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‘Ready, steady, go!’: I Steadies to hold 36th anniversary show

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Jun 25, 2021

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The Amp at Sam Michaels Park will be filled with music on Aug. 28 from 4-10 p.m., as The I Steadies roll into town for an evening of music and memories.

After multiple reschedulings due to COVID-19 Pandemic-related safety concerns, The I Steadies 36th Anniversary Reunion Party has expanded from a one-band event, featuring The I Steadies, to a three-band show. According to I Steadies band member David Mayle, the show will also feature the current band of I Steadies’ drummer Greg Handakas, Big Boss Man, and Shepherdstown native Olivia Ellen Lloyd. Twenty-year-old Big Boss Man is known for its danceable mix of funk, soul and classic rock ‘n roll. Lloyd’s, who recently released her first album, “Loose Cannon,” is most well known for her Country Americana songs.

“It has really turned into a much bigger event than initially planned, as we have booked two opening bands to start the show,” Mayle said, mentioning the band’s connection to Lloyd was through her father. “Her dad, Greg Lloyd, and us were musical colleagues that go back to the 70s.”

According to Mayle, The I Steadies are particularly excited to be performing their reunion concert so close to Shepherdstown, where the band was originally formed.

“We played all over Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia, and we really called West Virginia our home. We were together from ’85 to ’98,” Mayle said, mentioning the band has gotten back together to perform the occasional concert over the years, although it has been a good while since the their last concert together.

The band’s former members include Shepherd University music department graduates Sam Felker, guitarist, Greg Handakas, percussionist, and Mayle, along with bass guitarist Brian Derek, keyboardist Ken Fischer, singer Lois Walden, percussionist Rick Williams and percussionist Lantz Cox.

“Most people know us as being a dance band, but not being a Top 40 band. We do a lot of dance music,” Mayle said, mentioning the band started out by playing reggae. “We do a lot of covers by The Talking Heads and The Police and Paul Simon, but we even get into blues, Motown and Cajun stuff.”

“Through the years, the appeal and enduring popularity of The I Steadies has been attributed to many factors. Some would say that it’s because we perceived ourselves more as entertainers, rather than just musicians, which offered a compelling aspect to each performance and was inclusive of everybody in attendance. Others point to our strong vocals, harmonies and eclectic choice of material,” Maybe said. “For whatever the reason, one thing is certain — no matter where we performed, we always got the same [positive] response from our loyal audience.”

The reunion concert will feature two sets performed by The I Steadies, along with the sets from the two other bands. Food will be on sale at the event, from 10 popular food trucks from the four-state area.

“They will be serving up authentic Mediterranean, Jamaican and Mexican food, barbecue, boardwalk fries, donuts, hot dogs, brats and even wood-fired artisan pizzas! There will also be flavored shaved ice andice cream available for sale,” Mayle said. “If you’re 21-or-older, you can enjoy premium red and white wine or beer. There will be a variety of cold beers to choose from, including one from Shepherdstown’s own Bavarian Brothers Brewing Company.”

Food prices will vary from vendor to vendor, but beer and wine will be sold at a flat rate of $7 cash per cup, with the show of ID. Attendees are welcome to bring in chairs, blankets, coolers and umbrellas, but per West Virginia law, may not bring alcohol into the park.

Tickets, which will only be available at the show, will cost $15 per-person. Twelve-and-under will go free. Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. The event is cash-only, and no ATMs will be available at the park.