Get Off The Bus

An acoustic duo, featuring current and former members of The Porcelain Busdrivers, performed a variety of covers ranging from the Beatles to Weezer at the Wine Cellar Friday evening.

The Velvet Cabbies, which is comprised of the acoustic guitar-wielding duo of Andy Conti and Jamie Smith, is a side-project of the six-piece band The Porcelain Busdrivers. According to Smith, the name Velvet Cabbies is meant to be satirical in nature, and is a play on their full band. The duo’s other off-shoot, Shortbus, features Conti and three other members of The Porcelain Busdrivers.

“When we started doing this we wanted to relate it to The Porcelain Busdrivers so people would know we were part of it,” Smith said.

The duo spent the happy hours of the evening mostly taking on classic rock, blues and 1980s pop; putting a twist on tunes from bands and artists such as The Cars, Men At Work, Pink Floyd and David Bowie.

“We do all kinds of stuff from the 1960s up until almost the present,” Conti said. “But, most of all we like the standards, and poppy songs that aren’t too heavy or totally pop – more rock based.”

“My favorite lately has been ‘Ziggy Stardust’ by David Bowie,” Smith added. “But, any of the Beatles stuff we do is pretty big with the audience. We also do a medley of three different 1980s songs that are like the same three chords that always goes over pretty well.”

The duo also played several originals, including their most popular: “Dude.” According to Smith, “Dude” is a blues-shuffle tune that audiences really seem to dig.

“I personally like the hidden meaning in the lyrics,” Smith said. “It’s an old rock ‘n’ roll story about getting screwed over by the man.”

“It’s easy for people to get into because it’s bluesy, and it’s got a beat that won’t throw people off,” Conti added.

Another example of an original that the duo plays is “My Own Way,” and they’ve even got a song that pays homage to Johnny’s Lunch.

“When we started we were doing all covers, but then we started wanting to do some originals, and I’d be open to doing even more of them,” Conti said.

What Conti hopes audiences take away from the Velvet Cabbies’ performances is first and foremost a good time.

“We want people to be entertained,” Conti said. “We want them to have heard a song that they like, or that they requested. We also hope that our musicianship comes through when we’re playing because we like to think that we’re more than just having background music going.”

“If people are enjoying it they jump, they clap and they cheer – that’s what makes me happy,” Smith added.

For more information, search for “Velvet Cabbies,” “The Porcelain Busdrivers” or “Shortbus” on Facebook.

The Wine Cellar, which is located at 309 N. Main St. in Jamestown, generally hosts live music on Friday evenings. For more information, search for “Jamestown Wine Cellar” on Facebook.