Last week, my brother-in-law Tony asked if I wanted to see his friends’ local cover band SchoolGirl Crush play that Saturday night, October 12, 2013. He said he would buy me drinks to celebrate my birthday. OK, so I’m not a big fan of cover bands, but free drinks sounded good, and, since my meager weekly earnings (and threat of a government shutdown) would also not allow me to drive to NYC to see Midnight Mob perform at the 2013 CBGB Festival that same day, I replied: “I’m in!”
So, I checked out the band’s well done website for some background. SchoolGirl Crush is Michelle Andree Mitchell (lead vocals), Michelle’s husband Greg Mitchell (drums/vocals), Celeste Harsa (bass/vocals), Chris Bloomhuff (keyboards/vocals), and Dave Rupnow (lead guitar/vocals). Michelle and Celeste, as their band’s name implies, wear schoolgirl uniforms when they perform, like Chibi often does in The Birthday Massacre (except that Chibi‘s a gothic schoolgirl). Anticipation was building.
In addition, SchoolGirl Crush‘s set list is extensive with dozens of songs from a variety of mainstream pop/rock artists including some personal favorite female artists like Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Pat Benatar and, be still my heart, Halestorm! But, they also cover other awesome female artists like Heart, Evanescense and Paramore, as well as cool male artists like Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and many, many more. Yes, SchoolGirl Crush is a local cover band but, now, I was genuinely excited to seem them play. And, as it turned out, I was not disappointed!
SchoolGirl Crush was playing, that night, at a small bar called the Stadium Grill in Mentor, OH. We walked in as the band was finishing up Bryan Adams‘ “Summer of ’69”, and, I was surprised that the band’s big yet tight sound was not inhibited by the bar’s limited space. Soon, Tony and I made our way up front, with our first of many 16-ounce glasses of beer. “Josie’s on a vacation far away,” Michelle sang as the band began playing The Outfield‘s “Your Love”, and, I realized, immediately, that this girl had an amazing set of pipes [you know, as in vocal chords]. Next, or later [I’m not sure!], they played a rocking cover of Vixen‘s “Edge of a Broken Heart”! I didn’t even see that one on their set list! Then, just before they took their first break [I think!], SchoolGirl Crush kicked out a powerful cover of Led Zeppelin‘s “Whole Lotta Love” which, for me, rivaled even cool all-female Zeppelin tribute band Lez Zeppelin‘s version!
During the break, Tony introduced me to his friends, Celeste and Michelle, but, I was very drunk and had gotten lost deep in the dork forest with no way out. I didn’t know what to say. I mean I’m not a journalist, just some dude with a blog. So, I just drunkenly rambled as they politely listened. And, I was forced on stage, by Tony, later that night, with some other dude, in celebration of our birthdays, but I refused to wear a cowboy hat. I was such a drunken, metro dork! But, I had a great time, anyway, and, it was a pleasure to have met those two beautiful ladies!
I wanted to be able to take in every note of every song of that night’s set, but, since it was also my birthday weekend, socializing with Tony and some new friends demanded much of my attention. I didn’t even get to hear SchoolGirl Crush play any Joan Jett songs! I don’t even know if they even played any Joan Jett that night! Both, “I Hate Myself For Loving You” and “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” are on their set list. I would’ve loved to have heard Michelle sing either one of those. Maybe I did? Anyway, with their whole schoolgirl thing, I think they should consider adding Joan Jett‘s “Bad Reputation” [one of my all-time favorite songs!] or The Runaways‘ “Cherry Bomb” to their set.
I did, however, get to hear SchoolGirl Crush play my favorite band Halestorm‘s “I Miss The Misery”. Now, Halestorm is the best damn female-fronted hard rock band out there, and Lzzy Hale has the best damn female voice in all of rock, barring only Amy Lee, but, Michelle sang the Hell out of that song! Impressive! Michelle, by the way, also belted out a stunning version of Evanescence‘s “Bring Me To Life”. But, SchoolGirl Crush, I’m begging you to add “Bet U Wish U Had Me Back” to your set list. Halestorm didn’t play it at their show in September last year, and probably won’t play it when they return in December this year. I love that song! Or, if you want naughty, add “Get Off”, or “Mz. Hyde”, or even the rockin’ country of “American Boys”. And, “My Heart Is Broken” by Evanescence would be beyond cool, too.
I hate to be the guy telling the musicians what songs their band should cover, but, the fact that I am only shows how cool I think SchoolGirl Crush is. I want to hear them play my favorite songs! But, other than the ones I’ve mentioned, most of my favorite songs were never hits, and, the hits bring in the crowds.
OK, so I probably won’t ever get to hear SchoolGirl Crush play “Left of the Dial” by The Replacements, but, here’s the thing… it doesn’t matter! Their music, that night, as it was, provided a nearly perfect soundtrack to an awesome birthday celebration! Thank you, SchoolGirl Crush… and Tony!
SchoolGirl Crush is an amazing cover band, and a pretty busy one, with shows booked nearly every weekend. Hey, I remember hearing Loverboy‘s “Workin’ for the Weekend”! Anyway, I know people visit my blog from all over the world (I read the stats), but, if you live in the Cleveland area go out and see this band play live! You, like me, won’t be disappointed. I love the whole schoolgirl gimmick, but, honestly, SchoolGirl Crush is way better than just their look. I think I may have a school boy crush on the girls of SchoolGirl Crush! Did I just write that out loud? I did. Damn.
Read what Chuck Yarborough, a reporter for Cleveland’s newspaper, The Plain Dealer, had to say about Schoolgirl Crush here. And, watch the band perform Halestorm‘s “I Miss the Misery” live here: