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Published: 2004/04/29
by Benjy Eisen

Live at Thalian Hall- Mike Corrado Band

An advance apology to Mike Corrado Band fans, but this DVD review is more about the DVD itself than about the band. That’s because this disc has a lot to say to the jamband community but not necessarily in musical terms.
More likely, you’re thinking, ‘Who the hell is Mike Corrado?’ I’m glad you asked, since that’s my point exactly. The Mike Corrado Band is an American-styled rock band from the Southeast; a band that clearly comes from a similar place as Hootie and the Blowfish, Dave Matthews Band, and O.A.R. They’ve got the whole package too, complete with a singer-songwriter leader, full-time horn player, and one badass drummer. They’re good enough to make it onto adult contemporary radio, but common enough that if they don’t, well, they don’t.
Add this twist to the tale: Corrado is a military man. An infantry officer in the US Marines, Corrado had to put his band on hold for a year in order to serve the country in the wake of 9/11. Corrado draws upon this personal history for an actual heartfelt moment in the DVD, during the self-explanatorily titled ‘My Watch.’ Classy and sincere, Corrado manages to pull it off in a pleasantly respectful manner.
Anyway, apart from the group’s noted nod to author Tom Robbins (album title: ‘Ziller and the Baboon’) and the interesting-because-it’s-different military history, the Mike Corrado Band holds little interest to me. They’re good at what they do, it’s just that what they do has been done before. Here, however, they’ve managed to do something that hasn’t really been done before, and that’s release a DVD concert performance one that has been broadcast internationally to the US Armed Forces when, in fact, they’re still just an unknown upstart band from North Carolina.
Maybe it’s the discipline Mike Corrado picked up in the military, or maybe it’s the skills he picked up in business school, but dude, Mike, major props man. Most bands the size of yours can’t get their shit together to release a professionally recorded studio album, much less a professional DVD. The surround sound and visual accompaniment afforded by the DVD format perfectly compliments live music. Baby groups the size of Lotus, Moonshine Still, and Tea Leaf Green need to take a cue from Corrado and record and release their own concert films. Skip the bonus features if you don’t have the budget (the bonus footage here comes courtesy of a local news broadcast that ran a pre-show interview with Corrado). But for god’s sake, release a DVD. It can be done. The Mike Corrado Band proves it with Live at Thalian Hall.
And while the cinematography, camera angles, and editing are all sawdust jobs, the band’s music comes across with the added dimension of sight. Add a special guest appearance by none other than Kofi Burbridge on flute and you’ve got yourself a genuine, homespun, grassroots DVD release. One that will no doubt end up earning Mike Corrado new fans from far away places.
And fans of the Mike Corrado Band, if you’re reading, you should be proud. Your guy not only served his country, he also served fellow musicians with the encouraging thought of "It can be done."

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