No Cheap Effects, Just Talent

By Jenna Croyle

Things like talented and innovative musicians, drive and ambition, a great stage show and a passion for music and performing for the fans all lead a band step by step to the top of the staircase to success.

Every once in a while, a band comes along that has all that and more, making you just think, WOW after the first song they play. This week’s featured band definitely has that no nonsense, just talent and energy wow quality.

Open Island began in 2007 and is made up of Alan Minor on Guitar, Backup Vocals and Keyboard, Gary Magorien on Lead Guitar, Chris Vonvolken on Bass Guitar, Doug Bednarski on Drums and Backup Vocals and the very talented and versatile Mark Bartlett on Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboard and Harmonica.

Open Island is a classic rock cover band that performs a extensive range of hit songs that span more than sixty years of music including songs by Bon Jovi, AC DC, Red Hot Chili Peppers , Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eve 6, Black Crowes, Van Halen , Lynyrd Skynyrd, Weezer, Plain White T’s along with so many more.

When Open Island takes the stage, you can immediately see that they bare the trademark of a truly phenomenal band with lyrics and music that comes from the heart.

With charismatic stage presence, boyish good looks and a voice from heaven, the bands front man, Mark Bartlett has an engaging freedom and innocence on stage that coupled with his diverse talent he exudes with every show surely makes for a fantastic musical experience.

The Bass Guitarist, Chris Vonvolken has all the skills and flair to not only support the band, but also stand out from the crowd as one of Erie’s rising stars. Vonvolken seems to carefully orchestrate every aspect of his performance, taking special care to play each note as it was originally intended as he blasts out the bass line for a truly energetic complement to the overall show experience.

While most guitarists’ possess the essential lead guitar skills like good vibrato and string-bending techniques, Gary Magorien seems to take those skills to new levels. With remarkable phrasing abilities, excellent presentation of musical context and the ability to bridge the gap between rhythmic variety and musical consistency, Magorien makes his licks really come alive.

Doug Bednarski and Alan Minor add a proficient complement to the band’s overall sound and presentation, offering to every audience a well-balanced and tight treat to the ear.

Though there are many Classic Rock cover bands in Erie, you do not often come across one with a contagious, infectious vitality, and an enduring spirit that simply pours off the stage the entire night. Inspiring everyone who listens to simply enjoy the music is not good enough for this band, they will not stop till you just lose yourself in the music, forgetting all your problems and worries and just having the best damn time possible. Open Island is all that and more.

For more information on Open Island or their show dates, please visit their Facebook page




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