Into the Mystic with Justin Panigutti at MCOH
Into the Mystic with Justin Panigutti comes to the Mauch Chunk Opera House Saturday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
The Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe, will host the Vermont-based band, Into the Mystic with Justin Panigutti, this Saturday.
Panigutti will use his “Van Morrison-reminiscent” vocals backed by his seven bandmates to treat showgoers to a trip through Morrison’s extensive song collection.
“It’s just exciting to see people’s interest and curiosity into what Van’s music is,” Panigutti said.
The first song he covered of Morrison’s demonstrated the unifying effect music can have on an audience.
“Whenever I perform ‘Listen to the Lion’ on stage, I really get into it. In that song he does some growling and he repeats these phrases and gets you into kind of a trance. It was the first time I really discovered what Van can do. It really takes the listener for a ride.”
Panigutti’s group is comprised of two guitars, keyboard, drums, bass and of course, saxophones.
The rhythm guitar and harmonica player says the band changes up the set list for every show which allows them to add its own style to influence the performance.
“For radio hits, I’ll do a song two different ways, but we keep it in the essence of Van. I’ll add my own subtleties, but we try to stay true to form. Sometimes we will stretch out a song a bit or jam them out,” he said.
“There are a handful of songs we always include, but I like to change it up,” he said.
“I don’t even know how many songs Van has written; there are so many. But there are hits that people always want to hear. I like to say we are a real Van Morrison fan’s band. After five years of doing this, I’m still being shown new songs. It’s pretty wild. It’s a lot of fun.”
The group has been traveling around to clubs and small venues in New England since 2015 after getting their start at a friend’s wedding.
“The set list had a bunch of Van on it. People have always told me I sound like him, and it wasn’t until this wedding where we played and thought maybe it was time to go out. We got booked at a local venue and started to go out.”
This is the band’s first time in Jim Thorpe as well as its first year outside of the New England area after signing with a new agency. Performances are scheduled in New Hope and Bethlehem’s Musikfest as well.
Saturday’s audience doesn’t need to be familiar with Morrison’s work to enjoy the show.
“I always intend the audience to leave feeling a little more grounded and peaceful then when they walked in. That’s the power of music,” said Panigutti.
“It doesn’t matter the genre, but if you can provide your audience with an experience, then you’re doing a good job.”
Show time is 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m.
For more information on the band or for tickets visit sites:www.intothemysticband.com or mcohjt.com.