Drummer Rob Jones of Yächtley Crëw—who docks at Music Box in San Diego on Friday, March 13—hears one thing about his shows: they’re fun.
Donning sailor garb, the Los Angeles-based band plays soft rock and top-shelf hits of the late ’70s to the early ’80s. Think Christopher Cross, Hall & Oates and Toto.
“Whether we’re doing small corporate events or a theater or an amphitheater or festivals or smaller clubs, everyone says it’s fun,” Jones says.
“We didn’t set out here to try to win a Grammy. We just want to entertain and have fun. The songs are referred to as ‘soft rock,’ but we bring a little more energy to them, especially live. We’re not a ‘party band,’ but it’s a fun, festive show with choreography, wardrobe changes and audience participation, which I think is really important.”
It’s “soft rock,” but there’s nothing simplistic about the music, Jones says. Bands like Toto are virtuosic musicians.
“A lot of these songs are very challenging,” Jones adds. “When we were coming up with songs, I said, ‘Let’s do Toto. That sounds like fun.’ Jesus, these songs are a little more challenging than I thought. Songs by Toto and Kenny Loggins, they are pretty challenging. The guitar player says even some of the chords are jazz structured.”
Before it was selling out clubs and theaters, Yächtley Crëw had problems booking gigs. Nobody was playing its type of music, which many find to be guilty pleasures.
“It’s the mixtape you’d never put in your car if you were going on the hottest date in your life,” Jones says with a laugh. “What hot date wants to hear ‘Maneater’ or ‘Ride Like the Wind’?
“When we started the band, it was really for fun. We were just musicians and it was just a side band, if you will, that just dominated everything we do, including our day jobs.”
Jones explains that Yächtley Crëw isn’t a parody.
“That’s not it at all,” he says. “We just try to take it to a different level of showmanship. We want there to be value in the show. We’re entertaining. We’re not trying to rewrite ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’
“We’re playing feel-good music for people who enjoy that. They aren’t looking for $2 Pabst Blue Ribbons. We have a good demographic who enjoys having a good time. If you can get 500 or 5,000 people singing ‘Africa,’ that’s awesome. It’s not our song, but we’re doing our best to rep that and do it justice.”
Yächtley Crëw provides the light moments for the divided nation, Jones says. When fans hear nostalgic songs, it automatically brings a smile.
“When we’re performing and everyone is singing along, no one cares about politics or any issues going on because they’re having so much fun,” he says.
“We provide that escape for a couple hours.”
Yächtley Crëw, Music Box, 1337 India Street, Little Italy, musicboxsd.com, 9 p.m. Friday, March 13, $22.