by Mark Klein
It’s five minutes before the start of a show and a group of men, dressed in black shirts and white ties are standing, backs to the audience in prayer. This is how Cenla’s variety band, The Side Men, starts every first set. Shortly after “amen,” the group strikes their first chord and goes into a four-hour musical review featuring an eclectic mix of song styles that satisfy every group in the audience.
The group consists of lead guitarist and vocalist Mark Klein, of KALB fame, bass guitarist and bass vocalist Rich Joyce of the local radio titan Cenla Broadcasting, acoustic guitarist and vocalist George Hollinshead who brings his trademark South Louisiana energy to the stage and, what band wouldn’t want an animal on the drums? They have one, Animal Shawn Reiszner, pumping up the grooves! They even have a secret weapon, sound engineer and “5th Beatle,” Glenn Leger who dials the band in just right for any atmosphere – major festivals, intimate restaurants, and any stage in between.
The real star of the show is the band’s set list that ranges from classic funk and blues, to country, modern hits, the best of the 70’s and 80’s and obscure hits that are not normally attempted by cover bands. At the end of each song, audiences never really know what to expect next. While the genre may shift dramatically, the constant that holds the show together is the group’s infectious on-stage energy that spreads throughout the crowd. Suddenly, a shift from 70’s classic rockto a late 80’s synthesized dance pop tune makes sense. Tapping toes become people flooding the dance floor.
The group began when Klein and Joyce were connected years ago through an Alexandria civic project, Taking It 2 The Street, a non-profit initiative that helped spark the city’s recent downtown developments. Years later, they’re still connected, playing anywhere live music is found in Central Louisiana.
You’ll often find The Side Men playing at our local casinos, restaurants and bars as well as festivals and private events like corporate functions, Mardi Gras Balls and weddings.
Interested in booking the band?
Visit www.facebook.com/thesidemenmusic or call 318-445-1234 ext. 242