Toledo Pride: All-male Britney Spears tribute band headlines lineupWritten by Mike Bauman | | email@example.com
Picture Britney Spears’ music performed by an all-male rock band minus the choreography and you’ll have Spearz, a Minneapolis-based tribute group to the pop icon.
“We don’t do the dances,” said Spearz vocalist Micah Mackert. “It’s too hard to do that while actually playing. The concept of the band is that it’s just like a regular rock band playing these songs that are largely made on computers. So it’s sort of a little dirtier, and just a way to get people who are listening to something that’s presented as rock music to dance and feel familiar with what we’re doing.”
On Aug. 11, Spearz will headline the musical acts at Toledo Pride for its first performance in the Glass City.
“What’s exciting about it is that a Pride fest is such a big, public thing, and so I guess the way I think about it is that it forces your community to come together and interact about it,” Mackert said. “So if you’ve got strong feelings for or against it, hopefully you’re just forced to talk with people and to be able to feel like it’s a safe way to do that in your community. I think it’s awesome.”
Featuring Mackert on vocals, Neil Zumwalde on bass, Leo Vondracek on guitar, Matt Curney on keys and Cody Brown on drums, Spearz is in its second year performing after forming in Minneapolis.
Mackert said covering Spears tunes was intriguing because of people’s varying opinions of the pop star, as well as the number of hits she has produced during her career.
“Part of what the band wanted to do was sort of to highlight how well-constructed her songs are as, like, little gems of pop music,” Mackert said. “And then doing them with an all-male band where we don’t have to really [program] our production, obviously because we can’t record the songs, it makes that music accessible to people who might otherwise sort of feel like they didn’t have to pay attention to it.”
Attention is just what Spearz got when it started performing in Minneapolis.
“The response has been really good,” Mackert said. “We did a couple of music videos that people around town seem to like a whole lot. There was just a core of people who came to our shows early because they really liked Britney Spears. We found out very quickly that her fans are very serious and dedicated and that they liked what we were doing.”
In June, Spearz was one of the musical acts at the 40th Annual Twin Cities Pride Festival in Minneapolis, where it opened for former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland.
“We got to meet her afterwards,” Mackert said of Rowland. “She’s a pretty big act so she had a bunch of very professional dancers with her, and her show is very tight and her security’s very tight. But we got to go shake hands with her and chat with her a little bit, and she was really great.”
Coming from a strong lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Minneapolis, Spearz is looking forward to experiencing Toledo Pride.
“It’s really exciting to see what another city does with a Pride fest and what that looks like for a community we’re not familiar with,” Mackert said. “It’s really exciting for us to not have been doing networking or something and to be contacted by somebody else who wants us to do our thing out there.”
Spearz will perform as part of the entertainment for the Toledo Pride 2012 festivities, which run from Aug. 10-12. The band is slated to perform at 9 p.m. Aug. 11 at Levis Square, Downtown Toledo. For more information, visit www.toledopride.com.