Brat Pack to launch arena season with Danville Stadium show

DANVILLE – Jesse Van Halen and the Brat Pack are excited about playing in the Danville Stadium venue.

The interactive band with its all '80s music will perform in concert at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 at the stadium, 9th Street and Highland Boulevard.

The five-piece band uses drums, bass, guitar and keyboard with a female lead singer.

"Lynn D. Lauper, our lead female singer, comes out in different costumes as different characters," Van Halen said.

Other members of the band include Tommy Tubular, Guido Menudo and Josh of Seagulls, so as not to confuse them with their various daytime personas.

"We are real people. Some have day jobs, some teach music or do other music work," Van Halen explained, but the silliness of their show carries over into carrying the show identities into interviews.

"We decided about 12 years ago to do something fun," Van Halen explained. "We knew each other on one level or another and are based out of Champaign-Urbana."

The group, all in their 30s, has pretty much kept their traveling limited to the Midwest, although they did do a show in the Bahamas last year.

"We all have families and like to stay close to home, usually only traveling three to five hours away for a show," Van Halen said. "We try to have lots of fun with the music, and people generally like it. The costume and prop changes fascinate the kids."

The group develops various routines using the props and costumes to keep the act fresh and changes its music sets, trying new things.

"You could see anything from Ghostbusters to the Smurfs," Van Halen joked.

The "Toyota Tundra Summer Concert" is presented by the David S. Palmer Arena.

"We did the Beach Boys awhile back and Pink House (a John Mellencamp cover band) last year," said Peter Blackmon, arena general manager. "Last year, our summer intern, Jenna Strader, got her feet wet helping with the concert. This year, I told her, 'It's your baby, start to finish.' She has done a remarkable job."

Blackmon said the arena has set a goal of having something for the public every month, and since its fiscal year begins Aug. 1, The Brat Pack is the kickoff event.

The stage for the event will be set up over home plate with the audience sitting in the stands. The back stop net will be dropped for better viewing during the event.

Strader has really gotten into the details of getting and working with sponsors, organizing giveaways for the audience and seeing what the band will need in addition to working with the city and the Danville Stadium board on the use of this outdoor venue.

Strader is a recreational therapy major at Eastern Illinois University. From January to May, she worked at a Disney resort organizing activities around its pool.

"It was everything from noodle races and bingo to movies and a campfire on the beach," Strader said. "Ever since I went to Florida, I know I want to be in a popular place where there are tons of people and lots of opportunities to help kids who might otherwise not be able to participate."

Strader would like to eventually work with Special Olympics.

"I know I want to wake up every day and help people," she said.

In the meantime, she's not only helping, but actually getting this show off the ground on her own. Marketing is under way to get the word out about the show.

"I just started with cold calling and got sponsors, saw what they wanted and have been very fortunate that all the people have been easy to work with," Strader said. "We have the sponsorship up, and now we just want to increase the attendance for lots of people to see what a great time they can have at a concert like this."

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for ages 16 and younger and are on sale at the arena box office, 100 W. Main St., Danville, or online at www.palmerarena.com, or by calling 1-877-772-5425. All seats are general admission.

Rain location is the arena.

Topics (1):Music

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