Who are the East Coast Boys?
Answer 1. They are a Four Seasons tribute band consisting of Jared Christopher (Frankie Valli), David Hinton-Gale (Bob Gaudio), Bradley Clarkson (Nick Massi) and Joseph Connell (Tommy DeVito).
Answer 2. Four guys who can sing great four-part harmonies with an amazing connection with their audience.
I have to admit that, even after a very long time collecting vinyl records, The Four Seasons were a band that I just overlooked for a long time. Yes, I was aware of them, but they somehow just seemed to slip somewhere between that classic rock’n’roll period and The Beatles for me. That changed when I saw “The Jersey Boys” stage show and seeing these songs performed live for the first time realised just how good they were.
The East Coast Boys do an amazing job re-creating that sound, and that is not an easy thing to do because Bob Gaudio was not only one of the great song writers of the period, he was also one of the great arrangers and seemed to instinctively understand how to arrange four-part harmonies. When you are singing harmonies like this, there is nowhere to hide on stage if you make a mistake.
Opening the show with “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, the boys ran straight into “Let’s Hang On” and “Working My Way Back To You” As the show went along there were many other hits to come including some classic Frankie Valli solo period songs like “Grease is The Word”, “My Eyes Adored You” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”. Also in the show some great doo-wop songs from the pre Four Seasons days. A great acapella version of Blue Moon and a lovely little cover of a song I do not hear often that they sang for the birthday of someone in the audience – “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby”. This one was originally done by The Tune Weavers in 1957 (and yes, I have to admit to having the original USA single on my shelves).
There was also a great interpretation of one of my favourite songs tonight – Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s classic “Will you Still Love Me Tomorrow” recorded by The Shirelles.
One of the things about tribute bands is that they only seem to have a short space of a few songs to either be a hit with the audience or just struggle for the whole show. The East Coast Boys hit that spot with the audience tonight right from the very first song. These boys are one very slick and professional band and know exactly how to work an audience…having songs the quality of these ones also helps a lot too.
The Four Seasons are one of those bands that I have to often say “did they really do that song first?”, and there were a few of those songs tonight… “Silence is Golden” (covered here by The Tremeloes) is one of those songs. The one they had the most fun with of course was one of the closing numbers… “Bye Bye Baby”. When you are not only in Scotland, but also pretty much at the heart of Bay City Roller land then you can be pretty sure that song is always going to be a crowd pleaser (yes The Four Seasons did write it).
The Four Seasons are always a bit of an odd band to me. Yes, Frankie Valli had that almost uniquely powerful falsetto voice, but it was the songwriting genius of Bob Gaudio who recognised pretty much as soon as he heard it just how far he could develop a sound around Frankie. The fact that The Four Seasons’ songs have survived is in a large part due to the quality of the songs and this has been recognised by the many artists that have covered them over the years.
The East Coast Boys are not only now one of my favourite tribute bands, they are also one of my favourite live bands. They just come over as four genuinely nice people who enjoy not only their music, but also their audience.
You can find more out about The East Coast Boys via their own website and Facebook Page
Also, David Hinton-Gale (Bob Gaudio) was kind enough to answer a few questions via e-mail about the band before the show for us. You can read this at