{mosimage}Today’s music has a wide range of styles and influences. Some of it can be over the top. If you long to spend a quiet evening relaxing to music that makes sense and tells a story, then you don’t have to look any further than the Givens Performing Arts Center on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
    Each year Givens puts on one of the best shows in town when it brings its Nostalgia Series to the stage. This year’s series opened in September with the incomparable Glenn Campbell, and continues on Friday, Oct. 17, with the Commodores.
    The band formed at Tuskegee Institute in 1968, and went on to become one of the biggest funk and soul bands in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The group is best known for its ballads, “Remember,” “Easy” and “Three Times a Lady?” Those mellow sounds launched many a romance and were the centerpiece of a number of weddings.
    But just as the band could mellow you out, they can also rock you out — with hits like “Brick House,” “Say Yeah,” and “Too Hot Ta Trot.” “Machine Gun” the instrumental title track from the band’s debut album, became a staple at American sporting events, and is similarly featured in many films, including Boogie Nights and Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Another instrumental, “Cebu” (named after an island in the Philippines), later became a staple in the Quiet Storm format. Three albums released in years 1975 and 1976 (Caught in the Act, Movin’ On, Hot On The Tracks) are considered the peak of their harder funk period. After those recordings the group started to move towards softer sound.
    Originally known as The Jays, the band changed names over confusion with the O’Jays. To get their new name, they opened a dictionary and pointed. Band member William King noted, that it was sheer luck that the band wasn’t called the Commodes.
    The band is much different today than it was in its heyday; popular front man Lionel Richie left the band in the early ‘80s, and today, only two original members — Clyde Orange and William “WAK” King” — remain. The band performs 50 concerts a year, always to a sold-out house.
    The show at Givens begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40, $38, $20* / $12 child or student,
$5 UNCP student and $15 for faculty or staff. For more information, visit the Givens Web site at www.uncp.edu/gpac/nostalgia.
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