>Jackson has become home sweet home for members of the national touring rock band Sore Eyes, even if where they live is nearly 700 miles away.
Drawing on the success it garnered opening for Saving Abel at Michigan International Speedway this summer, the up-tempo alternative group from Memphis, Tenn., is back in town headlining a Saturday show at Avenue Billiards that also features the Michigan-based “screamo rock” group Violets for Verona.
Sore Eyes has shared the stage with such bands as Shinedown, Chevelle and Boys Like Girls, and has played at venues that can pack in tens of thousands of people. But lead singer Shi Eubank said very few regions of the country have embraced the band like south-central Michigan.
“The people are just fantastic, and when you are treated well somewhere it’s like you just want to keep coming back,” he said.
“Jackson has almost become like an additional home. Not a lot of bands stop through Jackson itself and, I don’t know, the people are really responsive and have a great time. It’s a place I don’t think we’ll ever stop coming to, honestly.”
The band’s Michigan connections continue to get stronger, Eubank said, with partnerships with A Logo Tee in Michigan Center and Jam Heads, a Detroit-based entertainment company.
Eubank jokes that Sore Eyes was lucky when people were “forced to see us because they wanted to get to Michigan International Speedway early enough to get a good spot to watch Saving Abel.”
But band manager and bookkeeper Tim Corser said the gig at the track, coupled with an appearance at Rockapolooza at the Jackson County Fairgrounds this summer, has truly made Jackson the band’s “No. 1 market.”
“One hundred percent it’s about being able to connect with the audience,” Eubank said. “We’re a band that really likes to get down and hang out and talk with crowd.”
While Saturday marks sort of a “home-away-from-home” visit for Sore Eyes, the performance is truly a homecoming for Violets for Verona.
The four-man band from Westland is on its first major tour, opening for rock group Framing Hanley, which had a single hit the top 25 of the U.S. Modern Rock Chart in 2008.
Lead singer and guitarist Ryan Cabildo said it’s been amazing touring through Louisiana, Texas and California the past few weeks, but the band is excited to be back home for the holidays.
“It means the world to us because we’re all about our friends and family and we wouldn’t have the chance to do what we do, like going to California in the last 24 days, if it weren’t for the hometown and all of our supporters,” Cabildo said.
If you go…
What: Sore Eyes, with Violets for Verona
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Avenue Billiards, 2410 E. Michigan Ave.
Cost: $8 in advance, $12 at the door. Tickets available at Avenue Billiards and A Logo Tee, 544 Napoleon Road, Michigan Center
Details: 788-9953 or 748-2926
As published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot on Dec. 15, 2010