When: Saturday, July 15
Where: Loco’s Grill and Pub, 601 S Enota Drive, Gainesville
Contact: 770- 534-5771, locosgrill.com
For local music fans, it has been 30 years since popular band Striker played their first paying gig in Gainesville. Now longtime fans and friends will a have a chance to attend the band’s reunion concert this Saturday at Loco’s.
All it took was a Facebook group message a couple months ago from Striker rhythm guitarist and vocalist Dwight Carder to coordinate the reunion.
“To my surprise, everyone got back to me and thought it was a great idea,” Carder said. “We started the band in 1986 with me, Rusty Shields who is the lead guitarist and vocals, Scott Webb is the drummer and Curtis Key on bass. There have been other members that have come and gone over the years but this is the original Striker.”
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Striker played at establishments like The Downtowner, Beauregard’s in Dahlonega, at a lot of private parties and at concerts at the fairgrounds in Oakwood. The last time Striker played together was at a New Year’s Eve Party in 1995 at the Holiday Hall at Holiday Inn in Gainesville.
“We didn’t know it was going to be the last time we played together,” Carder said. “We had a big following back then, too. There weren’t a whole lot of bands around and music was a little tougher back then ... but we are all better musicians today than we were back then.”
Carder, Webb and Key all live in Gainesville but Shields moved to Indiana in the late 1990s. Shields, now a pastor and member of Christian band 10Fold in DeMott, Indiana, made the trip back to Gainesville this week for the first time in about 20 years.
“It’s going to be amazing to see all the people after all the years, just to see the same faces in the crowd and my worry is that they won’t have enough seats for everyone,” he said. “Most of us are still playing professionally, you’re going to see over 100 years experience on the same show.”
The band has put together a 30-song set for Saturday’s performance, mostly classic rock with new songs sprinkled in from more current bands like Green Day and Kings of Leon.
“We started putting together a song list and everyone started rehearsing at home. Scott, Curtis and I have gotten together a few times and rehearsed, when Rusty gets here we’ll have a couple of rehearsals before the show on Saturday,” Carder said. “We’ll start off with a six song acoustic set with just Rusty and I.
“We think it’ll be a pretty packed house. It’s just great that we get to come back together after 30 years and all of us still just being alive and still be able to get excited about playing together really is a treat.”