Hurricane Alley is a cover band that plays a broad cross section of classic rock material from the late 1960s to around the early 1980s. Band leader, Dave Shaheen, sings lead vocals on about half the songs and he plays rhythm guitar. Lead guitarist Reid Travaskis sings the other half of the songs. The switching up between two lead singers gives Hurricane Alley more variety and it is part of the band’s strength. Another strength is Reid Travaskis’s lead guitar playing, which was finely accented, precise, and clean during most of the songs, though there were a few that didn’t come off too well.
Hurricane Alley opened with Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold,” a song that gave Shaheen a chance to shine on rhythm guitar and vocals before Travaskis sang on The Beatles classic “Hide Your Love Away,” making full use of his undaunted rasp. “Golden Hair Surprise” came off well thanks to Travaskis’s spot on rendering of the lead guitar phrases. Travaskis also handled the gritty vocals on Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop The Rain?”
The rhythm section of bassist John Bridge and drummer Larry Harvey maintained a sprightly energy level through out the show. Flexibility is the key to a good rhythm section and these guys had no trouble switching from The Bee Gees “To Love Somebody” to Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker.” The only problem with a four piece band on a Sunday night is that they may have been too loud to play in the lounge and may have had better sound if they had played on the stage above the dance floor on the other side of a divider. Hurricane Alley, a popular Sunday night draw at Whippersnappers for several years, drew a decent size crowd for a holiday weekend.
And, again, variety is another of their strength, especially the in their set lists. They played The Ramones’ “Sedated” with an appropriately punky rock beat then dove into Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man” with an edge in their guitar work. The Rivers tune always works well for Hurricane Alley because Shaheen so obviously enjoys performing it. “Lay Down Sally” gave Travaskis a chance to show off his knowledge and skill in the roots style of guitar playing, laying out the old fashioned blues style that Eric Clapton wrote this in.
Hurricane Alley also turned in snappy renditions of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” and “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tommy James And The Shondellls. The AC/DC tune “You Shook Me” was a bit of a stretch for Travaskis. He just doesn’t have the right voice to belt this out and he wasn’t up to the hard rock challenge. The band recovered nicely soon after with The Police standard “Message In A Bottle,” with the rhythm section knocking this one out of the ballpark. Travaskis got to show off his guitar skills some more when the band launched into Prince’s “Kiss,” a number that requires perfect timing and the guitarist ripped it up here. The band closed well with “Some Kind Of Wonderful, a tune done right with the rhythm section marching it right along.