Multimedia piece brings  Langston Hughes’  words to life

Multimedia piece brings Langston Hughes’ words to life

Jazz trumpeter Ron McCurdy picked up where poet Langston Hughes left off.
A former professor at University of Minnesota, McCurdy created an educational, multimedia piece for a Harlem Renaissance-themed exhibit there, and 20 years later, he continues to present it around the globe.
The Ron McCurdy Quartet, a multimedia concert involving spoken word and poetry, presents “The Langston Hughes Project — Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz,” at Misericordia University’s Lemmond Theater on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 7:30 p.m.
The concert’s spoken-word artistry, live music and images recreate Hughes’ vision of the global struggle for freedom from the Harlem Renaissance to the early 1960s. By way of videography, the performance links the words and music of Hughes’ poetry to topical images of people, places and events mentioned throughout the poem.
“It set out as an academic venture,” McCurdy said. “But now, we’re always modifying, tweaking it, making it relevant and keeping it entertaining. Originally, I was standing at a podium reading the poem. Now, it’s a bit more theatrical, less academic. Langston Hughes’ words are the same, but they are delivered in a more theatrical fashion.”
Hughes wrote “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz” in 1960 after he was asked to serve as the master of ceremonies for Newport Jazz Festival, where the likes of Muddy Waters, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald and more were set to appear. It was oversold by about 2,000 tickets and shut down when a riot ensued because people were not allowed in.
“Langston wrote this piece as a commentary on the struggle with African-Americans in the 1960s,” McCurdy said. “It’s very beautiful work.”
Originally, Hughes intended to collaborate with Charles Mingus and Randy Weston on the full performance of his masterwork, but it was only in the planning stages when the poet died in 1967. He wrote musical cues alongside the poem, however, which McCurdy used to create his multimedia performance.
McCurdy has faced the challenge of people not wanting to give the project a chance because it sounds too academic to them. But all of the effort seems worth it when “the light bulbs come on” in audiences’ brains and McCurdy notices them understanding and asking questions about the show, he said.
“The poem is so beautifully written,” McCurdy said. “It was written well over 50 years ago, but the text and the words are so relevant today, and they were relevant when we started doing this. … It was initially an academic presentation; we were using it as a teaching tool to help students think about their own core values.
“Langston was about bringing people together, and lord knows, given our political climate today, this is certainly a time we could use more connectivity between people from all different backgrounds. It’s important for us to understand that we are more alike than different.”

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If you go
What: The Langston Hughes Project presents “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz”
Where: Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall, Misericordia University, 301 Lake St., Dallas
When: Thursday, Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m.
Details: Tickets cost $10 for general admission and are free to Misericordia staff and students. They can be purchased at the door or by calling the box office at 570-674-6719. For more information, visit
langstonhughesproject.org.

Curiosity Dog keeps crowds dancing with recent, retro covers

Curiosity Dog keeps crowds dancing with recent, retro covers

Some say curiosity killed the cat, but Pocono-based band Curious Dog seems to fare well.
The duo of Bobby Ventura and Claire Lochner found each other through luck on the Craigslist music listings in 2014 and have performed together in Northeast Pennsylvania ever since.
After years of playing covers at area bars and venues, the pair is dipping its toes into songwriting while still playing the old songs that get the crowds dancing.

Q: Where did your band name come from?
Bobby Ventura: We are both dog lovers and both had dogs. We had a list of names and just seemed to gravitate to that one.

Q: How did you each get involved in music?
BV: For me, I started playing drums in grade school and bought a guitar in high school to try to write songs. I ended up working as a sound man in clubs and found my way to be a road manager for many national artists.
Claire Lochner: I started loving music from the time I was a little kid listening to my transistor radio and had musicians in the family always playing music.

Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed in public together?
BV: Just getting back into playing guitar, I was nervous and excited. I was thinking, how are we doing this? But it worked out great.
CL: I was nervous also, but we got such a great response that it made us more confident.

Q: How do you choose which songs to perform?
BV: We like songs that bring out feelings and excitement. We also have found that different places have different crowds, and we change our set lists accordingly. We always have backup songs off the set list to jump to as we see fit. We have started writing. We perform only one tune now, but we are working on it.
CL: I love music with strong melodies and harmonies, especially songs that get people on their feet.

Q: How have you changed as musicians over the years?
BV: We have been together three years. … We have grown more confident in our playing and our harmonies, and we also seem to know exactly what each other is doing, and if one misses a change or something, the other takes the lead.
CL: Yes, we have become more natural in our playing abilities and more comfortable with ourselves as a duo.

Q: What are some of your favorite memories?
BV: Our first New Year’s Eve gig was awesome. We played an upstairs balcony and then came down to just play acoustic at the bar with people singing with us.
CL: We also had a great time when we played a new place during our first year, and the place was packed and everyone came right up to us to sing along.

Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
BV: I think the scene is getting stronger again. I was part of a trio when I first moved here from Brooklyn; we played everywhere, and then things changed. Money got tight for bars, and more and more, people got worried about DUIs and going out. I think things are still a bit tight. Most places still pay the bands the same as 20 years ago. … It’s still tough for bands to get a good-paying gig, but I think there has been a great resurgence for acoustic players like ourselves.

Q: What music do you listen to — either for inspiration or that you just enjoy listening to?
BV: The great thing about this duo is we listen to everything. Recently, Claire has become a big Blackmore’s Night fan, and we both listen to WXPN for new artists. We recently added the New Pornographers and Waxahatchie songs to our playlist. We play a large mix of all decades of music.

Q: Have you faced any major challenges as a rising band?
BV: I think the only challenge is having the time to put in when you work a regular day job and play every weekend. The gigs become the rehearsals sometimes, which isn’t a bad thing. We have been known to work on a song we like and just play it out to see what happens; mistakes live are not always a terrible thing.

Q: What are your future goals for the band?
BV: Writing and putting together material to do a CD and a video or two — 2018 goal. Expanding our territory for playing gigs is important to us.

Concerts – January 11, 2018

Concerts – January 11, 2018

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Back in Black — AC/DC tribute, Friday, Jan. 19
ARRIVAL from Sweden — ABBA tribute, Saturday, Jan. 20
Alt 92.1 Snow Show featuring Dashboard Confessional, Sunday, Jan. 28
Billy Strings, Monday, Jan. 29
Eddie B, Friday, Feb. 2
Tedeschi Trucks Band, Thursday, Feb. 8
Scotty McCreery, Saturday, Feb. 10
Jabby, Monday, Feb. 12
Howard Gospel Choir, Saturday, Feb. 17
Poco and Jim Messina, Thursday, Feb. 22

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Jim Breuer, Saturday, Jan. 13 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
J.B. Smoove, Saturday, Jan. 20 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Bob Saget, Saturday, Feb. 3 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Da Vu Mung Xuan, Saturday, Feb. 10 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Grand Funk Railroad, Saturday, Feb. 17 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Gin Blossoms, Friday, Feb. 23 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Tracy Morgan, Saturday, March 3 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Unforgettable Fire, Saturday, March 10 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Vic Dibitetto, Friday, April 6

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Rebelution and Raging Fyah, Sunday, Jan. 14
Live Dead & Riders ’69, Saturday, Jan. 27
Umphrey’s McGee, Sunday, Jan. 28
Go ’90s with the Fresh Kids of Bel-Air,
Saturday, Feb. 3
Voyage — Journey tribute featuring Hugo,
Friday, Feb. 9
Rodney Atkins, Friday, Feb. 16
Next Big Thing presents Bruce in the USA, Saturday, Feb. 24
Lonestar, Friday, March 2
Melvin Seals and JGB, Saturday, March 3
Rhythm in the Night — The Irish Dance Spectacular, Saturday, March 10

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Mike Dougherty, Friday, Jan. 12
Young & Dead — Tribute To Neil Young & Grateful Dead by Strawberry Jam, Saturday, Jan. 13
Souled Out, Friday, Jan. 19
Royal Scam — Steely Dan tribute, Saturday, Jan. 20
Gatos Blancos, Sunday, Jan. 21
MiZ, Friday, Jan. 26
Fake Fight and Vine Street, Friday, Feb. 2
Grass Is Dead, Saturday, Feb. 3
Bumpin Uglies with Elephants Dancing, Friday, Feb. 9
Space Bacon with Newpy Hundo, Friday, Feb. 16

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Turkuaz, Friday, Jan. 26
Killswitch Engage and Anthrax, Saturday, Jan. 27
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Friday, Feb. 9
Sherman Winter Jam, Saturday, Feb. 10
Open mic night featuring Erich Drexler, Sunday, Feb. 11
lespecial and Electric Love Machine, Friday, Feb. 23
Dropkick Murphys, Monday, March 12
Judah & the Lion, Wednesday, March 14
Golden Gate Wingmen, Saturday, March 24
Zoso — The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience, Friday, March 30

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Passion Pit, Sunday, Jan. 17
Stick Figure, Wednesday, Jan. 17
Alex Aiono, Friday, Jan. 19
Majid Jordan, Friday, Jan. 19
Chase Rice, Saturday, Jan. 20
Kung Fu, Saturday, Jan. 20
Walk the Moon, Sunday, Jan. 21
Sleeping with Sirens, Monday, Jan. 22
Jacob Sartorius, Tuesday, Jan. 23
Andrea Gibson, Tuesday, Jan. 23

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
The Devil Makes Three, Friday, Jan. 26
Mø and Cashmere Cat, Saturday, Jan. 27
Neck Deep, Thursday, Feb. 2
Black Label Society, Saturday, Feb. 3
Datsik, Friday, Feb. 9
Black Veil Brides and Asking Alexandria, Saturday, Feb. 10
The Juice Crew Reunion, Sunday, Feb. 11
Ganja White Night, Thursday, Feb. 15
Børn, Saturday, Feb. 17
Nightwish, Friday, March 16

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
The Killers, Saturday, Jan. 13
Lana Del Rey, Sunday, Jan. 21
Jeff Dunham, Sunday, Feb. 11
Kid Rock, Friday, Feb. 23
Blake Shelton, Saturday, March 17
Demi Lovato, Friday, March 23
Lorde, Monday, April 2
Pink, Friday, April 13
U2, Wednesday, June 13, and Thursday, June 14
Harry Styles, Friday, June 15

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Billy Joel, Thursday, Jan. 11
The Killers, Friday, Jan. 12
Shakira, Wednesday, Jan. 17
Romeo Santos, Thursday, Feb. 15, through Saturday, Feb. 17
Ricardo Arjona, Thursday, Feb. 22
Maluma, Sunday, March 25
Pink, Wednesday, April 4, and Thursday, April 5
Harry Styles, Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22
U2, Monday, June 25, and Tuesday, June 26

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Streetlight Manifesto, Saturday, Jan. 13
Umphrey’s McGee, Friday, Jan. 19, through Sunday, Jan. 21
AC2: An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen, Friday, Jan. 26, and Saturday, Jan. 27
ManDoki Soulmates, Monday, Jan. 29
Michael IcIntyre, Thursday, Feb. 1
Lara Fabian, Monday, Feb. 5
Jorge Drexler, Saturday, Feb. 10
First Aid Kit, Tuesday, Feb. 13
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Wednesday, Feb. 14
G3 Satriani, Petrucci and Collen, Friday, Feb. 16

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Matthew Morrison, Thursday, Jan. 11
Philadelphia Funk Authority, Friday, Jan. 12
Megan Davies, Friday, Jan. 12
Eaglemania — Eagles tribute, Saturday, Jan. 13
Tapestry, Thursday, Jan. 18
Splintered Sunlight, Friday, Jan. 19
Strand of Oaks, Thursday, Jan. 25
Welcome The Nerds, Friday, Jan. 26
The Music of Simon & Garfunkel, Saturday, Jan. 27
The Stranger — Billy Joel tribute, Friday, Feb. 2

Sounds – January 11, 2018

Sounds – January 11, 2018

ORDINARY AVERAGE GUYS BECK — ‘Colors’
THE GOOD: Singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Beck releases his 10th official full-length album.
THE BAD: Usually a trailblazer (or at least very unpredictable), Beck gives us nothing but a decent pop/rock collection this time. But is it too normal?
THE NITTY GRITTY: Working with one of his ex-touring guitarists who just happens to be super-producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia, Bird and the Bee), Beck painstakingly crafted 10 tracks that blur the line between retro and modern pop. All of it is very tight, rhythmic and catchy. One hears echoes of everyone from the Beatles to Bruno Mars.
“Colors” ends up sunny and satisfying. The burning question though is whether the album be as effective 10 or 15 years from now. We’re talking about the man who made “Odelay” (1996) and “Sea Change” (2002), both highly influential works whose reach is still being felt today. Even 2014’s “Morning Phase” was an unexpected triumph. “Colors” is simply a “lesser effort” from (this time) a follower, not a leader. Yet it still cooks.
BUY IT?: Sure.

WEEZER — ‘Pacific Daydream’
THE GOOD: Alt-rock mainstays Weezer come back with a sunny 11th.
THE BAD: I personally love Weezer, so it’s painful when I HATE one of their albums. Read on…
THE NITTY GRITTY: Rivers Cuomo and company have made some clunkers. 2008’s “Weezer (the Red Album)” saw Cuomo let OTHER members of the band write songs as well. Bad idea. 2009’s “Raditude” was a blatant play for mainstream success. Boring idea.
Thankfully, after those two dreadful misfires, the band recovered over its next three releases. None touched the glory days of “The Blue Album” (1994) or “Pinkerton” (1996), but at least the guys were getting back on track.
Now, regrettably, “Pacific Daydream” feels like another glossy attempt at courting the pop market. Those glorious Cuomo hooks remain intact (for the most part). However, the guitars are too tame, the backbeats too calculated. That grand emotional pull also is muted. You might somewhat enjoy this music, but you’ll never truly RELATE to it. Weezer usually isn’t this “average.”
BUY IT?: Your choice.

U2 — ‘Songs of Experience’ 
THE GOOD: Irish rock legends U2 give up their 14th.
THE BAD: Not “bad,” just “meh.”
THE NITTY GRITTY: Ask anybody what U2’s “golden age” was ,and you’ll get one of two answers: the rock-based, socially conscious ’80s or the more experimental and rhythmic ’90s. NOBODY ever says the 2000s. The last U2 album that could be considered an event was 2000’s “All That You Can’t Leave Behind.” Since then, it’s been a ho-hum fight for relevancy.
“Songs of Experience” is now the fourth album in a row that has some genuinely good moments but lacks staying power. You can groove to “You’re the Best Thing about Me,” and “13 (There Is a Light)” is low-key and very emotional. The Syrian refugee song “Red Flag Day” comes complete with a catchy melody and cloying lyrics.
The politically charged “American Soul,” however, is laughably bad. Bono decided to delay the album’s release so the band could comment on the world at large. Too bad they’re not angry young men anymore.
BUY IT?: Your call.

Deathcore bandmates form bond in childhood

Deathcore bandmates form bond in childhood

Melodic deathcore band With Words Unspoken began with two band T-shirts.
Guitarist Matthew Pilch and vocalist Jordan Teixeria were in third grade when they each wore a Kiss shirt to school, and “we were friends from then on,” Pilch said. “Music has given us a bond like a brotherhood.”
The melodic deathcore group also includes drummer Ryan Hargrave and guitarist Zachary Miller. The group will release its first EP on Tuesday, Jan. 16, and continue to write music and perform in and around Northeast Pennsylvania.

Q: Where did your band name come from?
Jordan Teixeria: The name comes from being about what you do, not what you say, because as the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” We’re hoping our actions speak and bring heavy music back around and make people move the way it was meant to be.

Q: How did you each get involved in music?
Ryan Hargrave: I got into it from my dad playing older heavy music, and I myself started getting into Danzig, Misfits, Strength for a Reason, Bury Your Dead, amongst other hardcore and death metal.
Matthew Pilch: I think I can say Kiss was definitely a start to myself and Jordan’s music lives. For us, they had everything that appealed to us: the amazing stage presence, the anthemic feel of the music, and the image stuck out for sure. I remember Jordan and I had gotten our faces painted as Kiss members back when we were young kids.
Zachary Miller: I can say for sure Avenged Sevenfold and Slipknot (were) a big influence, and especially Rings of Saturn and Bullet for My Valentine. They got me playing the heavy yet melodic type of music.

Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed?
JT: Our first show as this group was a train wreck. Although it was a small hardcore house show, it was still a big deal to us as our debut. Our old drummer booked the show, didn’t tell us until after, and we only had three songs, so we needed to write at least a couple more in a very short amount of time. When we did, and it was show time, he backed out on us day of the show. Being that we weren’t going to trash our name because of his actions, we kept our word on showing up. Our guitarist Zach filled in on drums, and we played as a trio. It sucked, but as they say, the show must go on.

Q: What is your songwriting process like?
ZM: I usually just go over (to) our vocalist’s house. We just fool around with a few riffs together and feed off of each other going part by part. Then since Ryan and I are close, I go over, and the song starts to take form.
JT: For lyrics, I try to focus on real-life experiences as a vent for the struggles I go through that I know others can relate to as well.

Q: What are some of your favorite memories?
JT: We can all say that what stays in our heads is seeing people move and get into the music we play. It makes every dollar and second we put into it worth it. One show we played with a few comedians — we were the punchline to their jokes. Then at the end of our set, the same people joking about us were the same people coming to shake our hands.

Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed?
JT: As a whole, we think it’s gone down, but right now it’s at a perfect time to be revived. There was a time where all-ages shows were everywhere every weekend, in a bunch of towns. Now all the venues we knew when it was booming for us around 2008 or so are closed, so it gets harder just playing at bars since it’s age-restricted. We as a music community are very diverse, and it’s amazing to see. We’ve got it all in NEPA. … We as a music community have grown tremendously, but our venue choice has diminished, sadly. Hopefully people notice the growth of the music underground and start bringing all-ages shows back.

Q: What music do you listen to?
JT: We diversify in taste greatly, but at the same time, bond in heavy music, which brought us together. I know I can go from Dixie Chicks to Carnifex in the same five minutes. Matt varies with the Doors, the Dead, Wu Tang Clan and just as soon jams some Fit for an Autopsy. I know Ryan loves his old punk and hardcore and listens to some real ’90s rap when it actually had substance, and Zach I know loves classic rock as well as heavy music.

Q: Have you faced any major challenges?
JT: Just getting ourselves out there and accumulating a bigger fan base.

Q: What are your future goals for the band?
JT: I would like to see us perform more all-ages shows, get to play with some bigger heavy bands and hopefully see more of the world while playing our tunes for people across the nation.
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Meet With Words Unspoken
Members: Jordan Teixeira, vocals; Ryan Hargrave, drums; Zachary Miller, guitar; and Matthew Pilch, guitar
Based out of: Pittston
Established: June 2017
Genre: Deathcore
Online: With Words Unspoken can be found on Facebook.
Up next: Saturday, Jan. 13, at 8:30 p.m., Irish Wolf Pub, Scranton

Clubs – January 11, 2018

Clubs – January 11, 2018

Thursday, Jan. 11
279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre: David Cupano
Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., Scranton: Blues Broker Records Blues Jam with Chris Mullineaux
Bart & Urby’s, 119 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Trivia Night
Chacko’s Memory Lane Lounge, 195 N. Wilkes-Barre Blvd., Wilkes-Barre: Kartune
Elixir Bistro Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Rice Crew Music
Grotto Pizza/Skybox Sports Bar, Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre Twp.: Know Limit Trivia
Heat Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Karaoke
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: DJ Famous
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Mark Sutorka

Friday, Jan. 12
279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre: Sperazza Duo
Backdraft Sports Bar & Restaurant, 1256 Hamlin Highway, Lake Ariel: Marilyn Kennedy
BADS, 415 Main St., Luzerne: Karaoke
Bar Louie at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Vine Street
The Beaumont Inn, 4437 Route 309, Dallas: Dex
Benny Brewing Co., 1429 Sans Souci Parkway, Wilkes-Barre: Jordan Ramirez
Bobby Keen’s, 117 W. Market St., Scranton: Dashboard Mary
Bones Bar, 1110 Wilkes-Barre Township Blvd., Wilkes-Barre: Dee Maple Band
Boulder View Tavern, 123 Lake Harmony Road, Lake Harmony: Acoustic Stein
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Dumm & Drummer
Elixir Bistro Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Audiobox Duo
Grotto Pizza, 36 Gateway Shopping Center, Edwardsville: Leighanne and Company
Grotto Pizza/Grand Slam Sports Bar, RR 415, Harveys Lake: Neil Young Tribute
Grotto Pizza/Skybox Sports Bar, Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre Twp.: Anthony Motelleo
Heat Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Inferno Drag Show
III Guys Pizzeria & Restaurant, 11 Garbutt Ave., Dallas: Shelly’s Underground
Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton: Karaoke night
JJ Bridjes Restaurant, 925 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit: Duster Duo
The Keys, 244 Penn Ave., Scranton: Love Like Blood: A Goth/Post-Punk Dance Party with Little.Plastic.Raleigh
O’Leary’s Pub, 514 Ash St., Scranton: B Street Band
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: The Nexgen
River Street Jazz Cafe, 665 N. River St., Plains Twp.: Mike Dougherty Band
Streamside Bandstand at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Boomer Happy Hour with Frankie and Toby
Thirst T’s Bar & Grill, 120 Lincoln St., Olyphant: Lily Maopolski and 2nd Gear Duo
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Flaxy Morgan
Wildflowers New York Bistro, 600 Wildflower Drive, Wilkes-Barre: Adam Bailey
The Wine Cellar, 815 Mulberry St., Scranton: Clarence Spady Band
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Tina Giorgi, Joe Larson and Zachary Hammond

Saturday, Jan. 13
279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre: Tori Viccica
Ali Baba Liquor Lounge, 219 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: DreamDoll
Bar Louie at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Toga Party
Bartolai Winery, Route 92 and Coolidge Avenue, Falls: Riptide
Benny Brewing Co., 1429 Sans Souci Parkway, Wilkes-Barre: 20 Lb. Head
Berwick Brewing Co., 328 W. Front St., Berwick: Empire in Decline
Bones Bar, 1110 Wilkes-Barre Twp. Blvd., Wilkes-Barre: Ol’ Cabbage
Boulder View Tavern, 123 Lake Harmony Road, Lake Harmony: Timepiece
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Tritide Duo
The Brew House Mini-Mart Cafe, 38 Sturges Road, Peckville: FullCircle
Chet’s Place, 885 Tirzah Road, Union Dale: Mace in Dickson
Crabby’s Seafood Grill and Pipes Bar, 3159 Lower Demunds Road, Dallas: R.J. Scouton
Elixir Bistro Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: K8
Evolution Nightclub at the Woodlands, 1073 Highway 315, Plains Twp.: Dance Party
Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton: NY Hardcore Apparition with Ray Meoni, Slapjaw, Marked for Death, Terrorize This and With Words Unspoken
JJ Bridjes Restaurant, 925 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit: The Wanabees
Mil & Jim’s Parkway Inn, 24 W. Kirmar Ave., Nanticoke: Kartune
The Olde Brook Inn, Route 307, Moscow: Dashboard Mary
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Speaker Jam Karaoke and Dance Hall Devils
River Street Jazz Cafe, 665 N. River St., Plains Twp.: Young & Dead — tribute to Neil Young and the Grateful Dead
Streamside Bandstand at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Moodswing
Thirst T’s Bar & Grill, 120 Lincoln St., Olyphant: Anytime Soon and Ron Schoonover
Valley Bowling Lanes, 1 Meredith St., Carbondale: Graces Downfall Acoustic
Veterans of Foreign Wars 7069, 402 Winola Road, Clarks Summit: Marilyn Kennedy
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Lost Dogs (Pearl Jam tribute)
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Tina Giorgi, Joe Larson and Zachary Hammond

Sunday, Jan. 14
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: That 90’s Band
Elk Mountain Ski Resort, 344 Elk Mountain Road, Union Dale: Dashboard Mary
Heat Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Not Yo Granny’s Bingo
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Karaoke with DJ Huff
The Wine Cellar, 815 Mulberry St., Scranton: Open mic with Jerry Trapper

Monday, Jan. 15
Duffy’s Coffee House, 306 S. State St., Clarks Summit: Open jam session
Sleepy Hollow Lounge at Idle Hour Lanes, 2008 Scranton-Carbondale Highway, Dickson City: Asialena
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: DJ APTRIK

Tuesday, Jan. 16
279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre: Strawberry Jam Duo
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Jay Luke

Year Ahead

Year Ahead

Festivals
Whether for food or fun, a number of festivals take place around the region each year. Enjoy the wonders of the Lackawanna River during Shiverfest on Saturday, Jan. 13, then head to Dietrich Theater, 60 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock, for two film festivals featuring foreign, independent and art films. Winter Fest runs Friday, Feb. 16, through Thursday, March 8, and the Spring Film Festival then takes place Friday, April 13, through Thursday, May 3, with special activities on each opening night. There will be special previews on Thursday, Feb. 1, and Thursday, March 29, and free post-festival discussions Friday, March 9, and Friday, May 4.
Join one of the biggest events in downtown Wilkes-Barre, the annual Fine Arts Fiesta on Public Square, in May. Celebrate a Midvalley tradition, St. Ubaldo Day and Race of the Saints, in Jessup over Memorial Day weekend.
The region celebrates its love of food with the annual Edwardsville Pierogi Festival, June 8 and 9, Plymouth’s annual Kielbasa Festival, held the second weekend of August, while the Pittston Tomato Festival takes place the third weekend in August.
Labor Day weekend offers the chance to commemorate the area’s rich locomotive history during Railfest at Steamtown National Historic Site and its Italian heritage at La Festa Italiana on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square.

Kids and family
Children can learn through a series of free stage shows geared toward grades three to eight at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, Public Square, Wilkes-Barre: “Four Score and Seven Years Ago” on Wednesday, Feb. 21; “Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad” on Friday, March 16; and “Huck & Tom and the Mighty Mississippi” on Tuesday, April 24. The Kirby Center also will host family-friendly fare such as “Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour” on Friday, April 27; animal expert Jack Hanna on Saturday, April 28; “Peppa Pig Live: Peppa Pig’s Surprise” on Tuesday, May 15; and the free “The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told” on Saturday, May 19.
At Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp., families can catch “Disney On Ice presents Dream Big” from Thursday, Jan. 11, through Monday, Jan. 15; AMSOIL Arenacross Series on Saturday, Jan. 20, and Sunday, Jan. 21; “WWE Live” on Friday, Jan. 26; Monster Jam Triple Threat Series from Friday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 11; the Harlem Globetrotters on Saturday, Feb. 24; and “Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes” from Thursday, May 3, through Sunday, May 6.
In Scranton, families can get into the Irish spirit with the city’s 57th annual St. Patrick’s Parade, set for Saturday, March 10, while Wilkes-Barre sees green with its parade on Sunday, March 11.

Theater
Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania has five more shows coming to Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., in the new year: “A Chorus Line,” Friday, Feb. 23, through Sunday, Feb. 25; “The Illusionists Present Adam Trent,” Friday, March 2; “Kinky Boots,” Friday, March 16, through Sunday, March 18; “Chicago,” Friday, April 13, through Sunday, April 15; and “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical,” Tuesday, May 8, through Sunday, May 13. Ticket costs vary. 
Five Broadway vocalists — Jeanna De Waal, Jennifer DiNoia, Kara Lindsay, Kevin Massey and Jon Peterson — will perform hits from throughout the Great White Way’s history on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Theater at North, 1539 N. Main Ave., Scranton. “Broadway Spotlight,” also includes behind-the-scenes stories and a question-and-answer session.
At F.M. Kirby Center, theater fans will find “Dirty Dancing — The Classic Story on Stage” on Wednesday, Jan. 31 and Thursday, Feb. 1; “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” on Wednesday, Feb. 7; “The Wizard of Oz” on Friday, April 13; and “Cabaret” on Thursday, May 17.
The region’s numerous amateur and student theatrical troupes will present shows throughout the year as well.

Comedy
Laugh throughout the year with comedy events all over the region.
Residents have the chance to see Jim Breuer at Gypsies Lounge inside Mount Airy Casino, 312 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono, Saturday, Jan. 13. Gypsies also hosts Bob Saget on Saturday, Feb. 3; Tracy Morgan Saturday, March 3; and Vic Dibitetto, Friday, April 6.
Breuer makes another stop in the area Wednesday, Feb. 28, at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, which then hosts “Blue Collar Comedy” star Ron White on Thursday, March 8. Jerry Seinfeld will deliver two performances there Friday, April 6.
Kevin Hart brings his Irresponsible Tour to the region Friday, March 16, at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre Twp. Crowds also can catch live comedy shows weekends at Wisecrackers Comedy Club inside Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Highway 315, Plains Twp.

Concerts
Music fills Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton, through the summer, with Camp Bisco gliding into the venue Thursday, July 12, through Saturday, July 14, and Peach Music Festival hitting the mountain, Thursday, July 19, through Sunday, July 22. Vans Warped Tour plays Scranton for the final time on Thursday, July 26, according to its website, although a venue was not announced. 
Mohegan Sun Arena also will host a couple big-name concerts, with country act Little Big Town, joined by Kacey Musgraves and Midland, coming Thursday, Feb. 22, and Judas Priest playing Tuesday, March 13.
Wyoming Seminary will host “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. for a concert Wednesday, Jan. 17, in its Kirby Center for the Creative Arts, 260 N. Sprague Ave., Kingston.
At F.M. Kirby Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre, concert highlights include the inaugural Snow Show featuring Dashboard Confessional, presented by Alt 92.1 on Sunday, Jan. 28; Tedeschi Trucks Band, Thursday, Feb. 8; “American Idol” star Scotty McCreery, Saturday, Feb. 10; America, Thursday, Feb. 15; Blues Traveler, Wednesday, Feb. 28; Alice Cooper, Saturday, March 10; the Beach Boys, Saturday, March 24; Christopher Cross, Wednesday, April 4; the Drifters, Saturday, April 14; and Yanni, July 31.

By Gia Mazur and Caitlin Haney West

Sounds – January 4, 2018

Sounds – January 4, 2018

Welcome back to the countdown. As the holiday season becomes a warm and cozy memory, we revisit last year’s absolute finest albums.

10. ZOLA JESUS — ‘Okovi’ (September)
Singer/songwriter/producer Zola Jesus turns personal turmoil into something sounding more hopeful for the future. A primarily electronic album with genuine human warmth, “Okovi” is her best collection of songs in quite some time.

9. ROGER WATERS — ‘Is This the Life We Really Want?’ (June)
Pink Floyd meets Radiohead as the legendary songwriter teams up with brilliant producer Nigel Godrich. Waters gets angry at the world and proves he will not fade away quietly like so many rock dinosaurs that were once his contemporaries.

8. CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG — ‘Rest’ (November)
Combining personal tragedy with dance grooves and bright pop melodies is no easy task. Gainsbourg pulls it off flawlessly, with the songs never sounding contrived or hollow. We share her pain, and we love it.

7. THE NATIONAL — ‘Sleep Well Beast’ (September)
Expansion and experimentation can go one of two ways — the music sounds confident and inspired or self-indulgent and hackneyed. “Beast” is the former, an album featuring an accomplished band unafraid to take chances. Timely now, timeless later.

6. ARCADE FIRE — ‘Everything Now’ (July)
One of the more “polarizing” albums on the list, “Now” sees the Canadian indie rockers continuing their quest for the ultimate groove. Flipping LCD Soundsystem for Daft Punk, the band builds upon “Reflektor’s” (2013) beats while alienating a few fans. Open your mind and body to it, though, and “Now” is divine.

5. TEMPLES — ‘Volcano’ (March)
Majestic pop sparkling beneath bright, unending rays of sunshine, trippy psychedelic overtones coloring Baroque rock in shades of red and blue, ear candy sweet enough to plunge you into a deep, dreamy haze — it’s heavy, man. It’s Temples’ “Volcano.”

4. LCD SOUNDSYSTEM — ‘American Dream’ (September)
Don’t call it a comeback. Yes, LCD Soundsystem broke up, but James Murphy was always here in spirit. His influence never diminished; his collaborations with others always were worthwhile. It’s nice to have the real deal back together, though. Our dull nights will be lively again. Now dance, you fools!

3. THE XX — ‘I See You’ (January)
Low-key British indie rockers the XX put their producer Jamie XX to more prominent use, and now their melancholy songs pack an even greater emotional punch. “I See You” never seeps into the background. These subtle sounds command your attention at every turn.

2. ST. VINCENT — ‘Masseduction’ (October)
Annie Clark (St. Vincent) teams up with writer/producer Jack Antonoff and flirts with more blatant pop sensibilities. Despite that shift, she’s still just as weird as ever. Smashing together bits of glam, synthpop, heavy rock, new wave and whatever else sticks, Clark keeps us guessing and enthralled.

1. OFFA REX — ‘The Queen of Hearts’ (July)
Two distinct artists manage to complement each other harmoniously without overshadowing one another. Indie rock storytellers the Decemberists and British folk singer Olivia Chaney give us a night of traditional songs with a modern twist, and keep the entire affair wholly authentic.

Concerts – January 4, 2018

Concerts – January 4, 2018

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Back in Black — AC/DC tribute, Friday, Jan. 19
ARRIVAL from Sweden — ABBA tribute, Saturday, Jan. 20
Alt 92.1 Snow Show featuring Dashboard Confessional, Sunday, Jan. 28
Billy Strings, Monday, Jan. 29
Eddie B, Friday, Feb. 2
Tedeschi Trucks Band, Thursday, Feb. 8
Scotty McCreery, Saturday, Feb. 10
Jabby, Monday, Feb. 12
Howard Gospel Choir, Saturday, Feb. 17

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Jim Breuer, Saturday, Jan. 13 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
J.B. Smoove, Saturday, Jan. 20 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Bob Saget, Saturday, Feb. 3 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Grand Funk Railroad, Saturday, Feb. 17 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Gin Blossoms, Friday, Feb. 23 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Tracy Morgan, Saturday, March 3 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Unforgettable Fire, Saturday, March 10 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Rebelution and Raging Fyah, Sunday, Jan. 14
Live Dead & Riders ’69, Saturday, Jan. 27
Umphrey’s McGee, Sunday, Jan. 28
Go ’90s with the Fresh Kids of Bel-Air, Saturday, Feb. 3
Voyage — Journey tribute featuring Hugo, Friday, Feb. 9
Rodney Atkins, Friday, Feb. 16
Next Big Thing presents Bruce in the USA, Saturday, Feb. 24
Lonestar, Friday, March 2

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Mike Dougherty, Friday, Jan. 12
Young & Dead — Tribute To Neil Young & Grateful Dead by Strawberry Jam, Saturday, Jan. 13
Souled Out, Friday, Jan. 19
Royal Scam — Steely Dan tribute, Saturday, Jan. 20
Gatos Blancos, Sunday, Jan. 21
MiZ, Friday, Jan. 26
Grass Is Dead, Saturday, Feb. 3
Bumpin Uglies with Elephants Dancing, Friday, Feb. 9
Space Bacon with Newpy Hundo, Friday, Feb. 16
Hub City Stompers & Scofflaws with Starwood, Non Refundables, Franchesco Marx Band and Keystone Ska Exchange, Saturday, Feb. 17

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Turkuaz, Friday, Jan. 26
Killswitch Engage and Anthrax, Saturday, Jan. 27
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Friday, Feb. 9
lespecial and Electric Love Machine, Friday, Feb. 23
Dropkick Murphys, Monday, March 12
Judah & the Lion, Wednesday, March 14
Badfish — Sublime tribute, Sunday, April 22
Parkway Drive, Wednesday, May 2

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Passion Pit, Sunday, Jan. 17
Alex Aiono, Friday, Jan. 19
PnB Rock Homecoming Concert, Saturday, Jan. 13
Stick Figure, Wednesday, Jan. 17
Majid Jordan, Friday, Jan. 19
Chase Rice, Saturday, Jan. 20
Kung Fu, Saturday, Jan. 20
Walk the Moon, Sunday, Jan. 21
Milky Chance, Monday, Jan. 22
Sleeping with Sirens, Monday, Jan. 22

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
The Devil Makes Three, Friday, Jan. 26
Mø and Cashmere Cat, Saturday, Jan. 27
Neck Deep, Thursday, Feb. 2
Black Label Society, Saturday, Feb. 3
Datsik, Friday, Feb. 9
Black Veil Brides + Asking Alexandria, Saturday, Feb. 10
The Juice Crew Reunion, Sunday, Feb. 11

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
The Killers, Saturday, Jan. 13
Lana Del Rey, Sunday, Jan. 21
Jeff Dunham, Sunday, Feb. 11
Kid Rock, Friday, Feb. 23
Blake Shelton, Saturday, March 17
Demi Lovato, Friday, March 23

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Billy Joel, Thursday, Jan. 11
The Killers, Friday, Jan. 12
Shakira, Wednesday, Jan. 17
Romeo Santos, Thursday, Feb. 15, through Saturday, Feb. 17
Ricardo Arjona, Thursday, Feb. 22

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Streetlight Manifesto, Saturday, Jan. 13
Umphrey’s McGee, Friday, Jan. 19, through Sunday, Jan. 21
AC2: An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen, Friday, Jan. 26, and Saturday, Jan. 27
ManDoki Soulmates, Monday, Jan. 29
Michael IcIntyre, Thursday, Feb. 1
Lara Fabian, Monday, Feb. 5

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Craig Thatcher Band presents an Evening of Jimi Hendrix, Friday, Jan. 5
Colin Quinn: One in Every Crowd, Saturday, Jan. 6
Matthew Morrison, Thursday, Jan. 11
Philadelphia Funk Authority, Friday, Jan. 12
Megan Davies, Friday, Jan. 12
Eaglemania — Eagles tribute, Saturday, Jan. 13
Tapestry, Thursday, Jan. 18
Splintered Sunlight, Friday, Jan. 19
Strand of Oaks, Thursday, Jan. 25

Sounds – December 28, 2017

Sounds – December 28, 2017

THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2017 – PART ONE – THE BOTTOM TEN

We do this every year ’round this time—looking back at the 20 albums that mattered most over the past 12 months. So before the big ball drops this weekend, let the countdown begin.

20. BLACK LIPS—‘Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art’ (May)
The Georgia psyche-rockers forgo high-profile producers this time in favor of working with Sean Lennon and end up creating a noisy, freaky pile of swamp rock. It’s ugly and enticing at the same time.

19. SAINT ETIENNE—‘Home Counties’ (June)
The British synth-rock/Britpop legends take us on a trip through suburban London. A concept focusing on the mundane, “Home Counties” is anything but. Retro dance grooves and charming melodies rule the neighborhood.

18. DAN AUERBACH—‘Waiting on a Song’ (June)
Singer/songwriter/Black Key Dan Auerbach gets together with a bunch of legendary friends while ditching the blues in favor of direct and polished pop/rock. The end results make us smile.

17. THE SHINS—‘Heartworms’ (March)
Are the Shins still a proper band, or is that name now simply a front for singer/songwriter/producer James Mercer? Does it matter? “Heartworms” proves the compelling songs remain intact regardless of lineup. Glad they’re (he’s?) back after a half-decade of distractions.

16. OLD 97’S—‘Graveyard Whistling’ (February)
You have to respect experience and authenticity. Even after a quarter-century together, Old 97’s remain the best damn southern bar band in the country. Toss some sawdust on the floor and embrace these alt-country anthems brimming with blood, sweat and beers.

15. TENNIS—‘Yours Conditionally’ (March)
Colorado husband-and-wife indie rock duo Tennis goes back to its breezy beginnings, creating something simple yet exquisite. Not since 2010’s “Cape Dory” have the couple felt this relaxed while still delivering divine melodies and caustic wit.

14. JAY-Z—‘4:44’ (June)
When he keeps things close to home, Jay-Z shines. After the glossy misfire “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” the rapper proves he can hold his own within an ever-changing hip-hop landscape by delivering music that stays true to the genre. “4:44” is lean and mean, as it should be.

13. NEW PORNOGRAPHERS—‘White Out Conditions’ (April)
The Canadian indie rock supergroup never fails to deliver BIG guitar-pop hooks. Add the one-two punch of A.C. Newman and Neko Case out front, and the tracks pack vocal charisma too. One could accuse “Conditions” of
being predictable, but why tamper with a formula that works so well?

12. FUTURE ISLANDS— ‘The Far Field’ (April)
The Baltimore outfit gains momentum on its fifth, a tight study in post-punk and new wave that rivals the modern
masters of both genres. “Far Field” contains more well-executed gems than most albums. Not an ounce of energy or second of time is wasted.

11. SYLVAN ESSO—‘What Now’ (April)
Artists within the modern folk world aren’t supposed to make underground dance records that are actually GOOD. Sylvan Esso didn’t get that memo. “What Now” smashes all boundaries and expectations.

Next week, we cover this past year’s best ten. 

Teenage singer-songwriter preps original music

Teenage singer-songwriter preps original music

Tori Viccica already has a steady schedule of shows at just 16 years old.
Just one year ago, the West Pittston native took her chance at an open mic night at Tony’s Wine Cellar, and it went better than she could have expected.
“I was scared to death, because they told me to have three songs ready, but they just kept asking me to sing more as I went on,” she recalled. “I wasn’t prepared to sing anymore.”
Viccica now plays at the Pittston sports bar every Wednesday, and she recently went On the Record to discuss the past year of performing in Northeast Pennsylvania and what she hopes to accomplish in the future.
Q: How did you get involved in music?
A: I always loved listening to different genres of music. As I got older, I taught myself how to play guitar and just started singing my favorite songs.
Q: What is the process like for writing your music?
A: When writing original music, I can usually come up with cool lyrics at a random time and then sit down and put music behind it. I keep a collection of lines of songs that I would come up with, say at school or somewhere, all on my phone. The lyrics that come out of nowhere usually end up being the best ones.
Q: How have you changed as a musician?
A: I feel I have changed as far as being more confident and having more of a stage presence. The rest I will hope to figure out in the future.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories?
A: Some of the best memories I have would be getting to play with some really talented and experienced musicians. That’s something you can get a lot of at Tony’s Wine Cellar. Some of the musicians that I have performed with are Bret Alexander from the Badlees and violinist Nyke Van Wyke. You definitely learn something from playing with people like that.
Q: What music do you listen to — either for inspiration or that you just enjoy listening to?
A: Most of the music I listen to is classic rock, just because I feel that I identify with that the most. But I think I could listen to just about anything. All the way from pop, modern rock, alternative — anything really.
Q: Have you faced any challenges as a musician?
A: The challenge I face mostly as a musician at 16 years old would have to be my age. I’m limited to certain venues because not every place is OK with having a 16-year-old come in and play.
Q: What are your future goals for your music?
A: My future goals would be just getting original music out there and seeing if enough people like it. If it gets a good response, then maybe I’ll try to go to the next level. I’m recording my first song with Steve Martin at Atlattle Sounds. I will be releasing some original music very shortly.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Meet Tori Viccica
Established: 2016
Based in: West Pittston
Genre: Classic rock
Online: @ToriViccicasCovers on Facebook
Up next: Every Wednesday open mic night at Tony’s Wine Cellar, Pittston; Friday, Dec. 22, 279 Bar & Grill, Plains Twp.; and Saturday, Dec. 23, Cavanaugh’s Grille, Mountain Top

Concerts – December 21, 2017

Concerts – December 21, 2017

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Cabinet, Sunday, Dec. 31
Back in Black — AC/DC tribute, Friday, Jan. 19
ARRIVAL from Sweden — ABBA tribute, Saturday, Jan. 20
Alt 92.1 Snow Show featuring Dashboard Confessional, Sunday, Jan. 28
Billy Strings, Monday, Jan. 29
Eddie B., Friday, Feb. 2
Scotty McCreery, Saturday, Feb. 10
America, Thursday, Feb. 15
Howard Gospel Choir, Saturday, Feb. 17
Poco and Jim Messina, Thursday, Feb. 22

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
The Amish Outlaws, Saturday, Dec. 30 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Ma$e, Saturday, Dec. 30 (Wet Nightclub)
Gilbert Gottfried, Sunday, Dec. 31 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Jim Breuer, Saturday, Jan. 13 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
J.B. Smoove, Saturday, Jan. 20 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Bob Saget, Saturday, Feb. 3 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Grand Funk Railroad, Saturday, Feb. 17
(Gypsies Lounge and Nighclub)
Gin Blossoms, Friday, Feb. 23 (Gypsies
Lounge and Nightclub)
Tracy Morgan, Saturday, March 3 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Unforgettable Fire, Saturday, March 10

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Back To the Eighties Show with Jessie’s Girl, Friday, Dec. 29
Get the Led Out — Led Zeppelin tribute, Saturday, Dec. 30, and Sunday, Dec. 31
Rebelution and Raging Fyah, Sunday, Jan. 14
Live Dead & Riders ’69, Saturday, Jan. 27
Umphrey’s McGee, Sunday, Jan. 28
Go ’90s with the Fresh Kids of Bel-Air,
Saturday, Feb. 3
Voyage — Journey tribute featuring Hugo, Friday, Feb. 9
Next Big Thing presents Bruce in the USA, Saturday, Feb., 24
Lonestar, Friday, March 2
Melvin Seals and JGB, Saturday, March 3

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Misty Mountain, Friday, Dec. 22, and
Saturday, Dec. 23
SUZE annual Christmas Show, Monday,
Dec. 25
Start Making Sense — Talking Heads tribute, Thursday, Dec. 28
Kluster Phunk & Riffmatik, Friday, Dec. 29
Flux Capacitor, Saturday, Dec. 30
GoodStew featuring Rodney and Jon Godinez, Sunday, Dec. 31
Mike Dougherty, Friday, Jan. 12
Young & Dead — Tribute To Neil Young & Grateful Dead By Strawberry Jam, Saturday, Jan. 13
Souled Out, Friday, Jan. 19
Royal Scam — Steely Dan tribute, Saturday, Jan. 20

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Patent Pending, Saturday, Dec. 23
Turkuaz, Friday, Jan. 26
Killswitch Engage and Anthrax, Saturday, Jan. 27
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Friday, Feb. 9
lespecial and Electric Love Machine, Feb. 23
Dropkick Murphys, Monday, March 12
Judah & the Lion, Wednesday, March 14
Parkway Drive, Wednesday, May 2
Blue October, Saturday, May 19
The Everly Brothers Experience, Sunday, May 20

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
So Far Gone, Wednesday, Dec. 20
Brandon Taz Niederauer, Friday, Dec. 22
Billy Mungus Big Band, Saturday, Dec. 30
Passion Pit, Sunday, Jan. 17
Alex Aiono, Friday, Jan. 19
PnB Rock Homecoming Concert, Saturday, Jan. 13
Stick Figure, Wednesday, Jan. 17
Majid Jordan, Friday, Jan. 19
Chase Rice, Saturday, Jan. 20
Kung Fu, Saturday, Jan. 20

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Dark Star Orchestra, Friday, Dec. 29, through Sunday, Dec. 31
The Devil Makes Three, Friday, Jan. 26
Mø and Cashmere Cat, Saturday, Jan. 27
Neck Deep, Thursday, Feb. 2
Black Label Society, Saturday, Feb. 3
Datsik, Friday, Feb. 9
Black Veil Brides and Asking Alexandria, Saturday, Feb. 10
The Juice Crew Reunion, Sunday, Feb. 11
Ganja White Night, Thursday, Feb. 15
Børns, Saturday, Feb. 17

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
The Killers, Saturday, Jan. 13
Lana Del Rey, Sunday, Jan. 21
Jeff Dunham, Sunday, Feb. 11
Kid Rock, Friday, Feb. 23
Blake Shelton, Saturday, March 17
Demi Lovato, Friday, March 23
Lorde, Monday, April 2
Pink, Friday, April 13
U2, Wednesday, June 13, and
Thursday, June 14
Harry Styles, Friday, June 15

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York
Tickets: 866-781-2922
Steve Martin & Martin Short, Saturday, Sept. 1

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Phish, Thursday, Dec. 28, through Sunday, Dec. 31
The Killers, Friday, Jan. 12
Shakira, Wednesday, Jan. 17
Romeo Santos, Thursday, Feb. 15, through Saturday, Feb. 17
Ricardo Arjona, Thursday, Feb. 22
Billy Joel, Wednesday, March 28
Maluma, Sunday, March 25
Pink, Wednesday, April 4 and Thurday, April 5
Harry Styles, Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22
U2, Monday, June 25, and Tuesday, June 26

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
A Pentatonix Christmas Tour, Thursday, Dec. 21
Gov’t Mule, Saturday, Dec. 30, and Sunday, Dec. 31
Streetlight Manifesto, Saturday, Jan. 13
Umphrey’s McGee, Friday, Jan. 19, through Sunday, Jan. 21
AC2: An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen, Friday, Jan. 26,
and Saturday, Jan. 27
ManDoki Soulmates, Monday, Jan. 29
Michael IcIntyre, Thursday, Feb. 1
Lara Fabian, Monday, Feb. 5
Jorge Drexler, Saturday, Feb. 10
First Aid Kit, Tuesday, Feb. 13

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Swingin’ the Holidays with the Rob Stoneback Big Band, Friday, Dec. 22
Go Go Gadjet, Tuesday, Dec. 26
The Large Flowerheads, Thursday, Dec. 28
Jimmy & the Parrots: Holiday Parrot Party, Friday, Dec. 29
The Sofa Kings’ New Years Eve Party, Sunday, Dec. 31
Craig Thatcher Band presents an Evening of Jimi Hendrix, Friday, Jan. 5
Colin Quinn: One in Every Crowd, Saturday, Jan. 6
Matthew Morrison, Thursday, Jan. 11
Philadelphia Funk Authority, Friday, Jan. 12
Megan Davies, Friday, Jan. 12

Sounds – December 21, 2017

Sounds – December 21, 2017

HEAVY HITTERS UP FRONT. STAR PRODUCERS IN BACK.

FOO FIGHTERS — ‘Concrete and Gold’ 
THE GOOD: American rock mainstays Foo Fighters are back with their ninth.
THE BAD: There’s no such thing as a BAD Foo Fighters album, but there are no totally awesome ones either. “Concrete and Gold” fits comfortably in the catalog without making too many waves.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Working with producer Greg Kurstin (the Bird and the Bee, Adele, Sia), Dave Grohl and the boys crank out their finest melodies in quite some time. Tracks such as “Make It Right” and “The Line” pack a mighty punch while sucking us in with truly infectious tunes.
Kurstin also helps the band expand its musical palette a little. “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” becomes a rousing sing-along. “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)” is an effective, genuine ballad. “Dirty Water” feels like a study in light and shadow. Guests ranging from the Kills’ Alison Mosshart to Paul McCartney show up without hogging the spotlight. “Concrete” remains your standard Foo fare — loud, crunchy and reliable.
BUY IT?: Sure.

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE — ‘Villains’
THE GOOD: The American rockers get funky on their seventh.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Villains” finds the guys working with “Uptown Funk” producer Mark Ronson, and one definitely picks up on his rhythmic presence. Don’t panic; he doesn’t turn frontman Josh Homme and company into a disco outfit (although this band could pull that off), but he does tighten up matters and make the beats much more prominent.
From the pure rock swagger of lead single “The Way You Used To Do” to the slightly progressive yet in-the-pocket, funky-as-hell “The Evil Has Landed,” the band takes us on a wildly unpredictable trip. Somehow, it stretches musically and lets the songs go off in unexpected directions (many blowing well past the 5-minute mark) while still giving us something infectious and accessible. That’s a delicate balance not easily attained. Yet, it happens all throughout “Villains,” a brash rock record unafraid to step outside straight anticipated lines.
BUY IT?: Yes.

LIAM GALLAGHER — ‘As You Were’ 
THE GOOD: After being the bad-boy frontman for both Oasis and Beady Eye, British singer and sometimes songwriter Liam Gallagher gives us his first proper solo album.
THE BAD: Gallagher may have been the star out front, but what made his most famous former band great were his brother’s songs. Without Noel Gallagher, “As You Were” sometimes comes off as a half-baked Oasis set.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Still, the record has its charms. Liam Gallagher teamed up with a few writers, the most prominent being Greg Kurstin (the Bird and the Bee, Beck, Pink). So the material IS good, and it’s tough to resist the combination of that voice and big hooks on tracks such as the raucous “Wall of Glass” and the delicate “For What It’s Worth” — solid pop-rock indeed. Very majestic and very British.
There are a couple of duds along the way, but the bright spots outnumber the forgettable bits. So let’s just call “As You Were” an accomplished first try and leave it at that.
BUY IT?: Your call.

NEPA’s Cabinet announces indefinite hiatus

NEPA’s Cabinet announces indefinite hiatus

From the official Cabinet press release:

Dear Cabinet Family and Friends,

Since the band was formed in 2006, each passing year has been part of an evolution. We as musicians have evolved, our individual lives and families have evolved, the music has evolved.

Through this evolution over the better part of 10 years we have reached a point where we feel it necessary and healthy to take a break. Take a step back, reflect, focus on our families, on ourselves, breathe and be grateful.

Starting January 1, 2018 Cabinet will be going on an indefinite hiatus. We urge you all to be with us through the end of the year. Your warm presence and support is the good juice that has kept us going!

We are proud of what we have accomplished in the past 10 years and couldn’t be more grateful to have the support from all of our family, friends, and fans. CabFam is real and it has brought us much joy to watch all of you interact with us and each other through out the years. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without you. So thank you, for being with us through out this journey and evolving with us!

We dont know what the future will hold but we fear not the unknown. We will continue to be positive in our actions and hope to share many more memories with you all as time rolls by.

With love in the name and power of music,
JP, Mick, Pappy, Dylan, Josh and Todd

Cabinet NYE Run 2017 Dates:

12/29 Burlington, VT – Higher Ground (Showcase Lounge)
12/30 Syracuse, NY – Westcott Theater
12/31 Wilkes-Barre, PA – F.M. Kirby Center

More information about the bands shows, music, videos, etc…, may be found at: 

www.cabinetmusic.com

www.facebook.com/CabinetMusic

www.cabinet.bandcamp.com/

www.twitter.com/cabinetmusic

www.instagram.com/cabinetmusic

Sounds – December 14, 2017

Sounds – December 14, 2017

MEATY BEATY BIG AND BOUNCY ARCADE FIRE — ‘Everything Now’ 
THE GOOD:
Canadian indie rockers Arcade Fire go for big beats again on their fifth.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: 2013’s “Reflektor” found LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy producing and taking the band into multi-layered rhythmic territories, almost turning them into a different outfit. “Everything Now” continues the danceable trend, swapping out Murphy for Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter.
The social commentary still is present, with the band hyper-critical of consumerism, corporations, the constant instant gratification of the digital age, etc. Set against slightly synthetic backdrops, the irony is never lost. Every participant “switches on.”
While the album has a couple minor misfires (the dippy reggae carrying “Chemistry” never feels wholly authentic), “Everything” ends up another triumph for the band. It also proves the grooves that made “Reflektor” so damn infectious were no fluke. From the buzzing sing-along “Creature Comfort” to the liquid late-night funk on “Electric Blue,” the record frees the mind and body for a good time that still makes you think.
BUY IT?: Surely.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE — ‘Hug of Thunder’
THE GOOD: The Canadian indie rock collective coordinated by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning — and boasting collaborators from other “North of the Border” bands (Metric, Stars, Feist, etc.) — comes back with its fifth album and first in seven years.
THE BAD: Like other BSS sessions, “Thunder” has peaks and valleys. Don’t expect a tight affair.
THE NITTY GRITTY: With song titles such as “Stay Happy” and “Gonna Get Better,” the band might be too damn cheerful for its own good. But it’s always been that way, going for an uplifting experience during unpredictable times of turmoil. Even the politicized moments are never “super heavy.”
BSS could be the less hippy-dippy take on the Polyphonic Spree or the more jubilant version of that other Canadian super-group, New Pornographers. Yet they’re also not afraid to visit more serious places such as the heartfelt and imploring “Please Take Me with You.”
Its title appropriate, “Thunder” ends up another BIG record that surrounds you with colorful arrangements and bold melodies.
BUY IT?: Yes.

THE WAR ON DRUGS — ‘A Deeper Understanding’
THE GOOD: Philadelphia indie rock outfit the War on Drugs jumps to a major label (Atlantic) and delivers an epic fourth.
THE BAD: Ten tracks in 66 minutes feels like a slog at times. Simply hope for the best during the parts that drag.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Adam Granduciel still is the brains behind the whole operation. It’s HIS vision that comes to life during these painstaking sessions, as “Understanding” is a study in slowly building, multi-layered studio craft. Whether it’s the sparkling, jangly “Holding On” or the extended intricate jams coming together as “Thinking of a Place,” Granduciel is a master at building large spaces in which we can’t help but become lost.
“A Deeper Understanding” is exactly that — a collection of songs that may not immediately grab hold. However, one discovers their many engaging nuances hidden beneath the surface upon repeat encounters. You must take your time and embrace the music slowly. The effort is well-worth it.
BUY IT?: Yep.