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Local bands getting into the act at Festival
Shift N Gears

In addition to the national acts, two of Richmond Hill’s own will be hitting the stage at the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival.

Rock band Shift N Gears, made up of Richmond Hill businessmen, will open for Lou Gramm and John Waite Saturday while 8 Mile Bend, which includes longtime Richmond Hill resident Wesley Mullins on drums, will open up for the Swingin’ Medallions Friday.

Shift N Gears won the Chamber of Commerce Battle of the Bands earlier this year to earn the right to open the show Saturday. They have been practicing at their studio, located on the top floor of guitarist Stuart Nethery’s auto shop, Richmond Hill transmission.

"It’s undoubtedly going to be largest crowd I’ve ever played in front of," said drummer/vocalist Dave Gramazio, whose day job is CEO of the Richmond Hill-based company Aquatek Inc.

Guitarist Steve Klohr, a project manager for Gulfstream, said the band couldn’t be happier to be opening for Gramm and Waite, whose music they grew up on.

"I used to take the old broom handle down in the basement and play air guitar to these guys," Klohr said. "Now here it is 20-30 years later and I’ve got a guitar strapped around my neck and I’m out there in front of these guys. How many people get to say that they get to open up for a band that they used to idolize as a kid? We’ve been readying ourselves all of our lives for this."

Nethery said he has the utmost respect for Gramm, "whose songs have maintained their relevance for three decades."

Gramm was the lead singer of the band Foreigner. He said he plans to watch their set.

"I certainly remember seeing bands that inspired me and what that feeling was and always wondered what it would like to inspire somebody else," Gramm said. "It’s just an unbelievable feeling."

Bassist Joel Godson, who is a service manager for Comcast, said their set list will span three decades of rock.

Meanwhile, 8 Mile Bend has been practicing at their studio in Pooler, where Mullins’ bandmates reside.

"This is a really big deal for us," Mullins said. "We’re used to playing nightclubs weddings and private parties. This is going to be incredible."

Mullins, who is senior account executive for Coyle Business Products, said his band isn’t classified as being just one particular genre, as it has elements of "rock, country, pop – you name it. Our set list is very diverse. We have one original song we play and the covers are everything from George Jones to Led Zeppelin."

Mullins said he appreciates the Swingin’ Medallions and their tendency to also mix up the set list.

"The Medallions are known to throw in some classic rock and funk, and any band with a horn section has my respect," Mullins said. "Besides that, they’re known to always draw a big crowd, so we should be playing to a big audience. It’s not often we get to do that and it’s very exciting. We are a band that feeds off the crowd. If the crowd is into us, be prepared for us to knock your socks off."

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