SLO Brew ushered in the new school year Tuesday not with a whimper, but with a totally radical guitar riff (and $1 beers to boot).
Makeover, a San Luis Obispo-based ’80s pop cover band, returned to SLO Brew for the Welcome Back Cal Poly Double Pint Night event, which slashed normal pint night prices in half.
“People think, ‘Oh, ’80s cover band, like hair metal, Poison, Bon Jovi, whatever,’ but no,” said Makeover drummer and 2004 Cal Poly alumni Peter Ayer. “We play a three-piece rock act for pop songs.”
The trio tries to cover songs that people will know, “but have kind of forgotten that they knew,” according to Makeover’s guitarist and vocalist Adam “Les” Beck — including songs by band favorites such as Michael Jackson and Madonna.
“Honestly, we started this as a hobby,” said Makeover bassist Matt Hildenbrand. “We all have musical background. And we were like, ‘Fuck, why don’t we get together and play music.’ … It’s a labor of love. We get to do this, and it’s just fun.”
Beck began the show by welcoming the audience to a “roller coaster” experience of songs before Makeover opened with Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny.”
The audience, some clad in their brightest and shiniest ’80s apparel, neared the stage to dance. The set varied greatly, from covers of Madonna’s “Open Your Heart” to Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence,” all tied together by the band’s unique rock approach.
“It’s the best,” Ayer said about playing for SLO Brew. “I mean, hometown — you can’t get much better.”
SLO Brew Marketing Manager Kaeleigh Moss expected the event to fill the building up to capacity, bringing in approximately 300-400 people.
“I’m sure we’ll know by our pint sales,” Moss joked.
Double Pint Night was the third time that Makeover has played at SLO Brew. The ’80s theme “was just something that college kids seem to tell us that they like,” Moss said.
Themed nights might make a stronger appearance after SLO Brew relocates.
Moss said the new locations will bring more structure. Though a definite schedule hasn’t been made, Moss expects students to be able to plan for recurring events that may include country nights, jazz nights and ’80s nights.
“There will always be something,” she said.
According to Moss, SLO Brew intends on keeping live music and pint night as fixtures when its new downtown building, The Brew, is up and running.
“The new location on Higuera is going to have something more intimate, like (SLO Brew) where it’s very up and close and personal with the artists,” Moss said.
Meanwhile, the second location, The Rock — located off Broad Street near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport — will house larger, more mainstream musical acts. The turnover is scheduled to happen in early January, according to Moss.
At both venues, patrons should expect a “more VIP experience,” Moss said. “We’re going to have more to offer.”
Moss said the two new locations are intended to be more accessible to a wider variety of ages, so as college students grow, “you’re going to grow with SLO Brew.”