BRICK + MORTAR

BRICK + MORTAR

BRICK + MORTAR IS BACK
Duo set to play Fuzz 92.1 Private Artist Showcase

 

Brick + Mortar is coming back to the area after a memorable set at last year’s Fuzzfest at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain. The band makes a stop in the 570 to perform at The Fuzz 92.1 Private Artist Showcase at the Fuzz 92.1 Radio Theater, 5th floor of the Times-Tribune Building, 149 Penn Ave., Scranton on Friday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. The show is all ages. Sign up for free tickets at fuzz921.com or by texting BRICK to 88474. Tickets are first-come, first-served.
“Brick + Mortar was a band that immediately endeared themselves to the crowd this past summer at Fuzzfest,” said Tom Ferguson, program director at Fuzz 92.1. “They were interactive, energetic and very gracious with their time onstage, plus, they put on a pretty great show. Fans came away impressed with the band and talked a lot to us about trying to get them back in town, so it only seemed logical to bring in Brick + Mortar to play the Fuzz Radio Theater. We’re so excited to keep building the hype and story of this band.”
EC22EARFULL_1_WEBHailing from Asbury Park, New Jersey, the electro-rock duo got their start playing coffeehouses when vocalist/guitarist Brandon Asraf and drummer John Tacon were still in high school. Throughout their teen years and into their 20s, the duo molded their sound and songwriting. The members shared their love for hardcore rap acts Wu-Tang Clan and electronic-based music. Some lyrics even focus on Asraf’s real-life experiences with his diamond-smuggling father.
After coming up with their first batch of songs, Brick + Mortar self-released their debut EP, 7 Years in the Mystic Room, in 2010.
“The first EP was kind of an experiment to see if we had anything,” Asraf said in a recent release. “At the time I was 25 and sharing a sectional couch with my brother and had no idea what was going to happen, but then we ended up getting a good response.”
As Brick + Mortar continued building their reputation as a fantastic live act at legendary local venues like the Stone Pony, the band was selected for “Making Moves,” a seven-inch series highlighting emerging artists. Soon after, Brick + Mortar signed with Photo Finish Records (part of the Island Def Jam Music Group), then put out their sophomore EP Bangs in early autumn 2013. Their debut full length album, Social Studies, was released last summer.
“I always try to reveal a lot about myself in our songs, either by making a story out of the things in my head or just writing about things that have actually happened in my life,” Asraf said.
As the friendless new kid in his eighth-grade class, Asraf attended the school talent show and was blown away by a classmate’s drum performance that included an epic solo.
“I remember playing my drum solo and everyone in the school just freaking out,” Tacon said. “I had a hard time growing up, and playing drums was kind of my outlet for everything, so that moment really solidified that making music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
Friends from that day on, the two started playing music together soon after Tacon encouraged Asraf to buy a bass guitar. In high school they picked up gigs at a local coffeehouse, naming themselves Black Rhythm and then later changing their name to Brick + Mortar, the duo eventually started writing melody-driven songs that mined their own restless creativity instead of leaning on influence.
“I never even listened to music before I met Tacon,” Asraf said. “No one in my family was into music so I didn’t know anything about it at all — I listened to, like, TLC. In the beginning we were just messing around, but then we realized that combining Tacon’s drumming and live beats made this amazing sound,” Asraf said.
With gigs opening for artists such as Jimmy Eat World to Imagine Dragons under their belt, playing live is more essential than ever to the Brick + Mortar experience. “We’re very passionate about everything that goes into our music, and I think that really shines through in our live show,” says Tacon. “We want everyone in the crowd to know that we’re there to make them a part of what we’re doing.”
“We try to keep our songs really intimate — I want people to feel like they’re talking to me when they listen to us,” says Asraf. “I think when you’re writing and you get to a point where you’re nervous because you feel like you’re revealing too much about yourself, that’s when you’ve got something good.” — tg

 

BRICK + MORTAR at the Fuzz 92.1 Private Artist Showcase
Where: Fuzz 92.1 Radio Theater, 5th floor of the Times-Tribune Building, 149 Penn Ave., Scranton
When: Friday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m.
Info: The show is all ages. Sign up for free tickets at fuzz921.com or by texting BRICK to 88474. Tickets are first-come, first-served.

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Assorted Declarations from Editor Tom Graham

 

Concerts: Church, Horror Metal and The Dead
• Country crooner Eric Church brings “The Outsiders World Tour” to Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre on Friday, March 13. Tickets go on sale this Friday, Jan. 23 at 10 a.m. at the box office at Mohegan Sun Arena and ticketmaster.com. Drive-By Truckers are slated to open the show.
Church’s current album, The Outsiders, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart and the Billboard Country Albums Chart earlier this year, featuring his No. 1 hit “Give Me Back My Hometown” and his current single “Talladega.” The Outsiders is the follow-up to Church’s Platinum-certified album Chief, (named the 2012 Album of the Year by both CMA and ACM, and GRAMMY-nominated for Best Country Album).
To learn more about Eric Church, visit ericchurch.com and facebook.com/ericchurch.
• Slipknot announced its “Prepare for Hell” world tour, featuring special guests Hatebreed, which features a stop at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton on Wednesday, May 13 at 8 p.m.
Tickets go on sale this Friday, Jan. 23 at 10 a.m., while presales are available now via slipknot1.com.
Slipknot will headline several major festivals this year, including Florida’s Fort Rock, Welcome to Rockville, Carolina Rebellion, Northern Invasion and Rock on the Range.
The “Prepare for Hell” tour follows last year’s release of .5: The Gray Chapter, Slipknot’s fifth studio album and first since 2008’s RIAA platinum certified chart-topper “All Hope Is Gone.” The album made a stunning chart debut upon its October arrival, entering the SoundScan/Billboard 200 chart at No. 1
The album was No. 1 on both Revolver’s “20 Best Albums of 2014” and Guitar World’s “50 Best Albums of 2014” rankings, while also earning inclusion on Rolling Stone and Loudwire’s “20 Best Metal Albums of 2014” rankings.
• To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir will reunite at Chicago’s Soldier Field, nearly 20 years to the day of the last-ever Grateful Dead concert, which took place at the same venue. “Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead” takes place over three nights — July 3, 4 and 5, 2015 — and marks the original members’ last-ever performance together. The band will be joined by Trey Anastasio (Guitar), Jeff Chimenti (Keyboards) and Bruce Hornsby (Piano) and will perform two sets of music each night.
In the tradition of the original Grateful Dead Ticketing Service (gdtstoo.com), tickets are now available via a mail order system, followed by an online pre-sale through Dead Online Ticketing Feb. 12 and will be available online to the general public on Feb. 14 via Ticketmaster.
There will be a general admission pit directly in front of the stage ($99.50). Reserved tickets range from $59.50-$199.50.
The Grateful Dead are considered one of the most important bands of the psychedelic era and among the most groundbreaking acts in rock and roll history.
The 1995 death of band leader Jerry Garcia abruptly put an end to the Grateful Dead, though various members subsequently regrouped as the Other Ones, The Dead and Furthur.

Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: Ben Howard I Forget Where We Were (Republic) 2014.

Headphones: Jan. 15, 2015

This is just a Tribute

 
Tribute bands are on the rise and it looks like they are here to stay. After reading this week’s piece on The Idol Kings, a Journey/Mellencamp/Tom Petty tribute act set to play the Scranton Cultural Center, and seeing photos of the Neil Diamond tribute last weekend at River Street Jazz Cafe, the wheels inside my noggin started turning at an ever-increasing rate. Our area already has a celebrated Tom Petty tribute act (The Tom Petty Appreciation Band) which doesn’t incorporate look-a-like shtick or wigs. They play the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with a few more random gems thrown into to the mix. Journey just played The Pavilion at Montage Mountain last summer to a packed house.
 
Do we really need another tribute act?
The 570 has also seen more than one Pearl Jam tribute act pop up in the last few months. I don’t know if bands see tribute acts as an easy way to play bigger rooms and receive bigger paychecks, or if they really love the targeted artist so much, they want to “BE” them.
I do know that if I had my way, we would be able to go out and see the following tribute acts every weekend in our area — with massive amounts of tongue-in-cheek shtick included.
 
The White Stripes
Suggested tribute act name:

Fake Brother-Sister Love
Tips: Everything from the guitars to the drums should be white-and-red swirled. Must have black hair. Drummer must be female (absolutely no exception) and look utterly bored at all times.
 
Misfits
Suggested tribute act name:

Mommy, Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight
Tips: A lot of black clothes and make-up. Must have plenty of stamina and must know how to count to three really, really fast.
 
R.E.M.
Suggested tribute act name:

Automatic for the People
Gear needed: Band should consist of an animated lead singer, a guitar player with a Rickenbacker, a drummer with caterpillars for eyebrows and a bass player who could double for a kindergarten teacher.
 
GWAR
Suggested tribute act name:

Catch the Blood
Tips: Must have access to a spaceship and drugs.
 
The Kinks
Suggested tribute act name:

Kinks in the Amour
Tips: The Davies brothers come alive in this show which must feature onstage animosity and copious amounts of verbal jabs.
 
Ike and Tina
Suggested tribute act name:

Proud Mary and Steve
Tips: Tina must be a ringer. Ike can be anyone, but I would prefer if he looks something like Mr. Magoo to achieve the ultimate dramatic contrast.
 
Tenacious D
Suggested tribute act name: Rigg-a-doo

Tips: Two dudes and two guitars. One guitarist has to be able to carry the entire duo.
 
Rush/ZZ Top
Suggested tribute act name: YYZZ Top

Tips: Three beards, a drummer, a bassist that sings like a coyote in heat and a mute guitarist. And lasers. Lots of lasers.
 
The Cure
Suggested tribute act name:

Running Mascara
Tips: Black. A whole lotta black.
 
Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: The Decemberists What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World (Capitol) 2015.
 
Editor Tom Graham is a musician and singer/songwriter rooted in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Send email to: tgraham@timesshamrock.com.

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HEADPHONES
Assorted declarations from Editor Tom Graham

 

Lonely Songs re-released
An Autumn Sunrise is musical project of local musician Bryan Brophy. To date, Brophy has released three albums under the moniker — When Words Speak Louder Than Actions, Songs for a Lonely Night (acoustic) and Look Toward Tomorrow.
Brophy is reissuing his acoustic album, Songs For A Lonely Night, on Jan. 20 with the addition of bonus material and brand new cover art. He is currently taking pre-orders for the album on An Autumn Sunrise’s Bandcamp Site.
Brophy, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, provides all of the guitars, keyboards, piano, percussion and vocals on Songs, as well as on all of his other albums. All of the music was recorded in Bryan’s home studio in his parent’s basement in 2009 (except for the live tracks). Several tracks were engineered, mixed and mastered by Brophy, while several other tracks were mixed and mastered by Chris Hludzik. Several tracks were also mastered by Tom Borthwick from SI Studios in Old Forge.
An intimate acoustic show will be announced soon to celebrate the album’s release. Plans are also in the works for the release of a brand new full length album sometime next year.
To find out more about An Autumn Sunrise, visit anautumnsunrise.bandcamp.com.
If you pre-order Songs for a Lonely Night, you will be able to instantly download four tracks from the album.

Festival Season is coming
Coachella 2015 — held in Indio, California in April — just announced it’s lineup. The unofficial start to the summer festival season boasts performances by AC/DC, Tame Impala, Interpol, Steely Dan, Alesso, Alabama Shakes, Jack White, Alt-J, Belle and Sebastian, Ratatat, Hozier, Flosstradamus, Bad Religion, Father John Misty, Drake, Florence + the Machine, Ryan Adams, St. Vincent and much more.
Hopefully, this means we will be getting the festival lineups for local festivals like Peach Music Festival, The Susquehanna Breakdown and the ever-popular Vans Warped Tour very soon.

Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: Josh Rouse The Best of the Rykodisc Years

 

 

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HEADPHONES
Assorted declarations from Editor Tom Graham

 

Docs that Roc
I’ll be looking at some much-needed downtime in January. Although my days will be peppered with dog walks and guitar cleaning, I recently re-upped my Netflix account for one reason and one reason only: music documentaries. As a devout fan of music docs, here are some of my favorites — some of which you can still stream on Netflix. To see some others, you may have to do some searching.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston
The film tells the story of Daniel Johnston, a mentally ill singer/songwriter whose music has been recorded by Beck, Wilco, Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Pearl Jam. Diagnosed with manic depression complicated by delusions of grandeur, Daniel battles the illness for decades — all while achieving great musical success and trying to stay out of mental hospitals. The film weaves his remarkable story through home movies, interviews, archived music tapes and live performance footage.

EC01HEAD_1_WEBI Think We’re Alone Now
I Think We’re Alone Now is a documentary that focuses on two individuals, Jeff Turner and Kelly McCormick, who claim they adore ’80s pop singer Tiffany.
Turner, a 50-year-old man with Asperger’s syndrome, lives his life as Tiffany’s greatest fan, while 35-year-old McCormick claims to have been friends with Tiffany as a teenager. She credits Tiffany as “the shining star who has motivated her to do everything in her life.” Both are considered stalkers by the media and other Tiffany fans. The doc takes a look into the strange lives of these two somewhat lost souls.

The History of the Eagles
Featuring rare archival material, concert footage and unseen home movies explore the rise, fall and return of one of America’s favorite bands.
The documentary features in-depth interviews with Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, Don Felder, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit.

Shut Up and Play the Hits
Shut Up and Play the Hits is a 2012 documentary film that follows LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy over a 48-hour period, from the day of the band’s final gig at Madison Square Garden to the morning after the show. Live performances feature Reggie Watts and Arcade Fire (the film’s title is a reference to the moment Win Butler of Arcade Fire shouts “shut up and play the hits” as Murphy introduces the song).
A complete audio recording of this concert was released in April, entitled The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square Garden.

Beware of Mr. Baker
Best known for his work with Eric Clapton in Cream and Blind Faith, Ginger Baker has seen a bunch. The doc tells the story of Baker’s pattern of divorces, self-destruction and music. Chain smoking and on morphine, the 73-year-old reflects back on his life as we watch. In his own words, “God is punishing me for my past wickedness by keeping me alive and in as much pain as he can. I wasn’t planning on living this long!”

Use Your Van – Mason Jennings
Independent musician Mason Jennings brings cameras into the studio and onto the stage following the singer’s 11-month journey to bring his music to his fans. Concert performance footage features over a dozen songs including “Butterfly,” “Lonely Computer Screen,” “Fourteen Pictures” and “Killer’s Creek.”

Amaray Wrap.EPSLast Days Here
Bobby Liebling has spent more than 36 years as the lead singer of the band Pentagram. Broke and living for decades in his parents’ basement, Liebling is finally discovered by the heavy metal underground. With the help of Sean ‘Pellet’ Pelletier, his friend and manager, Bobby struggles to overcome his demons.

Glenn Tilbrook – One for the Road
This film follows a 2001 solo American tour by Glenn Tilbrook, lead singer of British new wave group Squeeze. One for the Road shows Tilbrook attempting a month-long US tour using an old mobile home instead of a tour bus and hotels. The film focuses on Tilbrook’s fantastic personality as he wows crowds and battles vehicle breakdowns. The film features Tilbrook performing “Tempted,” “Hourglass,” “Take Me I’m Yours,” “Up the Junction,” “Goodbye Girl” and “By The Light of the Cash Machine.”

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?
The doc follows Harry Nilsson from childhood to death, chronicling the highs and lows along with him, from Grammy wins through divorce and substance abuse.
The film features original interviews Micky Dolenz, Eric Idle, Randy Newman, Yoko Ono, Paul Williams, Robin Williams, Brian Wilson and The Smothers Brothers. Also included are interviews with Nilsson’s family, including his wives and children.

Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid (Geffen Records) 2008.

Looking Back at 2014.

Looking Back at 2014.

Join us as we a take a look back at the year that was 2014.

 

JANUARY
Happy New Year! Scranton named most hungover city in America by Business Insider.

Water main break shuts off water for days in South Scranton.

Record of the Year goes to Daft Punk at the 2014 Grammy Awards. Other big winners include Lorde and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Diva Productions hosts debut show in its new home at The Olde Brick Theatre in Providence.

Justin Bieber arrested in Miami for DUI and drag racing. The cops stopped him for drag racing in a residential neighborhood after he left a nightclub. He was given a field sobriety test and failed.

The Captain and Tenille, best-known for their hit song “Love Will Keep Us Together,” divorce after 40 years.

The Vintage Theater celebrates five-year anniversary.

Elise Mosca, a teacher at Heights Elementary School in Wilkes-Barre, appears on two pre-recorded episodes of The Bachelor,  the ABC reality show.

Hazleton native Keith London gets “yellow ticket to Hollywood” on American Idol. Sings Beyonce “If I Were a Boy,” Jennifer Lopez is confused. Harry Connick asks him to sing something else.

V-Spot bouncer and Bernard Hartman and bartender Joe Farro disarm a 34-year old Scranton man diagnosed with liver failure out to get drunk and have a threesome who pulled a gun on the bouncer after he was asked to leave for “aggressively flirting” with several women.

Eden: a vegan cafe announces it will be closing by the end of January after five years serving in downtown Scranton. After support from the community, the cafe decides to remain open.

Shia LeBoeuf annouces he is retiring from public life.

George Washington Bridge scandal: Chris Christie admits responsibility, but fires aide “I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or execution.”

Colorado legalizes marijuana for recreational use.

 

FEBRUARY
Giant rooster appears in front of Mulligan’s in downtown Scranton advertising 35-cent wings

Police say a Scranton man violated a protection-from-abuse order by contacting his ex-girlfriend multiple times through text messages and even sending a barbershop quartet to her door.

Russia’s performance art/feminist punk trip Pussy Riot is whipped by Cossaks. Records incident for video “Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland.”

The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon debuts.

Arts on Adams announces closure. “Support ART. Shop LOCAL. Visit LOCAL VENUES. SPREAD THE WORD. LOVE. LIFE!”
Budweiser backs out of Sochi sponsorship.

In 24 hours alone, 26,000 tweets have been sent using the hashtag #SochiProblems.

The Office favorite BJ Novak releases his book One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories.

Jersey Boys opens at The Scranton Cultural Center.

EC25_2014_3_WEBKids for Cash opens in Philadelphia before opening nationwide.

Puxatawney Phil sees his shadow; calls for six more weeks of winter.

The Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl.

Oscar-wnning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman is found dead at age 46 from an apparent drug overdose.

 

MARCH
Sherman Theater offers a reward — one pair of tickets to every show at the venue for two years — to anyone who can bring the guitar and vest belonging to Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde stolen off a tour bus in Chicago to the band’s Stroudsburg performance on May 13. The guitar was later found at a pawn shop.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears without a trace.

Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender and The Vault Tap and Kitchen open in time for parade day.

Vice President Joe Biden attends the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick dinner at the Woodlands Inn and Resort in Plains Twp. He stops at Terry’s Diner in Moosic and has lunch at Scanlon’s in downtown Scranton.

Stephanie Jallen, an 18-year-old from Harding, won a bronze medal in Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi.

The Mall at Steamtown is foreclosed.

The 2014 Oscar winners include 12 Years a Slave (Best Picture), Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club (Best Supporting Actor), Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave  (Best Supporting Actress) Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyer’s Club (Best Actor) and Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (Best Actress).

 

APRIL
EC25_2014_12_WEBRock 107 celebrates 34 years of rock with  a birthday bash and Joan Jett.

Forbes rates Scranton/Wilkes-Barre No. 8 on America’s Best Cities for Raising a Family. As long as you don’t care if your neighbors are miserable and the region can’t seem to shake the recession.

CBS announces Stephen Colbert is David Letterman’s replacement as host of the Late Show.

Investment group including developer Charles Jefferson has acquired a property at 335-339 Adams Ave., housing a 120-year-old theater recently known as the Moonshine. Renamed The Leonard, the venue is set to open in the fall.

In the race to climb out of recession, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area is dead last among the 100 largest urban areas nationwide.

Former WWF superstar Ultimate Warrior dies.

Oscar Pistorious takes the stand in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steencamp. He will be convicted of “capable homicide” in September.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is the 13th most miserable metropolis in the country.

The inaugural Scranton Half Marathon takes place.

 

MAY
Maya Angelou dies at age 85. Her last tweet on May 23 read “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

The Susquehanna Breakdown takes place at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain.

The Pop Up Studio runs turns area potholes into at pieces in a local contest which gains national attention.

Lackawanna County voters reject the Volpe-led government study commission’s proposal to change the county to an executive form of government. Commissioner O’Brien calls the performance audit “garbage.”

Federal judge strikes down Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage.

 

JUNE
Local musician Anthony “Tony” Costa of Scranton dies.

Arts on Fire takes place at The Iron Furnaces.

Casey Kasem dies.

Cage The Elephant, Kongos and more play the second annual  Fuzz Fest .

ISIS, ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) captures major cities in Iraq and heads toward Baghdad. US removes staff from embassy; airstrikes under consideration.

EC25_2014_19_WEBTwist announces it will close its doors June 21. Tentative plans to reopen in a new location.

 

JULY
West Pittston man Kevin McGroarty writes own obit – it goes viral, making national news.
“McGroarty leaves behind no children (that he knows of), but if he did their names would be son, Almighty Thor McGroarty and daughter, Butter Cup Patchouli. McGroarty was a veteran of the advertising industry since 1983. McGroarty was a pioneer in Apple computing, purchasing one of the first in the Wyoming Valley in 1985. He would like to remind his friends: Please, don’t email me, I’m dead.”

Warped Tour hits Montage for yet another year.

The second annual Arts on the Square.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis goes viral on social media.

Scranton identified by University of British Columbia researchers as No. 1 least happy American region.

Mortgage company buys Mall at Steamtown.
Al Boscov did not bid and Bob Bolus did not turn it into a casino.

Despite fires to two of its buses, the Styx/Foreigner tour still takes place at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain for the Rock 107 Fourth of July Bash.

 

AUGUST
The Vintage Theater announces it will close at the end of August.

Bachelor contestant goes back to school.

Prime time Emmy awards — Breaking Bad wins everything.

NOTE Fragrances selected to contribute to gift bags at Emmys

TEDx Scranton held on The University of Scranton campus.

Police shooting of unarmed young black man Michael Brown in Ferguson leads to demonstrations.

EC25_2014_6_WEBThe Allman Brothers say goodbye at The 2014 Peach Festival.

Long time Times-Tribune columnist Chris Kelly leaves paper for job in Pa. attorney general’s office. Days later, he changes his mind.

Suffering from early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, Robin Williams is found dead due to suicide.

Café Trio closes Scranton location.

Noah Ritter, better known as “The Apparently Kid,” grabs the WNEP mic and goes viral. “Apparently, I don’t watch the news because I’m a kid… and my grandpa just gives me the remote after we watch the Powerball.”

Scranton finishes second in America’s Ugliest Accent tournament behind Pittsburgh.

Tony Nicosia announces retirement from Broadway Theatre. Laurie Cadden announced acting executive director.

 

SEPTEMBER
Corporal Bryon Dickson is killed and Trooper Alex Douglass wounded during a shooting at Blooming Grove State Police barracks.

Days later, Eric Frein is named the suspect. Manhunt consumes police and media.

Scotland votes “no” on independence referendum.

Apple gives free U2 album via automatic download; people are confused and annoyed.
“People usually like free things, but not necessarily when they’re forced on them unexpectedly, especially with no easy return policy. A slew of Apple users are complaining that the album is automatically appearing in iTunes and on their iOS devices whether they want it there or not. And there’s no truly quick and simple way to remove it.” Lance Whitney, CNET

“Apparently kid” appears on Ellen. Mashable reports he is apparently over the word “apparently.”  He also appears in a Freshpet commercial.

Apple announces bigger screen iPhone 6, 6 plus, ApplePay and we get the first look at the iWatch.

Joan Rivers dies at age 81.

Electric City sign lit anew for La Festa Italiana. Some Scrantonians annoyed with Italian flag colors selected in the sign.

EC25_2014_7_WEBA retooled version of Breaking Benjamin makes a return.

Oktoberfest at Mohegan Sun takes place.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup is held in Brazil, and is won by Germany. America warms-up to futbol.

 

OCTOBER
48 days later, Eric Frein is captured by Marshalls in a hangar at an abandoned resort.

Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. At age 17, she became the youngest person to receive the award.

Taylor Swift prohibits Spotify from sharing her album.

EC25_2014_8_WEBFire at Casanova Club in South Scranton.

Terra Preta announces it will open in the Ritz Building at the end of October.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla donate $25 million to Center for Disease Control to help fight Ebola.

The Bonfire at The Iron Furnaces takes place.

The PA WineLand Festival uncorks at Montage Mountain.

 

NOVEMBER
Rioting continues in Ferguson, Missouri after  St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the August killing of teenager Michael Brown.

Robert Kehoe Jr. dies in the gorge at Nay Aug after jumping in to save son.

Pres. Obama takes executive action (goes over collective heads of Republican Congress) with immigration action.

Numerous Bill Cosby rape allegations begin to surface. Plans for new television show are dropped.
Too Many Cooks debuts on Adult Swim.

Paper mag solicits Kim Kardashian’s nude images in attempt to break the Internet.

Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane gets a concussion, then fires a bunch of staff for sending/viewing porn emails.

Rosetta probe lands on comet. People are really excited about space for two days.

 

DECEMBER
Stephen Colbert wraps up The Colbert Report.

#ApparentlyKid is the No. 4 viral thing on GMA for 2014.

Harry Connick Jr. comes to Scranton for The Happy Elf and receives the key to the city.

EC25_2014_22_WEBGrand jury decides not to indict NYPD officer in the chokehold related death of Eric Garner. #icantbreathe protests result.

Rolling Stone campus rape story fiasco weirdly parallels Sorkin’s The Newsroom plot

Small but visible Black Lives Matter protest on Courthouse Square in Scranton. Protest at Marywood sparks outrage over the desecration of the American flag.

Al Boscov makes $700,000 donation to mall loan following widespread criticism.

Due to its negative portrayal of Kim Jong-un, a North Korean hacker group threatened terrorist 9/11-style attacks against cinemas screening The Interview. Sony canceled the theatrical release of the movie saying later it would look into other ways to distribute the film.

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Jam in the Burg
Electronica jam band Dopapod is celebrating the arrival of a new record with a show at The Sherman Theater, 524 Main St. Stroudsburg, on Tuesday, Dec. 30. Local act Rogue Chimp opens the show along with Native Maze. Tickets to the all ages show are $10 in advance, $13 at the door.
The band’s sound is as varied and diverse as the many influences the band attributes. The band’s fourth album, Never Odd or Even is the quartet’s most fully realized work to date. The new songs attempt to embody the energy and cohesion the members of Dopapod have developed from playing live as well as an increasing comfort and familiarity while in the studio.
“The Never Odd or Even sessions cultivated a serious growth in the band’s creativity,” explains guitarist Rob Compa. “Each person stepped up to the plate and put out great creativity and passionate playing, while inspiring everybody else involved in the project to do the same.”
Dopapod has appeared at larger-scale music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Burning Man, Camp Bisco, Mountain Jam, Gathering Of the Vibes, Catskill Chill, Bear Creek, The Big Up, Rootwire and more. Dopapod is Eli Winderman (keyboards), Rob Compa (guitar), Chuck Jones (bass) and Scotty Zwang (drums).
For more information, visit dopapod.com.

 

New Tunes
2015 is looking to be yet anther exciting year for new music. Whether you’re streaming new release, downloading or purchasing hard copies, here’s a few releases I’m looking forward to in January 2015.

Sleater-Kinney
No Cities To Love
They’re back with the band’s first album in 10 years. Carrie Brownstein has been busy with the recent success of Portlandia and Janet Weiss formed Wild Flag, a rocking act in its own regard. Throw Corin Tucker into the mix and we have Sleater-Kinney once again. They’ll be touring in 2015 as well.

Belle & Sebastian
Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
It’s been five years since a new album from B&S, but the band is back with record No. nine. According to the band’s record label Matador, “the band — who have been listening to things like vintage Detroit techno and Giorgio Moroder — have brought a dance-party element (and a disco song about Sylvia Plath) into their gorgeous tales of sensitive souls navigating a world gone awry.” Sign me up.

Marilyn Manson
The Pale Emperor
2015 needs more shock-rock, right? Manson releases The Pale Emperor, his ninth studio album, after a successful run on the final season of FX’s Sons of Anarchy.

Justin Townes Earle
Absent Fathers
This record might be the one I’m looking forward to the most. Earle returns with more songs about god ol’ heartbreak and struggle with everyday life. What more can you ask for?

Panda Bear Panda
Bear Meets The Grim Reaper
The eagerly-anticipated follow-up to 2011’s Tomboy is one of the first to drop in the new year. Not much is know about the new record, but in a recent interview, the word “sci-fi” was dropped more than a few times.

The Decemberists
What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World
What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World serves as The Decemberists’ seventh studio album and the follow-up to 2011’s The King Is Dead. The record features lead single “Make You Better.”  With lyrics like But we’re not so starry-eyed anymore /Like the perfect paramour you were in your letters / And won’t it all just come around to make you / Let it all unbreak you to the day you met her, I already pre-ordered this gem.

Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: Possessed by Paul James There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely  (Hillgrass Bluebilly Records) 2013.

EXTRA: EC BEST OF 2014 Best Bartendeer Shoot

EXTRA: EC BEST OF 2014 Best Bartendeer Shoot

It’s not often we have a tie in the electric city BEST OF Readers’ Poll, so when we two local bartenders finished in a dead heat, we decided to have a little fun and arrange a photo shoot. Brian Craig and Jimmy McGrath mucked it up for cameraman Tom Bonomo last Monday. Rumor has it, what began as a lovely photo session in downtown Scranton quickly escalated into a blistering bar crawl for the ages.

Here’s to two pretty damn good bartenders….

 

 

Headphones

HEADPHONES
Assorted Declarations from Editor Tom Graham

 

Spotified
I listen to Spotify from time to time, mainly to revisit an old record that has been lost in a move or an old cassette that my car stereo decided to eat at the end of a long road trip. Spotify is great for listening to an artist’s back catalogues. I find it also great for discovering new music. Unfortunately, the new bands don’t really make enough money from its royalty pay outs to make ends meet, as it is such a small fraction per play.
So why the hell did Taylor Swift decide it was time to pull her entire catalogue from the music service earlier this month? Let’s look a little closer …
Taylor Swift claims: “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.”
Dave Grohl, the new self-appointed spokesman for “big rock,” countered: “You want people to (bleeping) listen to your music? Give them your music. And then go play a show. They like hearing your music? They’ll go see a show. To me it’s that simple, and I think it used to work that way. When we were young and in really noisy, crappy punk rock bands there was no career opportunity and we loved doing it and people loved (bleeping) watching it and the delivery was completely face to face and personal. That’s what got people really excited about (bleep). Nowadays there’s so much focus on technology that it doesn’t really matter.”
Easy to say if you’re in the hottest rock and roll band in the world (Foo Fighters) and the former drummer of one of history’s most recognized anti-establishment bands (Nirvana).
That brings us to Billy Bragg, who scoffed at Ms. Swift’s move as “nothing more than a corporate power play.”
“She should just be honest with her fans and say ‘sorry, but Sergey Brin gave me a huge amount of money to be the headline name on the marquee for the launch of YouTube Music Key and so I’ve sold my soul to Google. If Ms. Swift was truly concerned about perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free, she should be removing her material from YouTube, not cosying up to it. The de facto biggest streaming service in the world, with all the content available free, YouTube is the greatest threat to any commercially based streaming service.”

The enemy of my enemy is my … I’m still confused.

Bashing
All of this back in forth between musicians not only brought back images of local artists going at each other’s throats time after time (which still happens today), but forced me to dig up some legendary musician-to-musician bashing.

David Lee Roth on Elvis Costello
“Music journalists like Elvis Costello because music journalists look like Elvis Costello.”

Kurt Cobain on Guns N’ Roses
“They’re really talentless people, and they write crap music, and they’re the most popular rock band on the earth right now. I can’t believe it.”

Noel Gallagher on Jack White
“He looks like Zorro on doughnuts.”

Robert Smith on Morrissey
“If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’ll eat meat — that’s how much I hate Morrissey.”

Anton Newcombe (Brian Johnstown Massacre) on Eric Clapton
“People talk about Eric Clapton. What has he ever done except throw his baby off a (bleeping) ledge and write a song about it?”

Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: Damien Rice My Favourite Faded Fantasy (Vector Recordings/Warner Bros.) 2014

Headphones

Headphones

HEADPHONES
Assorted Declarations from Editor Tom Graham

 

 

The V Spot Celebrates Four Years of Chuggin’ Beers

Vinnie Archer, co-owner of The V Spot, 906 Providence Rd., Scranton, can never be described as “a man of few words.” I’ve known Archer for quite some time and when he’s not busy blessing someone’s dinner rolls, filling up multiple shot glasses or telling someone a story of his infamous “Rock and Roll days,” he’s a dedicated family man who recently took time between running some errands for his wife and operating a leaf blower to sit down and talk to me.
Here’s what Archer had to say about four years of The V Spot.

Talk about The V Spot being open for four long years.
It’s true what they say about the bar business — you’ll be married to it. It’s a fact. It’s been mostly a lot of ups and very few downs. The joy of the business is the customers. If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t want to continue, but it is fun because of the customers who come to see us. I’m certainly not interested in opening The V Spot 2 or another location. One bar is enough for me — that’s for sure! We’re open seven days a week, which creates a distraction in regards to my personal life, but I’m very grateful for being as successful as we have been.

What are some of your favorite memories at the bar so far?
Major highlights have been the holidays. Christmas time at the bar with all of the decorations seems to bring out the best in people. I also like to play “The 12 days of Christmas” by the Muppets and John Denver. That song can bring out the best in even the crankiest of customers. When we first opened, we had crowds. We would have 200 people paying to get in during the weekend. The turn outs for the bands, still to this day, continue to amaze me. The memorable things are the huge crowds that come out for all of the special events, the holidays and the bands.
I also love when we get the floors waxed because we don’t do that all the time. But every three months, we get the floor shined up real nice and that brings out the best in everyone too.

How important is it to you to have live music at The V Spot?
If we didn’t have live music, we would just be another corner bar. I believe that’s what separates us from the other bars. The V Spot has live entertainers six out of the seven days a week. People who have been to the bar before are coming back because they know they are being entertained. There is no cover four out of the six nights — the music is complimentary. Being a former musician, (I was known as “The Artist formerly known as Vince”), I love live music. If I was ever going to open a bar, it was going to have to be a rock and roll joint. I’m doing my best to fulfill the prophesy

Are you ever going to build a stage?
(Laughs.) Really great question! The answer is yes. We are in discussions with the people who built the World Trade Center to do something very special for us

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the last four years?
Save your money and build your business bigger and better. If you are always trying to do something to outdo yourself year after year, eventually you will. Look out for a revitalization of The V Spot in 2015. There’s a lot pressure in these questions.

Who would you like to see play at the bar?
2 Live Crew. They contacted me and their tour manager said they wanted to play at our place. I said “I don’t believe you understand what this club is all about.” They want to play it. I asked them if they were traveling through and they said, No. We’ll fly up from Florida.” It was the cutest conversation. I’d like Slipknot to come through, I know its tough to get eight guys on the stage.

You meant to say the floor.
Yes. The floor. We have the Jeffrey James Band play at the bar and they have eight guys in the band. If we can fit them in the bar, we can get Slipknot too.

Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: Shovels & Rope Swimmin’ Time (Dualtone Records) 2014

Editor Tom Graham is a musician and singer/songwriter rooted in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Send email to tgraham@timesshamrock.com

LIVE FROM THE CHANDELIER LOBBY

LIVE FROM THE CHANDELIER LOBBY

LIVE FROM THE CHANDELIER LOBBY
ALEXIS P. SUTER KICKS OFF THE RETURN OF THE POPULAR MUSIC SERIES.

 

 

Back by popular demand, the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts is bringing back its “Live from the Chandelier Lobby” concert series, which features one performance per month beginning in November and runs through April. Blues singer Alexis P. Suter kicks off the series this Saturday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m. Norman Taylor opens the show.
Introduced last year, the intimate music series is held in the confines of the venue’s main lobby. The first series featured performances by Amy Helm, Joan Osborne and Alejandro Escovedo. This year, Cabinet will play a special two-night engagement on Friday, Dec. 19 and Saturday, Dec. 20 and the Craig Thatcher Band will bring its Eric Clapton Retrospective to the Kirby on Saturday, Jan. 31.
Michael Cloeren, founder of the Pocono/Pennsylvania Blues Festival and director of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, will serve as emcee for each performance, introducing the performers and conducting brief Q-&-A sessions between the artists and their fans.
When asked about Alexis P. Suter, B.B. King once said, “It’s a rare thing to share the stage with great talent like that young lady.” The late great Levon Helm of The Band said, “She is one of those wonderful spirits, she’s got her arms around you, you can feel that.”
The bass/baritone vocalist Suter and her band wowed audiences in the northeast as regular performers at Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Sessions in Woodstock, NY. Since then, they’ve been in constant demand at North American festivals including The Toronto Waterfront Blues Festival, The Cincinnati Blues Festival, FloydFest, Briggs Farm Blues Festival and The Pocono Blues Festival.
“My vocals are powerful,” Suter said in an recent interview with electric city and diamond city. “I know they are powerful; I have to own that. It’s daring and in your face; it’s like a megaphone and you want to get your message across. My voice was created to relay the message. We’re about love and I hope I get that message across with this voice. I’m glad I don’t sound like many of the female singers out there with my bass/baritone voice. It shocks people that I am a women and I have this voice that is so commanding, and I think more people listen in that regard.”
— tom graham

Tickets to “Live from the Chandelier Lobby” are available at the Kirby Center Box Office, online at kirbycenter.org and by phone at (570) 826-1100.