine to complete the duties of John Paul Jones. In Solar Federation, it takes the efforts of Mike on bass AND synth (cough, cough), Joe Cin on additional keyboards, and Julie Schreiber on vocals to complete the duties of Geddy Lee. Mike will be pulling double duty that night, playing in both bands. The show is Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Pollock Center in Camp Hill, PA. I cannot wait! Further info will be announced in due time.

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