posted on July 03, 2012 08:00
The guys and gals of El Monstero refused to divulge more than a few cryptically enticing statements about their July 14 show “The Monster: Caught at Riverport.” But they did hint at what fans could expect this year -- in a whole new venue -- compared to years past.
Last Christmas, they impressed multiple sold out crowds with their intimate, yet extravagant string of shows at the Pageant featuring sultry burlesque dancers, a group of children, decked out in school uniforms, pounding their fists to “Another Brick in the Wall” and theatrics galore.
And last summer, the Pink Floyd tribute band wowed the sold out crowd at Jefferson Barracks Park with fire, fireworks, dancers and a helicopter cameo at its first-ever outdoor show, where food and drink vendors sold out.
Plans for this year’s show at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater are being kept guarded like none other, but as far as calling the show itself “The Monster Caught at Riverport,” El Monstero Frontman Mark Quinn said that’s a throwback to what the venue used to be.
“The whole generation of people who went there when it first opened knew it as Riverport, as opposed to the corporate entity it is now, Verizon [Wireless] Amphitheater,” Quinn said. “So we thought it would be a nice twist for the people who remember it being Riverport.”
Production-wise, the move to Verizon Wireless Amphitheater — forever referred to by many as Riverport — allows the theatrics to get bigger, according to Quinn. “I don’t want to give too much of the elements of surprise away from the show... [but], yeah, things production-wise can get more elaborate,” Quinn said, as he took a break from setting up for rehearsal on a scorching Sunday afternoon.
Still reluctant to give too much away, Quinn did say “The Monster: Caught at Riverport” will have similarities to past shows, but “some new surprises as well.”
Attempts to pry information from keyboardist Bill Reiter (also of Lucabrasi and the Urge) were unsuccessful as well.“We try and do it differently, certainly the summer shows,” Reiter said. “It’s not going to be like last year; it’s not going to be like last summer; and it’s not going to be what we did at Christmas, so it’s a new thing.” Reiter did say he is looking forward to “trying to add as many new things to the show as we can,” though he refused to elaborate.
The most detailed information about what fans can expect came from Mindy Mierek, one of El Monstero’s three backup singers, who said there will be “some video stuff” and surprises.“There’ll always be surprises, which I won’t say, but yeah, it’s just going to be bigger,” Mierek said. “The music’s going to be authentic just like it always is, but everything’s going to be bigger, and there’ll be surprises and everybody will feel a part of it.”
But perhaps part of the reason for not letting out all the theatrical excitement is because of last minute changes.
“You can’t plan for everything...,” Mierek said. “We kind of anticipate that things will change at the last minute. They always do. But it always makes the show that much more special because you never know. It’s good for us. It’s good for everybody else too.”
Jake Elking, one of the El Monstero keyboardists, said playing at Riverport, which can hold about 15,000 at maximum capacity, compared to about 1,600 or 1,700 at the Pageant, will be exciting. And for El Monstero, the bigger the crowd, the better.
“If you’re a headcase it can freak you out, but if you like that kind of thing, it just — it’s kind of hard to explain,” Elking said. “It brings it up a level. You get more excited. You kind of step your game up a little bit.
“You see all those people and it’s like, you want to put a show on for them. You don’t want to do something stupid,” Elking continued, “and when that many people come out to see you, it’s a big deal. It means that you are doing something good, so don’t disappoint.”
For Elking, who has been in El Monstero about seven years, switching to an outdoor venue for last year’s “Monster in the Park” was not different in terms of the type of people in the audience, but more so in the set up. “It was more exciting to me [at JB] just because you can see everyone, for one,” Elking said. “They’re not all just stacked up in your face like at the Pageant. It just goes out, so it’s like this sea of people and it’s just pretty impressive. It’s cool.”
Mierek said the outdoor shows have a “totally different feel” from the smaller, indoor setting and the upcoming show at Riverport is going to be intense.
“Having that many people added just makes it much more intense to make sure we reach everybody,” Mierek said. “So everything’s gotta be bigger, we’ve got to try to bring people in as much as we can. It’s exciting.”
The excitement and passion generated from the band itself has been personified on stage in the past, and with “The Monster: Caught at Riverport” being the biggest El Monstero show to date, it’s almost guaranteed the same will happen when the monster is unleashed.
But before that happens, the El Monstero members who have original bands will grace the stage -- Shooting with Annie (Kevin Gagnepain, Elking), Buz (Elking) and Lucabrasi (Reiter, Elking).
Tickets for el Monstero's “Caught at Riverport” can be purchased HERE. Also, stay tuned next week for your chance to WIN tickets to the show here on insideSTL.com.