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Bangor band Dakota set to rock NYC’s Times Square

September 10, 2019
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Bangor band Dakota set to rock NYC’s Times Square (edge photo by Kevin Bennett)

One of Maine’s longest-serving bands is scheduled to perform at Connolly’s Irish pub and restaurant in New York City’s Time Square on Saturday, September 14, when Bangor’s Dakota performs as part of a 1980’s-themed show, according to the band’s lead vocalist, Vinny Cormier.

The show, dubbed “Bon Jovi Night,” will be headlined by Living on a Bad Name – a Boston-based Bon Jovi tribute band.

Opening the show will be Left of Love – a modern rock and alternative band from New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Vinny Cormier says Dakota’s New York City debut has been in the works for over two months.

“We kept it under wraps until we knew this was a done deal,” Cormier said during an interview. “I told the other guys in the band that this is a great opportunity and that they really deserve it. These guys work incredibly hard and never complain.”

Dakota was formed in 1986 in Moncton, New Brunswick, by brothers Vinny and Tommy Cormier. They toured Canada relentlessly in the late 1980s and started performing occasional shows in the Bangor area in the early 1990s, leading Vinny to move to Bangor in 1994 after he met his future wife Jolene at a show in Brewer. The rest of the band followed suit later in the year.

Tommy Cormier left Dakota in 2013 but encouraged brother Vinny and the band – now with Vinny’s son Dylan on lead guitar – to carry on.

The current lineup of Dakota has been a stable unit for several years. In addition to Vinny and Dylan Cormier, Dakota features Eric Rovito on keyboards and vocals, Ryan Oakes on drums, Tim Tosh on bass and Dave Neale behind the mixing board.

Dakota performs an average of 150 shows per year – most of them in Maine on weekends. The band members also perform in various configurations at night during the week while each member also holds down a day job.

Dakota is planning something special for their Big Apple debut on Saturday night. According to Vinny and Dylan Cormier, the musicians will preview a New England tour they’re planning for next summer.

Dakota plans to don a musical costume when they embark on a 2020 New England tour as an Ozzy Osbourne tribute band, according to Cormier.

“I want to be clear that Dakota is not going away,” Cormier emphasizes. “We’re just going to mix it up next year by covering most of New England with a show that will see us doing the best of ‘80s rock for half the show and a tribute to Ozzy for the second half.”

Dylan Cormier says it’s eerie how much his father resembles the real Ozzy Osbourne when he’s in costume.

“Dad shaved his face, and when he dresses up like Ozzy, it’s really cool,” the younger Cormier told me. “He also does a great job emulating his voice and mannerisms. Dad has been studying Ozzy for a while.”

I asked Dylan what he’s most looking forward to in relation to Dakota’s upcoming show in New York City.

“As much as we’re looking forward to playing a show in New York City, I think we’re just as excited about making the trip together as a band,” he said.

(Note: At this point during my interview with Dylan, another phone in my office began to ring. The caller ID read “NYPD Traffic.” I asked Dylan to pause while I answered the call which turned out to be a recording in Spanish. It was probably a telemarketer robo-call but also a strange coincidence considering the subject of the interview.)

Dakota has recently played some high-profile gigs with the band Night Ranger, singer-songwriter Uncle Kracker and Canadian rock band Loverboy.

“We get to play these cool shows because we have the greatest fans,” Vinny Cormier said. “If not for them, we couldn’t do this. A lot of our Maine fans have told us they plan to make the trip to New York City to see us which blows our minds. I don’t know what to say about that other than we love our fans.”

Last modified on Thursday, 12 September 2019 10:06

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