Tribute band to perform at Kitchen Pass

Ryan Clifford is the leader of the Dave Mathews Tribute Band.

Special to the Chart

Ryan Clifford is the leader of the Dave Mathews Tribute Band.

What began as a hobby has become an occupation for 25-year-old Ryan Clifford, the leader of the Dave Mathews Tribute Band.

In the third performance of their spring tour, the Dave Mathews Tribute Band will be coming to The Kitchen Pass March 16. Mike Pawlus, owner of the Kitchen Pass, said this special performance is a mark of the Kitchen Pass’ 21st anniversary.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Pawlus said. “We’ve been putting on shows for the last 18 years. We like to pop big shows once in a while.”

There are 15 similar bands across the country, so even though Clifford’s band is not original, the band is unique in one way.

“There’s plenty of Dave Mathews tribute bands out there, but we’re the only one that travels nationally,” Clifford said.

The band has performed in 42 of the 48 continental states, and Clifford said their biggest fans are in the southeast region.

“Those big college towns really hit the biggest demographic,” he said. “With the sheer amount of gigs we’ve done in Georgia, we’ve developed quite a crowd.”

Clifford said this experience across the country has allowed him to see mountains and oceans. However, with those features absent in Joplin, he said it will still be a special St. Patrick’s Day Eve.

“I don’t know what to expect from Joplin,” he said. “We’ve never played there before.”

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Clifford said the idea of the band just fell into place. He started playing with a friend during open mic nights then progressed to performing in small bars. However, it took a couple of tries to get the ball rolling. Clifford said five years ago was not a good time for the band.

“We were really young, most of us were going to school or starting families,” he said.

After working for a year at a desk job, Clifford picked up where another tribute band left off in Georgia. Ever since then Clifford said he could not ask for more.

“I’m young and seeing so much of the country,” he said. “It’s such a great experience seeing all parts of the country. We’re building quite a future.”

Clifford said every musician dreams of being on MTV one day, but he is more of a realist.

“Now is not the time,” he said. “I dabble in writing my own stuff and someday I hope to give it a shot. But it’s a rough road. Sometimes you’re broke or even homeless, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”

Doors open at 8 p.m. and $15 tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance. Adam Giebler, a local soloist, will play acoustic guitar before the band’s performance. The show begins at 10 p.m.