Wilkes-Barre based Stay Loud bonds over shared interests

Wilkes-Barre based Stay Loud bonds over shared interests

The love of Green Day brought the final member of Stay Loud to the band, but the musicians’ shared passion for creating good music solidified the quartet.
Lead guitarist Gerald Tulao, bassist C.J. Davenport and drummer Justin Ratowski spent several months writing music without a singer before coming across Chris Cashmere, who happened to be looking for a band.
“We both met during the Phoenix Performing Arts Centre production of ‘American Idiot.’ … I knew he’d be perfect,” Tualo said.
From that moment on, the group worked toward recording music and playing live shows in and around Northeast Pennsylvania. The members recently went On the Record to discuss their last year as a pop-punk troupe and what the future has in store for Stay Loud.

Q: Where did your band name come from?
Gerald Tulao: One night after a band practice, we went out to eat and we discussed potential names. We all had the homework assignment to make up a list of 10 names. Chris’ list had the name Stay Loud, and after many discussions, we knew that would be our name.

Q: How did you each get involved in music?
Chris Cashmere: Well I got into music after listening to Green Day’s “American Idiot” for the first time. It changed my life, and ever since then that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
GT: When I was younger, I started listening to a lot of music, and I wanted to play an instrument. Most of my friends were playing sports, and I knew I wanted to do something that was different and stood out. I originally wanted to play drums, but there was no room in the house for a set. So I settled on guitar and loved it since.
Justin Ratowski: I got involved through Northwest High school’s concert band. I just kind of came home one day and was like, “Mom, Dad … I play the drums now. I hope that’s fine, OK? OK.”
C.J. Davenport: Boredom, mostly.

Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed in public together?
CC: A little nervous but excited because it was the beginning to all the great shows we have come to do.
GT: I was very eager to get on that stage. I counted down the days to our first show. Sure, I was nervous because it was our first gig and a new band for me, but I knew if we messed up, let’s face it, no one would notice.

Q: What is your process for writing music?
GT: Sometimes Chris is at home and writes something cool on his acoustic guitar and sends us a rough demo of his idea. Sometimes we’re all practicing, and after a jam session, some ideas would come out of that. Sometimes C.J. or myself would be playing around with a guitar riff we’ve made up, and it would catch Chris’ attention and end up becoming a song. The process is endless, and we have a lot to work with.

Q: How have you changed over the years?
GT: We’ve only been a band for a year, and even then during that short amount of time we can say there was some growth in us as a band. We’ve definitely gotten more used to communicating with each other as we write music. We all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses at this point. We use this to our advantage to write music that we’ll be happy with. 

Q: What are some favorite memories?
CC: Definitely recording. It was such a good time, as well as the time we played NOISE (music festival) and playing my birthday show. It was an amazing night at the Irish Wolf Pub.
GT: Releasing the EP to me was a big achievement. When I was younger, I always dreamed of having my own album or EP released. That was an amazing moment, letting people hear what we wrote. When we performed at the Ground Floor in Williamsport and the many times we’ve played the Irish Wolf Pub in Scranton, I’ve had a blast. But the one show I can say that we played that I feel was our best was when we played at the music festival NOISE at (Luzerne County Community College) back in August.

Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
CC: There used to be so many more venues in the area and so many more opportunities.
GT: Due to the lack of venues, it’s definitely hard for bands like us to find a place to play. The great thing about this music scene on the other hand is the fact that all these bands have each other’s backs. We’re all battling the same struggles for success. This is a cool scene with many talented bands that deserve the best.

Q: Have you faced any major challenges as a rising band?
GT: Being that all the members of this band all have day and night jobs, it’s a bit of a hassle trying to find time to get together to write and practice. When we do get together, we make sure to get stuff done. Now, sure, we mess around a lot and spend a lot of time looking at memes, but in the end we always accomplish something after a band practice. Another challenge is the fact that there’s not many places in the area to perform at. We’d have to play a show that’s a two-hour drive away, but in the end it’s worth it.

Q: What are your future goals for the band?
GT: We are currently writing songs for our debut album. We look forward to going into the studio to record these tunes and release them. This coming summer, we also plan on going out on our first tour.

Sounds – September 21, 2017

Sounds – September 21, 2017

COOL MOVES SAID THE WHALE — ‘As Long as Your Eyes Are Wide’
THE GOOD: Canadian indie pop/rockers Said the Whale come back with their fifth.
THE BAD: Nothing “bad” but…
THE NITTY GRITTY: …nothing extremely “glowing” either. “Eyes Are Wide” is typical STW — semi-formulaic indie pop in which the guitars and keyboards melt together, the backbeats are that modern Foster the People/Passion Pit dance/rock hybrid, the vocals soar across big melodies, and everything fits oh-so-neatly into place. It’s not exactly musical wallpaper, but it’s dangerously close to being forgotten almost immediately.
In other words, we’ve been here many times before. Then again, tunes such as the spirited “I Will Follow You” or the majestic “Emily Rose” are filled with enough little infectious touches (some not so subtle) to catch us off guard while tickling our ears. The band does know its way around an effective hook or dedicated groove. Still, Said the Whale should consider changing the formula at least a little next time around. No one likes being stuck in a rut.
BUY IT?: Your call.

SYLVAN ESSO — ‘What Now’
THE GOOD: North Carolina electronic indie pop duo Sylvan Esso dodges the sophomore slump with a grand colorful second effort.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: So far, Sylvan Esso’s forward trajectory has been totally unexpected when you consider that vocalist Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn hail from what are essentially modern FOLK outfits (Mountain Man and Megafun, respectively).
Looking at these more rustic musical backgrounds, you might think the duo’s attempts at underground dance pop would be laughable at best. While the two aren’t above satirical lyrics and taking sarcastic jabs at various facets of mainstream society, Meath and Sanborn are always in on the joke. And no one is laughing at the pair’s backing grooves and beats.
Pretty much all these songs are instantly fetching to both the body and the mind. They’re intelligent stuff to which you can’t help but move. “What Now” never loses momentum and ends up a varied collection that crackles, bangs and pops with the best of ’em.
BUY IT?: Yes.

LANA DEL REY — ‘Lust for Life’
THE GOOD: Singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey gives us an epic fourth.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Lust” comes complete with guest vocalists (ASAP Rocky, Sean Lennon, Stevie Nicks), subtle nods to hip-hop (atmospheric beats banging far away in the distance) and not-so-subtle nods to the uncertainty of our times (“When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing”).
At its core though, “Lust” remains yet another divine if not traditional Del Rey set. She’s still obsessed with strictly American images, such as coffee shops and white Mustangs; the unglamorous underbelly of the West Coast; and delivering her brooding tunes as if they were all steamy torch songs, even if the subject matter isn’t the least bit romantic. And you can tell she means every single syllable passing her lips.
“Lust’s” greatest strength though is the songs. The material remains compelling throughout, never dragging even though the entire record barely rises above a mid-tempo roar during its 72-minute playing time.
BUY IT?: Yes.

 

 

Concerts – September 21, 2017

Concerts – September 21, 2017

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Shining Star — Earth, Wind and Fire tribute, Saturday, Sept. 23
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Matthew West, Saturday, Sept. 30
Fozzy, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Linda Eder, Friday, Oct. 6
Joe Nardone Presents: A Doo Wop Celebration, Saturday, Oct. 14
Up Close with Roy Firestone, Friday, Oct. 20
Penn State’s Premiere Jazz Ensemble, Thursday, Oct. 26
Arlo Guthrie, Friday, Oct. 27
The Fab Faux, Saturday, Oct. 28

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
The Midtown Men, Friday, Sept. 29 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Stylistics, Saturday, Oct. 7 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Trinidad James, Saturday, Oct. 14 (Wet Nightclub)
Eddie Griffin, Saturday, Oct. 21 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Brian McKnight, Friday, Oct. 27 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Manhattan Transfer, Friday, Nov. 3 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Pusha T, Saturday, Nov. 11 (Wet Nightclub)
Lavell Crawford, Friday, Dec. 8 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Foghat, Saturday, Dec. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Amish Outlaws, Saturday, Dec. 30 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Rick Springfield, Thursday, Sept. 21
The Charlie Daniels Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Ana Popovic, Saturday, Sept. 23
Jim Breuer, Friday, Sept. 29
Mike Albert and the Big E Band — Elvis tribute, Tuesday, Oct. 3
Islands in the Stream: An Afternoon with Dolly and Kenny, Wednesday, Oct. 4, and Thursday, Oct. 5
Clint Black, Friday, Oct. 6
Sharon Owens — Barbra Streisand tribute, Tuesday, Oct. 10
Real Diamond, Wednesday, Oct. 11, and Thursday, Oct. 12
Living Colour, Friday, Oct. 13

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Still Hand String Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Steal Your Peach, Saturday, Sept. 23
The John Kadlecik Band, Sunday, Sept. 24
Scott Sharrard, Friday, Sept. 29
Solar Federation — Rush tribute, Saturday, Sept. 30
Marbin, Sunday, Oct. 1
Terry Lee Goffee: The Greatest Johnny Cash, Friday, Oct. 6
The Undead with Death Valley Dreams, Saturday, Oct. 7
The Garcia Project, Friday, Oct. 13
Starman — The Ultimate Bowie Experience, Saturday, Oct. 14

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Graham Nash, Thursday, Sept. 21
David Bromberg, Friday Sept. 22
Secondhand Serenade, Thursday, Oct. 5
Blackmore’s Night, Saturday, Oct. 7
Black Lagoon, Friday, Oct. 13
Theory of a Deadman, Friday, Oct. 13
Colourshow, Saturday, Oct. 14
Air Supply, Saturday, Oct. 14
Drop the Girl, Wednesday, Oct. 18
Yngwie Malmsteen, Tuesday, Oct. 24

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
The Head and the Heart, Friday, Sept. 22
Tei Shi, Friday, Sept. 22
YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Sunday, Sept. 24
Corbin & Shlohmo, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Thievery Corporation, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Spafford, Friday, Sept. 29
Oh Wonder, Friday, Sept. 29
Wild Cub, Saturday, Sept. 30
STS9, Saturday, Sept. 30
Manchester Orchestra, Sunday, Oct. 1
Kodie Shane, Monday, Oct. 2

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Alison Wonderland, Friday, Sept. 22
Young M.A., Saturday, Sept. 23
Rezz, Friday, Sept. 29
Two Door Cinema Club, Saturday, Sept. 30
The Kooks, Tuesday, Oct. 3
The Script, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Timeflies, Friday, Oct. 6
Galantis, Saturday, Oct. 7
PVRIS, Sunday, Oct. 8

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Halsey, Saturday, Oct. 7
Guns N’ Roses, Sunday, Oct. 8
Bruno Mars, Tuesday, Oct. 10
Katy Perry, Thursday, Oct. 12
Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, Friday, Oct. 13
Powerhouse, Friday, Oct. 27
Fall Out Boy, Sunday, Oct. 29
Imagine Dragons, Thursday, Nov. 2
Janet Jackson, Monday, Nov. 13
Dead & Company, Thursday, Nov. 16

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York
Tickets: 866-781-2922
Graham Nash, Sunday, Sept. 24
Cabaret Night with Borislav Strulev and Friends, Thursday, Sept. 28
Electrifying Evening with ZOFO, Thursday, Oct. 19
John Sebastian, Saturday, Oct. 21
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Saturday, Nov. 4
Los Lonely Boys, Sunday, Nov. 5
Eileen Iver’s A Joyful Christmas, Friday, Dec. 15

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Bruno Mars, Friday, Sept. 22, and Saturday, Sept. 23
Billy Joel, Saturday, Sept. 30
Katy Perry, Monday, Oct. 2, and Tuesday, Oct. 3
Guns N’ Roses, Wednesday, Oct. 11; Sunday, Oct. 15; and Monday, Oct. 16
Ricardo Arjona, Thursday, Oct. 12
Queens of the Stone Age, Tuesday, Oct. 24
La Salsa Vive, Friday, Nov. 10

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Joe Bonamassa, Wednesday, Sept. 20; Thursday, Sept. 21; and Saturday, Sept. 23
Jerry Seinfeld, Friday, Sept. 22
Seu Jorge Presents: The Life Aquatic — Tribute To David Bowie, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Jim Gaffigan, Thursday, Sept. 28, through Saturday, Sept. 30
Kevin James, Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29
Ludovico Einaudi, Monday, Oct. 30
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Wednesday, Nov. 1
Jethro Tull by Ian Anderson, Friday, Nov. 3
The Fab Faux, Saturday, Nov. 4
Tori Amos, Tuesday, Nov. 7, and Wednesday, Nov. 8

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Dana Fuchs, Saturday, Sept. 23
Rob Schneider, Thursday, Oct. 5
Craig Thatcherband, Friday, Oct. 6
Tom Green, Sunday, Oct. 22
TUSK — the Ultimate Fleetwood Mac tribute, Friday, Nov. 10
The Accidentals, Tuesday, Nov. 14
Wild Adriatic, Thursday, Nov. 16
Kevin Griffin, Thursday, Nov. 16
The Aardvarks & the Sofa Kings, Saturday, Nov. 18
Thanksgiving Eve with Steve Brosky and His Lil Big Band, Wednesday, Nov. 22
Hot Blooded: The Foreigner Experience, Friday, Nov. 24

Music Appreciation – University of Scranton slates free concerts starring students and national acts

Music Appreciation – University of Scranton slates free concerts starring students and national acts

School is back in session, and for University of Scranton student musicians and singers, their upcoming performances make for teachable moments with the greater community.
The fall schedule features a variety of U of S ensembles, bands and choirs teamed up with nationally renowned music professionals for a slate of free concerts open to the public.
Cheryl Boga, conductor and director of performance music at the university, said she strives to bring in not just great guest performers but also artist-teachers who can impart wisdom to the young soloists and players.

Cheryl Y. Boga

“One of the things I do is look over the long term — not just a season, but over the four years my students will be here,” Boga said. “My philosophy for the program is really one of (acknowledging that) these are the students that are going to make sure live music is supported in communities, our schools and our country, so how do we give them a background of real understanding and appreciation of great music and what it takes to make it?”
In addition to the student recitals, the season’s highlights include concerts that cover a variety of musical genres and bring in talented music professionals, one of whom — trumpet soloist and sideman Jumaane Smith — has a “long and storied history” with U of S, Boga said.
Smith was a member of the bands for crooners Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jr. and also performed with pop stars including Stevie Wonder, Justin Bieber, Natalie Cole and Alicia Keys. Locally, Smith gave his talents to the U of S as a composer for its concert band and mixed choir, a teacher for brass seminars, conductor and soloist.
“It’s so delightful to see the amazing professional he has become,” Boga said. “His contributions here at Scranton have been unending at every stage of his career.”
Later in the season, guest soloist Kenny Rampton, a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the trumpet voice on “Sesame Street,” will join the U of S Jazz Band for a concert and offer a free master class to students plus amateur and professional musicians 16 and older. With touring credits that include the Ray Charles Orchestra and Matchbox Twenty, Rampton’s expertise spans multiple styles.
Sherrie Maricle and the all-female DIVA Jazz Orchestra also will offer a public master class in addition to a performance that showcases their history as one of the longest-existing professional big bands in the country.
“Sherrie is just wonderful, and she’s led clinics on rhythm for Scranton brass,” Boga said. “She is a gifted and committed teacher, a spectacular drummer and runs a hell of a band. For us to be part of their 25th anniversary tour, coming off amazing venues like the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center, I still kind of can’t believe we’re going to present them.”

U of S also will mark the 50th year for its annual Noel Night concert, which invites alumni to return and rehearse to be part of the show, Boga said.
“It’s kind of the kick-off for Christmas season for us, musically,” she explained. “It has always been University of Scranton’s gift to the community. We open the doors well over an hour early for seats and have started prelude music for a full hour before the concert even starts because of all the people sitting there.”
Noel Night focuses exclusively on sacred music and also includes remarks from university leaders and readings of the nativity narrative, which students have dubbed the “Peanuts” speech since Linus made it famous in the animated classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Providing a well-curated concert season that also is presented free is crucial not only to musical students but to the public, Boga noted.
“The arts are our nation, our world. It’s both a mirror and a window,” she said. “They’re a way to reflect back who we are and who we want to be on every level, from a small community to a wider circle. Music is important to understanding and expressing, acts as a catalyst and spurs communication. Everybody is part of this process.”

 

Singer brings Irish music to Scranton on first American tour

Singer brings Irish music to Scranton on first American tour

Nathan Carter wants to spread his music across the globe.
Raised in an Irish family in Liverpool, England, the country singer already has a large fanbase in Ireland and now is on his first tour of the United States and Canada, which includes a stop in Scranton. Carter will take the stage Thursday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
“I’m just going to be introducing myself and my music to anyone who have never seen me before,” he said during a recent phone interview from Ireland.
Tickets are $45 to $75 and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 570-344-1111 or online at scrantonculturalcenter.org. With Carter’s six-piece band — including fiddles, whistles, accordion, drums, bass and guitar — music fans can expect to hear old Irish songs, folk songs and traditional Irish music. The set also includes ballads and some popular music, such as Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and a tribute to the late Glen Campbell.
“It’s a mix of Irish songs and current songs that people can sing along to,” Carter said.
Joining him on tour is Chloë Agnew, who became one of the original members of Irish music group Celtic Woman at age 14 and launched a solo career in 2013. She will perform big ballads and classics as well.
“She’s been doing her own thing for a while, and we’re excited to have her on the tour,” Carter said, adding he and Agnew will perform some duets.
Carter started his journey to the stage young, learning to play the accordion and sing as a child. After many performances for family, friends and anyone who would listen, Carter began to compete. By 12, he had won All Ireland medals for singing and playing the accordion. Soon after, he joined the Liverpool Ceili band, playing accordion and piano. Solo performances soon followed in Liverpool and Ireland.
Carter became the first country act to hit No. 1 on the Irish charts after Garth Brooks — several of Carter’s singles reached that spot — and his videos garnered more than 1 million hits on YouTube. He’s appeared on Irish television shows and hosts his own talk show, “The Nathan Carter Show.”
While he’s busy overseas, his tour serves as a way to gain a following with new fans in a new place. Starting over can be daunting, but Carter is just doing what he loves.
“I’m just looking forward to giving the audience a great show and entertaining them,” he said. “I don’t call what I do a ‘job,’ because it’s not a job to me. I love what I do, and I’m really blessed.”

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If you go
What: Singer Nathan Carter
When: Thursday, Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Details: Tickets are $45 to $75 and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 570-344-1111 or online at scrantonculturalcenter.org.

Sounds – September 14, 2017

Sounds – September 14, 2017

WHERE WERE YOU IN ’92?

SAINT ETIENNE — ‘Home Counties’ 
THE GOOD: English indie pop outfit Saint Etienne enters a second quarter-century together with its ninth.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Home Counties” is a loose concept album (aren’t they all?) focusing on stories and characters from the suburbs directly surrounding London. Here the inhabitants have a love-hate relationship with their environment — comfortable, yes, but also mundane. The songs reflect feelings of both familiarity and frustration. (I would imagine suburban life in the United Kingdom is pretty much like it is here except the houses sit closer together.)
Musically though, “Counties” is your typical breezy Saint Etienne album, the backdrops switching effortlessly between club beats and vintage pop circa 1970. The crackling basslines of “Unopened Fan Mail,” the semi-Baroque strains running across “Take It All In,” the funky thrust of “Out of My Mind” — all of it paints such vivid settings. Frontwoman Sarah Cracknell remains the most charming of narrators through it all with her wispy vocals still divine yet unassuming.
BUY IT?: Yes.

CHARLATANS UK — ‘Different Days’
THE GOOD: England’s Charlatans survives the passing of its long-time drummer Jon Brookes and regroups for a strong 13th album.
THE BAD: One could accuse the band of being stuck in “almost” the same place since its breakthrough debut, “Some Friendly,” way back in 1990. The formula remains intact, yet the tunes still satisfy.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Some high-profile fellow Brits make appearances here, including living legends Johnny Marr and Paul Weller. New Order’s Stephen Morris and the Verve’s Pete Salisbury handle drumming duties. Yet “Days” remains typical Charlatans (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Frontman Tim Burgess leans in for his cool, hazy lead vocals while the band churns out killer grooves that blur the lines between ’60s psychedelia and ’90s underground house. Better moments include the murky, haunting “Solutions”; the forward motion of “Not Forgotten” (a funky throwback to the band’s late ’90s heyday); and the delicately swaying, highly infectious “There Will Be Chances.” It all works; the band still is relevant in its comfortable surroundings.
BUY IT?: Sure.

RIDE — ‘Weather Diaries’
THE GOOD: Britpop/shoegaze act Ride comes back with its fourth album overall and first in 21 years.
THE BAD: Adjust your expectations. “Weather” is NOT a game changer or some massive, redefining comeback for the band. However, it IS a very good album that finds the boys succeeding at most everything attempted.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Ride’s varied ’90s catalog saw the group experimenting with everything that was happening almost three decades ago. 1990’s “Nowhere” was one of shoegaze’s genre-defining records. “Going Blank Again” (1992) found more traditional rock elements sneaking into the mix. “Carnival of Light” (1994) was a psychedelic/Britpop hybrid. 1996’s “Tarantula” was the forgotten gem released after the band’s initial break-up and then deleted almost immediately.
Now “Weather Diaries” revisits what made each past album great while updating those styles. The trippy “Lannoy Point” comes together over a swirling groove. “Home Is a Feeling” finds a lilting melody combining with brash guitars. “White Sands” takes its time running across multi-layered changes in mood and tempo. All is fine.
BUY IT?: Yep.

Concerts – September 14, 2017

Concerts – September 14, 2017

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Shining Star — Earth, Wind and Fire tribute, Saturday, Sept. 23
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Matthew West, Saturday, Sept. 30
Fozzy, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Linda Eder, Friday, Oct. 6
Joe Nardone Presents: A Doo Wop Celebration, Saturday, Oct. 14
Up Close with Roy Firestone, Friday, Oct. 20
Penn State’s Premiere Jazz Ensemble, Thursday, Oct. 26
Arlo Guthrie, Friday, Oct. 27
The Fab Faux, Saturday, Oct. 28

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Artie Lange, Saturday, Sept. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, Sept. 16 (Wet Nightclub)
The Midtown Men, Friday, Sept. 29 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Stylistics, Saturday, Oct. 7 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Trinidad James, Saturday, Oct. 14 (Wet Nightclub)
Eddie Griffin, Saturday, Oct. 21 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Brian McKnight, Friday, Oct. 27 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Manhattan Transfer, Friday, Nov. 3 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Foghat, Saturday, Dec. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Amish Outlaws, Saturday, Dec. 30 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Montgomery Gentry, Friday, Sept. 15
Rick Springfield, Thursday, Sept. 21
The Charlie Daniels Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Ana Popovic, Saturday, Sept. 23
Jim Breuer, Friday, Sept. 29
Mike Albert and the Big E Band — Elvis tribute, Tuesday, Oct. 3
Islands in the Stream: An Afternoon with Dolly and Kenny, Wednesday, Oct. 4, and Thursday, Oct. 5
Clint Black, Friday, Oct. 6
Sharon Owens — Barbra Streisand tribute, Tuesday, Oct. 10
Real Diamond, Wednesday, Oct. 11, and Thursday, Oct. 12

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Kung Fu — Extreme Funk, Friday, Sept. 15
Mind Choir, Spur, Under the Clothesline, Saturday, Sept. 16
Still Hand String Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Steal Your Peach, Saturday, Sept. 23
The John Kadlecik Band, Sunday, Sept. 24
Scott Sharrard, Friday, Sept. 29
Solar Federation — Rush tribute, Saturday, Sept. 30
Marbin, Sunday, Oct. 1
Terry Lee Goffee: The Greatest Johnny Cash, Friday, Oct. 6
The Undead with Death Valley Dreams, Saturday, Oct. 7

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Garden Grove Festival featuring Badfish, Saturday, Sept. 9
Graham Nash, Thursday, Sept. 21
David Bromberg, Friday Sept. 22
Secondhand Serenade, Thursday, Oct. 5
Blackmore’s Night, Saturday, Oct. 7
Theory of a Deadman, Friday, Oct. 13
Air Supply, Saturday, Oct. 14
Yngwie Malmsteen, Tuesday, Oct. 24
I Prevail presents Rage on the Stage Tour, Saturday, Oct. 28
Last in Line, Friday, Nov. 3

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
John Mark McMillian, Thursday, Sept. 14
Bastille Wild, Wild, Wild World Tour, Thursday Sept. 14
Gabrielle Aplin, Saturday, Sept. 16
Sleeping with Sirens, Sunday, Sept. 17
Foster the People, Monday, Sept. 18
Mutemath, Tuesday, Sept. 19
Company of Thieves, Tuesday, Sept. 19
So Far Gone, Wednesday, Sept. 20
The Head and the Heart, Friday, Sept. 22
Tei Shi, Friday, Sept. 22

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Post Malone, Friday, Sept. 15
Project Pabst Citywide Festival, Saturday, Sept. 16
Alison Wonderland, Friday, Sept. 22
Young M.A., Saturday, Sept. 23
Rezz, Friday, Sept. 29
Two Door Cinema Club, Saturday, Sept. 30
The Kooks, Tuesday, Oct. 3
The Script, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Timeflies, Friday, Oct. 6
Galantis, Saturday, Oct. 7

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Barry Manilow, Friday, Sept. 15
The Weeknd with Gucci Mane and Nav, Saturday, Sept. 16
Arcade Fire, Sunday, Sept. 17
Halsey, Saturday, Oct. 7
Guns N’ Roses, Sunday, Oct. 8
Bruno Mars, Tuesday, Oct. 10
Katy Perry, Thursday, Oct. 12
Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, Friday, Oct. 13
Powerhouse, Friday, Oct. 27
Fall Out Boy, Sunday, Oct. 29

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York
Tickets: 866-781-2922
An Evening of Chamber Music with the Manhattan Chamber Players, Thursday, Sept. 14
Scott Samuelson and Jeanne MacDonald: Old Friends, Saturday, Sept. 16
Graham Nash, Sunday, Sept. 24
Cabaret Night with Borislav Strulev and Friends, Thursday, Sept. 28
Electrifying Evening with ZOFO, Thursday, Oct. 19
John Sebastian, Saturday, Oct. 21
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Saturday, Nov. 4
Los Lonely Boys, Sunday, Nov. 5
Eileen Iver’s A Joyful Christmas, Friday, Dec. 15

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Sam Hunt, Thursday, Sept. 14
Paul McCartney, Friday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 17
Scorpions, Saturday, Sept. 16
Bruno Mars, Friday, Sept. 22, and Saturday, Sept. 23
Billy Joel, Saturday, Sept. 30
Katy Perry, Monday, Oct. 2, and Tuesday, Oct. 3
Guns N’ Roses: Not in this Lifetime Tour, Wednesday, Oct. 11; Sunday, Oct. 15; and Monday, Oct. 16

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Thursday, Sept. 14
The Gipsy Kings, Friday, Sept. 15
The Mavericks, Saturday, Sept. 16
Joe Bonamassa, Wednesday, Sept. 20; Thursday, Sept. 21; and Saturday, Sept. 23
Jerry Seinfeld, Friday, Sept. 22
Seu Jorge Presents: The Life Aquatic — Tribute To David Bowie, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Jim Gaffigan, Thursday, Sept. 28, through Saturday, Sept. 30
Kevin James, Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29
Ludovico Einaudi, Monday, Oct. 30
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Wednesday, Nov. 1

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
The Weight Band, Thursday, Sept. 14
Ben Bailey, Friday, Sept. 15
Box of Rain — Essential Grateful Dead of ’68-’74, Friday, Sept. 15
Dana Fuchs, Saturday, Sept. 23
Rob Schneider, Thursday, Oct. 5
Craig Thatcherband, Friday, Oct. 6
Tom Green, Sunday, Oct. 22
TUSK — the Ultimate Fleetwood Mac tribute, Friday, Nov. 10
The Accidentals, Tuesday, Nov. 14

SUZE Delivers Funky Sound around Region

SUZE Delivers Funky Sound around Region

Kingston quartet SUZE blends jazz, funk rhythms and vintage blues rock and roll to create the unique sound it delivers across the region.
The band was founded in the summer of 2007, and though the lineup has changed since then, founding member Adam McKinley and guitarist Adam Gabriel, along with rhythm-section members Jason Stefanski and Brian Gildea, have continued to share their “vision and music” with Northeast Pennsylvania.

Q: How did you get involved in music?
Brian Gildea: I didn’t really get serious until college when I picked up the electric bass. I immediately fell in love with making music and feel incredibly lucky that it came into my life.
Adam McKinley: I was 19 when I first picked up the guitar and spent years trying to teach myself, and I currently have been taking piano lessons for almost seven years.
Jay Stefanski: Once I was about 11 years old I convinced my parents to get me a kit, and the rest is history. God bless their eardrums during that first year or so.

Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed in public?
BG: I had been playing bass for about a month, so I had almost zero technique on the instrument. It was a show in a screamo band at Cafe Metro. I was never really into that kind of music, but it didn’t really matter. I was just happy to be playing music at all.
AM: My first real gig was actually what led to the formation of the band, but a year or so before that my friends convinced me to do open mic night at the Jazz Cafe, and I was terrified. I had only been playing guitar for a about a year at that point. Needless to say I relied heavily on my voice that night.
AG: My first few piano recitals were absolutely nerve wracking. I was around the 11- to 13-year-old range when I did those. My last one I vividly remember because I blanked halfway through the piece. I guess that’s the very first time I performed improv. I eventually got through the rest.

Q: How did you guys come up with your name?
AM: The name started off as a something of an inside joke within my group of friends. It was a way to call someone “lame.” It was a word that was thrown around so much that we kind of just thought it would be temporary, but it really seemed to resonate in an odd way.

Q: How did you meet?
BG: I met Adam G. and Jay when we were playing in a soul cover band called Soul Shadows. We got along really well and liked each other’s playing, so when SUZE needed a bassist, I got the call.
AM: Adam and I had known each other a little in our college years, and when our original guitarist left the band he reached out to take over. I had been a big fan of Jay’s band Woody Brown’s Project when we started on the scene and were floating in similar circles. Brian actually sat in with us at a Halloween show a few years ago, and I didn’t even realize it until his name popped up in conversations about continuing the band and finding a new bassist.
AG: SUZE was already a band for a couple years when I heard they were in need of a new guitarist. I had partied with the boys from time to time and figured I’d reach out to them.

Q: What is the process like for writing your music?
BG: Usually Adam M. sketches out some parts or a whole song. Then he’ll bring them in and let us add our own interpretation of the original idea. The end result is a little bit of each of us.
AM: I typically come up with something on the guitar (or in rare cases the piano), and the mood of whatever that may sound like dictates what I write about. I tend to tackle subjects that aren’t always that common, lyrically speaking. It’s mostly something I find to be an interesting story or concept to talk about. There are times where I fully form the songs before bringing them in but most times they are sketches and we come together to flesh out the ideas.
AG: We typically start with a skeleton song/idea. From there we just hash it out as a full band until we like what we hear. It’s a nice democratic process.

Q: How have you changed as a musician over the years?
BG: I’ve gotten better at supporting other musicians. When I first started, I would just play whatever weird stuff popped into my head, without hearing how it sounded with the band. These days I focus more and more on listening and really thinking “does this fit”?
AM: I personally have grown so much. I started off as someone who only knew basic chords and worked to become a better lead player, even though that isn’t my main role.
AG: I listen way more while I play. It is something I’m constantly working on. That, and trying to convey more with less. That I could still use some work on.

Q: What are some of your favorite memories as a musician?
BG: My favorite memories revolve around (the) writing process. There’s no better feeling in the world than when you stumble onto a great song and start unearthing all these cool aspects of it.
AM: My favorite moments almost always happen in a live setting, whether it be in rehearsal or at a show. We like to leave a little room for spontaneity and improvisation, which leads to different moments in the same songs each time we play them. Writing and recording are also very exciting when you get to see an idea that goes from a notebook and turns into a tangible product.
AG: I’ve been lucky enough to call all my fellow band mates friends (both past and present). Every time I’m on stage with them is a favorite memory.

Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
AM: The scene has changed so much in the 10 years I’ve been around. Almost all of the bands that existed when we first started are no longer around. The musicians are, but the bands don’t always last. I’m very proud of that. I value loyalty and continuity, so the fact that we’ve been able to somehow make this last means the world to me. There is so much talent it almost feels as if this area is bursting at the seams, but the venues and crowds have grown thinner over the years.
AG: I have drifted through a couple of different scenes throughout the years, so I’m not sure long-term how anything has changed. All I can say is there’s always been a lot of talent.
JS: It’s struggling lately. There’s lots of talent in our area, but it seems the live scene has been dying out over the last few years. Oh, and we need way more horn players around here.

Q: Who has influenced you over the years?
BG: Duke Ellington, Primus, Tool, Soul Coughing, Nine Inch Nails, Chiptune music, John Paul Jones, James Jamerson and all the musicians that I’ve ever played with.
AM: Honestly, I’m mostly influenced by the other musicians in this area. The people that continue to do it are the ones that push me to want to continue making music for anyone who will listen. Also, Jack White is my hero.
AG: Tom Morello, John Scofield, Frank Zappa (and) Trey Anastasio, to name four out of about a few hundred.

Q: What is the biggest challenge?
BG: Figuring out what our path looks like to getting more people to hear our music.
AM: The biggest challenge is to push forward even when it feels as though a lot of people don’t care. It’s always difficult to take the next step and constantly adapt to the temperature of the scene. But that’s also what keeps it interesting, and it’s why we do it.
AG: Cloning our fan base.
JS: Staying inspired every day.

Q: What are your future goals for the band?
BG: Firstly, we need to record. We have a ton of new stuff that no one has heard yet outside of shows. After that, I’d like to start playing some festivals with other bands in our genre and also look into finding management for the band.
AM: The goal has always been to figure out a way to make a living doing what we love.

—Samantha Stanich

Sounds – September 7, 2017

Sounds – September 7, 2017

K. FLAY — ‘Every Where Is Some Where’
THE GOOD: Illinois singer/rapper K. Flay (born Kristine Meredith Flaherty) dodges the sophomore slump with a genre-bending winner.
THE BAD: Nope. 
THE NITTY GRITTY: After a failed start with RCA and independently releasing a critically acclaimed debut, K. Flay now finds herself at Interscope. However, “Every Where” is hardly a major-label bid for the mainstream.
Lyrically, Flay likes her sex, drugs and other nocturnal pastimes. Musically, we’re smacked upside the head with a cool mix of streamlined dance pop, grisly guitar-driven alt-rock and seedy, hip-grinding hip-hop. Flay flanks it all with a not-so-pretty, bad-ass rock ‘n’ roll attitude. It’s a razor-sharp combination that never lets up.
From the flirtatious “High Enough” to the aggressive “Black Wave” (“Don’t test me!”), Flay doesn’t let her vulnerability completely rise to the surface. And she doesn’t exactly sound susceptible while singing “The President Has a Sex Tape.” Treat her right or you’ll live to regret it. Ignore this album and you’ll regret that too.
BUY IT?: Yeah.

BONOBO — ‘Migration’
THE GOOD: Electronic artist Simon Green (aka Bonobo) comes back with an accomplished sixth.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: On the surface, “Migration” might seem like just another down-tempo or ambient techno album — a mostly instrumental set with a handful of guest vocalists showing up on a few tracks to add a little electro-pop flavor.
And yet, “Migration” works extremely well as a cohesive work while not falling into the more common trappings of its genre. First of all, while the songs with vocals are refreshing, they’re not the stand-out tracks here. Green’s twisting-and-turning instrumental bits are just as compelling. The steady synths across “Outlier” wash over you. The majestic vocal samples on “Figures” are divine.
Second, the record never wears out its welcome. Despite being over an hour long, there’s a cool ebb and flow to the whole affair. Just when matters get all-too-dreamy, Green snaps us back to attention with a sharp-focused rhythm. And yet we never completely leave this “otherworld” until the music’s over.
BUY IT?: Yes.

NITE JEWEL — ‘Real High’
THE GOOD: California singer/songwriter Ramona Gonzalez (stage name Nite Jewel) embraces your best night out circa 1995 on her fourth full-length album.
THE BAD: Sequencing? The second half of the record kind of crawls. However, that could be the late-night “come down” after some heavy partying. 
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Real High” plays like the perfect cross between early ’90s new jack swing and Todd Terry-remixed Everything but the Girl. The R&B influences hail from the mainstream, but the record is still innovative enough for the underground. Add a few Euro-flavored echoes deep within these mixes, and the tracks become even more exotic.
From the breezy shuffle carrying “Had To Let Me Go” to the modern poppy bounce lifting “The Answer,” both the record’s grooves and melodies are highly infectious. The songs take hold, and once you’re locked in their rhythm, there’s no escape. Gonzalez also possesses the perfect voice for her own material; it’s slightly flirtatious but always commanding. She’s strong yet fun — the perfect date.
BUY IT?: Surely.

Concerts – September 7, 2017

Concerts – September 7, 2017

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Shining Star — Earth, Wind and Fire tribute, Saturday, Sept. 23
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Matthew West, Saturday, Sept. 30
Fozzy, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Linda Eder, Friday, Oct. 6
Joe Nardone Presents: A Doo Wop Celebration, Saturday, Oct. 14
Up Close with Roy Firestone, Friday, Oct. 20
Penn State’s Premiere Jazz Ensemble, Thursday, Oct. 26
Arlo Guthrie, Friday, Oct. 27
The Fab Faux, Saturday, Oct. 28

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Andrew Dice Clay, Friday, Sept. 8 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Artie Lange, Saturday, Sept. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, Sept. 16 (Wet Nightclub)
The Midtown Men, Friday, Sept. 29 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Stylistics, Saturday, Oct. 7 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Trinidad James, Saturday, Oct. 14 (Wet Nightclub)
Eddie Griffin, Saturday, Oct. 21 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Brian McKnight, Friday, Oct. 27 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Manhattan Transfer, Friday, Nov. 3 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Foghat, Saturday, Dec. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Amish Outlaws, Saturday, Dec. 30 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Quiet Riot with Black N’ Blue, Thursday, Sept. 7
Tyler Farr, Friday, Sept. 8
Montgomery Gentry, Friday, Sept. 15
Rick Springfield, Thursday, Sept. 21
The Charlie Daniels Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Ana Popovic, Saturday, Sept. 23
Jim Breuer, Friday, Sept. 29
Mike Albert and The Big E Band — Elvis tribute, Tuesday, Oct. 3
Islands in the Stream: An Afternoon with Dolly and Kenny, Wednesday, Oct. 4, and Thursday, Oct. 5
Clint Black, Friday, Oct. 6

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
MiZ, Friday, Sept. 8
Kung Fu — Extreme Funk, Friday, Sept. 15
Mind Choir, Spur, Under the Clothesline, Saturday, Sept. 16
Still Hand String Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Steal Your Peach, Saturday, Sept. 23
The John Kadlecik Band, Sunday, Sept. 24
Scott Sharrard, Friday, Sept. 29
Solar Federation — Rush tribute, Saturday, Sept. 30
Marbin, Sunday, Oct. 1
Terry Lee Goffee: The Greatest Johnny Cash, Friday, Oct. 6

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Garden Grove Festival featuring Badfish, Saturday, Sept. 9
Graham Nash, Thursday, Sept. 21
David Bromberg, Friday Sept. 22
Secondhand Serenade, Thursday, Oct. 5
Stroudsburg Unplugged featuring R.D. King, Saturday, Oct. 7
Blackmore’s Night, Saturday, Oct. 7
Theory of a Deadman, Friday, Oct. 13
Air Supply, Saturday, Oct. 14
I Prevail presents Rage on the Stage Tour, Saturday, Oct. 28
Last in Line, Friday, Nov. 3

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Picture This, Friday, Sept. 8
Dan Croll, Saturday, Sept. 9
Casey Donahew, Sunday, Sept. 10
2 Chainz, Sunday, Sept. 10
John Mark McMillian, Thursday, Sept. 14
Bastille Wild, Wild, Wild World Tour, Thursday Sept. 14
Gabrielle Aplin, Saturday, Sept. 16
Foster the People, Monday, Sept. 18
Mutemath, Tuesday, Sept. 19
Company of Thieves, Tuesday, Sept. 19

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Danzig, Friday, Sept. 8
UB40 Legends Ali, Astro and Mickey, Saturday, Sept. 9
Post Malone, Friday, Sept. 15
Project Pabst Citywide Festival, Saturday, Sept. 16
Alison Wonderland, Friday, Sept. 22
Young M.A., Saturday, Sept. 23
Rezz, Friday, Sept. 29
Two Door Cinema Club, Saturday, Sept. 30
The Kooks, Tuesday, Oct. 3
The Script, Wednesday, Oct. 4

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Lady Gaga, Sunday, Sept. 10, and Monday, Sept. 11
Barry Manilow, Friday, Sept. 15
The Weeknd with Gucci Mane and Nav, Saturday, Sept. 16
Arcade Fire, Sunday, Sept. 17
Halsey, Saturday, Oct. 7
Guns N’ Roses, Sunday, Oct. 8
Bruno Mars, Tuesday, Oct. 10
Katy Perry, Thursday, Oct. 12
Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, Friday, Oct. 13
Fall Out Boy, Sunday, Oct. 29

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York
Tickets: 866-781-2922
An Evening of Chamber Music with the Manhattan Chamber Players, Thursday, Sept. 14
Scott Samuelson and Jeanne MacDonald: Old Friends, Saturday, Sept. 16
Graham Nash, Sunday, Sept. 24
Cabaret Night with Borislav Strulev and Friends, Thursday, Sept. 28
Electrifying Evening with ZOFO, Thursday, Oct. 19
John Sebastian, Saturday, Oct. 21
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Saturday, Nov. 4
Los Lonely Boys, Sunday, Nov. 5

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Eric Clapton, Thursday, Sept. 7, and Friday, Sept. 8
Bryson Tiller, Friday, Sept. 8, and Saturday, Sept. 9
Depeche Mode with Warpaint, Saturday, Sept. 9, and Monday, Sept. 11
Arcade Fire, Tuesday, Sept. 12
Sam Hunt, Thursday, Sept. 14
Paul McCartney, Friday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 17
Scorpions, Saturday, Sept. 16
Bruno Mars, Friday, Sept. 22, and Saturday, Sept. 23
Billy Joel, Saturday, Sept. 30
Katy Perry, Monday, Oct. 2, and Tuesday, Oct. 3

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Adam Ant, Wednesday, Sept. 13
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Thursday, Sept. 14
The Gipsy Kings, Friday, Sept. 15
The Mavericks, Saturday, Sept. 16
Joe Bonamassa, Wednesday, Sept. 20; Thursday, Sept. 21; and Saturday, Sept. 23
Jerry Seinfeld, Friday, Sept. 22
Seu Jorge Presents: The Life Aquatic — Tribute To David Bowie, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Jim Gaffigan, Thursday, Sept. 28, through Saturday, Sept. 30
Kevin James, Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29
Ludovico Einaudi, Monday, Oct. 30
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Wednesday, Nov. 1

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Classic Stones Live, Friday, Sept. 8
Henry Rollins, Sunday, Sept. 10
The Weight Band, Thursday, Sept. 14
Ben Bailey, Friday, Sept. 15
Box of Rain — Essential Grateful Dead of ’68-’74, Friday, Sept. 15
Dana Fuchs, Saturday, Sept. 23
Rob Schneider, Thursday, Oct. 5
Craig Thatcherband, Friday, Oct. 6
Tom Green, Sunday, Oct. 22
TUSK — the Ultimate Fleetwood Mac tribute, Friday, Nov. 10

Rockers conjure Signs & Wonders through music

Rockers conjure Signs & Wonders through music

Wilkes-Barre psychedelic rock group Signs & Wonders considers itself a “living art project.”
“The music begins by writing itself,” singer Jami Kali said. “It takes us along with it.”
Ray Novitski (vocals, guitar and bass), Kali (vocals and synth), Chris Wallace (keyboards, synth and bass) and “Big Fat” Paulie Weisgerber (drums) formed Signs & Wonders in 2013. As they scout out-of-town venues and work on recording an album, the quartet took a break to go On the Record about their journey as a group and their hopes for the future.

Q: Where did your band name come from?
Jami Kali: The Bible says, “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” We are not a religiously influenced band, but this is a profound statement and holds much relevance in our current state of existence.
Chris Wallace: I love the mystical connotations of the words “signs and wonders” together. I don’t believe in the concept of “god” as widely accepted, yet I find ancient religious scriptures to be an account of the magic humans once possessed, now forgotten, evidenced in this passage: “Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands.” It’s a nice thought and we, as a band, are mystical beings conjuring our signs and wonders through music.

Q: How did you each get involved in music?
JK: I was raised by my mother and father in a very musical environment. It was only natural for music to become my passion. I began singing and playing with instruments at a very young age and continued to teach myself throughout my life. I’m still learning many things from others, myself and the world.
Ray Novitsky: I was always banging on stuff when I was a kid and have always been obsessed with music. When I was 20 years old, I bought a guitar and taught myself how to play.
“Big Fat” Paulie Weisgerber: I have a family history of musicians. My grandfather was a percussionist in the Navy during World War I, and my dad was very accomplished with brass instruments. He could play just about anything that you blow into. It was obvious at a young age — beating on tables, boxes, pots and pans — that I would follow suit.

Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed in public together?
RN: Our first show took place at the Rattler, a rock ‘n’ roll bar operated by James Callahan. We were surrounded by friends and had a very positive reception.
PW: Not just the first night, but every night we play out together, it’s always so fun. Even if I have a bad day, it’s still a blast playing with these guys (and girl). All three of them are excellent at what they do and are far more experienced at live performances than I am. I use that to keep myself grounded. They make it fun because they are so good.

Q: What is the process like for writing your music?
RN: We jam out and sometimes something sounds so cool that we go with it and continue to layer it with new parts. It keeps growing until it sounds the way we’d like it to sound. The writing process is very free and spontaneous. We don’t even set out to write anything. It just happens.

Q: How have you changed as musicians over the years?
JK: I am continuously evolving and growing as a musician. My tastes change, my mind takes on new interests, and every day life is different from day to day. These things influence how I approach my creative endeavors.
RN: I’ve become more comfortable and confident. The constant experimentation with sounds has caused me to become more daring. I’m less shy on stage than I am in my everyday life.

Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
JK: The NEPA music scene is like a rollercoaster. It is currently at one of those butterflies-in-your-stomach peaks. This summer, thus far, has been packed with many amazing performances and wonderful times with our fellow local musicians. It’s incredible to hear so much original music coming from the valley. There are many talented musicians out there doing their thing, and there are so many good friends supporting all of us.
RN: In the Wilkes-Barre area, a ton of venues closed, and that has led to heavier competition to get a show. They have to be booked further in advance than was the case previously. While some faces have disappeared, there are many new ones popping up. However, the Scranton scene is booming.

Q: What music do you listen to? What inspires you?
JK: I am heavily influenced by ’90s grunge, the psychedelic movement, the sound of one hand clapping, modern and post-modern poetry, Buddhist dharma and the music of nature.
PW: I listen to anything with good drummers and intelligence. And if I hear autotune, I autotune to something else.

Q: Have you faced any major challenges as a rising band?
JK: There are challenges around every corner, and that keeps things very exciting. Not only does a ton of effort go into the creation process, (but also) it is always very important to me to spread my music to as many ears as possible. Promotion is near the top of my list, and it sometimes takes a lot of time and energy to get your sounds into the right ear canals.
RN: It isn’t easy to get your name out there. Social media like YouTube creates an overload of new music, and you can get buried in that mass of data. You have to come up with unique ways to make yourself stand out in all of that madness.

Q: What are your future goals?
RN: I want to have as much fun as possible and hopefully one day make this my full-time job.
JK: We hope to keep evolving together as musicians, reach as many people as possible and go on tour through our beautiful country. I hope for things to keep getting better and better.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Meet Signs & Wonders
Members: Ray Novitski, vocals, guitar and bass; Jami Kali, vocals and synth; Chris Wallace, keyboards, synth and bass; “Big Fat” Paulie Weisgerber, drums
Established: 2013
Genre: Alternative Psych Rock
Online: signsandwonders.bandcamp.com; facebook.com/signsandwondersbandinstagram.com/_signsandwonders/

Satellite Ranch Music and Arts Festival launches  at Mountain Sky

Satellite Ranch Music and Arts Festival launches at Mountain Sky

Whether you like to dance, stretch or appreciate art, the inaugural Satellite Ranch Music and Arts Festival set for this weekend at Mountain Sky has something for you.
The two-day event kicks off Friday, Sept. 1, and continues on Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Scott Twp. venue with a full schedule of activities that includes plenty of live music, yoga and art workshops, and live demonstrations. Camping is encouraged for guests who wish to get the most out of their admission, especially with certain aspects of the performances stretching into the early morning hours.
Bryan Dewey, one of the festival’s co-promoters, is part of the entity Funkstronaut Productions, which brings together a collection of DJs and electronic artists for Satellite Ranch’s lineup. Organizers have long wanted to present an outdoor festival at Mountain Sky, he said, with plans finally starting to come together this past January.

Flux Capacitor

“We’ve been in talks for a few years now (with Mountain Sky), and they were hesitant on electronic music and DJs,” Dewey said. “It gets a bad rep, so we like the term ‘intelligent dance music.’ The main difference is the music we have has a lot of soul in it. It’s not loud and crazy, but there’s plenty of weirdness. But there’s a lot of heart and a general loving vibe. We have everything from funky jam bands that incorporate electronic elements to hip-hop with electro to a silent disco from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.” 
Music will be spread across two stages, and VIP passes give guests access to an indoor area. But Satellite Ranch will offer much more, such as various styles of yoga practice, including kundalini and mellow-flow; a graffiti art workshop; painters doing live demonstrations and selling their works; light and art installations; body painting; a live production workshop; and plenty of vendors, from vegan and vegetarian foods to bonsai tree experts.
Dewey cited years of expertise by his team of organizers in pulling together varied elements for a multi-faceted event and said he has high hopes for drawing a diverse crowd locally and from neighboring states for Satellite Ranch’s first year.
“We want to show the region what a great festival could be up at Mountain Sky. We feel like we put something together that is pretty awesome,” Dewey said. “(It) promises to be an intimate festival showcasing a variety of music not typically seen together outside of larger gatherings … (in) an atmosphere that will surely be out of this world.
“We aim to breathe fresh life and energy into an already amazing local music scene as well as expand musical tastes and horizons of attendees, all while providing a safe and peaceful environment with friendly and loving vibrations for all.”
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If you go
What: Satellite Ranch Music and Arts Festival
When: Friday, Sept. 1, music begins at 3 p.m.; and Saturday, Sept. 2, music begins at noon
Where: Mountain Sky, 63 Still Meadow Lane, Scott Twp.
Details: Tickets include camping and are $130 for two-day VIP passes, $65 for two-day general admission and $40 for Saturday only. Parking is $5 or free with three or more people in the car. For more information, visit the Facebook page or satelliteranchfestival.com

 

Sounds – August 31, 2017

Sounds – August 31, 2017

THE MOONLANDINGZ — ‘Interplanetary Class Classics’
THE GOOD: British “band” the Moonlandingz delivers a totally trashy and completely danceable debut. 
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The music is damn near undefinable, but so is the group itself. A melding of art collective the Eccentric Research Council, band members from Fat White Family and producer/musician Sean Lennon, Moonlandingz gives us a record combining Gothic pop, psychedelic disco, noisy garage rock and androgynous glam. It’s outrageous music to accompany the group’s equally outrageous stage shows.
Strange collaborations include Yoko Ono wailing away with the Human League’s Philip Oakey on the corrupt dance-floor anthem “This Cities Undone.” Randy Jones, the Village People’s original cowboy, guests on the sleazy “Glory Hole.” Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor adds haunting vocals to the disturbingly beautiful “The Strangle of Anna.”
Add occasional blasts of switched-on techno or surf guitar, and these multi-layered soundscapes get even weirder. Time will tell if this is the beginning of a long-term cunning collaboration or a one-off oddity. I’m hoping for the former, not the latter.
BUY IT?: Yes.

!!! — ‘Shake the Shudder’
THE GOOD: California dance-punks !!! crank out their seventh full-length album.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Frontman Nic Offer and his crew continue to revel in their world of decadent funk, groove-heavy rock and steamy, sweaty disco. One song here sums up the band’s attitude since its 2001 inception — “Dancing Is the Best Revenge.” Doesn’t matter what authority, politicians or the world at large throws at you. Boogie your ass off and all will be fine. “Shake the Shudder” is simply the latest bunch of songs in an ever-expanding, pounding playlist that cracks and booms long into the night.
The beats never stop, and their tempos don’t change all that much. However, the slick stuff spread across the top keeps the record from getting stuck in “repeat” mode. So whether it’s the childish electronics on “What R U Up 2day” or the reserved melodic thrust carrying “Imaginary Interviews,” these slabs of pure depravity should keep you moving for a long time to come.
BUY IT?: Yeah.

THE CHAIN GANG OF 1974 — ‘Felt’
THE GOOD: Indie pop singer/songwriter Kamtin Mohager (stage name CGof1974) gives us his fourth.
THE BAD: Too formulaic.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Mohager was never exactly blazing new trails on any past records; each collection is a throwback to alternative synth-heavy rock circa ’84 (as opposed to the ’74 moniker). The guy proved himself very adept at dishing out memorable hooks atop airtight backdrops where guitars and keyboards meshed harmoniously over solid backbeats. Agreeable snappy stuff.Produced by the Naked and Famous’ Thom Powers, “Felt” is more of the same. However, the new album leans in a more dedicated pop direction, so some of the music’s uniqueness is now sorely lacking. Mohager still churns out decent songs though. Personal favorites include steadily flowing goodies such as “Wallflowers” and “Looking for Love.” However, “Felt” slips into mediocrity pretty quickly. Maybe the next collection will be better.
BUY IT?: Meh…Spotify will do. Besides, there’s no CD on this release. You have to make the great leap from download to vinyl if you want a physical copy.

Concerts – August 31, 2017

Concerts – August 31, 2017

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Shining Star — Earth, Wind and Fire tribute, Saturday, Sept. 23
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Matthew West, Saturday, Sept. 30
Fozzy, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Linda Eder, Friday, Oct. 6
Joe Nardone Presents: A Doo Wop Celebration, Saturday, Oct. 14
Up Close with Roy Firestone, Friday, Oct. 20
Penn State’s Premiere Jazz Ensemble, Thursday, Oct. 26
Arlo Guthrie, Friday, Oct. 27
The Fab Faux, Saturday, Oct. 28

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Blood, Sweat & Tears, Friday, Sept. 1 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
21 Savage, Saturday, Sept. 3 (Wet Nightclub)
Andrew Dice Clay, Friday, Sept. 8 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Artie Lange, Saturday, Sept. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, Sept. 16
The Midtown Men, Friday, Sept. 29 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Stylistics, Saturday, Oct. 7
Eddie Griffin, Saturday, Oct. 21
Brian McKnight, Friday, Oct. 27
The Manhattan Transfer, Friday, Nov. 3

The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, Scranton
Tickets: 570-961-9000
Luke Bryan and Brett Eldredge, Wednesday, Sept. 6

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Quiet Riot with Black N’ Blue, Thursday, Sept. 7
Tyler Farr, Friday, Sept. 8
Montgomery Gentry, Friday, Sept. 15
Rick Springfield, Thursday, Sept. 21
The Charlie Daniels Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Ana Popovic, Saturday, Sept. 23
Jim Breuer, Friday, Sept. 29
Mike Albert and The Big E Band — Elvis tribute, Tuesday, Oct. 3
Islands in the Stream: An Afternoon with Dolly and Kenny, Wednesday, Oct. 4, and Thursday, Oct. 5
Clint Black, Friday, Oct. 6

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Clarence Spady Band, Saturday, Sept. 2
MiZ, Friday, Sept. 8
Kung Fu — Extreme Funk, Friday, Sept. 15
Mind Choir, Spur, Under the Clothesline, Saturday, Sept. 16
Still Hand String Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Steal Your Peach, Saturday, Sept. 23
Scott Sharrard, Friday, Sept. 29
Solar Federation — Rush tribute, Saturday, Sept. 30
Marbin, Sunday, Oct. 1
Terry Lee Goffee: The Greatest Johnny Cash, Friday, Oct. 6

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Plumcocks CD release featuring Eternal Boy, Saturday, Sept. 2
In Your Memory, Friday, Sept. 8
Like the River and More, Saturday, Sept. 9
Graham Nash, Thursday, Sept. 21
The Brevet, Friday, Sept. 22
David Bromberg, Friday Sept. 22
Secondhand Serenade, Thursday, Oct. 5
Stroudsburg Unplugged featuring RD King, Saturday, Oct. 7
Blackmore’s Night, Saturday, Oct. 7
Theory of a Deadman, Friday, Oct. 13
Air Supply, Saturday, Oct. 14

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Haken with Sithu Aye, Friday, Sept. 1
The Goodfellas — Labor Day Weekend Party, Sunday, Sept. 3
Picture This, Friday, Sept. 8
Dan Croll, Saturday, Sept. 9
Casey Donahew, Sunday, Sept. 10
2 Chainz, Sunday, Sept. 10
John Mark McMillian, Thursday, Sept. 14
Bastille Wild, Wild, Wild World Tour, Thursday Sept. 14
Gabrielle Aplin, Saturday, Sept. 16
Foster the People, Monday, Sept. 18

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Danzig, Friday, Sept. 8
UB40 Legends Ali, Astro and Mickey, Saturday, Sept. 9
Project Pabst Citywide Festival, Saturday, Sept. 16
Alison Wonderland, Friday, Sept. 22
Young M.A., Saturday, Sept. 23
Two Door Cinema Club, Saturday, Sept. 30
The Kooks, Tuesday, Oct. 3
The Script, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Timeflies, Friday, Oct. 6
Galantis, Saturday, Oct. 7

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Lady Gaga, Sunday, Sept. 10, and Monday, Sept. 11
Barry Manilow, Friday, Sept. 15
The Weeknd with Gucci Mane and Nav, Saturday, Sept. 16
Arcade Fire, Sunday, Sept. 17
Halsey, Saturday, Oct. 7
Guns N’ Roses, Sunday, Oct. 8
Bruno Mars, Tuesday, Oct. 10
Katy Perry, Thursday, Oct. 12
Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, Friday, Oct. 13
Fall Out Boy, Sunday, Oct. 29

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York
Tickets: 866-781-2922
Sting with the Last Bandoleros and Joe Sumner, Friday, Sept. 1
An Evening of Chamber Music with the Manhattan Chamber Players, Thursday, Sept. 14
Scott Samuelson and Jeanne MacDonald: Old Friends, Saturday, Sept. 16
Graham Nash, Sunday, Sept. 24
Cabaret Night with Borislav Strulev and Friends, Thursday, Sept. 28
Electrifying Evening with ZOFO, Thursday, Oct. 19
John Sebastian, Saturday, Oct. 21
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Saturday, Nov. 4
Los Lonely Boys, Sunday, Nov. 5

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Miel San Marcos, Saturday, Sept. 2
Eric Clapton, Thursday, Sept. 7, and Friday, Sept. 8
Depeche Mode with Warpaint, Saturday, Sept. 9, and Monday, Sept. 11
Arcade Fire, Tuesday, Sept. 12
Sam Hunt, Thursday, Sept. 14
Paul McCartney, Friday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 17
Scorpions, Saturday, Sept. 16
Bruno Mars, Friday, Sept. 22, and Saturday, Sept. 23
Billy Joel, Saturday, Sept. 30
Katy Perry, Monday, Oct. 2, and Tuesday, Oct. 3

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Adam Ant, Wednesday, Sept. 13
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Thursday, Sept. 14
The Gipsy Kings, Friday, Sept. 15
The Mavericks, Saturday, Sept. 16
Joe Bonamassa, Wednesday, Sept. 20; Thursday, Sept. 21; and Saturday, Sept. 23
Jerry Seinfeld, Friday, Sept. 22
Seu Jorge Presents: The Life Aquatic — Tribute To David Bowie, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Jim Gaffigan, Thursday, Sept. 28, through Saturday, Sept. 30
Kevin James, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28 and 29
Ludovico Einaudi, Monday, Oct. 30
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Wednesday, Nov. 1

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Old Dominion, Sunday, Aug. 27
The Mavericks, Thursday, Aug. 31
Classic Stones Live, Friday, Sept. 8
Henry Rollins, Sunday, Sept. 10
The Weight Band, Thursday, Sept. 14
Ben Bailey, Friday, Sept. 15
Box of Rain — Essential Grateful Dead of ’68-’74, Friday, Sept. 15
Dana Fuchs, Saturday, Sept. 23
Rob Schneider, Thursday, Oct. 5
Criag Thatcherband, Friday, Oct. 6

Sounds – August 24, 2017

Sounds – August 24, 2017

LORDE — ‘Melodrama’  
THE GOOD: New Zealand pop sensation Lorde comes back after a long hiatus with an ambitious sophomore effort.
THE BAD: Nope. “Melodrama” was worth the wait.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Whether the 20-year-old ever shakes up the mainstream again with a song as big as “Royals” is irrelevant. Lorde now has two solid albums under her belt, and “Melodrama” proves she can run with a concept as well. Teaming up with Jack Antonoff (Fun., Bleachers) and a bevy of other producers, Lorde offers a record that embraces solitude.
Lorde wrote the songs during a time of upheaval many people her age experience. She broke up with a longtime boyfriend and later moved out of her parents’ house. Inspiration came from being really “alone” for the first time. From the beat-heavy breakup of “Green Light” to the intimate revelations spread throughout “Liability” to the emotional intensity coloring “Supercut,” the album paints a vivid picture of turmoil and growth. It’s musically multi-faceted, too, ranging from banging electronics to reserved ballads.
BUY IT?: Yes.

FEIST — ‘Pleasure’
THE GOOD: Canadian singer/songwriter Feist returns with her fifth album and first in six years.
THE BAD: Depends upon your expectations. Those craving another breezy pop gem like “1 2 3 4” aren’t going to get it.
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Pleasure” is a raw, intimate affair built with stripped-down arrangements. Feist confronts her inner demons while getting reacquainted with bare-bones indie rock, modern folk and even a touch of the blues.
One can detect echoes of P.J. Harvey across the “plugged-in” moments and strains of Cat Power during the quieter bits. “Pleasure,” however, is distinctly Feist. Even when she sounds defeated, her warm voice is unmistakable and her breathy, unassuming delivery always welcome.
This time, that voice is accompanied by ghostly harmonies, spontaneous guitar, distinct bits of keyboard that sound either majestic or playful, rudimentary drumbeats and lo-fi atmospherics stolen from the world outside. The end result sounds very impulsive at first, but repeat listens bring out the songs’ deliberate brilliance.
BUY IT?: Surely.

SHERYL CROW — ‘Be Myself’
THE GOOD: On her 10th set, singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow revisits her ’90s rock heyday.
THE BAD: No big problems.
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Be Myself” finds Crow bringing back producer Jeff Trott, whom she worked with during the ’90s and early 2000s. So that slight country detour taken on 2013’s “Feels Like Home” (which wasn’t all that genuine anyway) has been abandoned. Although, those still craving a little Southern swagger will find it on the charming “Rest of Me.”
For the most part, “Myself” is a down-to-earth, gutsy, guitar-fueled Crow album in the tradition of her self-titled effort (1996) and “The Globe Sessions” (1998). Yeah, we’ve been here before. But when the woman turns on her self-assured attitude, it’s tough to resist that confident voice belting out those slick melodies.
Pick any track — the flirtatious “Roller Skate”; the melancholy “Strangers Again”; the low-burning, infectious “Alone in the Dark” — they’re all good. Crow doesn’t break new ground on “Be Myself,” but she does deliver the pop/rock goods.
BUY IT?: Why not?