December 2009 Noteworthy Artists
Dipped in Rock and Caribbean influences, galvanized by lightning guitar and keyboard skills,expanded upon with MIDI guitar synth and live loops and forged with a uniquely compelling voice. George Wesley offers up a blend of rock tinged world music with a style that comes from a melting pot of influences. Seven albums to his credit and a much anticipated eighth “Hold On” recently released, George Wesley can only truly be experienced at his live performances. Whether performing at the “Gypsy Bar” in Atlantic City’s premier Borgata Hotel Spa and Casino, or at many of the top festivals,clubs and venues throughout the East Coast, each George Wesley show offers a unique experience to the audience…..Read more about George Wesley on http://www.myspace.com/georgewesley
Clarence Spady returns with the release of Just Between Us on Severn Records, his first studio recording in over ten years. Once described as “the future of the blues” by Bill Dahl (Chicago Tribune), his sound has matured and is now even more distinguishable. Clarence plays with a depth and sensitivity that can’t be taught, effortlessly combining blues, jazz, funk, and rock into his own unique sound. As a songwriter Clarence writes 11 brand new originals never being afraid to turn his most private moments into stories that we can all relate to. Constantly touring in places like Hong Kong, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, and all parts of the U.S., Clarence’s rapidly growing fan base is beginning to spread the word of his moving guitar play, rough street-edged vocals, songwriting, and live improvisations.
Read more about Clarence Spady at http://www.myspace.com/clarencespadyband
November 2009 Noteworthy Artists
Rock / Alternative
Something Wicked’s Scott Nichols doesn’t get bored!! Guitars, vocals, keyboards, and bass keep him and drummer Peter Vanderheyden very busy. Writing songs that blend catchy chorus lines and beautiful melodies into a twisted ride through love, loss, drug abuse, insanity, and a dark illustration of common life and everyday events. ‘”There is a pleasing conflict between pretty music and not-so-kind lyrics and uplifting, daydreams with ominous tones”.
Somewhere in the fifth circle of hell, the Wrathful and the Sullen stood an eternal guard over Satan’s six-string like hungry hawks over a crippled beast. Times had been tough among the peasantry, but even the notoriously propitious prince of darkness himself had not seen the need for soul searching. Sure, the list of novice guitarists was miles long and ripe for the pickin’, but with fuel prices were they were and the horrible gas mileage he gets from that god damn infernal Hummer, it just wasn’t worth leavin’ the house for another lousy soul. Then one Friday night, the sounds of Lemongelli’s new CD, Vintage Vibes, blew through the devil’s parlor. Bewhiffled and borderline offended, the bifurcated one sprang from his couch, the plastic tearing as he muted Rachel Ray. No sooner could he order his minions to pack his road case, Dustin Drevitch’s slippery lyrics stopped him in his fiery tracks. “And she looked me in the eyes and she said … she wants it harder and harder … That’s an offer I can’t refuse.” It was followed quickly by the southern steamroller “Do It to Me,” and the radio-ready rock anthem “Everything.” The devil had hardly wiped his crusty eyes when “Another Round” brought him back to his years of sabotaging The Black Crowes. “I’m not scared to die, with a life of no regret/And I’ll take a glass of wine, at the table that heaven sets.” Angry as he was, he knew he had been had. “Sad Love Song” turned out to be everything he wished he had written, and “Blame” proved, at least in his mind, that Lemongelli could not be bought. The band has been through too much.
This is the third release from the Pennsylvania natives – a power trio rising like a Thundersauraus Rex from the former Coal Belt towns where the trees stay barren and the waters reek of sulfur. Drevitch is the master crafter of Lemongelli’s distinct funk ’n’ soul sound. Born with a guitar in hand and words in mouth, the barely legal frontman’s Christ-like ’fro and searing riffs teach music fans that yes, you can fuse the finer points of Guns N’ Roses with The Allman Brothers, The Faces, and The Crowes … and still be a relevant, modern-rock powerhouse. Drummer Jamey Fisk drives the tunes like strippers to a pole convention. Jay Hudock’s gargantuan bass lines are clearly the meat in this 5,000-calorie burger, sans cheese. Lemongelli is on the hunt. They’re going to grease you up. And aim for penetration. Recently signed to Rock Aye! Records, the band is heading out on a Mid-Atlantic tour after the May release of Vintage Vibes, which has been receiving airplay on Pennsylvania radio and the attention of other PA notables like producer Bret Alexander and Breaking Benjamin guitarist Aaron Fink, who has made a habit out of sitting in with the band during its local gigs. Faced with this incredible gouge, the devil had but one decision to make. He invited his servants to line hell’s corridors, and he gave his order. They danced. There’s no disputing Lemongelli has cracked the formula to eternal success. The only question is … “Who’s coming with?”
October 2009 Noteworthy Artists
Progressive / Rock / Experimental
Rod has been a full time musician for over a decade and has endorsements with XOX Audio Tools, the makers of the Handle Guitar, Gibson Guitars and Dunlop Guitar Accessories. Rod currently performs 3-5 nights a week throughout the Northeastern United States. When he is not performing, he is keeping busy in his home studio. His original compositions, as well as his production and arrangement skills, have been used by the United Way, the cable show, Just Fishing, and most recently, featured in the film, Butterflies in the Wind. He also wrote, recorded and produced a commercial jingle for the United States Census Bureau, and both the song and video were used in their Regional and National ad campaigns.
Folk Rock / Acoustic / Rock
“There is an honesty to Mark’s work that is so easy to connect with. Whether it be his solid and intelligent lyrics or the intensity with which he pours himself into his live shows, the listener can easily relate to the emotions expressed in his songs.” As a singer/songwriter and an instrumentalist on piano and guitar, the multi-talented Mark DeRose blends introspective lyrics with heartfelt acoustic rock. Influenced by musical greats like James Taylor, Bruce Hornsby and Dave Matthews, DeRose brings a distinctive sound that has been challenging listeners and entertaining high energy crowds for nearly a decade. Patrick Kirchner of The Fly describes this.
February 9, 2009
Four bands took turns on the stage in a dark, almost post-apocalyptic atmosphere of Shenandoah’s lone nightclub – Thunder Road. Referred to as the “Battle of the Bands”, this is sponsored by Yuengling Brewery (180 years and going strong!! SHAMELESS PLUG) and Martin Guitar’s “Best of the Best Music Series” it kicked off locally at Thunder Road in downtown Shenandoah, Pa. on June 5th.
It was my first time at Thunder Road with my immediate first impression being it’s much larger than it looks from outside; except for the stage, although it is big enough for some really great shows and I didn’t catch anyone complaining. The club is painted almost entirely black and I’m told that it had its somewhat underground appearance even before the November, 2007 fire that came close to destroying the establishment. It was stopped by a firewall but smoke and water had their way with the place. That’s all gone now thanks to the aid of the community and fans of the club. This all attests to my next comment, which is that the owners, the Babarskys, their friends and family are some of the nicest, most loyal, and hardest working people you’ll ever meet. The only complaints I heard were one big one, that the sound was poor, and a smaller one, that the pool table is too close to the dance floor. Well, the comment about the sound was made to me months ago, and it was agreed that it has improved. I guess they fixed it. The pool table, however, doesn’t really have anywhere else to go. There’s a much more extensive bar than I expected, but don’t try for a single-malt scotch unless the wife is there. You can smoke in there if you want – big paper signs announce “SMOKING ALLOWED” – but hardly anyone did, probably since it seems like not too many people smoke anymore. Overall, Thunder Road is a better club than I thought it would be, but it’s really not only a club; it’s a really chill place to hang out and party. So, it’s not surprising that Yuengling wanted to hold the first round of the contest there and that mini-music festival on a dreary Friday night turned out to be really hot.
They were competing that night for a monetary pot of $200 with the winners moving on to weekly progressive competitions. The next round is Saturday, June 13 at Strikers Pub in Pottsville. At the end of July, one local act will win a custom Martin Guitar and the chance to play with an as-yet-unnamed national act! Take note that a schedule of future competition dates appear on the Yuengling website.
For the audience, well five bucks cover charge to see four bands plus Yuengling’s were just a buck apiece all night, how can you resist? They played from 8pm till 2am (yah, the schedule said 7pm but these things NEVER start on time) and there was plenty of free stuff – I cored a bunch of Yuengling stuff like a tee shirt, a bottle opener eychain, a lanyard, rave jewelry shaped like a bottle of Lager, and more – and that didn’t included one of the gazillion door prizes they were giving out which I didn’t win any of. I received from radio station T-102 – a really cool fake microphone keychain (which was stolen from me) and a pen that I noticed many decorated the street outside.
Anyway, back to the club. In order of appearance, the four bands were: A Minute Too Late, Never Satisfied, Adrenlyn, and True Becoming.
With only an hour apiece to get onstage, do their sets and obligatory Yuengling promos, then get the heck off the stage, each band had just eight to ten songs to put their best foot forward. And they did so with plenty of energy.
On to the bands:
By Gerry Ulicny (June, 2009)
The aptly-named Adrenalyn came in second in the contest Friday night; they were oh-so-close to winning that first round. When I say aptly-named I am not kidding either. This band doesn’t just have energy, they create it.
“Edgy” just barely begins to describe their style musically on stage or via the Net. They are actually quite nice people in person offstage. I don’t think that all of the anarchy and graffiti on their tee shirts and their website means this band is simply punk. With some of the most jamming covers from some of the most intense bands ever – Nirvana, Helmet, Korn, Breaking Ben, and The Misfits – this band takes their commitment to a hard-core sound seriously; they can’t be limited or pigeon-holed into one specific genre. Like the band states about themselves, “Pottsville-based Adrenalyn will play anything ‘heavy with a groove’ AND they will play it so well you will feel it!”
So why didn’t they win? I wasn’t a judge, but there’s a chance it had to do with the fact that they played no original music since they did everything else exactly right. Or maybe it was the cursing. This is perhaps the most foul-mouthed band I have ever seen in Schuylkill County anyway, since I haven’t seen many of the national bands they cover.
The runner-up band in Friday’s contest has an astounding repertoire of covers they can dish out and change up as they tune into the audience. No crowd should be disappointed, whether at a rave or a rocking wedding, they will get plenty of work. They can be counted upon to deliver the music ordered. They WILL fill the floor. Yes they ARE that good. So, how about some original stuff, guys? Well, let’s give them a break on that. Though the band has been around in different incarnations for a long time, they have only recently reformed and they really have it together. All seasoned musicians, the band members’ credits are almost excessive – the band includes former members of popular bands including Onion Head, Spent, Better Than Monday, Copper Seven, Branded Planet, Uppercut, and Sedative, in no particular order. With that kind of experience, who knows what they’ll do next? I can’t wait to find out.
From: Pottsville, Pa.
Karrie C. – Percussion, vocals
Mark Wiess – Vocals
Jason C. – Guitar
Jim H. – Guitar, vocals
Never Satisfied – three guys – One really knows how to belt out a tune; another one with such an awesome voice that you really, really wish he’d been taught to sing (or that he’d call you in the middle of the night “just to talk”) and a drummer who can also sing and does. (I encourage you to go hear them and figure it all out yourself). Add to that mix a bunch of rockin’ songs. Happy songs and sad songs and some that are both, and all that you know. Never Satisfied members classify themselves as classic rock and they certainly deliver it with some range. They favor heavy baselines, lyrics and vocals that hold their own – sometimes to almost fighting the music – and chatting up the crowd. They do in fact have a very easy, almost casual stage presence – it’s like you’re hanging out with this band. You pretty much can count on them to play what you expect from a dance/cover band. Then again, surprises can be nice, and there weren’t many.
They obviously can play, though it seemed that their energy was low in their opening. The Neil Young cover “Rockin’ in the Free World.” They came back quickly with an enthusiastic “Taking Care of Business,” and kept it up until they got them out on the dance floor. A great mix of the most popular covers – varying from Van Morrison to the Kinks to the Ramones – kept the crowd on their feet. This may have been the dancing-est band out there Friday night.
I missed my chance to talk with this band, and I didn’t find too much information about them online, so I’ll have to revisit them but for now what more can I say about a band that plays all the songs you know?!
Mini-Bio: Never Satisfied
From: Tamaqua / Weatherly, Pa.
John – Guitar/Lead Vocals
Jay – Bass/Lead Vocals
Rocco – Drums/Lead Vocals
A MINUTE TOO LATE
The surprise hit of the night came from the all-teen band – A Minute Too Late. Though they were obviously not competing against bands playing music of their own genre – this band is Emo all the way and no – “Art Rock” isn’t enough to describe them – they pulled off an inspired performance.
Holding to their own principles despite warnings from friends and family that their success would likely depend on serving up at least a few “oldies but goodies,” A Minute Too Late played only original material. They were the only band to do so at the competition! If that wasn’t tough enough, they were slotted first of the four bands and would have played to a crowd that was entirely primed to hear ZZTop covers and do a little dancing if they hadn’t had such a devoted following. AMTL brought their own crowd with them, about half of whom were, unfortunately, too young to actually get into a nightclub, so they patrolled the sidewalk outside the club waiting for the band to come out. In one sense they may have been lucky they played first, since so many of their fans had to observe Shenandoah’s 11pm curfew.
They had an incredibly tight playing style – at least as polished as the cover-playing bands – but few people knew the songs. A first impression of the band was that Nirvana and The Cure had somehow mated and the kids were raised by A Fire Inside (though maybe not – AFI would probably have given in and done some covers!). I barely understood a word of what Linsey Croll was singing but I did get it that she was pretty upset about something in just about every song. She sounded and looked a heck of a lot better than Courtney Love did back in the day (well she was sober so there was one advantage).
They pushed their MySpace page quite a bit (all the bands did) and it might serve them well to post their lyrics there. That’s a little thing though – it’s always hard to get lyrics live. The music has to carry it, and well, those drums and guitars were threatening to burn down Thunder Road (again). Yes, they have a ways to go yet but if they make it through adolescence, this band has a future. There’s little doubt that plenty of people will eventually remember that they saw them back when.
Mini-Bio: A Minute Too Late
From: “Schuylkill County”
Lindsey Croll – Vocals
Ian Parliament – “Live” Bass
Chris Streeter – Guitar
Billy Jusinski – “Recorded” Bass, “Live” Drums
Chris Arcand – “Recorded” Drums
True Becoming came. They won. They deserved it! Word from the groupies was that this band always delivers what you expect mixed in with something you don’t expect but you love. Friday night was no exception!! Highly polished yet their own style, True Becoming delivered the covers you wanted to hear and the original songs you now want to hear again. Technical perfection was usually only broken by the inspired jam (more! more!) and a way with the crowd that leaves ‘em feeling grateful for the performance. They also let the crowd know that they were grateful too.
With a strong sense of themselves as a band and a pretty cohesive style, this band had a way with the music that made it sound like they meant it. They play cover songs, yes, but somehow they make them their own. Even their mistakes had a kind of I-meant-to-do-that air about them, it was believable because they do things their own way and they don’t let you stop to think about it. A good mix of Rock-n-roll, punk, and heavy metal covers keeps the club doors open to them. But it is, naturally, the original songs that pique the interest of the music aficionados, and that’s where True Becoming really stands out. It takes a lot of time, effort, talent, and perhaps mostly guts to create and then get out there and play your own stuff.
The band has announced an upcoming studio session, what’s that about? Their MySpace video of the original song “Think But Don’t Say” said they were heading for the studio on May 17. (Warning – that video was recorded somewhere with really crappy acoustics). I got three seconds to talk with the band and they said it’ll be a few more weeks before the studio tracks are ready, but that’s all I know for now. I was told by a friend of the band that while they are very busy – obviously – they are always trying to evolve as a band. She also said while you would think with a schedule like theirs there’s not much time to practice – these guys play together almost every day. They love it and they do aim to please. Always looking for feedback (but rarely having time to respond to it.) They also take requests via their website. I’d like to request that they put some of their songs on there!
They are playing all summer, so we’ll see them again, and of course they’ll be at the Best of the Best finale, scheduled at Goodfellas for Friday July 31. Good luck guys!
Mini-Bio: True Becoming
From: Mount Carmel, PA
Rich – Lead Vocals
Paul – Bass and Backup Vocals
Bill – Lead Guitar and Backup Vocals
Poch – Rhythm Guitar
Brian – Drums
Ronnie – Sound and Lighting
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