To kick off our Spotlight feature on the new site, we’re headed to Biloxi, Mississippi to check out Triggerproof – a six-piece party band who work tirelessly on the Gulf Coast. Our goal here is to feature bands that are doing everything right – and this group checks off ALL of the boxes.
One of the most crucial aspects for success in any cover band is the song selection. Triggerproof’s guitarist and band leader Donte Nagle bases his choices on a number of factors including popularity, rotation of singers, crowd reaction, and general feel – and uses this criteria to expertly craft a show.
Nagle adds “There’s definitely a science behind it. We’ll choose songs based on key, tempo, or even groove. I look at it like telling a story or going on a ride.”
The goal for most cover bands is to get people dancing and having fun, and Triggerproof has this down cold. From the first downbeat the band comes out swinging and doesn’t ever let up. They understand the importance of keeping things moving – allowing for no dead air and displaying a confidence that is indicative of a successful show. The transitions and segues are smooth and seamless. This is a credit to Nagle’s vision and awareness of the room, along with the professionalism of the rest of the band.
Among the many other aspects of this band’s success is the variety in presentation. Triggerproof boasts five different vocalists, and they constantly switch things up on stage making for a visually exciting show, as well as the opportunity to craft the perfect mix of material.
Speaking of visual, our Spotlight band does what most bands should be doing with regards to their appearance. While they don’t all don themselves in the same outfits, each member puts care into what they’re wearing. They all look like they’re in the band, and in fact, they all look like they’re in the same band. This is an art that many bands neglect, but when attention is given to how the audience sees you, it goes a long way in making yourself emerge as professionals.
Another factor that adds to the visual experience is the energy the band displays on stage. This group is not phoning it in. There is constant movement as soon as the curtain rises and never lets up throughout the set.
Lead singer Kelly Trahan commands the stage with her captivating presence and soaring vocals. She makes eye contact with the audience and plays to them, for them and with them.
Lead singer Jesse Duncan also takes charge when he’s on the mic. Much like Trahan, Duncan plays to the crowd and gets them involved. He picks songs that are perfect for his voice and provides an excellent complement and contrast to Trahan’s tenor. Duncan is also a skilled guitarist, and straps on the six-string throughout most of the show, adding yet another element of diversity and variety,
Bassist Scott Sanchez and Guitarist Nagle rarely stand still on stage. With wireless capabilities, the pair roam all over the stage covering every inch available.
This kind of visual dynamic creates a dazzling spectacle for those who hear with their eyes, and keeps the crowd dancing, jumping, and singing along.
Keyboardist Mark Smith also takes center stage during the course of the show. His smooth vocals and infectious energy light up the room and get arms in the air. The only time drummer Troy Lupold drops the beat is to take his own turn at the front of the stage – engaging the crowd and providing his own brand of vocal skill.
Let’s not forget about the music. Triggerproof picks songs that get people dancing and having fun, and perform each tune with deadly accuracy. They honor the original recordings and give the people what they expect to hear with each selection. Each player is exceptionally proficient at their chosen instrument, and flawlessly replicate popular songs that keep people engaged in party mode.
Check out the performance below of Triggerproof performing Demi Levato’s “Sorry Not Sorry” and Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like.” Pay particularly close attention to how easily the band transitions from one song to the next.
Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of sitting down with the band leader Donte Nagle, along with singer Jesse Duncan, bassist Scott Sanchez, and singer Kelly Trahan before one of their shows. Listen to the entire interview below where they discuss what has made them a success, some of the challenges they face, and how they keep things fresh.
Triggerproof interview part 1
Triggerproof interview part 2
Triggerproof interview part 3
Triggerproof are seasoned professionals who clearly know what they’re doing. They are booked consistently and well into the future, and are always staying on top of what’s happening in music. The band isn’t afraid to try out new material to see what works, and will also dig into the archives to dust off a classic gem. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to ensure they entertain the crowd, and they truly exemplify what it takes to sustain a successful cover band.
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(This article was originally published on Spinditty in January 2017. It has been edited here to reflect the current time passed.) I’ve been playing in
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