For more than two decades, the Velvet Bombers was the top party band in town.
They played their last show on New Year’s Eve 2012, but came back for a reunion at Friday After 5 in 2016.
And in 2018, former members Mark Gordon, Gordy Wilcher and Bob Meacham decided to drop the drums and keyboards and perform as an acoustic trio.
They shortened the name to V-Bombs Unplugged.
This weekend, the trio will be playing two shows downtown.
They’ll be at Bar Louie from 8 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, and at 7 p.m. Saturday on the Overlook Stage in Smothers Park playing for Live on the Banks, a free show.
“We were just a studio band at first,” Wilcher said. “Bobby Blackford, Mark Gordon and me. We brought in sidemen to play at the sessions. Once we started playing live, it was me, Bobby, Mark, Larry Basham and Dennis Kipper. That was the original lineup. There were quite a few changes through the years.”
Meacham, a former member of Arnold Chin, the most successful local band of the 1970s and 1980s, joined the Bombers after the death of Jeff Wahler in 2011.
“We’ve played Live on the Banks every year,” Wilcher said. “It’s real challenging playing with the sound of that fountain next to the stage. But last year, we moved forward and that seems to work.”
He estimates that the trio “probably does 25 to 30 shows a year. We don’t want to work every weekend.”
The Bombers first attracted attention in November 1989 when Blackford and Gordon wrote “Dancing on the Wall,” a song about the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The chorus said, “’Can’t you see them coming from everywhere? Can’t you hear it calling? There’s something in the air? Can’t you see them standing 10 feet tall? They’re dancing on the wall. Yeah, they’re dancing on the wall.’’
The song got a lot of airplay on area stations.
Gordon said he enjoyed the Bombers then and enjoys the V-Bombs now.
“An acoustic trio doesn’t have to haul that equipment,” he said. “I miss the keyboards, the drums and large crowds. But I enjoy the more intimate venues too. And I like the challenge. We like to do songs that you wouldn’t expect an acoustic trio to do.”
“The Bombers had keyboards and drums,” Wilcher said. “It’s challenging for an acoustic trio to play those same songs. We tried ‘In The Midnight Hour’ and it just didn’t work without drums.”
He said, “We always wanted to play songs we wanted to play. Fortunately, that was what the people liked too. We do a real variety today. James Taylor, some blues, Rolling Stones, Beatles, a little bit of country and The Doors.”
Smothers Park, Wilcher said, “is a beautiful venue for music.”
Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301 firstname.lastname@example.org