SIKESTON - Shady Deal will kick off their summer tour tonight with a live performance at Cronies Sports Bar and Grill.
"Last summer we kicked off our summer tour here, so it's kind of a tradition, said Jesse Hammock, lead vocalist who plays rhythm guitar. "It's nice to come home."
And tonight, the audience won't be the usual college crowd the group is accustomed to.
"This is going to be the first time we've played early enough (in the evening) for older people to come," said Jordan Masters, band manager.
Hammock described Shady Deal's music as "Southern rock 'n' roll." "It's not heavy - it's easy going music," Cronies owner John Allen added.
Shady Deal began in Sikeston as a garage band in 1999. Sikeston natives Austin Marshall, Jake Curtis, Mason Watkins and Hammock are the original members. The band was complete when James Pendley, whom they met at Ole Miss, joined.
Tonight isn't only for those looking for a good time, but also for those wanting to see Shady Deal's progress.
"We want everyone to come out, young and old," Hammock said "We want to show people what we're doing."
And things have definitely changed for Shady Deal over the past year. They recently signed with Intrepid Artists, a national booking agency. That is quite an honor, according to Masters.
"It's very rare for a band to get to this level and they're on the verge of making it big," he said. "Whenever you can get on with a booking agency like that you have achieved quality and consistency with your performance."
Signing on with Intrepid will give the band more exposure. "Instead of playing in bars in front of 50 people, we're going to be playing at festivals in front of thousands of people," Hammock said. "Our venues are getting bigger, which is important as time goes on."
More exposure also means performing in different areas. Last summer, the tour was strictly in the Southeast. But this year, Shady Deal will perform in more Northern locations, such as North Carolina and South Carolina.
At the end of June, Shady Deal will perform at the Wakarusa Music Festival in Lawrence, Kan. "It's a festival that will have about 80,000 people in attendance," Masters noted, while Hammock added it is the second biggest festival in the summer.
"We're also getting more money," Hammock joked. They travel in a 15 passenger van this year, opposed to the six passenger van used last year. They also stay in two hotel rooms instead of one and are eating a bit nicer food.
"Things have improved not just financially, but musically too," Hammock said. "We've learned to listen to others, not just ourselves."
Shady Deal's performance tonight will be part of a two-day crawfish boil event at Cronies.
A man from Louisiana, who is an expert at both catching and cooking crawfish will be there, according to Allen. "He knows what he's doing," Allen said. "That's the biggest thing right there."
The crawfish boil begins at 5 p.m. tonight and Saturday. For $10, you can get three pounds of crawfish, two ears of corn, potatoes and sausage. There will also be a live performance by J.R. Bollinger at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
And the future looks bright for Shady Deal. In summer 2007, after they have all graduated, the band plans to tour for two years, taking off only about three months a year, Hammock said.
And then they'll see where things go from there. "If it keeps growing the way it is now, we will keep on performing," Hammock said.
They are also working on another CD. After doing some studio work in March, Shady Deal plans to be back in the studio over Christmas break and release their second CD sometime next spring.
For more information about Shady Deal, including upcoming performances, visit their web site at www.shadydealband.com.