When toes start tapping, when audience members start singing along — that’s when Mike Schwenk and his bandmates know they’re putting on a good show.
And, luckily, that happens pretty often when The Highway 12 Band takes the stage.
“When we can get people up on their feet, that’s when we have a great time. Because we do hits — everyone knows the songs — it does get people moving,” Schwenk said.
He plays lead guitar for the Tri-City classic rock band, which is set to play July 17 in Columbia Park in Kennewick at a benefit for the nonprofit Grace Clinic.
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The indie/rock band Run From Cover also is set to play the show. Music starts at 6 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.
The Highway 12 Band formed more than a decade ago. The group plays classic tunes from the late 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, with some ’80s rock hits thrown in too — everything from Rock Around the Clock, to tunes by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Eric Clapton and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Highway 12’s motto is, “We lived it. We love it. We still play it.”
“That says it. It’s songs we played in bands when we were younger and songs we grew up with,” Schwenk told the Herald.
Along with Schwenk, the band includes Randy LaBarge on bass guitar and lead vocals, Jon Juette on drums, Gus Calapristi on rhythm guitar and Jan Goolsbey on harmonica, percussion and keyboard.
Run From Cover’s lineup includes singer and pianist Zac Mason, lead guitarist Stephen Donley, drummer Mark McRoskey and bass player Andrew Luttrell. The band has roots in the Tri-Cities and now is based in Seattle. It has a growing following in the Northwest, with a sound that’s been compared to Coldplay, Keane, Travis and U2.
Schwenk said his group is excited to play the Grace Clinic benefit, called the “Throwdown in the Hometown.”
The clinic “is a great operation. They do wonderful things for people who aren’t as lucky as some of us. It’s a great cause and the right kind of event,” he said.
Grace Clinic is the only free clinic for the uninsured in the Tri-City community. It provides medical, dental and mental health care for people with little or no ability to pay.
Even with federal health care reform, the ranks of those who can’t afford health care in Benton and Franklin counties still is substantial — at about 31,000 people, according to information from the clinic. Grace Clinic saw more than 5,000 patient visits last year.
The concert is in the stage area at the east end of Columbia Park.
Tickets are $10. They’re available at www.justhelpsomeone.org, at Ranch & Home in Kennewick or at the door. Kids 12 and younger are admitted for free.
People should bring lawn chairs or blankets. Food vendors will be on hand, and a beer garden will be set up for attendees who are 21 and older.