“Lit”burg or Frostburg?

On the evening of Friday, Sept. 2, 2016 at 8 p.m., Frostburg State University’s “On The Edge” series presented the Caribbean pop band, Cover Drive. The performance was free and opened to the public, with music lovers of reggae, R&B, hip-hop, and pop gathered at the Clock Tower Quad to witness the performance. The quad was set up as an outside concert’s atmosphere: stage, lights, a few tables, chairs, and some open space for dancing to make the band feel welcome and the students feel concert-ready. It was a clear, beautiful evening that turned into night as the band put on a show for FSU. The Cover Drive is a band originally stationed in Barbados, trying to spread the sounds of their native vocals to the world. The band is expanding its fame into the United States, and has already had three top hits in the United Kingdom.

The band consists of lead vocalist Karen Amanda Reifer, 25; percussionist/backup vocalist Thomas-Ray “T-Ray” Armstrong, 23; keyboardist/guitarist Barry “Bar Man” Hill, age 27; and bassist Jamar Harding, age 23. Reifer met T-Ray when she became his babysitter, despite her being only two years his senior.  The band formed in T-Ray’s basement, and over time developed a following centered around their YouTube presence. Cover Drive took its name from a type of shot in cricket – the national sport of Barbados and T-Ray’s country of origin. In April 2011, the band signed a publishing deal with Sony and a recording deal with Polydor Records. Since that time the band’s debut album Bajan Style was released in 2012, making appearances on pop music charts in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Not even a full hour into the performance, people were already on their feet and eager to dance.  Reifer loved the energy, saying “I won’t call y’all Frostburg anymore – y’all are ‘Litburg’.” After some encouragement from Reifer, almost everyone ended up on their feet. The band sang some American songs with its own twist, such as Drake’s “One Dance” and Adele’s “Hello.” Of course the band did not leave without playing their hit single, “Twilight,” receiving amazing positive responses. The audience was very active with the band throughout the set, with audience members climbing onto the stage to act as impromptu backup dancers, and receiving some dancing lessons from Reifer for their trouble. Among the singer’s other efforts to get personal with her crowd was when she invited male audience members to be serenaded on stage, after which one of said attendees asked for the singer’s number – only to be rebuked by a resounding “maybe, and maybe.”

The band ended with the song “Let’s Get It Started” by The Black Eyed Peas. The performance left the crowd feeling upbeat and wanting more, but it was time for the band to wrap up. I’m sure everyone would agree to have the band come back. Maybe next year when they have a new hit single again, they can come perform it personally for FSU.

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