Pelican West returns for hometown gig
Last week's Pelican West homecoming show came at a bad time: The Boss was across town, rousing a sell-out, lit-Bics Mellon Arena crowd.
You can't compete with that.
The five-piece stuck to the script, though. The band, which formed in Greensburg 13 years ago, knows its niche. For six years, they've been the house band at the Radisson at South Padre Island, a five-mile tropical resort on the southern tip of Texas. They play the 225-seat Quarterdeck Lounge, home of the Wednesday night crab races.
"We're not big time," says bassist Damion Giacchino, "but we're touching some people."
It's a nice life, free of the nine-to-five grind. Giacchino and the other band members — drummer Tom Johnson, guitarist Craig McWhinney, keyboardist Darren Rapp and singer Pamela Rich — live at the resort. They're booked 46 weeks a year.
They tried the island in 1996, after a long stint at the Four Points Hotel by Sheraton near Greensburg. They went for a month.
"We treated it as a vaction," Giacchino says. "But we got down there, and we fell in love with the island."
They welcomed the steady work, which spared them touring life, sleeping on a bus or double-bunked in motels.
"It really makes a difference, being in one place and not living out of a bus," Giacchino says. "We've been able to settle in and write music. We've established ourselves as artists."
The band has worked several originals into its sets. The island's mayor picked one, "South Padre Island," as the community's official song.
Mostly, though, they play covers, following a Patsy Cline cut with one from Rush, and following that with an Alanis Morissette single.
The mix is aimed at all kinds of listeners. "In a hotel format, you get a variety of people," Giacchino says. "They all know how to have a good time."
The crowds come in waves: First the winter Texans, who want country or oldies; then the spring breakers; then the summer Bermuda-short set. That's the family crowd, with kids allowed until 10:30 p.m.
"That's the cool thing about the resort," Giacchino says. "When you have a parent saying she needs two CDs — one for her and her husband, and another one for her daughter, that's really unique."
The band's debut, "Picture Perfect," was finished in 2000. Giacchino hasn't been home since.
He made sure this trip, his first Christmas visit in four years, was long enough for some home shows. In addition to last week's gig, at the Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh, the band will do 11 nights at Four Points. They also will host an open stage for local players Sunday.
Giacchino hopes the band's early fans will come back out for those shows. But he doesn't know what to expect.
"No guarantees, I guess," he says. "Do we still have a local following• WIll they still come out and support us• I really hope so."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: The series that will define these Pirates
- PSU campus gathers data for city plan
- Duquesne shooting victims are stable
- Munhall seeks to stave off ‘47’ status
- Pirates hold on to beat Red Sox, complete 3-game sweep at PNC
- Steelers’ Polamalu relying on smarts as physical skills decline
- Steelers’ Timmons looks to reverse defense’s struggles
- Sutersville principal’s comments taken out of context, district claims
- Controller to examine how much vehicles cost Allegheny County
- Pitt star running back Conner adjusting to higher profile this year
- North Versailles prepares to welcome K-9 unit