The most successful entertainer of all time. Created the best-selling album of all time. Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice. Thirteen Grammy Awards. Those are just some of the reasons why Michael Jackson is admired by people all over the world.
Kicking off 2014 at Agave, Who’s Bad, the longest-running Michael Jackson tribute band, will take the stage tonight. Who’s Bad is the only tribute band to predate Jackson’s untimely passing and the only one to sell out nearly 50 venues in the United Kingdom. Who’s Bad also sold out London’s O2 Arena in December 2010, the venue where the King of Pop was slated to end his career with his “This Is It” concert series.
Earning praise and recognition by paying meticulous attention to Michael Jackson’s every original groove and dance move, Who’s Bad brings more than 100 collective years of professional experience and a team of dancers with resumes that include Broadway productions.
“There is a lot to cover when you even consider MJ,” said trumpet player Ray McCall. “His timeless music and memorable songs are only half of what makes this man an icon. His dance moves and his ability to control an audience still make him one of the greatest entertainers ever. It takes a lot of energy, dedication to learning difficult dances and routines and a commitment to give your all, every performance, to keep the magic of MJ’s music alive for his many fans.”
It takes an army to put on a Michael Jackson show and Who’s Bad is comprised of serious talent including Joseph Bell and Taalib York (lead vocals), JC Martin (guitar and vocals), Archie Logan (drums), McCall (trumpet and vocals), Aaron McCoy (saxophone and vocals) and Brandon Venable (bass and vocals). Rounding out the group are managers Vamsi Tadepalli and Brian Gandy. Most of the band’s original members come from the music program at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and have backgrounds ranging from rock to jazz.
In an effort to create a band dedicated exclusively to performing the music of pop icon Michael Jackson, Tadepalli founded Who’s Bad 11 years ago. As manager, arranger, saxophonist, keyboardist and choreographer of the group for the last nine years, he has performed saxophone and dance routines at over 150 shows across the globe each year. The group has performed for crowds numbering into the thousands and has shared the stage with Aretha Franklin, Boyz II Men, the Backstreet Boys and The Four Tops.
In addition to the music, the dancing is essential to a Michael Jackson show making acclaimed dancers Daniel Rychlec and Jonathan Sirois key components. Rychlec began dance training at the Nutmeg Ballet in Connecticut and was an accompanying member of BalletNet in Columbus, Ohio, the Washington Ballet and the Atlanta Ballet. He also performed with the Phantom of the Opera touring company before joining the Broadway cast for a run of 12 years. Sirois began dancing at age eight at various dance studios throughout Connecticut and New York City. Since then he has had the opportunity to perform all over the world.
In addition to bringing their music and dance talent, the members of Who’s Bad have a respect and admiration for Michael Jackson that runs deep.
“MJ’s music has played a part in every musician’s life,” McCall said. “The melodies, harmonies, lyrics and artistic videos from MJ have impacted us all in ways one can’t describe. That understanding and appreciation keeps us all involved and honed-in on making everyone remember his music and is why we all love it.”
Those attending the show should be ready to dance and sing along to all the hits as the band covers Michael Jackson’s solo work and songs from the Jackson 5 era including “Dirty Diana,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “ABC,” “Thriller,” “Bad,” “Billie Jean,” “Beat It” and every other song a fan would want to hear.