With the tribute scene hotter than ever, the competition is getting tough. So what can a band do to solve this? Be the only game in town.
“We are the only tribute to KC and the Sunshine Band in the world,” says Stevie Bensusen, lead vocalist for The Sunshine Experience, a Los Angeles-based tribute to KC and The Sunshine Band that comes to The Showroom at Harrah’s Resort 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan 5.
Competition aside, it seems that KC was a smart choice from a marketing perspective as well. According to Bensusen, the appeal of his band is about as wide as it gets.
“When we were looking at all the acts, from an ethnic perspective it made sense. KC is one of the only acts you can put in front of an all-white audience, an all-black audience or a mixed audience, because that’s how much his music transcended all of that. We were looking to form a tribute that could perform anywhere. He is the one who came up.”
That was four years ago. Since then the band has toured everywhere from the West Coast to the east and around the world, with audiences eating it up wherever they go.
While the music of KC and The Sunshine Band may have been released 40 years ago, there are elements of it that are coming back around today, making the band appealing to audiences of all ages.
“Anybody who likes Bruno Mars ... even young kids — they may not know who KC is but they have heard those songs. And if they haven’t they will stop and say ‘man that sounds like Uptown Funk!’ When you go to our shows its teens to people in their 60s. They connect with these kind of sounds.”
Of course it doesn’t hurt that KC and the Sunshine Band had a massive string of hits in their heyday, enough to keep audiences entertained for the full 90-minute show that The Sunshine Experience puts on. In fact, the current show they do is an exact replica of the setlist from KC’s current tour, so anyone who missed seeing the real thing the last time they were here can feel free to catch a near note-for-note recreation of it on Thursday, which is in some ways a milestone for The Sunshine Experience, as they have not played Atlantic City before.
“I’m really looking forward to coming here. We are going to rock it — we’ll have a great time.”