MEET THE BAND: Mike Murray (keyboard, guitars), Dave Hamilton (vocals, piano), Matt Vance (guitar), Adam Christian (bass), Dan Jankowski (drums)
GETTING THEIR KIXX: The group's members came from different bands, including the long-running local group Copperfoot. "The other guys had started the Sunrise Jones and were looking for some new players," says Murray. "We jammed one night on a whim and decided we just wanted to play some covers that we were passionate about. It grew from there." The group put together a setlist of covers that Murray says are songs "you just don't hear." The group's first show was at Kixx Lounge in Geneva in 2014. "It was sparsely populated," he says. "It was a dive bar in the sleepy part of Geneva. We just wanted to get our feet wet. It was pretty low, with all due respect to Kixx." But then, the band started playing weddings and other events and expanded its repertoire. "We want to be as eclectic as a jukebox," says Murray, adding that the group now has 100 songs at its disposal.
BEATLES MANIA: One night, the guys were at a jam night at the now shuttered Westside bar Stampers, and Hamilton launched into a cover of "Hey Jude." Murray says he "did a classic head turn" as he heard Hamilton because he sounded so much like Paul McCartney. "I'll never forget remember hearing someone crush a cover like that," he says. "We've agreed on the Beatles. It's the one thing we all like the most. We dedicated ourselves to learning the parts as faithfully as possible. You hear a lot of Beatles covers but you don't get the attention to detail. We want to bring that to the forefront. It's more of an appreciation than a tribute. We don't want to dress up in the outfits. We respect that, but we want to have the fans feel like they're part of it, and we tell stories about the songs." The band currently knows about 30 Beatles' tunes. "They had like 100 hits, but we're still learning more. We want to rip out as many as we can at will."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: Their rendition of the Kenny Loggins' tune "Footloose" sounds just like the original, and they play "Uptown Funk" with some serious swagger. Hamilton's voice gets all raspy for "Stay with Me," making it sound as if Rod Stewart is really singing the tune. Band members also play in the local group Uptight Sugar. That group is currently working on an album of original material. "It's inspired by all the stuff we cover," says Murray. "We're not virtuoso players but we learned parts that are a bit of a reach. There are songs we couldn't have covered two years ago. It's been a nice evolution."
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: thesunrisejones.com
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: The Sunrise Jones performs a Beatles Brunch at noon on Sunday, July 24, at Music Box Supper Club.
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