The Rellik Tavern has long been a prime spot for nightlife in Benicia. In addition to having a full bar, lounge area and tapas menu, it also is a place where patrons can enjoy live music, open mic nights, ‘80s dance parties and a whole lot more.
Contributing to that whole lot more is the Rellik’s newest weekly event series, Dueling Pianos.
Every Wednesday night from 7 to 10 p.m., the Rellik will rotate two piano players every week- some local and some just passing through town- who will perform renditions of virtually any song that is requested- emphasis on the any. Tonight will be the first such show, and Rellik co-owner Delando Pagan says he has been meaning to do a dueling pianos event for a while. He and his wife, Rellik co-owner Zoey, are big fans of the format.
“Whenever we’re in Vegas, we never miss a dueling piano act up there,” he said. “We’ve been meaning to do this for a long time, and we finally got the right crew together.”
The format of a dueling pianos event is pretty simple. Patrons will go up to one of two piano players and provide tips along with a written request for a song they would like to hear. The piano players will then go through the list and each play a song. What types of songs can be requested? Pretty much anything. Patrons will be treated to not only standard piano fare from Elton John or John Legend but a wide variety of songs from different artists, ranging from Franz Liszt to Franz Ferdinand. From heavy metal to hip-hop to country to dance-pop, nothing is forbidden. If you have ever wanted to witness piano-fied covers of Van Halen’s “Panama” or Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” in person, then Wednesday nights at the Rellik will be for you.
However, you do not have to feel like you should listen to every song that gets requested. For example, if one of the pianists starts playing a Justin Bieber track and you do not want to hear it, then you can tip the opposite pianist to stop the song, and then the other piano player will play a new song.
“It’s fun, it’s interactive and there’s a lot of sing-alongs,” Pagan said. “It’s part music and part comedy.”
Pagan says the event will be a great way to celebrate birthdays or bachelor/bachelorette parties, and it will also provide something new to Solano County.
“There’s nothing like that in Solano County right now,” he said. “I think the closest dueling piano act is in Danville and San Francisco, so it will be something fun for everybody on this side of the bay to come to.”
Pagan says the nights will be a fun way for Benicians to experience something new and crazy.
“Every time my wife and I have ever been to one, once you get caught up in it you’re pretty much there until it’s over,” he said.
He also believes the event will draw people from outside Benicia as well.
“Hopefully, it will become a destination every Wednesday,” he said. “People will come not just from Benicia but also outside the area. It will bring more people downtown to our little historic waterfront area.”
“It will definitely be something new for Benicia,” he added.
The Rellik Tavern is located at 726 First St. For more information, call 746-1137 or visit TheRellikTavern.com.
Photo courtesy of Delando Pagan
Jason Marion, a pianist who plays at Venue in San Francisco as well as numerous gigs in las Vegas, will be one of the piano players in the Rellik tavern's Dueling Pianos nights.