Tonight: Cover band Silkwood Shower brings the hits to Linden Grove

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You might think being a cover band is easy. I mean, someone else has already done the heavy lifting of writing the songs and making them hits.

But Rob Brady and the members of Silkwood Shower take their work seriously, breathing life and energy into music that people love.

You’ll have the chance to sample them tonight at Linden Grove in Castle Shannon.

“I’ve been in this business for so many years,” said Mr. Brady, 44, of the South Side. “There’s a lot of bands that write original material. We all have songs that we’ve written, but because we’re technically part-time musicians — even though it really is a full-time job practicing and rehearsals — we don’t have the time to lock ourselves in a woodshed and really do that. Writing a song isn’t just sitting down for half an hour and putting together words that rhyme. It’s hard work.”

The members of Silkwood Shower may have day jobs, but they’re still talented musicians.

“Our core group — and I’m not taking anything away from our singers — we’re all exceptional players,” Mr. Brady said. “We could go and back up anybody in town.”

It sounds like he’s tooting his own horn, but he isn’t. He’s the drummer.

Joining him in the group is Andy Hoke, whom you might remember reading about in the pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in January 2009 when he set the Guinness World Record for continuous guitar playing. (A mark of 60 hours, that has since been broken.) Mr. Hoke, of Shaler, used to play with The Smick Brothers. His record-setting performance at the Thunderbird Cafe featured more than 1,000 songs, and he played his instrument behind his head, right-handed, left-handed and even blindfolded.

The other members of Silkwood Shower are Brent Renner on bass, Mark Linville on guitar, and vocalists Chris Klubert and Vicky Rochna.

“We’ve put together a really good little band,” Mr. Brady said. “And with two singers, there’s nothing we can’t do. We play songs that people like. Strictly covers, popular, upbeat. But we’ve got four-part harmony which is interesting because that means there are songs we can do that other bands can’t do. We do ‘Hotel California’ because we can. We do Bruno Mars because we can. We do CeeLo Green because we can.”

They cover those artists. But they have no illusions of becoming those artists.

“We range in age from 25 to 50. We’re not going to hit it big,” Mr. Brady said. “We’re not going on the road opening for the Rolling Stones — even though we would be the young guys on that tour.

“We’ve spent the past year playing in your smaller venues, setting up where the tables were a half hour earlier, playing for whoever’s there. Those are like paid rehearsals.

“The next level, is where we’re at right now, playing places like Linden Grove, the Rochester Inn, the Bullpen [Bar & Grill] in Avella. The next level would be the casinos and some of the bigger rooms. I’d like to see us break into Greensburg because there’s a lot of good places there.”

And they have their fans.

“Cover bands actually do get a good following because you know what you’re going to get,” Mr. Brady said. “If you like the band, and you like the songs and they sound great … people like that mixture, that randomness of ‘What are they going to do next?’

“We call our fans ‘Showerheads.’ They come out and see us and they’ve got their pins. And we love getting more and more people to get on board with what we’re doing. We bill ourselves as ‘Pittsburgh’s Premier Party Band.’ It’s just words, but we really do try to get that across.”

It won’t be hard to spot the members of Silkwood Shower. Most of them carry instruments. And they all dress like they just stepped out of “Reservoir Dogs.”

“You go out and you see these bands, and some guys can get away with loitering,” Mr. Brady said. “But when you’re just standing there in a T-shirt and jeans, it’s one thing. We’re a cover band, you know, so we need all the help we can get. And I think it makes us look badder. We look cool. Who would expect these guys in these black suits to rock out like that?”

Silkwood Shower takes the stage at Linden Grove, 1100 Grove Road, at 9:30 tonight. The cover is $5.

Dan Majors:

First Published January 3, 2014 4:03 PM

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