Going on its 38th year, The Paper Bag is the official mark of summer for “The World’s Only 70 Piece Rock Band”. With over 1400 in attendance yearly, it is one of the hottest nights of live music and unlike any show you’ll ever see. Every year, the band plays non-stop for nearly 6 hours in the last week of June at Mulcahy’s in Wantagh, Long Island.
Never heard of The Paper Bag? Well, you’re missing out!
Think of it as a gathering of baby boomer musicians led by founder/masetro Mike Guido that “will continue to play rock & roll as long as they are physically able”. There’s “Guitarland” featuring full horns/keys sections, rotating lead vocalists, drummers – heck, even the Nassau County Police Department’s Pipes and Drums band makes an appearance! The official run-down is 15 guitars, 6 keyboardists, 4 harmonicas, 9 horns, 6 basses, 16 percussionists, and 18 vocalists. Space is scarce on stage to say the least. But it’s more than just a night of random night of cover tunes, every year has a theme for what songs they play.
This year’s theme “Baggers Banquet – The Grocery Bag” included classic songs like “Strawberry Fields”, “The Lemon Song”, “Dixie Chicken”, “Cinnamon Girl” and one of our favorites “Peaches en Regalia” from the eccentric Frank Zappa. That’s not to say that they don’t go off the board every now and then, and a few staples always seem to make the cut – like Todd Rundgrens “Bang the Drum All Day” and Sly & the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime” (which usually hits right smack in the middle of the set – giving the crowd renewed energy in the late night hours). And in-between every song, the “Paper Bag Theme” hits, giving the crowd a few seconds of one of the catchiest bass lines that no one outside of The Paper Bag has ever heard.
The diversity of the players and songs they choose make The Paper Bag what it is. With over 1,548 songs by 440 bands played by 83 different musicians, you know you’ll get something fresh (grocery pun!) year after year. That’s what makes us come back for more, and we’re already counting down the days ‘til next year’s (already scheduled for June 28th, 2016). We’ll be sure to take the next day off!
You can find out more about The Paper Bag by visiting : www.paperbagmusic.com