Jerry Diaz and Hanna’s Reef call what they do “Texas Beach Music.” So it was with some hope that I went to hear them play during Concert by the Lake series at The Harbor in Rockwall. While I found much of the evening enjoyable overall, there were a few disappointments.
Some of the problems, I can’t fault the band for. We arrived only a few minutes before the show, and so we sat far back, just over the hill. Not only could I not see the band unless I was standing, I think the sound from there was not as good for me as it might have been for those a little closer. This snag was aided by the fact that the steel drums did not seem to mix properly with the rest of the band through some of the set and that people around me seemed more interested in just hanging out and talking than listening to the music.
The group played credible, if sometimes plodding, versions of what were mostly Jimmy Buffet songs. Though the lead guitar seemed to disappear during my favorite Buffet tune, “Come Monday,” and some versions came off a bit slow, the starting tune, “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” came off well. And it was nice to listen to some Buffet songs I had not heard in a long time like “Pencil Thin Mustache” and “Son of a Son of a Sailor.”
After playing so much Jimmy Buffet, I had begun to believe Hanna’s Reef was a tribute band, they performed a nice version of “Under the Boardwalk” and an adequate rendition of “Montego Bay.” As one might expect, the crowd did enjoy “Five O’clock Somewhere.” Though on his website, Diaz lists four Beach Boys tunes in his repertoire, the only one they played was the awful “Kokomo.” Maybe it is just me, but that is certainly one of the worst songs recorded by a truly great band. It makes me queasy that so many cover bands feel they have to play it.
The group did do a fine job with a couple of original tunes, “Sail Away” and “Watch the Young Girls.” The latter song was spirited and lively. It ought to be a hit.
Most of the crowd in front of me (including people on boats in the lake) seemed to be having a pretty good time listening and drinking to Jerry Diaz and Hanna’s Reef. (This was especially true of an old fat lady sipping from a pink champagne glass and waving a plastic parrot). I’m a bit disappointed that “Texas Beach Music” seems to be more about boats and drinking than actual beaches, but the evening by Lake Ray Hubbard was mostly pleasant. Especially if you are a Parrothead, I recommend checking them out.