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97Nine opens Downtown Alive Friday night

97Nine will perform Downtown Alive.  |  Submitted Photo

97Nine will perform at Downtown Alive. | Submitted Photo

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♦ 7 p.m. June 28

♦ Downtown Alive! — RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway Ave., Aurora

♦ Tickets, $5

♦ (630) 896-6666

Downtown Alive!

97Nine 7 p.m.

American English 9 p.m.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket.

Food and drink are available. No outside food or drink (except water).

Children 12 and under are free with an adult.

Updated: June 26, 2013 10:11AM

The Chicago-based, classic rock band 97Nine may have a slightly different fan base than The Beatles tribute band American English, but Mark O’Dette of 97Nine does not see that as a problem when his band opens for American English on June 28 at Downtown Alive! in Aurora.

“We think we’ll bring a few of our fans as well,” said O’Dette, who handles guitar, drums, piano and vocals for 97Nine. “Anyone who is a fan of The Beatles will enjoy our set list, as much of it is from the same time frame. As huge Beatles fans ourselves, we are excited to share the stage with American English again. We played with them at Navy Pier last year and it was a blast! Hopefully we leave Aurora with a few new fans as well.”

The band 97Nine will perform at 7 p.m. and American English will take the stage at 9 p.m. on June 28 at the City of Aurora’s Downtown Alive! concert series.

In addition to O’Dette, 97Nine consists of Dave Uhrich (guitars, vocals), Tom Heslin (bass, keyboards, vocals) and Michael Bragg (drums, vocals). The four musicians have played together since Aug. 2012. The band’s name comes from the call letters of the Chicago radio station WLUP-FM, 97.9, The Loop.

“It was a marketing move to use this as our name,” O’Dette said. “which describes the music that we play: classic rock.”

The band does mostly cover tunes from such artists as Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Van Halen, ZZ Top, Lynryd Skynyrd, Doobie Brothers, AC/DC, Metallica, Michael Jackson, Billy Idol, Elton John, Queen, Kansas and Cheap Trick.

“We play music from the 1960s through today,” O’Dette said.

Because the band covers so many songs by so many different groups, the task of selecting which ones to play each night can be a bit daunting.

“The biggest challenge is trying to select songs,” O’Dette said. “There are so many great classic rock tunes, we could play for days and not play ’em all.”

But performing in front of an audience brings O’Dette great satisfaction.

“Being able to play in a band, and watching the audience sing along, these are awesome things,” he said. “The best thing is hearing someone say they appreciated hearing us because the music took them to a great time in their life and brought back great memories.”

And although 97Nine plays more intimate, indoor events as well as outdoor festivals, O’Dette states that the band has no real preference on venues.

“It’s all about the audience,” he said. “We’d play in a kitchen if we can make someone feel good. Whether there’s one person or 20,000, we want everyone to leave our show knowing they have to see us again.”

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