"A party was in full roll in New Hope - in the heat of late August. Young professionals and empty nesters, seeking refuge from the sweltering summer night, flocked to Havana 's in New Hope to relax and dance. A 1940s style big band was swinging to Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon" as friends cozied up in any of Havana 's many intimate seating areas, cushy nests of couches and chairs that give this hot spot its distinctly lounge-like atmosphere.
A few margaritas later, the crowd is energized when a funk band takes the stage to play a seamless series of favorite tunes like James Brown's "I Feel Good" and "Brick House" by the Commodores. Soon, dancers welcome the alterna-pop stylings of Blink 182 and the Fountains of Wayne, and even those in the loft overlooking the main floor are moved to bounce up and down like teenagers. Throughout the entire evening, the personnel on stage have not changed.
The Diablo Sandwich Band's set list is impressive, to say the least. Offering everything from disco to Duke Ellington, it has something for everyone. They even play "Copacabana" because (for better or for worse) there's always someone in the crowd who likes Barry Manilow. Front man Chris Walinski describes "the Diablo Sandwich Experience" as a "four-hour happy hour," and from the looks of the crowd he couldn't be more accurate. The crowd dons shiny plastic Mardi Gras beads as they shake their Groove Things or Jump, Jive and Wail, Long Island Iced Teas in hand.
The music propels the party forward as the musicians smile and laugh with the audience, singing along during a group of songs that includes "Sedated" by the Ramones and "Blister in the Sun" by the Violent Femmes. The atmosphere calms during an impressive version of Etta James's "At Last My Love Has Come Along." The dance floor is filled with swaying couples made misty by a combination of vodka tonics and the rich, soulful voice coming from a young lady who, up to now, has been playing auxiliary percussion.
Slaves in the corporate office world by day (Diablo's band members do everything from pharmaceutical sales to accounting,) each one is a versatile musician by evening. The band features two sax players, a trumpet, keys, guitar, bass, drum kit, and auxiliary percussion. Five members sing lead, many double up on instruments, and everyone sings back up. In addition, almost every player has an understudy of sorts. This versatility has undoubtedly contributed to the group's longevity and success.
The Diablo Sandwich Band has been around for 11 years, having started as an acoustic duo that played covers on the bar scene. Now the band has a loyal following of people from the tri-state area, including New Hope , Philadelphia , and especially the LBI club circuit. They also play a lot of private parties, especially weddings.
The Diablo Sandwich Band is a chameleon of a group who adapts perfectly to the style of whatever genre they are playing in a given moment. Walinski says: "When people dance and sing, that's all that matters." The Diablo Sandwich Band came to make a party, and party we did."