PLATTSBURGH — With one hand in his pocket and the other grasping a Pabst Blue Ribbon, Corey Brown, 22-year-old guitarist and lead singer of Steve and The Browns, awaits his set at the Monopole, a popular watering hole that features live music in downtown Plattsburgh.
The set begins with a single resonating guitar riff. Within seconds the whole room is entranced; no one can help but move to the music.
“It’s so fun to play when the crowd is really into it,” Brown said.
Over the years, many bands have frequented the Monopole. Marc Thompson, who has taken his turn on stage here, has seen a few.
“The theme is obvious in this bar: jam bands … mostly,” said Thompson, lead guitarist for North Funk Tree. “But these guys stand out here; most bands don’t have good original material, if any at all. These guys kick (it).”
Folk is back, blended with classic rock and jam-band influences. Steve and The Browns — Corey Brown; Laz Brown (no relation), 23, bass; and Steve Tobias, 22, drums — are proving that the old-school sound isn’t dead.
Steve and The Browns have their credentials intact. Fixtures on the indy circuit of Burlington, Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh since their formation in 2011, all three have been playing in bands since middle school.
“We were never thrilled with our original name (Washed Up),” Steve Brown said, noting it took two years of contemplation to come up with the group’s current moniker. “We wanted to find a funny name, like ‘The Browns’ or something, since Laz and I have the same last name.”
Onstage, with Fender amps and a PA system they just found on Craigslist for 50 bucks, Steve and The Browns’ sound is anything but boring. Brown, with his unique raspy voice, sings lyrics that pay homage to influences such as Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead, while Laz and Tobias provide a high-energy rock backdrop reminiscent of bands such as The Who and The Rolling Stones.