Sounds – October 19, 2017

Sounds – October 19, 2017

RANCID — ‘Troublemaker’ 
THE GOOD: Bay area punk legends Rancid remain loud and livid on their ninth.
THE BAD: Tim Armstrong and crew aren’t angry young men anymore, Rancid being a cohesive unit for over a quarter century now. But they’re now pissed-off middle-aged dudes. That has to be legit enough for you.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Thankfully, the guys aren’t aging gracefully. Rancid is one of a handful of punk bands that remain both relevant and potent decades into their careers. Bad Religion (another strong punk mainstay) guitarist Brett Gurewitz produces “Troublemaker,” a loud, melodic mix of blue-collar and political anthems played either fast and hard (“All American Neighborhood”) or straight down a rock ‘n’ roll middle ground (“Bovver Rock ‘n’ Roll”). Of course, we get a few pumping ska-flavored cuts (“Where I’m Going”) as well.
Sure “Troublemaker” may be a little predictable. However, Rancid does what it does so well (and often better than its younger peers), so the guys don’t need to re-invent themselves. We wouldn’t want that anyway.
BUY IT?: Yep.

311 — ‘Mosaic’
THE GOOD: Nebraska alt-rockers 311 return with their 12th.
THE BAD: It might as well be their sixth, 10th or 20th.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Sorry, I’m a “casual fan.” Every album seems to have two cuts for which I go absolutely bonkers, along with a dozen other tracks that sound like pale imitations of those two awesome songs. C’mon, 311 enthusiasts, admit it. These guys have made slight variations on the same album for over two decades now.
You get that infectious mix of hard rock, reggae, ska and funk — party music filled with declarations of good vibes and daily affirmations. This time, the best songs are right up front: smooth, swirling single “Too Much To Think” followed by the more progressive, classical-tinged “Wildfire.”
Too bad “Mosaic” feels stuck on repeat about 10 songs in (and you still have another seven tracks to go). Definitely flawed and predictable, “Mosaic” could have used a slight trim. Maybe take this one in small doses.
BUY IT?: Your call.

FAMILY ANIMALS — ‘Don’t Expect a Climax’
THE GOOD: Scranton indie rockers Family Animals come back with an unpredictable third full-length album.
THE BAD: It’s not bad, but expect a record that’s all over the proverbial musical map.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Brothers Anthony and Jesse Viola and their buddy Frank DeSando bookend “Climax” with a pair of extended prog-rock pieces recalling ’70s outfits such as Nektar, Klaatu and Lighthouse (if they fired the horn section). Tight harmonies, swirling bits of organ, varying tempos, violent mood swings — it’s heavy, man. Yet the guys pull it off without sounding pretentious. After “Category 5 Sexplosion” closes, you WANT to move forward.
That’s when you’re greeted with the ska-tinged frolic of “Fun Loving Song,” the rollicking “Face Off” and a host of other tracks digging up sounds as disparate as early Red Hot Chili Peppers to prime Screaming Trees. Yet Family Animals continues to blaze new trails (as opposed to just soaking up grooves from the past 45 years).
The boys refuse to be pigeonholed. “Climax” is a trippy experiment that rarely falters.
BUY IT? Yep.

Scranton-based Family Animals gallops on with new album

Scranton-based Family Animals gallops on with new album

Frank DeSando, Anthony Viola and Jesse Viola used many names for their band since picking up their instruments in 2000.
After playing around with several monikers, the trio won a battle of the bands show at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple as Family Animals.
“There was a good crowd and the show went well, so we decided to keep the name,” guitarist Jesse Viola said.

Since that show in 2008, the group has performed live, written music and recorded albums in and around Northeast Pennsylvania. Its newest album, “Don’t Expect a Climax,” debuted Sept. 30 and is available for purchase on all major streaming platforms, at shows and online at familyanimals.bandcamp.com. The musicians recently went On the Record to discuss their time playing together in the region.

Q: How did you all meet?
Jesse Viola: Anthony and I are brothers. We met Frankie when we were just youngsters, too young to recall the moment exactly, but we grew up two doors away. So we’ve basically known each other our whole lives.

Q: How did you each get involved in music?
Anthony Viola: We all in some way or another have a life-long passion for music. Growing up, we all always loved it.
JV: My brother and I started taking guitar lessons together when I was 9 and he was 12, while Frankie took bass lessons at 11, all at Gallucci Music in Scranton. We all started together and all knew we wanted to play in a band together.

Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed in public together?
AV: The first time we ever played in public was actually about six months after we all started, and it was Jesse’s fifth-grade dance. I remember some kids were scared, and as soon as we finished, the DJ came out and started blasting “Who Let the Dogs Out” and all the 11-year-old kids went crazy.

Q: What was the process like for writing your new album?
JV: We are always writing new material and probably have more unreleased songs than released ones. So for “Don’t Expect a Climax,” it was more a matter of picking the right compilation of songs to record. Once that was decided, we recorded and mixed the songs ourselves with our own equipment. The whole process took a little more than a year. Then we really lucked out with Eric Ritter at Windmill Agency generously offering to master the album. We cannot thank him enough.

Q: How have you changed as musicians over the years?
Frank DeSando: We’ve always kind of made it a point to not limit ourselves musically and play what we enjoy, whether or not it stays true to a particular genre. I think, because of that, we’ve always ventured into trying to play different styles of our respective instruments, even pulling in new instruments we aren’t too familiar with to achieve a sound we want. I feel like we are still growing and learning as musicians to this day, and (I) don’t feel like that will ever change. There will always be something new to discover. I think that’s part of why we love it so much.

Q: What are some of your favorite memories as a part of this band?
AV: I just love being able to do what I love with my best friends. I feel like we are always hanging out anyway, and the friendships kind of just blend into the music somehow. It’s hard to remember specific times when it feels like a constant adventure. Some things that come to mind though are being flashed, meeting some bands I really love to listen to and just that feeling when the night comes together perfect, where we all feel on and the place is packed and the roar of a couple hundred people just feels amazing.

Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
FD: It seems to me, in recent years, the NEPA scene as a whole has really come together more as some kind of crazy family. Everyone seems to know everyone on some level and has each other’s backs, from the musicians, artists, photographers, filmmakers, journalists and even the bar owners. I don’t know if social media can be credited for that or what, but it’s pretty cool.

Q: Have you faced any major challenges as a rising band?
JV: Being an independent band, it’s a challenge having to learn the business aspect of the music industry. Anthony does most of the promotion and booking, which can be an overwhelming task, but we’ve all been trying to help out in that area.
AV: Also, I feel like we grew up in a weird time; we picked up our instruments in 2000, and when we were playing in high school, it was still an age of hanging flyers and calling bars. I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 19, and it was a flip phone. So, adapting to this new marketplace that is social media has been a challenge in itself. I don’t really want to be on Facebook and Instagram all the time, but as a band we have to keep up on stuff like that. It’s just a different time where people can access so much material and so much art, and the bar is always being raised for entertainment and what’s entertaining.

Q: What are your future goals for the band?
AV: I have so many goals for the band. I’d really love to tour a lot more and go further and further. I want our ad mats, flyers, artwork, everything to always get better and portray the band’s vibe better. I want to release albums quicker than every two years, and most of all I want this to be my job one day. Not because I see it as a good money-making prospect but more because I love doing it. It’s what we do for fun, and I can’t imagine the happiness that comes with making a living through what you’re passionate about.

Something about Mary – Singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter ready to connect with NEPA audience

Something about Mary – Singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter ready to connect with NEPA audience

Before Taylor and Shania or Faith and Miranda, one name defined the best in country music: Mary Chapin Carpenter.
The five-time Grammy Award winner and member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame achieved stardom thanks to such ’90s hits as “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” and “Passionate Kisses.” Now she brings a mix of her early and newer work to Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College, Scranton, where she’ll perform Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. Australian singer-songwriter Emily Barker will open the show, which benefits Pocono Environmental Education Center.
“A lot of people don’t tour unless they have a brand new record, but we’re lucky enough that we can go out and play music whether we have something new to offer or not,” Carpenter said earlier this month by phone from her home in Virginia. “I’ve been playing a lot of songs from the new record, and that’s just been really joyful for me.”
The songstress released her 14th studio album, “The Things That We Are Made Of,” last year, the latest in a long line of work that began in the late ’80s. Carpenter really grabbed the public’s attention with “Come On Come On,” the 1992 album that produced several hits.
“There’s a lot of components that go into the success of a record, and certainly it was a moment in time that I had a certain amount of momentum with songs on the radio, and that was a whole different existence and situation as well,” Carpenter said, noting the album also had push from a major record label. “Momentum is a real thing. … Maybe people felt like it spoke to them.”
Her work has earned her numerous accolades, including Grammys for best female country vocal performance for four consecutive years — 1992 to 1995 — and best country album in 1995. The Country Music Association named her female vocalist of the year in 1992 and 1993, while the Academy of Country Music chose her as 1990’s top new female vocalist and 1992’s top female vocalist.
While Carpenter said she doesn’t consider herself “a prolifically topical songwriter,” she doesn’t shy away from social and political commentary in her music, either. But inspiration comes from everywhere, she added, and sometimes just a phrase can kick off an idea or “evoke a feeling that five minutes before I wasn’t anywhere near.” She goes long stretches without writing — usually while on tour — and prefers to work at home on her farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“It’s really beautiful, and it’s really serene,” Carpenter said. “That’s where I feel like I can get in touch with whatever that serious muse is. Right now, I’m kind of in a phase where I’m just kind of scribbling. I don’t have large themes that I’m chasing or anything like that, just small vignettes of things that haven’t yet fully blossomed.”
Her songs reflect where she was in the moment of penning them, she said, and while she might think she writes about her own experiences, she also sees how the music reaches others. Carpenter has noticed people on social media sharing how her latest album “reflects a lot of what they are going through.”
“The more personal something is, the more universal something is as well,” she said.
With a couple decades of songs to choose from, Carpenter crafts a set list that draws from “The Things That We Are Made Of” plus some of her older work, although it might change from show to show or if she accommodates a request. No matter where she plays though, from amphitheaters that seat thousands to more intimate venues, Carpenter looks to connect with the crowd.
“It’s really gratifying to look into the audience and see the faces of people who’ve come to see us year after year, and it’s also really great to see younger folks, too,” she said.

Dale’s Jukebox delivers hits from across decades

Dale’s Jukebox delivers hits from across decades

By Samantha Stanich

Dale’s Jukebox gives listeners exactly what its name describes: select a hit from almost every decade, and odds are the band can play it for you.
Dale Amboise and his son, Dale Jr., teamed up with Roberta Clemens to bring the region greatest hits from a range of years. They recently went On the Record to share how they got together and what’s next.

Q: How did you get involved in music?
Dale Amboise: I took saxophone lessons as a kid and learned to play the guitar in high school. I performed in local bands with my sax and guitar for many years.
Roberta Clemens: I sang in choral groups in college, but outside of the occasional karaoke, I did not sing again until Dale’s Jukebox.
Dale Amboise Jr.: Like my dad, I started out playing the sax but was drawn to the bass guitar as I watched my grandfather, also (named) Dale Amboise, play it in many local bands for years.

Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed?
DA: I was performing with my sax as early as 13 years old. I learned to play the guitar in high school and first played it in public at the Nuangola Bazaar. I played “Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot.
RC: We were sitting at a diner in Mountain Top listening to friends at a table across from us talk about their class reunion and how they could not afford entertainment. Our band had practiced for about a year, and we were on the verge of playing out but hadn’t taken the plunge. I suggested to the group that we offer our band as entertainment for the reunion and explained that this arrangement would benefit us both. And they said yes. To this day, they do not know it was our first gig.
DA Jr.: I played at Barnes & Noble in a duo in high school.

Q: How did you come up with your name?
RC: We play songs from the ’50s through the ’90s. Even though we consider our ’90s music the newer stuff, it is still 20 years old. Since we play songs from past decades, we thought it would be fun to stick with a jukebox theme.
DA: Since my son and I share the same name and I knew legally it was a good idea to give yourself a unique name, we decided to call it Dale’s Jukebox. We asked Roberta to change her name and take one for the team, but she wouldn’t agree. 

Q: How did you guys meet?
DA: Roberta and I were dating. One Sunday, as we were looking at all the programs on her new iPad, we noticed one where you could simulate playing a guitar. We fooled around with it a bit, then I decided to bring out my acoustic guitar. We sang “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by Carole King and thought what fun it might be to start a band. When my son showed interest in playing bass with us, we decided to make a go of it.

Q: How do you choose the songs you cover?
DA: I’ve done a little bit of writing but mostly enjoy recreating our favorite songs into our own style. Since we are a small band with only two instruments, we are careful to choose songs that fit our instruments and the type of songs we like to sing. We are a product of the ’70s; that says a lot.
RC: All except Dale’s son, who we drive crazy with this old music.
DA Jr.: I always enjoyed oldies and classic rock, because that is what I grew up … listening to with my dad.

Q: How have you changed as a musician?
DA: I spent years playing sax in local bands, took a 25-year hiatus and got back into playing guitar with Dale’s Jukebox. The music I enjoy playing is more suited for a guitar, so I gave up the sax and concentrated on honing my skills on guitar.
DA Jr.: Like my dad, I also took a break from music for several years. When we formed the band, I feel I improved as a musician due to my own maturity and dedication.

Q: What are some of your favorite memories?
DA: When I was 13 years old (and) playing sax in my father’s band, a guy in the audience came up to me with a know-it-all attitude and asked me to play “Yakkety Sax” by Boots Randolph. The guy figured I was not able to play it, especially since the sax was almost bigger than me. To his surprise, I played the song, and he came up afterwards, now with a humbled attitude, and gave me a $5 tip.
RC: The first time I sang “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, we were playing at Elixir at Mohegan Sun casino. I hit all the notes and got all kinds of “crazy” applause.
DA Jr.: My dad, a friend and I were playing on a float in the Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Day parade. It was raining that day, and water got in my friend’s amp. Smoke started pouring out of the amp, and people in the crowd started to cheer. They thought it was part of the act.

Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
DA: There seems to be so many more bands out there than years ago and so many talented musicians. Back when I started playing, there was raw talent, bands grew in garages, and nobody took lessons. These days, besides there being so much electronic and computer influences, many musicians are professionally trained.

Q: Who has influenced you over the years?
RC: Billy Joel and the Beatles inspire the way I sing. I love the combination of their lyrics and music but especially love the way they sync up the harmonies.
DA: I love all the music from the ’60s, pure talent and basic instruments.
DA Jr.: I really enjoy all types of music, classic rock when I was younger, and I also got into country music as I got older.

Q: What is the biggest challenge?
RC: It is sometimes hard to find places to play where we fit musically.
DA Jr.: Depending on the venue, it is hard to fit our equipment because we are somewhere between a duo and a full band.

Q: What are your future goals for the band?
DA: Just continue to have fun and share our experience with an ever-growing following.
DA Jr.: I hope to be able to continue to improve as a musician and enjoy playing.

Dale’s Jukebox
Based out of: Mountain Top and Dunmore
Members: Dale Amboise, lead guitar/vocals; Dale Amboise Jr., bass guitar/vocals; and Roberta Clemens, lead vocals/percussion
Upcoming: Saturday, Oct. 14, 279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre

Sounds – October 12, 2017

Sounds – October 12, 2017

SWEET CRUDE — ‘Creatures’
THE GOOD: Indie pop collective Sweet Crude offers a bright, bouncy and multi-cultural debut.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Based in Southern Louisiana, this group of young men and women embrace their heritage, bringing Cajun flavors into a vibrant, modern, pop setting. “Creatures” is a half-English, half-French brew combining real Southern charm with rhythmic urban settings. Imagine a zydeco band hijacking Passion Pit and then some classic Poi Dog Pondering sprinkled on top for spice.
Multi-layered tribal beats stomp behind swirling synths, live strings and stings of electric guitar. The male-female vocal interplay adds a playful element, one that’s flirtatious and always spirited. Tracks such as the effervescent “La Cheminee” and the forceful yet fun “Weather the Waves” are simply irresistible; a lively, organic dance groove gets together with bold, addictive melodies.
But “Creatures” benefits from a few delicate tunes as well. Songs such as the dreamy “Mon Esprit” and the reflective “Ancient Maps” bring balance, ensuring the album doesn’t become TOO boisterous.
BUY IT?: Yes.

HOOPS — ‘Routines’ 
THE GOOD: Indiana indie pop outfit Hoops gives us a melodic, well-crafted debut.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Just like other somewhat retro contemporaries such as Surfer Blood or the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the music of Hoops throws back to the alternative, guitar-based pop/rock prevalent during the mid ’80s. Groups such as Psychedelic Furs, Modern English and Echo & the Bunnymen immediately come to mind when drinking in the calculated sounds of “Routines.” The slightly lo-fi quality of the record even recalls a cassette blasting from a boombox with the Dolby noise reduction button pushed in.
What started out as a solo electronic bedroom project of frontman Drew Auscherman has blossomed into a full band with your standard guitar/bass/drums/keyboard lineup. During that process, the songs have become more focused and the vibe ever-so-wistful and melancholy. One becomes lost in the jangly guitars, airy harmonies and dreamy melodies blending perfectly throughout cool, collected tracks such as “On Top” and “Management.”
BUY IT?: Oh yeah.

CHARLY BLISS — ‘Guppy’
THE GOOD: After a bunch of self-released singles and an EP, Brooklyn indie pop band Charly Bliss finally unleashes its first proper album.
THE BAD: If you invested in those singles, there are a couple of “repeats” here. Newbies, however, get an all-new fistful of ear candy.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Upon listening to “Guppy,” I was immediately smacked with two sources — Letters To Cleo and early Weezer (or maybe even the Rentals). This record would have been HUGE in 1996. Twenty years later, though, the songs haven’t lost any of their gooey, loud appeal.
Eva Hendricks is the angry pixie out in front, while the boys in the band crank out a sometimes mid-tempo/sometimes stomping even keel built upon solid backbeats, fuzzy guitars and whirring keyboards. The sing-song hooks are massive. Hendricks’ singing style is flirtatious but tough. Tracks such as the banging “DQ” and the melancholy “Ruby” are irresistible. Yeah, there isn’t a bad cut here. Charly Bliss has a blast pushing melodic ’90s rock forward.
BUY IT?: Yes.

Sounds – October 5, 2017

Sounds – October 5, 2017

LIL YACHTY — ‘Teenage Emotions’ 
THE GOOD: After releasing a few EPs and a couple of mixtapes, hip-hop artist Miles Parks McCollum (stage name Lil Yachty) cranks out a sprawling debut album.
THE BAD: “Emotions” is a hit-and-miss affair across 21 songs. However, the banging tracks outnumber the bland ones.
THE NITTY GRITTY: My son introduced me to this guy about a year ago when I interrupted an X-Box session in our basement by shouting “Who the hell is that?” My first impression was Biz Markie is back and he’s singing falsetto. The music was just so off-key and “goofy,” but I couldn’t stop listening.
Now we have the dude’s first proper album, helmed by a bevy of high-level producers (Free School, Diplo, the Stereotypes, etc.). The new stuff isn’t quite as “messy” as the early tracks; Yachty finds his voice and further develops his songwriting skills. Yet “Emotions” remains a guilty pleasure that’s all clunky lyrics, sing-song melodies and rudimentary beats, so rude and simplistic in spots you can’t help but giggle.
BUY IT?: Sure.

PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING — ‘Every Valley’
THE GOOD: Instrumental British indie project Public Service Broadcasting comes back with a sobering third.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: After exploring the “Race for Space,” J. Willgoose and J.F. Abraham turn their attention to a concept much more down to earth — the history of Welsh coal mining. I know that sounds like the driest of PBS documentaries, but the album is actually quite fascinating.
Once again, the guys combine pulsating instrumental pieces with sound bites from vintage industrial films, news footage and even recent interviews. Members of Welsh bands such as Manic Street Preachers and Camera Obscura also add vocal bits.
As the album tells the story of the rise and fall of industrialism in Wales, the mood changes. We go from what could be a slick, beat-driven PSA to a guitar-laced edition of the nightly news, with praises for the industry crashing head-first into memories of the mid-’80s nationwide miners’ strike. We end on a somber note as a prosperous era comes to a close.
BUY IT?: Yes.

UNKLE — ‘The Road — Part 1’ 
THE GOOD: British electronic collective UNKLE returns with its fifth album and first in seven years.
THE BAD: No real issues.
THE NITTY GRITTY: James Lavelle is the only original and/or long-time member of UNKLE left, so he now calls ALL the shots. “The Road” sounds like his moody “driving across the desert late at night” record, a collection that feels more American than British. Not sure if that was the intention, but the music conjures up pictures of bright stars dancing over desolate landscapes; it’s more tranquil than threatening but still has a sense of dread deep within the dramatic mix.
Guest vocalists include Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees), Elliott Power and Leila Moss (the Duke Spirit). The sturdy “Looking for the Rain” and epic, surging “Sunrise (Always Comes Around)” bring on the big beats. However, much of “The Road” relies more heavily on orchestral arrangements and rock elements than straight-forward electronic pulsations. Perhaps that’s where the whole “Americanization” comes into play. Whatever. The vibe works.
BUY IT?: Yes.

Final bow – Lawrence Loh conducts last NEPA Philharmonic concert to the music of John Williams

Final bow – Lawrence Loh conducts last NEPA Philharmonic concert to the music of John Williams

Lawrence Loh’s tenure as music director of Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic comes to an end this weekend as the orchestra regroups.
After 12 years with the orchestra, Loh says goodbye with “The Music of John Williams,” a pops program set for Saturday, Oct. 7, at 8 p.m. at Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College in Scranton. The concert is the orchestra’s only show of the season as it suspends operations for 2017-18 to develop a plan to keep the group financially viable.
“The plan is the philharmonic will be able to fundraise and be in a strong position to have success in the future,” Loh said. “I’m hoping it’s a temporary setback for the philharmonic, because I know the people there, particularly the audience, really value the orchestra, and it has such an important history in the region. And it’s something that needs to be supported and saved.”
The philharmonic gave Loh his first job as a music director, and he believes together they “accomplished a great deal over all these years,” from letting him take an adventurous approach to classical concerts to impacting the community through activities such as educational programs and piano competitions. Nancy Sanderson, philharmonic executive director, called Loh “a community-oriented fellow” and noted that he will donate his services for Saturday’s concert.
“While he has been here, he’s cared very much about Northeast Pennsylvania,” she said. “Sometimes (for) conductors, it’s just a job. They come in, conduct and go. But it was more than that to Larry.”
Sanderson pointed out that Loh’s career is on the rise, and he had been honest with her about other job prospects. He continues to guest conduct around the country and has been named music director of West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
“He cares so much about the orchestra,” Sanderson said. “The thing that people have said to me … is that Larry decided because of the (orchestra’s financial) situation to leave, and that’s not it at all.”
The orchestra had an entire season planned for 2017-18, but decided to go with John Williams’ popular movie soundtracks when paring it down to a lone show. Loh called Williams an “iconic composer” and said he is excited to conduct music from “E.T.,” “Jurassic Park,” “Schindler’s List” and the “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” series.  

Conductor Lawrence Loh leads the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic during opening night of the thirty-ninth season at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre.

“I think that they probably rightfully assumed that that would have a good audience, a good draw,” Loh said. “It’s something I’m very passionate about.”
Loh does not expect his relationship with the philharmonic to end with Saturday’s final note, however. Many concerts with other orchestras will keep him busy this year, but he will continue to be available for anything the philharmonic needs and hopes people “would agree how important the orchestra is and how amazing these musicians are.”
“It’s important also because there are varying levels of arts programs in schools,” he said. “ Some are very good, and some are nonexistent, and so the philharmonic really fills that void. And I think most people agree that if people, especially young people, are allowed to express themselves artistically, it can help with every aspect of their lives. And so the philharmonic as the leading cultural institution in the region has a responsibility to be to fill that need.”
The orchestra will present seven chamber concerts this season that will serve as fundraisers for the orchestra and allow it to keep up a presence in the region, Sanderson said. The first will feature pianist Fei-Fei Dong on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Wyoming Seminary’s Kirby Center for the Creative Arts, Kingston, with a reception at nearby Kevin’s Bar & Restaurant, 247 Wyoming Ave.
While the group hopes to have a full season next year, Sanderson said, “there’s a lot to work out in the meantime.”
“We are exploring all sorts of options for doing something more sustainable,” she said. “I really am reluctant to talk about those options now before we really get them in place, but we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
In the meantime, the group will say goodbye to the man who “just won a place in all of our hearts,” Sanderson said. And when he conducts on Saturday, Loh expects to feel emotional.
“I’m sure that I’ll feel a flood of memories of being with this orchestra and with these people, and I’ll just try and hold it together while I’m up there,” he said. “And I really hope it’s a sellout. I really hope that people absolutely fill the hall.”

Concerts – October 5, 2017

Concerts – October 5, 2017

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
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
Bleachers, Bishop Briggs, MisterWives, and Welshly Arms, Thursday, Nov. 2
Johnny Mathis — Voice of Romance Tour,
Sunday, Nov. 5

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
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)
Disco Explosion with Tavares & the Trammps, Saturday, Nov. 18 (Gypsies Lounge and 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
Islands in the Stream: An Afternoon with Dolly and Kenny, 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
Dokken & Warrant, Saturday, Oct. 14
Michael Dutra presents the “Live at the Sands, Frank, Dean and Sammy” Revisited Show, Tuesday Oct. 17; Wednesday, Oct. 18; and Thursday, Oct. 19
Pink Talking Fish Starts Making Sense, Friday, Oct. 20

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
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
The Hill You Die On, Hang Up To Flat, Balero and the Disorders, Friday, Oct. 20
Box of Rain Essential Grateful Dead ’68-’74, Saturday, Oct. 21
Jenny & the Gumps with West End Blend, Wednesday, Oct. 25
Idol Kings (Journey, John Mellencamp and Tom Petty tribute), Friday, Oct. 27

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
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
Chris Lane, Friday, Oct. 27

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Leroy Sanchez, Thursday, Oct. 5
Pinback, Friday, Oct. 6
Glass Animals, Friday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct. 7
Kesha, Saturday, Oct. 7
Black Lips with Purling Hiss, Sunday, Oct. 8
Witt Lowry, Tuesday, Oct. 10
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Wednesday, Oct. 11
Arizona, Wednesday, Oct. 11
Splintered Sunlight, Thursday, Oct. 12

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Timeflies, Friday, Oct. 6
Galantis, Saturday, Oct. 7
PVRIS, Sunday, Oct. 8
Musiq Soulchild, Friday, Oct. 13
Ministry and Death Grips, Saturday, Oct. 14
Brand New, Wednesday, Oct. 18
Zedd, Thursday, Oct. 19, and Friday, Oct. 20
Lee Brice, Saturday, Oct. 21

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
Jay-Z, Friday, Dec. 1
Andrea Bocelli, Friday, Dec. 8

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York
Tickets: 866-781-2922
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
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
Chase Sound Check — Rae Lynn, Wednesday, Oct. 18
Queens of the Stone Age, Tuesday, Oct. 24
La Salsa Vive, Friday, Nov. 10

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
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
Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, Sunday, Nov. 12
Lindsey Stirling, Tuesday, Nov. 14
Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band, Wednesday, Nov. 15
King Crimson, Friday, Nov. 17

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
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

Sounds – September 28, 2017

Sounds – September 28, 2017

THE BLACK LIPS — ‘Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art’
THE GOOD: Atlanta-based indie rock slackers Black Lips shake up their lineup and return with a sprawling eighth.
THE BAD: Nah!
THE NITTY GRITTY: Vocalist/guitarist Cole Alexander and vocalist/bassist Jared Swilley are the only original members left. And since recent albums helmed by high-profile producers Mark Ronson and Patrick Carney failed to tip the band ever so closer to the mainstream, the guys decided to get back to their ugly roots and churn out the noisy, cluttered and spontaneous “Satan’s Graffiti,” easily the band’s most unpolished effort since 2009’s “200 Million Thousand.”
Sean Lennon handles production duties this time, helping the guys bring together a mix of garage rock, psychedelic freak-outs, a touch of surf, the occasional bout of country blues and even a random Beatles cover (the crew muddying up early track “It Won’t Be Long”). It all sounds like a sloppy gig at a run-down, smoky roadhouse situated on the edge of a Florida swamp circa 1969. Groovy!
BUY IT?: Yeah, baby.

ROYAL BLOOD — ‘How Did We Get So Dark’ 
THE GOOD: British rockers Royal Blood dodge the sophomore slump.
THE BAD: Don’t expect innovation, but…
THE NITTY GRITTY: …there’s something to be said for “All killer, no filler.” See? Rock clichés can be fun. They also can be loud and satisfying. Royal Blood cranks out a standard guitar-bass-drums mix that’s all big hooks, chunky riffs and plenty of swagger. Of course, they do this WITHOUT an actual guitar; bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr uses different pedals and amplification effects to get a genuine guitar sound from his bass. Along with drummer Ben Thatcher, there are only two guys making all that racket.
You’ve been down this road many times before. And while the dudes may not unleash the Hammer of the Gods like the mighty Zep did all those years ago, they’re certainly more authentic than say … last decade’s Jet. OK, that might not sound like much of a complement, but “Get So Dark” DOES rock. And that’s more than enough.
BUY IT?: Yes.

DAN AUERBACH — ‘Waiting on a Song’
THE GOOD: Singer/songwriter/producer Dan Auerbach (half of the Black Keys) delivers his second proper solo album.
THE BAD: Nothing.
THE NITTY GRITTY: 2009’s blues-drenched “Keep It Hid” sounded like a direct extension of Auerbach’s work with the Keys (especially the raw swampy stuff put out during those pre-crossover days). “Waiting” is (almost) the exact opposite, with the man embracing his “pop” side. The melodies are direct and irresistible, and the occasional flowing string or bright horn section enhances the rich arrangements.
Auerbach recorded the album at his own Nashville studio and recruited some heavy-hitters to help bring his snappy, polished vision to fruition. Legends such as John Prine, Duane Eddy and Mark Knopfler all lend a guitar or backing vocal to the feel-good proceedings. Dig the breezy, country-flavored title cut; the sweet shuffle carrying “Livin’ in Sin”; the groovy, stomping “Stand By My Girl”; or the blue-eyed soul shading “King of a One Horse Town.” There isn’t a dud in the bunch.
BUY IT?: Definitely.

Concerts – September 28, 2017

Concerts – September 28, 2017

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
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
Bleachers, Bishop Briggs, MisterWives, and Welshly Arms, Thursday, Nov. 2

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)
Disco Explosion with Tavares & the Trammps, Saturday, Nov. 18 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Lavell Crawford, Friday, Dec. 8 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Foghat, Saturday, Dec. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
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
Dokken & Warrant, Saturday, Oct. 14
Michael Dutra presents the “Live at the Sands, Frank, Dean and Sammy” Revisited Show, Tuesday Oct. 17; Wednesday, Oct. 18; and Thursday, Oct. 19
Pink Talking Fish Starts Making Sense, Friday, Oct. 20

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
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
The Hill You Die On, Hang Up To Flat, Balero and the Disorders, Friday, Oct. 20
Box of Rain Essential Grateful Dead ’68-’74, Saturday, Oct. 21

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
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
Chris Lane, Friday, Oct. 27
I Prevail, Saturday, Oct. 28

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
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
Broken Social Scene: Hug of Thunder Tour, Tuesday, Oct. 3
Aquilo, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Leroy Sanchez, Thursday, Oct. 5

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
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
Musiq Soulchild, Friday, Oct. 13
Ministry and Death Grips, Saturday, Oct. 14
Brand New, Wednesday, Oct. 18
Zedd, Thursday, Oct. 19, and Friday, Oct. 20

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
Jay-Z, Friday, Dec. 1
Andrea Bocelli, Friday, Dec. 8
Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Sunday, Dec. 17

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York
Tickets: 866-781-2922
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
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
Chase Sound Check — Rae Lynn, Wednesday, Oct. 18
Queens of the Stone Age, Tuesday, Oct. 24
La Salsa Vive, Friday, Nov. 10

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
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
Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, Sunday, Nov. 12
Lindsey Stirling, Tuesday, Nov. 14

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
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

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.”

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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.