When I see the words “Party Band” used to describe an act, I don’t have very high expectations that I am going to enjoy the music. Usually I end up listening to plodding and lethargic versions of songs I don’t really like, even by the original artists. Maybe I’m getting old, because that isn’t my idea of a party.
But the Mars Hill Band surprised me in their set at the Harbor in Rockwall on Thursday night. The group played a spirited set mixing tunes from a variety of decades and genres. Even some songs that don’t do much for me personally (like “She Country” and Michael Jackson's “Rock With You”) came off well and seemed to be pretty well received by the crowd gathered by Lake Ray Hubbard. Shoot, they even did a version of “Welcome to the Jungle” with some darn hot horns.
There were a few glitches here and there, like a guitar that didn’t always want to be heard on my side of the stage, but mostly this was a surprisingly fun show. The group handles, as noted before, several different songs and made them work together. The even got called for an encore, and did a raucous rendition of Living Colour's “Cult of Personality.” (By the way, I really did like this song, but I’d been so taken with the horns—a trombonist and a flugelhorn player – that I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to experience the tune with them.)
This was a party band, and though I didn’t dance, I’m glad I came.