PHOTOS: RockNOW!, presented by Lehigh Valley Underground

By the time Sunday night came around at this weekend’s Great Pennsylvania Music and Arts Celebration (PennMArt), it was time to rock.

We had absolutely no trouble making that happen with some help from our friends.

Intended to be a showcase of modern acts that honored the traditions of rock and roll, Sunday night’s RockNOW!, presented by Lehigh Valley Underground bill delivered in a big way.

First up was Julie Williams, who we had seen earlier in the day as the Sunday winner of the Lehigh Valley Underground Discovery Stage. At just 14, Williams proved herself more than capable of handling the spotlight, with an engaging, 20-minute set that showcased her strong vocals and commanding presence.

Speaking of commanding presence, we’re always thrilled to see how Julia Sommer continues to come into her own as a performer. She took another step forward on Thursday night, delivering a well-crafted 30-minute set of her strongest material. The Berklee-bound singer-songwriter’s onstage energy and musicianship were both on point on Sunday night, and ensures that rock’s future is in good hands.

Speaking of steps forward, we got several hints of what Kill the Broadcast has been up to since January — and we like what we’re hearing! The addition of third guitarist Dave Cahill added another layer to the band’s alt-progressive sound, and the group’s seamless musicianship was underscored by the powerful bass lines of Nicholas Capozzolo and the experimental guitar accents of Justin Fava.

After the night’s first, captivating full-band performance, it then came time to close out RockNOW! with the Lehigh Valley Music Award-winning Roi and the Secret People., whose big sound and even larger presence soared into the night. The band’s hour-long set featured extended jams of favorites including “Arizona” and the ever-popular set closer, “Dog St.,” as well as new material soon-to-be-released. The set’s penultimate song — the new, intense “How Long?” — featured frontman Mike Roi at his vocal best, with a particularly powerful bridge that proved once again that the veteran singer is among the region’s elite.


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