South Florida has no shortage of cover bands, but there are a handful of acts that stand out. One such group is The Flyers, a Delray Beach-based trio of incredibly talented musicians who gig steadily around Palm Beach County and have the chops to bring in healthy crowds wherever they go. Every Wednesday night, they post up at Johnnie Browns in Delray Beach, where they play three sets between 8 p.m. and midnight.
On a recent Wednesday night, as usual, the queue to get a table is backed up, making the restaurant and bar one of the only places in Delray that regularly has a line in front of the hostess stand on a week night. Some of the best “seats” belong to folks jiving o the music on the sidewalk.
Frontman Patrick Farinas' wailing guitars and howling vocals can be heard from blocks away, luring in music lovers like sirens calling out to lonely sailors. Farinas seems to be imbued with the spirit of an old blues musician groomed on the extravagant stylings of '70s and '80s arena rock. Whether he's playing with his right hand, left hand, behind his back, turning the guitar upside down, or with his teeth, the man can shred.
Jordan Richards, Farinas' 19-year-old protege, nimbly plays piano and guitar interchangeably, a cigarette dangling unceremoniously from his lips, in what is clearly his most comfortable setting. Drummer Joe Beard smiles and puffs from his vape pen. They tear through marathon medleys of Led Zeppelin, The Band, Jimi Hendrix and other classic rock favorites. In between, they sprinkle some Ray Charles, original songs from their three albums, and quite often, massive Beatles tributes.
The band opened their second set with a succession of songs from their forthcoming EP, Code Three, which they're releasing at the Vintage Tap on Friday night. The title of the EP is a reference to how the band communicates. In order not to give away to the audience what they're playing next, they alert one another with a series of noises and verbal clicks. “Code Three” just happens to be when Richards jumps on drums (his weakest instrument), Beard on bass, and Farinas on “whatever.” Or as Beard jokingly puts it:“That configuration of the band is our most experimental.”
The tracks from Code Three are hardly experimental. The EP is a mix of blues and hard rock combined with elements of '50s rockabilly, '90s alt-pop, and even a hint of old school ska, à la The Specials, which illustrates the band's true identity.
Still, people do love those covers and it's not always easy to get them right. “The hardest thing is remembering lyrics,” Farinas says. “Songs are just songs. Lyrics are more specific. You mess up a lyric, that's what people know.”
Thankfully, when it comes to what The Flyers are all about, it's much less complicated.
“Peace and love,” Farinas says. “We just want to play music. You come to a concert or whatever that we're playing, there's no politics, there's no bullshit, there's no racism. I don't want to hear about any of that. It's all about the music.”
The Flyers play an 8 p.m. show Friday at the Vintage Tap, 524 West Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach. www.vintagetap.com.