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A trip down memory lane: Mitchell area's The 1270's revitalizing 1950s, '60s hits

“We’ve had people come up to us after shows crying and say ‘That song was the first time I ever danced with my wife.’ That’s what it's all about,” The 1270's drummer Dan Pollreisz said.

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Adam Bruggeman, left, Dan Pollreisz, center, and Dakota Gamber, of The 1270's band, plays at the Corn Palace Plaza on July 1, 2022 during First Fridays on Main in downtown Mitchell.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — The 1270's band has been taking Mitchell area music lovers back in time when life was much simpler and The Beatles and Buddy Holly reigned supreme.

While the three-piece band that’s composed of two Mitchell area firefighters and a Sioux Falls native are relatively young musicians, their love for 1950s and ‘60s era jams has helped them form a tight bond and create retro sounds that they’ve been sharing with concert-goers for the past two years.

“I think we’re all kind of old souls in a way,” lead singer and guitarist Dakota Gamber said of the band.

How the trio crossed paths and formed the band is a story in itself. When Gamber, a Mitchell firefighter, was working a night shift at the fire station and began playing an acoustic guitar version of a classic rock and roll song, it resonated with Dan Pollreisz.

As the two Mitchell firefighters connected over their shared love for ‘50s and ‘60s music, Pollreisz opened up to Gamber about his passion for drumming. What started off as conversations about playing a few songs together during work breaks blossomed into a full fledged band in 2020.

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“He was always singing in the bay, and one day there was a guitar there he started playing. I thought this could be interesting and we could do something with this,” Pollreisz said of Gamber.

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Dakota Gamber, singer and guitarist with The 1270's band, performs on July 1 in downtown Mitchell for First Fridays on Main.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

Bringing in Adam Bruggeman was the last piece of the puzzle that led to the formation of The 1270’s. Gamber had played with Bruggeman for a brief period of time in the past and knew the skills that the Sioux Falls guitarist had. After running into Bruggeman several years ago at a social gathering, the two struck up a conversation. And it didn’t take long for the music topic to come up.

When Bruggeman, a childhood friend of Gamber’s, said he’d been playing for a few bands that were no longer, Gamber saw a “great opportunity” to join forces once again.

“From the time when we started playing, I’ve improved a lot. I’ve played with a few bands, but I haven't had this much fun doing it,” Bruggeman said of his time playing with The 1270’s as a lead guitarist and vocalist. “Playing with other bands in the past helped me adapt to different styles.”

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Dan Pollreisz, The 1270's drummer, jams during a live performance at Grand Falls Casino in Iowa.
Submitted photo

A pair of 29-year-olds with guitars and a 40-year-old drummer aren’t exactly what first-time The 1270’s concert-goers likely imagine when they arrive at their shows to listen to hit songs that are more than seven decades old. But the young trio’s ability to play classic rock and roll and oldies songs creates an atmosphere that Gamber says he hears from attendees that’s “just like back in the day.”

“We always hear people who are older at our shows come up and say, ‘I feel like I just jumped back to the time when I was 20 dancing the night away,’” Gamber said.

The band got its name from an old Sioux Falls radio station called KIHO. Throughout the 1950s, the Sioux Falls radio station’s 1270 AM radio channel was revered as a staple among music fans, who would tune in to listen to the top 40 hits of the day.

Just as popular bands like The Beach Boys did in the 1960s, The 1270’s are always donning matching attire while performing on stage. During winter shows, the trio will be jamming together with matching suits and ties singing into vintage metal microphones that hearken back to the Golden Age of Rock and Roll. At outdoor stages in the summertime, they can be seen wearing striped shirts and khakis in true ‘60s band fashion.

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Adam Bruggeman jams on stage at the Corn Palace Plaza on July 1 with The 1270's band.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

“You think back on The Beach Boys and Beatles, they usually always had matching clothes on. So we went to JCPenney and bought the same suits to wear. People love it because I think it brings them back to those days in the past even more,” Pollreisz said.

Finding a niche group of music lovers

While there are plenty of cover bands that perform around the area, The 1270’s produce a unique twist to the popular classic rock and roll and oldies songs they jam to. The band’s renditions of oldies songs are infused with modern sounding electric guitar riffs and harmonic rhythm that’s synonymous with the ‘50s and ‘60s era music.

With plenty of country music bands already in the Mitchell area, the band offers sounds that Gamber said are “pretty rare” nearby. And the growing popularity of the band has shown that there’s been a void in 1950s and 1960s live music.

“Everyone has the country and 1980s cover band genre covered around here. We’ve noticed there’s kind of a niche for that 1950s and 1960s music,” Gamber said.

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The 1270's sign sits on stage while the band plays the Corn Palace Plaza stage.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

Just two years into the band’s existence, they reached a milestone this summer worth celebrating: a fully booked summer of shows. From class reunions and anniversaries to small-town festivals, The 1270’s have performed at a wide variety of venues across the region.

Considering all three members of The 1270’s hold down full-time jobs, they have adapted to life as weekend road warriors. Over weekends, the trio treks as far as northwest Iowa to play shows at Grand Falls Casino, where they’ve become regular faces on the casino’s stage. However, a majority of their shows are around the surrounding Mitchell and Sioux Falls area.

They don’t do it for fame or money. It’s the special memories and moments made among people who take in The 1270’s shows that inspires the band to keep playing and put on plenty of miles throughout the year.

“We’ve had people come up to us after shows crying and say ‘That song was the first time I ever danced with my wife.’ That’s what it's all about,” Pollreisz said.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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