Tuesday, 27 October 2020 11:51

Cassette Rewind to bring authentic ’80s experience to the Cole on Friday

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Premier ’80s tribute band Cassette Rewind will be performing at the “Car”certs at the Cole on Friday, Oct. 30. Concert begins at 6 p.m.  Premier ’80s tribute band Cassette Rewind will be performing at the “Car”certs at the Cole on Friday, Oct. 30. Concert begins at 6 p.m. Contributed photo

HAMLET —  “Who you gonna call” to go back in time? The Cole Auditorium has called the Southeast’s premier ’80s tribute band Cassette Rewind to perform Friday night to wrap up its fall outdoor concert series “Car”certs at the Cole. 


Born in the 1980s and raised on radio, the five members of Cassette Rewind provide an authentic ’80s experience between the music and their stage presence. Providing vocals for the band is Rockingham native Brandon Kirkley, who started the band five years ago after seeing an ’80s tribute band perform at a festival in Beech Mountain.

“I thought, ‘We can do that,’” Kirkley said, so he morphed his band at the time, Brandon Kirkley and the Firecrackers, into Cassette Rewind. For the past several years, Cassette Rewind has now been the headlining act for the ’80s weekend at Beech Mountain.

Kirkley was always intrigued by ’80s music, thanks to the influence of his parents, Robbie and Teresa Kirkley.

“Growing up, I remember driving around listening to Hall & Oates, Huey Lewis, Journey, and Michael Jackson, and it was just really ingrained in me,” Kirkley said. 

In high school, he picked up a guitar for the first time and started honing his talent by playing '90s rock music. He later decided he wanted to sing, much to the surprise of his parents.

“They were like, ‘Are you sure about that? You’ve never been a singer,’” Kirkley said. “So I’ve had to work pretty hard to get to this point, which I’m pretty proud of.”

Despite being 20 years removed from the 1980s, his love for this era and the music continued to grow in college. He and his friends started going to an ’80s club in downtown Charlotte called the Breakfast Club. That’s when they started getting into the vintage clothes and hair styles to complete the ’80s vibe. 

“This is the most diverse era of pop music, and it’s the most fun type of music. It’s not depressing. It’s lively,” he said. 

Replicating the music in a genuine way and not being a campy parody band has been very important to Kirkley. He is meticulous not only about their sound but also about their costumes, making sure they dress in vintage clothes and shoes that represent the styles of the bands whose music they are playing.

Also a member of Cassette Rewind is Wadesboro native Vincent Baynard. He plays drums, provides back-up vocals and also does the programming to make sure their sound is authentic to the ’80s.

Before COVID-19, Cassette Rewind was doing about 25 shows a year. Their performance at the Cole on Friday will be the band's sixth gig of 2020. Kirkley said their goal is always for people to enjoy themselves, but during the current times, the fun factor surrounding their shows is especially important.

“We try to play as many songs in a night that we can play,” Kirkley said. “You might hear a minute and a half of ‘Safety Dance,’ and then we’ll go straight into a surprise song. It’s one thing we do differently and we do well. And that’s giving people a sampling of the ’80s but also giving them a chance to hear the songs they came to hear.”  

“Car”certs is an outdoor concert series held in the parking lot of the Cole Auditorium on the Hamlet Campus of Richmond Community College. People “drive in” for the show and remain in their cars or set up chairs in front of their parking space to watch the performers on a stage in front of the Cole. At the gate, vehicle owners are provided with the FM station to tune in on their car radios to hear the band, but the parking lot is designed so everyone can see the band and the action.   

“Cassette Rewind will definitely put on an energetic, crowd-pleasing show to cap off this concert series,” said Cole Director Joey Bennett. “So come out to the Cole this Friday and be ready to relive the 80s.”

Mobile food vendors Smokin’ Ain’t Easy and Twisted Treats will be selling refreshments during the concert. Social distancing while standing in line for the food trucks will be enforced.  

The Cassette Rewind concert begins at 6 p.m., and the cost is $20 per vehicle. Half of the proceeds will go to the band. Cash will be the only accepted payment type.  

The Cole Auditorium is located at 1042 W. Hamlet Ave., Hamlet. Parking lot attendants will be directing cars to appropriate parking spots. No alcohol is permitted.  

For information, call the Cole Auditorium Box Office at 910-410-1691 or visit www.richmondcc.edu/carcertsatthecole.