Live music every which way you turn. Venues packed to see local and national acts. How I wish our area had this problem every single week. With more than 300 people packed into The Hardware Bar to see 90′s world music favorites Rusted Root and local openers Kriki and Nowhere Slow last Wednesday night, several downtown Scranton venues were full of energetic listeners. The real story is what happened after the Rusted Root guys and gals hopped off the stage and left town. Many concert goers and bar hoppers quickly found themselves packed shoulder-to-shoulder listening to infectious bluegrass provided by The Coal Town Rounders, who were playing a three-hour plus romper at The Bog. Consisting of Matthew Hiller on mandolin, Jason Zarnowski on bass, Ian O’Hara on banjo and Christopher Kearney on guitar, CTR is preparing for a busy 2012 schedule full of local shows and several festival slots outside of the 570. The group has been making quite a name for themselves over the past years playing their high-octane brand of black lung bluegrass stompers, as well as some heart-wrenching harmonious ballads that transport you back into the golden age. Make sure you check out www.coaltownrounders.com for upcoming appearances and a handful of handsome pictures. You won’t be disappointed.
I was a wild and crazy party animal as I watched Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest from the comfort of my couch. Once again, the show was hosted by Seacrest with Dick Clark flawlessly counting down to 2012 as the ball dropped in Times Square.
Lady Gaga looked like a black light bulb on a stage surrounded by discarded tires in a garbage dump, but it was just refreshing to see someone really singing. That dude who talks in-between Fergie’s hardcore rap lyrics, will.i.am, danced around with an iPad strapped to his face with an image of his face shown on the iPad. Sigh. LMFAO was so lighthearted and weird, it was pretty darn funny. The rest of the show was mainly forgettable with performances by Bieber and Pitbull, with pre-recorded spots from Nicki Minaj, Gym Class Heroes, and pre-pregnancy Beyoncé.
To honor Clark’s 40th anniversary hosting coverage of New Year’s Eve in Times Square, the show was preceded by a two-hour retrospective, featuring memorable events from previous editions of the show.
While most people set lofty New Year’s goals like eating healthier and promising to drink less, I have decided to explore a different, easier route. In general, I resolve to do more. I resolve to get out of the house more and enjoy all the gifts our community has to offer. I’m going to try to go to as many live shows, art openings and social gatherings as possible. I resolve to learn how to tie a proper bow-tie. I resolve to take more day trips to unfamiliar locations. I resolve to keep my home office much cleaner and throw out most of the items that are cluttering the drawers. I don’t need that old bike lock and I’m almost certain the key has been missing since 2007.
Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: Ryan Adams Ashes and Fire (Pax-Am/Capitol)