Despite the musty weather, those hanging out near Sierra Vista Mall on Thursday, July 12, couldn’t help but rock out as Bay Area 90s tribute band Flannel was jamming nostalgic grunge rock hits like Stone Temple Pilots’ “Vasoline” and Pearl Jam’s “Alive.”
The Clovis gig was a first for the five-member band. Together nearly two years, the group has only played in the Valley once before—at ApCal Winery’s 90s event in Madera last year. On this second Central Valley trip, Flannel celebrated its first mini-tour with two back-to-back shows, the first at Sierra Nights Live and the second the following night at ApCal.
Though the band members frequently performs throughout the San Francisco area on all sides of the beautiful bay, they said it’s been a blast to come share their music in Central California. They have plans for a second mini two-night tour in SoCal this September, with shows scheduled at Los Angeles’ Whiskey a Go Go and Santa Barbara’s Wildcat Lounge.
Having achieved modest success since late 2016, with nearly 20 shows under their belt, its surprising to learn that two bandmates were simply picked up off Craigslist.
The brainchildren behind the band were bassist Chris Vines and guitarist and female vocalist Lauren Devine, who decided seemingly on a whim to start a 90s band so they could play all the songs from the era they loved so much. After reaching out and securing the talents of lead vocalist Daniel Burke, who Vines knew from playing with in a 9-piece ska punk band back in 1999, the trio took to Craigslist where they found lead guitarist Idan Zuckerman. Later, they found drummer Mark Adams the same way.
Coincidently, after months of playing together, Burke discovered Adams had been a student in his dad’s 8th grade class and that Burke and his twin brother were actually born during the time Adams was in that class.
“Everything really comes full circle; it’s cosmic,” Burke said.
And just as Adams ended up in a band with his 8th grade teacher’s son, the 90s era has also made its way back around.
“Every decade has a resurgence and right now it’s the 90s,” Burke said. “We’re definitely capitalizing on a fun trend and it’s a trend that I never let go of so it’s fun to be like ‘ha, told you it’s awesome.’”
While Flannel plays the obvious alternative hits one would expect from a 90s grunge tribute band, paying homage to the likes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Flannel also likes to reach outside those alternative jams and play tunes by lesser-known, but still relevant grunge bands, like Cracker, Lit, and Tonic. They even throw in a little Beastie Boys to mix it up. And with Devine on vocals, they are able to add some female rock in there as well, namely Alanis Morissette and No Doubt.
“I don’t think we’re necessarily going outside the box as far as rock and grunge, but there is such a huge list of songs to choose from that we have a rotating list, almost like a draft, of songs,” Burke said.
“As long as it’s not the B side of something that you may love but no one else has really heard, we’ll give it a shot and see how the audience responds,” Devine added.
From the sight of excitement in the Sierra Nights Live crowd, it seems audiences are definitely feeling Flannel.
“I think for us and the audience it’s about this nostalgia from the grunge era,” Burke said. “I think that was a really emotional time for people. I know it was for me. That was when I discovered music and all I would do was listen to music. And you couldn’t look up lyrics online then so I would literally listen to the songs and write down the lyrics … We all love to play and we love these songs so it’s fun to put on a show and we’re quite theatrical about it because we’ve not just a cover band, we’re a tribute band and there is a distinction.”