Problem Child Kicks Off Summer Season at Tuckerton Beach Grille

By SARAH HODGSON | May 15, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Tuckerton Beach — Last Saturday evening, the Tuckerton Beach Grille was a pleasant reprieve from persistent, drizzly weather conditions. Bar patrons tucked into platters of sushi and pints of beer while Problem Child, a local band, readied the stage for a performance that would prove to be as cheery as the night was dreary.

The stage of the Grille is situated in a cozy pocket of the bar and designed to look as if it’s floating in space. The walls are midnight blue, the ceiling, black. White crescent moons and stars fleck the “sky” while purple icicle lights dangle around the perimeter, permitting a moody glow in an otherwise dark nook. Colorful lights spring into action at the foot of the stage, flashing across instruments and sending the wooden platform, scratched and worn from performers past, into what looks like a flickering orbit.

On their interstellar stage, the four-man band kicked off their first set with a buoyant cover of Tim McGraw’s “Shotgun Rider.” Vocalist and percussionist Tracey Tylicki harmonized with vocalist and guitarist Lee Falvey, their voices melding in sweet, folksy balance. Next was Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” with a seamless transition into Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”

With Jerry Belardino on drums and Phil Macola on bass, the band was able to play anything from Skynyrd and Elle King, to Zac Brown Band and Janis Joplin, skipping tracks and hopping genres as easily as an iPod.

Perhaps the most enjoyable moments of Problem Child’s sets were the mashups. The band cunningly folded songs within songs – some artful, others humorous. Most impressive was their rendition of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band. The song tells the tale of a fiddling duel between the protagonist (Johnny) and the devil. During the instrumental bridges where the duelers are meant to be fiddling away, Problem Child tossed in two unconventional tunes: the ever-viral “Baby Shark” and the classic “Gimme Three Steps.”

“It’s fun to see people that are bopping along and are all of the sudden like ‘wait a minute,’” said Falvey, regarding their mashups. During the holidays, they’ll even replace “Baby Shark” with “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

In recreating violin and flute solos, the ever-talented Tylicki gets the job done with her trusty kazoo, which sounds quite lovely opening for “Can’t You See,” by the Marshall Tucker Band.

“We like to make people laugh,” said Tylicki. A slide whistle was also among their cache of creative noisemakers.

When asked about the origins of the band’s name, the musicians looked amongst themselves for a moment before Falvey said, “Depends on who you ask.”

“One of us is the problem child, but we’ll never tell who it is,” added Tylicki.

On their Facebook page, there’s a humorously long list of places where the group is willing to perform: funerals, quinceaneras, school assemblies, night clubs, casinos, dinner parties, commitment ceremonies, christenings, cruise ships, divorce parties, church services, going out of business sales. A versatile list for a versatile bunch.

“We’re kind of a modular band. We try to fit anywhere we can. We’ll play in the corner of anywhere,” said Falvey.

Their instruments allow them to adapt to a variety of venues without disturbing patrons. “What’s different about us is we use an electric drum set, which means we can be quiet and play anywhere,” said Belardino. “We can turn it down and be really quiet, or turn it up and be really loud. That separates us from other bands.”

As a group, they have collaborated and written original music together. One of their songs was even used for a wedding (the betrothed couple frequently appears at performances to diligently request the tune).

Their favorite memory performing? “We played at a nudist colony once. The band didn’t have to be naked – I know you’re wondering,” said Falvey. “That was very interesting. When you go, ‘Any requests?’ everyone says, ‘Get naked!’”

They’re an exceptionally likable group, huddled in a booth between sets, cracking jokes and playfully teasing one another. When asked how long they’d been performing together, the answers ranged from five to 10 years.

“All together about 113 years,” joked Falvey. “We’ve been friends for too long to talk about.”

You can catch Problem Child at Tuckerton Beach Grille again on June 14 and at the Grapevine Aug. 9.

— Sarah Hodgson

Setlist Snippet:

  • “Shotgun Rider,” Tim McGraw
  • “I’m on Fire,” Bruce Springsteen
  • “Folsom Prison Blues,” Johnny Cash
  • “American Kids,” Kenny Chesney
  • “Me and Bobby McGee,” Janis Joplin
  • “When It Rains It Pours,” Luke Combs
  • “Can’t You See,” Marshall Tucker Band
  • “Wagon Wheel,” Old Crow Medicine Show
  • “Homegrown,” Zac Brown Band
  • “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” The Charlie Daniels Band
  • “Gimme Three Steps,” Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • “Kryptonite,” 3 Doors Down




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