Blu Simon return to Lefty’s

Published 11:06 am Friday, March 23, 2012

Power trio Blu Simon performs at Lefty’s Bar Saturday night. From left, Garrison “Gator” Garva, Aaron Shoemaker, Ben Shoemaker. Photo provided

There’s one threat classic rockers Blu Simon have to face as they prep for their show on Saturday, and it’s not equipment failure, nor competition from other bands.

“It’s bowling, frat parties, movies … anything else someone can do besides going to live music,” said frontman Aaron Shoemaker, who covers guitar and vocals for the band.

Omaha natives Blu Simon return to play Lefty’s Bar this Saturday. Shoemaker hopes they can draw people away from other activities to enjoy live music.

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“People are over-stimulated and over-saturated by every form of media,” he said, adding that you have to find a way to separate people from iPods and TVs.

Blu Simon, whose name derives from a blend of Hebrew and Greek meaning “roaring lion to be heard,” have been together for three years. The band consists of Shoemaker, his brother, Ben Shoemaker, on drums and Garrison “Gator” Garza on bass guitar. The group quit their jobs one day and decided to make money from music. They weren’t satisfied with current music, and wanted to get back to the rock and roll of the past, Shoemaker said. He described their goal as becoming “the new generation of classic rock.”

The band’s style came to be a blend of covers and originals, all in the classic rock vein. Tracks by The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson make their setlists. Led Zeppelin, however, is strictly forbidden. Shoemaker calls it “sacred.”

Blu Simon emphasizes music is a performance art.

“If you came to a Blu Simon show, you could expect us jumping on tables, bars and engaging the crowd,” Ben Shoemaker said in a news release. But the band’s enthusiasm about the live music scene doesn’t stop at their own songs.

In January, they spearheaded the creation of the Live Music Association. The LMA focuses on ensuring the quality of local music by finding talented bands and getting them into touring venues.

Many times, people will be deterred from seeing live music in a bar because there’s no assurance it’ll be good, said Ben Shoemaker, who represents the LMA. “The LMA function is to find bands and insert them into these venues, thus helping us control the quality and consistency.”

Besides Blu Simon, the LMA has musician Hector Anchondo. The organization’s goal is to have four bands on the circuit by this summer.

“We’re now in the process of taking younger musicians, training them, and putting them out on the road like we are,” Aaron Shoemaker said.

It’s all about the collective experience, he added. “We all have this need to be part of a whole. That’s what we’re providing for people.”

Blu Simon attempts to bring back the classic rock sound made famous by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. Lyrics are more bland these days, Shoemaker said, and some bands are churning up the same songs over and over without trying to grow to a better level.

“If it doesn’t roll, it doesn’t rock,” Aaron Shoemaker said.

Melinda Ballenger, Lefty’s bartender, hopes to pack the house.

“Every time we’ve had them back, the crowd has grown,” she said. “There’s real good word of mouth through the Austin community.”

The show kicks off at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, with no cover charge. The audience can expect to hear covers as well as selections from the band’s upcoming second release, “Blu Simon Inc.”