Blandini is a three-piece cover band from Orlando, Florida. The founder of the band is Jeff Blando, the lead guitar player in the bands, Slaughter and Vince Neil. Joining Blando, is bass player Paul Drennan of Three Forks Road and 38 Special, and Drummer Will Hunt of Evanescence. As all three men are with touring bands, they don’t get together that often to bless the Central Florida stages as much as their fans would like. From this trio, Music Mob was born. Since, Will Hunt was on tour in Europe with Evanescence, Jordan Cannata the current drummer for Slaughter was behind the kit.
Music Mob is different as they perform for corporate events in places like Texas, Las Vegas, and California. The Music Mob concept is that the audience gets to see multiple bands on the same stage by adding an additional artist to the established threesome. Imagine adding Dee Snyder and making Music Mob, Twisted Sister? Or Billy Gibbons and making Music Mob, ZZ Top? Well, that is exactly what it’s all about. Having a show where a different musician is added every four to six songs transforms the Mob into bands that we all love.
I wrote a piece on it back in 2021 in All Music Magazine and you can read it HERE.
I was asked back in 2021 if I might like to join Music Mob to cover a show in Austin Texas. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance to photograph a variety of iconic musicians. The trip never transpired due to many reasons that I don’t need to go into here. The show was to be at a personal residence for a charity event.
Earlier this year I was added to the guest list for a show in Las Vegas and I couldn’t get on the plane fast enough. The coverage of that show in All Music Magazine can be seen HERE.
From attending that show I was added to the guest list for a show at the personal residence of Mr. Randy Jacops in Austin, Texas, the Idera Fest 2023. The residence resides in a gated community outside of Austin. 25 acres wrapping around a cul-de-sac. I was blown away when I arrived to see a full-fledged stage in the cul-de-sac with a full sized ferris wheel to the left of the stage. Now, this is how you throw a party! To the right of the stage, down a path in some trees were four or five carnival games complete with stuffed animal prizes. What would a carnival be without a concessions trailer offering funnel cake for that sugar injection? Well, it was there as well.
Upon further exploration, the back side of the home was landscaped with beautiful gardens and ponds complete with fountains and bridges. Here I found a couple of inflatables that included a water slide. There was also a station for face painting to help really get adults and children into the carnival atmosphere. In addition to all of that, there were food trucks, Mexican food buffets set up in the open garage, and a chef working over an open grill. They even brought in air-conditioned bathroom trailers!
All of this was only accented by the Jacops family, being so gracious and the perfect hosts. I can’t remember I time I have felt more welcome than I did attending this great event.
Before long it was time for sound check. Sound check is when the musicians and the production crew test the working order and volume levels for each musical instrument and microphones on stage before the audience arrives. Here is where the real “work” is done and it’s sometimes a tedious process getting everything just right. It also didn’t make things easier as temperatures reached 97 degrees!
To start the party’s entertainment, Music Mob (Blandini), the core band played three songs. They opened with “We Will Rock You” by Queen, and that is exactly what they did! Lastly, Jeff Blando showed off his chops by singing White Snake‘s “Still Of The Night.” One of my set favorites as Blando’s vocals are always spot on! He also sings a mean Ronnie James Dio in other settings. Paul Drennan and the showman, Jordan Cannata held the beat and pushed through three strong rock-n-roll songs.
1.) We Will Rock You
2.) Judgement Day
3.) Still Of The Night
It was then George Lynch’s (Dokken/Lynch Mob) turn as he joined Music Mob for four songs from the Dokken and Lynch Mob catalog. His guitar mastery on display is always just remarkable.
1.) Unchain The Night
2.) Into The Fire
3.) Wicked Sensations
4.) Tooth & Nail
The next guest on stage was Jesse James Dupree (Jackyl) joining Music Mob. Jesse and the band played three Jackyl songs. Jesse had just come off a collaboration with AC/DC’s front man, Brian Johnson, decided to sing a couple from AC/DC, “Back In Black” and “Highway To Hell” and of course he nailed the vocals!
1.) I Stand Alone
2.) Down On Me
3.) When Will It Rain
4.) Back In Black
5.) Highway To Hell
Special guest, and first timer with Music Mob, Don Barnes the lead singer of 38 Special played six of the most recognized songs from the 38 Special setlist. The party was underway as the crowd moved closer to the stage to get closer to the fun.
1.) Rocking Into The Night
2.) Back Where You Belong
3.) Fantasy Girl
4.) If I’d Been The One
5.) Caught Up In You
6.) Hold On Loosley
After Music Mob completed their performance, it was time for the headliners of the party, REO Speedwagon. Currently, the band is on tour and brought their full rig and staging to this backyard get together. Even Kevin Cronin, the lead singer mentioned that this was the best backyard party he had ever attended, and if it took three years to book REO Speedwagon, Randy Jacops could have used that time to find a better band than his. Which brought laughter from the crowd. REO performed a full 15 song show on that stage in the cul-de-sac that night and I doubt anyone that was there won’t remember the evening for the rest of their lives. I know I will always remember this incredible day.
1.) Don’t Let Him Go
2.) Music Man
3.) Take It On The Run
4.) Keep Pushin’
5.) Live Every Moment
6.) That Ain’t Love
7.) Tough Guys
8.) Can’t Fight This Feeling
9.) Poor Man
10.) Building The Bridge (Audible)
11.) Time For Me To Fly
12.) Back on The Road Again
13.) Ridin’ The Storm Out
14.) Keep On Lovin’ You
15.) Roll With The Changes
Texas hospitality is real, and I have experienced it firsthand. The whole Jacops family made me feel welcome, by inviting me into their home for this charity event, Idera Fest 2023. I never got a head count as people were spread out all over the property indulging in different things.
The charities of The Austin Humane Society and The Forever Young Foundation (Steve Young’s charity) for children who are working through emotional and health challenges, or are living in underserved communities, were the recipients of donates in the total amount of $135,000 collected that was split between the two. It is always a great event when money is raised for great causes, and you mix in great music!
I am looking forward to being on the next guest list for an event of this magnitude. Great people, fantastic music, and for a great cause, count me in please!
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Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.