Sixteen Candles sparks ’80s memories

Chris Hagen, from left, Danny Weymouth, Adam LeBlanc, Scott Barbeau and Dave Ensslin are Sixteen Candles.  |  Submitted
Chris Hagen, from left, Danny Weymouth, Adam LeBlanc, Scott Barbeau and Dave Ensslin are Sixteen Candles. | Submitted

Sixteen Candles can light up a stage, and light a fire under an audience.

“Most of the stuff we play is upbeat, fun and danceable, with a few sing-a-longs added,” said Dave Ensslin, guitarist for the 1980s cover band, Sixteen Candles. “We cover everything from Prince to Journey, with the main focus on ‘80s pop and fun. Think (songs like) ‘Footloose,’ ‘Jessie’s Girl’ and ‘Let’s Go Crazy.’ We try to involve the audience with our stage show and sometimes take breaks at parts in the songs for them to sing-a-long. It’s always a fun party.”

Sixteen Candles will perform on June 13 at the RiverEdge Park in Aurora as part of the City of Aurora’s Downtown Alive! concert series.

The Chicago-based band has been together for 10 years. In addition to Ensslin, Sixteen Candles features Adam LeBlanc on lead vocals, Chris Hagen on drums, Danny Weymouth on bass guitar and Scott Barbeau on keyboards. The band’s name comes from a popular 1984 film directed by John Hughes.

“We wanted to pick a name that would relate to the fun of the 1980s,” Ensslin said. “The film, ‘Sixteen Candles,’ just seemed like a perfect fit.”

The band takes a slightly different approach when performing the hits of the 1980s.

“For the most part, the songs we perform are note for note, but we also do a lot of medleys, so we can add some creativity,” Ensslin said. “Some of the songs of the ’80s can drag on, and people only want to hear the best parts of some songs, so over the years we have shortened some and then surprise the audience by going into another popular song.”

Ensslin thinks the rapport of the band members is integral to the group’s success.

“I think it’s the vibe that we have as a band and the crowd interaction,” he said about the band’s appeal. “We always have fun onstage and that transfers to the audience. It’s just fun music, so it’s hard not to have fun.”

And as satisfying as it is for Ensslin to perform with his fellow band members, he also finds gratification in other areas.

“I would have to say the biggest satisfaction for me is watching the crowds watch us and having a blast, copying our dance moves, and just letting go of everyday life and enjoying themselves,” he said.

Audience members are welcome to bring blankets, folding chairs or bag chairs into the park.

Food and drink are available for purchase inside RiverEdge Park. No outside food or drink (except sealed bottled water) is allowed in the park during events.

No pets are allowed on event days.

Tags:

Sixteen Candles

8 p.m. June 13

Downtown Alive! — RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway Ave., Aurora

Tickets, $3

(630) 896-6666

riveredgeaurora.com

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