The Detroit Underground brings Motown and more

The Detroit Underground will perform at Scripps Ranch Symphony in the Park’s concert series Aug. 11. The band is: (front row, from left) John Serrano, Jeff Beck, Mike Perreault, (middle row (from left) Derrick Harris, Stellita Porter, (back row, from left) Dustin Koester, Joseph Penton, Rod Ratelle and Paul Cougil. (courtesy photo)

The Detroit Underground brings Motown and more

The good time, danceable sounds of Motown, soul and R&B – both old and new – will fill the air when The Detroit Underground brings its high-energy show to Scripps Ranch’s Symphony in the Park concert series, Aug. 11 at Hoyt Park.

First formed in 1994 by bandleader and trombonist Mike Perreault, the band initially focused on mostly Motown songs – the popular music that came out of bands signed to the Detroit-based Motown Records. The group expanded its repertoire over the years to unlock opportunities for more gigs.

“We decided to bring in some more dance songs,” Perreault said. “We still play the older songs, but we’ll bring in new Top 40 songs if they lean the same way.”

The result is a song list with broad appeal, filled with tunes by acts like Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Kahn, Donna Summer, a few ’80s songs and modern hitmakers like Bruno Mars and Meghan Trainor.

Comprised of nine experienced musicians and singers, the band regularly plays throughout San Diego, including Humphrey’s by the Bay, Anthology, and Viejas, Harrah’s and Valley View casinos. The upcoming Scripps Ranch performance is a chance to bring the show to audiences of all ages.

“One thing we like about playing summer concerts is the family element,” Perrault noted. “We get people who can’t see us in a bar or casino, so we like to play some stuff they’re going to recognize. When you play at a club, you can advertise for your particular genre of music. But when you play at a casino or a summer concert, you’re playing to a lot of people. You want to make at least somebody happy for 3 1/2 minutes.”

The band’s big sound gets a big boost from active stage performances and a full horn section. Some bands cover horn parts with a keyboard. But as a brass player himself, Perrault is proud to feature the real thing in his band and notes audiences seem to enjoy it as well.

“People really appreciate the live horns being there, shining in the light and being in your face like the old days,” he said.

Concert attendees can expect a lively show from the band, including some up-close time with the horns.

“We pride ourselves on having a more dynamic show,” Perrault said. “We integrate a little choreography and we’ll take the horns down into the audience.”

At Scripps Ranch Symphony in the Park concerts, picnics are welcome, only low-to-the-ground chairs are allowed, no dogs are allowed, and attendees cannot bring plastic tarps. For more information, visit symphonyinthepark.org.

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