Wednesday night of last week was as good a night as any to party to hits from the 80s.
Tag Archives: covers
After a wild and mostly wonderful October, I looked to Saturday as a big day. Through weddings, birthdays, and the Cubs’ epic World Series championship run, October was a very busy month that required a lot of weekend participation in my personal life.
I looked to Saturday, however, as a chance to get back to basics. I knew about plenty of great things happening in the Valley, and my goal was to get out on the scene. I did just that — even if I got off to a slow start.
Photo credit: JordynKenzieMusic.com
Jordyn Kenzie is a performer with a blindingly bright future. At just 16, she has opened for national touring acts and has captured the Discover Lehigh Valley Discovered Artist of the Year Award at the Lehigh Valley Music Awards.
Jordyn took a few minutes out to chat with us about those experiences, and to provide a brief glimpse of what the future holds.
I love open mics. I love the fact that they give you the opportunity to hear a small sample size of multiple artists in the same night. I also appreciate what the open mic represents: newcomers and music scene veterans, coming together to hone their craft.
Everyone out here on the music scene (and, well, any music scene ever) is a creator. We want to find ways to share our creations with the world around us, even if it’s just a few people at a time. Whether sharing originals or rather interesting covers, musicians need an audience. The open mic gives them that, often in an intimate setting.
This was the case at Pearly Baker’s in Easton on Thursday night, as a showcase hosted by Acoustic Kitty Project’s Carter Lansing yielded some relaxing acoustic tunes in a variety of styles to start the weekend early. Check out a few black-and-white shots (and forgive all the shadows — the dim lighting adds to the ambiance at Pearly’s).
Last Saturday was a beautiful day for an All-American good time. That’s what Slatington Volunteer Fire Company provided its town’s residents with the fourth annual Slatington Bike Night.
This “night” actually began at noon, and featured food, beer, vendors, bikes, cars and, of course, music. Our friends at The Fyre & Ice Show put the day’s entertainment together, with five local bands rocking a blend of covers and originals throughout the day. First up was Wicked Beaver, who featured a setlist of familiar classic rock hits to get things warmed up.
Next, Bethlehem-based Eighteenth Hour came to the stage, switching things up and turning heads with their well-crafted rock originals.
By the time Eighteenth Hour concluded, it was the middle of an laid-back weekend afternoon. Our musical lineup had just the thing for such a relaxing atmosphere: father-daughter duo AVYLON, who came through with some new originals and a jukebox of covers.
Crowds had begun to gather in larger numbers as AVYLON’s set went on. While this was, no doubt, because of the duo’s acoustic stylings, it was also due to the fact that the ever-popular CA/CD — an AC/DC tribute band, as you might guess — was up next. The band’s renditions of songs like “Thunderstruck” and “Dirty Deeds” were on-point, as was its onstage presence throughout the set.
Finally, as night has begun to creep its way into Slatington Bike Night, those who stuck around were in for a real treat, as Long Island-based REVEL 9 had made their way to the Valley for the occasion. It was my first time seeing the hard rockers — unbelievable, considering their song, “All I’ve Become,” has been my podcast’s theme song for two years — and they did not disappoint! With blazing guitars, REVEL 9 presented songs off of its two albums, “The Razorblade Diaries” and “The Reality Crush,” as well as unreleased tracks and a couple of well-timed covers. Frontman DJ Pearlman even stuck around afterwards to give CDs to the kids who had stayed to rock out, ensuring a love of music in the next generation.
With the day in the books, there was a good feeling in the air. It was one of gratitude, and of a unity through music. Thanks to The Fyre & Ice Show for including us, and for putting the day’s great lineup together.
Oh, Easton. You always give me more than I bargain for.
My night began a hair after 8 p.m. when, after I found parking just off the circle, I walked over to Connexions Gallery to catch Shawn Cav Ensemble’s latest performance. I was surprised, then, when I walked into the gallery to find it empty, except for a couple of pets and, of course, the artwork hanging throughout the room.
As I wandered back, I noticed the sound of Dan DeChellis’ keyboard getting louder. I then stumbled upon a back room leading to an outside courtyard which, lo and behold, was the venue for this evening’s performances.
I have to say, I really dig this performance space. It has a summer night’s ambiance which was enhanced by the tunes being brought forth on this muggy night. I arrived for a few selections of DeChellis’ piano mastery to open the evening before things changed over to Shawn Cav Ensemble.
The Ensemble, as always, brought its best, performing a mix of selections off of its new album, “Glass Houses,” as well as some unreleased tunes. I always find myself blown away by saxophonist Matt Truscott in particular, whose improv ability is some of the best you’ll find in the Valley or elsewhere.
After a while, I looked at my phone to find that it was 9:30. Admittedly, the Bayou-style humidity had me feeling a bit sluggish, and my ill feeling was probably compounded by the fact that I hadn’t eaten anything since meeting my sister at Mesa for lunch earlier in the day. Realizing that my busy schedule had kept me from sustenance for much of the evening, I decided to address that, moving onto the next stop: Two Rivers Brewing Company, where LVU’s fellow Mega Power Dustin Schoof was playing with his acoustic duo, Blue Jean.
I walked uphill for a few blocks, deciding too late that driving would have been a better option, to join Blue Jean mid-set. Upon arriving, I found out two things:
- Acoustic Kitty Project was playing just down the street at Porters’ Pub.
- The kitchen at Two Rivers closes at 10 p.m., and it was 9:52.
Upon hearing that second point, I quickly grabbed a menu and ordered the first thing that caught my eye – a buffalo chicken flatbread that, as it turned out, was bangin’. I wolfed that down alongside glass after glass of water – yes, I went to a brewery, and all I drank was water – as I enjoyed a mix of covers and originals from Blue Jean. I also briefly caught up with Dustin for a few minutes, discussing things that only we Mega Powers would understand… for now. #foreshadowing
After hanging out at Two Rivers for a while, I settled up and decided that I WASN’T. FINISHED. YET! (I love doing that…)
I embarked on the next phase of the evening’s journey, walking a few blocks down (and further away from my car) to Porters’, where AKP was in the midst of an intimate trio show.
As always, the music – another healthy mix of covers and originals – was on-point, but what stuck out to me even more at this stop were the conversations I had while I was there.
Talking to those in attendance, I realized that there is a great hope for our music scene, and a gratitude for the fact that things really seem to be coming together for everyone involved. Folks seem appreciative of the fact that people like Dustin and I provide meaningful, hyper-local media coverage of the Lehigh Valley’s true music scene – that is to say, the artists and people who make it what it is every single day.
It made me even more grateful to do what I do through Lehigh Valley Underground. The thing I’ve come to understand is that this scene has, for quite a while, been in need of a unifying force to connect the dots and help place emphasis on the hidden talent that is rampant throughout our region. It is an honor and a privilege to be one of the people to facilitate that, while getting to meet great people and enjoy the varied and many talents of this area’s performers multiple times per week.
As I said, I got more than I thought I would out of this night in Easton at the outset. Of course, I was expecting a nice time and some great tunes. That’s par for the course. In addition, however, I had a spring in my step. As I walked back to the car just after midnight, I knew that I had received another inspiring reminder of why we do what we do at LVU.
PHOTOS: Dead:Stop, Next to None, and Another Day Dawns at The Originals Music Series (with special guest Mike Portnoy)
Some nights on the music scene make us realize why we do what we do.
OK, to be fair, we’ve had quite a few of those lately. However, tonight reinforced for us that there’s much to look forward to around our Valley, year-round, and that any night can be amazing.
Let’s start with Dead:Stop. The heavy rock/hardcore band started the evening with a dash of punk edge and infectious energy that got the folks in attendance — many of them among our music scene’s younger demographic — up and moving.
After that came Next to None, another young, but wickedly talented band whose progressive metal flair is perhaps only rivaled by its stage presence. Their genre, of course, is not a surprise — the band’s backline includes Max Portnoy on drums, whose father, Mike, is the former drummer for Dream Theater.
Speaking of Mike Portnoy, he was in the house, and would join in on a special treat after his son’s band finished its official set. Portnoy, as well as members of Next to None and local hard rock band Another Day Dawns (who we’ve recently seem somewhere… can’t put our finger on it, though…) participated in an open jam. Musicians rotated in and out for about 45 minutes, playing a jukebox worth of hard rock and metal hits and ending with a full company version of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”
Through it all, the packed house and sense of enthusiasm at Chicago Restaurant’s Club Gravity also provided good vibes. With so much youth in the room and onstage, it was easy to dispel the notion that the younger generation doesn’t “get it.” Not only do they get it — but they are just as good at making music as folks twice their age.
The future is bright for our Valley’s music scene, and for every artist who took the stage on Thursday night.
On Saturday, Sept. 17, Talking Heads tribute band Start Making Sense will recreate director Jonathan Demme’s critically-acclaimed concert film, Stop Making Sense, on stage at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center.
Tickets cost $25 for grand tier and balcony seating, $35 for orchestra seating and $40 for pit seating. Tickets are available online now at Zoellner Arts Center’s website.
Stop Making Sense, released April 24, 1984, was filmed during the group’s three-night stand at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Utilizing innovative camera techniques, the concert features the influential Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band performing such hits as “Psycho Killer,” “Burning Down the House,” and their New Wave take on Al Green’s “Take Me to the River.”
Start Making Sense singer Jon Braun promises a “once in a lifetime” concert experience for fans.
“We’re very excited to be recreating Stop Making Sense in a live setting,” Braun said.”(The film is) widely regarded as one of the best concert films of all-time. It’s going to be quite a challenge, but we’ve been wanting to do this for a long time.”
While I was at SteelStacks for Slingshot Dakota’s album release show (photos coming soon!), I was asked on Facebook to pop outside and spend some time with The Moondogs. I’m glad that I did!
The five-piece band played on the ArtsQuest Center’s outdoor TD Community Stage on a beautiful Friday night, peppering in originals with jukebox hits from some of the greatest eras in popular music history.
The folks in attendance had their dancing shoes on well into the night for The Moondogs. We look forward to hanging with them again soon!