The Moonlighters returned to the Welland Community Wellness Complex last autumn. The band is comprised of Rod Joanisse, keyboard and vocals, Brad Whitelaw, guitar and vocals, Wayne Lack, bass and vocals, and Dan Colavicchia, drums.
“This is one of the venues I look forward to playing,” said Lack. “People are fun to play for here. It’s nice to see familiar faces keep coming back. And it’s also nice to see people dancing and singing along.”
The Moonlighters formed the band five years ago and have played at Legions, churches, private parties, outdoor festivals, and bandshells during the summer. The type of music that they play is ‘50s and ‘60s rock and roll.
“We started playing ‘50s and ‘60s rock and roll because people are getting older and there was a niche, so we kinda thought ‘Let’s do that kind of music,’” said Joanisse.
They play songs by, but not limited to, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and The Beatles.
“My favourite song that we do, probably Wooley Bully, because it’s my grandson’s favourite,” said Whitelaw.
The name of the band comes from the term “moonlighting,” which means to have another job. When they formed the band they already had jobs and the band was like a second job, so they became The Moonlighters.
These musicians have been playing music for decades before they formed the Moonlighters and love performing.
“I get nervous a little bit, but after I’m kind’ve set up and after I play the first song I’m fine,” said Colavicchia, “I’ve been playing a long time, but I still get that little feeling in my stomach. We all do.”
And like all bands, they have their challenges.
“The biggest challenge, I would say, is probably getting time to rehearse because we’re constantly, every time we’re doing a show in the New Year we’re trying to put in new material so it’s not stale,” said Whitelaw. “We’re constantly trying to keep the set as fresh as we can so people enjoy the show.”
Drummer Dan Colavicchia has a special bass drum that he chose for the band.
“It has a group called The Three Stooges on it, and they were a comedy trio back in the ‘50s…it represents the music that we do, the time period of the music,” said Colavicchia.
The band members put their excitement and joy for music into their shows and always have a lot of fun. It reflects into the audience and many get up to dance or sing along.
Toby Mc Creadie and Stasia Handley were two of the dancers that hit the floor at the Welland Community Wellness Complex.
“This is our kind of music,” said Mc Creadie. “We grew up dancing to this.”
“We really like this band and absolutely love the music that they play,” said Handley.