The Boardwalk in Orangevale will ring in the New Year with one of the area’s top AC/DC  tribute bands headlining a twin billing of a show that will surely rock everyone into 2024 while it bids farewell to one of its longtime founding members.  Riff/Raff is set to take to the stage on New Year’s Eve in a show that will conclude with vocalist Mike Barnes hanging up his microphone. 

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Riff/Raff’s performance have long been described as, “just like seeing AC/DC live,” according to the band’s press and booking materials. The band was formed in 2007 when Barnes placed an online advertisement looking for others to join him in forming what he described as “the AC/DC Tribute Band that everyone wanted to see”

Soon after, guitarist Dave Chapman answered that ad and they haven’t looked back evenr since. The two were soon Joined by guitairist Joel Proto, bass player Michael Spencer (Bass), and drummer Steve Marshall.  From the beginning, RIFF/RAFF set out to recreate the energy and excitement of the real AC/DC, right down to the authentic Angus Young schoolboy outfit and signature Gibson guitar.

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Sunday night you can count on numbers from all eras of the AC/DC catalog, including songs such as Jailbreak, TNT, Sin City, Whole Lotta Rosie, Highway to Hell, Dirty Deeds, Back In Black, Hell’s Bells, For Those About To Rock, Thunderstruck, You Shook Me All Night Long, and many, many more classics. The band will be joined with special guests Blizzard of SabbatOzz, a tribute to the music of Ozzy Osborn. 

Shortly after the new of the high energy New Year’s Eve Show was coming to the Boardwalk, the band announced it will be the final performance for Barnes. After more than 16 years of playing shows across the west coast, Barnes has decided to hang up the microphone. The band announced his departure on Dec. 9 and paid homage his dedication of playing so many roles on stage and off for the band.  

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“He has been the constant behind all facets of our success. He not only had the daunting task of tackling the vocal talents of the legendary Bon Scott and Brian Johnson night in and night out, he was also our behind the scenes guy booking gigs, setting up opportunities, establishing contacts, making phone calls, and juggling the logistics that took 5 bleary-eyed middle-aged rockers out of his garage and onto stages throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona,” the band said in a collaborative statement on social media.

While he has been a key member of the band on stage that the band is actively working to replace, Barnes is being credited by the band for much more than his vocal talents.

“(Mike is) the driving force that deserves a lion’s share of the credit for our accomplishments. Stage Manager, booking agent, sound engineer, technician, electrician, light guy, therapist, and so many other unsung roles; Mike has done them all,” he band said. “Anyone that’s been in a band knows that it’s hard work.  The practices, the travel, the performances all take a toll.”

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While Barnes will step off the stage, he will still be part of it behind the scenes, according to the band’s announcement. Stepping away from the stage will give the artist a chance to spend more time with his family 

“He’s still going to be connected to the band and will maintain a presence, but his days of being on stage as our golden-throated charismatic front man will end on New Years Eve,” they said.  “As the saying goes, Father Time is undefeated and Mike has decided to focus his time now to more important matters such as his health and his family. As for the rest of the band, we’re in the process of seeking a new vocalist to fill Mike’s rather large shoes. We’ve still got a few more high voltage shows left in us.”

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Riff/Raff will be joined Sunday night by Blizzard of SabbatOzz. The rock band is bannered as being an extraordinary experience paying tribute to “The Prince of Darkness”, covering the early era of Ozzy Osborne, from his time in Black Sabbath all the way through his journey with Zakk Wylde.

Made up of four accomplished and gifted musicians, Blizzard of SabbatOzz pays tribute to the Osborn with spot on tunes rivaled only by the original recorded album versions themselves. Their precise and legitimate pursuance of recreating the iconic sound of the legendary Ozzy Osbourne’s career is nothing short of amazing, according the Boardwalk’s show billing.

Sunday’s show is set to begin at 9:00 pm. The Boardwalk is located at 9426 Greenback Lane in Orangevale. Ticket information can be found on the venue website at www.rocktheboardwalk.com.

TOP PHOTO: Mike Barnes rocks the vocals at a previous performance by Riff/Raff. Sunday will be Barnes’ final stage performance at the Boardwalk.  Photo by Candace Birdsong, courtesy of Riff/Raff.

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