ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County must want mo’ Motown, because residents turned out in spades for the second of the Summer Sounds Concert Series in Elizabethtown on Thursday night.
Last year saw temperatures at start time hovering around 100 degrees for several of the concerts. Maybe because Thursday night’s 85-degree temps and southeasterly winds made conditions more amenable, or possibly because of the excitement over the night’s program — whatever the reason, hundreds of people arrived early to stake their claims on the coveted spots under the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market colonnades.
Taking the stage first was the Sound Express Band. Founded in 1977, the Kernersville-based band featured lead singer Robert Andrew, as well as two saxophonists and a keyboarder. The high-energy band started things off with “Late Last Night,” followed by “Brown-Eyed Girl” and the crowd-pleaser, “Mustang Sally.”
The band got the audience involved in “Brickhouse,” walking around in the crowd and encouraging various groups to sing along. The song also gave the tenor Mark Payne, whom the group calls “Major Payne,” an opportunity to show off his skills.
During a brief interlude, folks enjoyed bottled water being given out by Four County Electric and Sharonview Federal Credit Union, as well as slushies from Lu Mil Vineyard and Sunset Slush and alcoholic beverages from the Bud beer tent.
By the time The Legacy took the stage at 7 p.m., the crowd had swelled by hundreds.
“Usually, 7:30 or 8 p.m. is the peak for attendance,” said Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dawn Maynard. “At this rate, we may have well over 600 people.”
An offshoot of the Sound Express Band, The Legacy is comprised of four singers who focus on Motown music. During their set, the Sound Express Band provided the music.
“Do you like good music?” sang the band when they took the stage, revving up excitement even more.
The young men — reminiscent of the Motown era — were clad in back slacks and bright red vests. During their set, they, too, came out in the audience while part of the group stayed on stage performing choreographed do-wop moves.
“Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch,” “Reach Out,” and “Same Old Song” were just a few of the songs that got dancers tapping their toes and taking to the floor.
“What I like about them is that they really look like they’re from the Motown era,” said Janeece Clark, who said she grew up listening to the music of the Jackson 5 and The Drifters. “Even the way they’re dancing — just look at them — it takes me back.”
Up next for the Summer Sounds Concert Series will be the Band of Oz, which will be playing Aug. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Farmer’s Market in downtown Elizabethtown.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.