He’s got a Jimmy Buffett tribute band and a Beach Boys tribute band. He rocks out to new wave and metal with That 80’s Band. With Cold Gin and Beatlemania Returns, he offers a musical experience of the music of Kiss and the Beatles – and in full costume. When Charles Parker says his band can play a thousand songs, his resume backs up the claim.
Early visitors to the City of Falls Church Memorial Day Festival can hear his classic rock outfit, the Charles Parker Band, from 9 – 10:45 a.m. on the festival’s main stage. And they can test the depth of the group’s catalog of covers.
The band claims to know every rock song ever written, and invites audience members to challenge them on the assertion. Have they been stumped by an audience?
“Oh, of course,” says Parker, “all the time. But it gives them the chance to be a part of it.”
The Baltimore-based Charles Parker Band has been around since the ’90s. They play throughout the region, and across the East Coast in the summertime. They perform at clubs and bars, but they’re also hired for events like weddings, reunions, and festivals. They’re no strangers to playing for a festival crowd, though next Monday will be the band’s first time taking part in the City of Falls Church’s Memorial Day festivities.
Parker hopes that people will turn out to support the festival, and also check out his band’s set. For such a festival show, Parker says, audience engagement is key. If no one’s paying attention to the musicians, Parker explains with a laugh, then playing the show isn’t all that thrilling for them. But if listeners are singing and dancing, the musicians pick up in the excitement and it shows.
“It’s really about the crowd,” Parker says. “If the crowd’s excited, then the band’s into it.”
Their set will lean toward classic rock, but “if somebody has something else they want to hear, then sure, we’ll play that, too,” Parker says.
For years the band has been a live jukebox for its audiences, and Parker says the entertaining comes easy now.
“We just come out and play what everybody wants to hear,” Parker says.
• For more information about the Charles Parker Band, visit charlesparkerband.com.