Catch Me If You Can

I am attending shows at a blistering pace!  My last stretch started Thursday 7/19 at Chameleon for Mike McMonagle, Slackwater News and JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound.  The acts were handing out free tickets so where were you?  JC Brooks is the new and improved James Brown.

Friday took me to Philly for XPoNential Music Festival.  The Lumineers were stunning as usual, just simple and gorgeous.  JC Brooks got he audience he deserved; they went nuts!      Have you heard his cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart?”  It’s not his strongest but it rocks.  War on Drugs played a great homecoming set.  Dawes closed my night live.  Taylor Goldsmith got very emotional talking about playing XPo two years ago and how it changed their lives.  The singalongs echoed back from Philly.  I bailed and got to crank up The Hold Steady’s set for my drive home.  They are stronger than ever!

Saturday was back to Philly for XPo.  Patterson Hood is a twisted, white-trash genius.  Dr. Dog crushed it for a huge crowd at Susquehanna Bank Center, most of whom were there to see The Avett Brothers and Wilco.  It was my first time finally catching up to those acts and it was memorable.  You can see the set list, pictures, videos, interviews, everything for every band that played at xpn.org  Some artists have even uploaded their entire sets for streaming.

Sunday was more XPo and pal Dana Alexandra was the kickoff act.  She is sassy and silly and can really sing.  Congratulations Dana on playing XPo two years in a row!

I rushed home to host a gang of Dawes fans for their concert Sunday at Long’s Park.  That made twice in two days and three times since May that I’ve seen Dawes.  YAY!  It felt good to see how much they appreciate the WXPN and Lancaster audiences, both huge and vocal!

I have posted a lot of videos from these shows on my YouTube channel and pics on my Facebook page.

Now I’m off to visit Williamsport for 22.5 hours and coming home to pack for a week at the beach.  Sunday night is Blockstock IV in OCMD!

Thanks for a Great Weekend!

This past weekend proved again that Lancaster, PA is home to many talented musicians and fine music venues and within striking distance of a ton more.  I had to take a moment to thank them all for a great weekend!

My weekend started on Thursday; that’s the way this Gigspotter rolls.  I traveled down to The Cove York, PA for MyRuralRadio.com‘s Weekly Artist Showcase, their last for the season.  R.J. Moody played a spirited acoustic set and was joined by resonator-master Jeff Hostetter on a few.  Then Shane Speal electrified the joint with his outrageous cigar-box guitar playing.  To top off the evening, Michael Males, Jeff Hostetter and Chad Flaharty (the American Hollar trio aka Buck) enlisted Shane and R.J. for some rousing jamming.  The Cove is a great place to see a show.  Their beer selection is remarkable and their beef brisket is peerless this side of Texas.  Showcases are on hiatus until October but Blues Mondays, Jazz Tuesdays and Open-Mic Wednesdays are still rolling!

Friday night brought Cabinet to Chameleon Club in Lancaster.  It was thrilling to see my favorite club explode with people dancing and cheering!  I could wax on for hours about the musicianship and charisma of this band.  Here’s a link to my show review from Tri State Indie: http://www.tristateindie.com/show-wrap-ups/cabinet-feeling-lucky-at-the-chameleon-club/

Cabinet was opening for Delta Rae.  I’ll have to catch them some other time because when Cabinet finished, I bailed for McCleary’s Pub in Marietta.  Corty Byron was back in town from CA and hosted events there all week.  Friday night was “Corty Byron and Friends” and boy, does he have a ton of talented friends!  He was joined onstage that night by dozens including Scott Frenchek, Dave Lefever, Gene Pelland, Leo DiSanto, Jeff Bryson, Loretta Bilieux, Chad Kinsey and Bobby Lawson: local heavy-hitters all!  Corty is a super-talented singer and guitarist and seems to know every song ever written.

Saturday night started for me by celebrating a great friend and neighbor, Mike Gics.  It was his birthday and we got to play poker, smoke big cigars and drink cheap beer: a perfect Mike night.  If you’ve ever had a lousy neighbor, you know what a blessing it is to have a great one and Gics is Great!

When the poker got serious, I headed for Lancaster Dispensing Company and Leo DiSanto’s event: The Lancaster Original Music Review II.  Leo and Jeff Bryson were hosts and the night featured sets by Mike Lebess, Andrew Gray, Dave Lefever, Jessica Smucker and the hosts themselves.  The night had the perfect ending: an all-sing of Woody Guthrie’s classic, “This Land is Your Land.”

Now that’s a Gigspotter weekend!

 

Wanted: Interns, Administrators and/or Clones

The last few weekends have really brought into focus the fact that I need help!  Have you ever tried to pitch a six-man tent by yourself?  How about shoot videos and still pics at the same time?  How about be in five places at once?  I had a ball but ran myself ragged at @Jam at the Dam 7/7.  This weekend I am invited to shows in Lancaster, York, Marietta, Bethlehem, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Rehoboth Beach.  I can barely keep up with the Facebook and Twitter traffic, let alone be at all these shows at once.

That’s where you come in.  You live in these places, love live music and use these social medias.  Would you like to lend a hand?

I am seeking some dedicated Facebookers and Tweeters to help administrate my accounts.  All you need to do is Like, Share/Retweet and Comment on the music, event and travel news you are already following.  I would love to make you an Admin on my Gigspots page!

I have an Internship position posted at York College of PA and am working to get one posted at Millersville, F&M, Wilkes, Pitt and Temple.  Does your major require an internship?  If you are majoring in Business, Communications, Music Industry, Travel/Tourism or some other related field, Gigspots.com might have the position you’ve been looking for.  Here’s the description.

Gigspots.com Intern Position Description

Thanks you for your interest in Gigspots.com!  Gigspots.com is a sole-proprietor, web-based, start-up company built to provide its internet audience with the resources to find, preview and access bands, live music venues and travel discounts in PA, MD, DE and NJ.  The website was launched in April, 2011.  It is linked to a Facebook page and Twitter account and has its own blog and YouTube channel.  Gigspots.com also has begun to stage and promote its own concerts beginning with a concert at The Boondocks Club, York Haven, PA, in February of 2012.

The company’s mission is to provide the resources described above and to grow as a presence both on the internet and in the mid-Atlantic region.  Tourism drives a large part of the region’s economy and we seek to fill the niche for people who enjoy making live music part of their travel experiences.  Our region is brimming with talented musicians and live music venues that complement the many attractions that already draw millions of visitors.

As an intern for Gigspots.com, your duties may include:

  • Researching the entertainment and tourism industries
  • Developing marketing strategies and tools
  • Identifying target audiences and niche markets
  • Contributing to social networking projects
  • Data entry of venue schedules and events
  • Communicating with bands, venues and brand representatives
  • Coordinating interaction between clients and trade publications
  • Writing reviews of shows, bands, venues, music releases and travel destinations
  • Filming/documenting performances, interviews and special events
  • Representing Gigspots.com at events, performances and marketing meetings

You will report directly to and work with owner Sam Campbell.  Your performance evaluation will be based on several criteria including:

  • Ability to complete duties as described in a timely, responsible manner
  • Professionalism and conviviality in communications with clients/social networking
  • Creativity and enthusiasm in development/implementation of marketing tools
  • Accountability for company equipment and merchandise

Interested applicants should send a letter of interest and resume to Sam@gigspots.com.  They should have a Facebook account, reliable transportation, a personable demeanor and a genuine interest in live music, tourism, travel and/or social marketing and business development.

As for clones: does the world really need more of me running around?  I would do almost anything to help my friends in the music/arts/entertainment/tourism businesses but not at the risk of ruining these communities I serve.  So forget the clones.  But consider joining my cause.  What if the music stopped?

Who’s Your Favorite Pirate?

Who’s Your Favorite Pirate?

Growing up in Pittsburgh and loving baseball, I idolized our hometown Pirates.  Roberto Clemente was and is still my favorite.  The game would benefit from his leadership today; if only he wasn’t lost in a plane crash doing earthquake relief work!  It broke my nine-year old heart!

I like movie pirates: Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush were brilliant scallywags in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  Tim Curry vamped it up brilliantly as Long John Silver in The Muppets’ Treasure Island, a must-see. David Warner was a ruthless degenerate pirate in a 1980 movie apparently only I saw and loved, The Island.  Peter Benchley (Jaws) wrote the novel and screenplay and Michael Caine starred. It is great, honest and just re-released on DVD.

Who is my favorite pirate today (with a nod and smile to the above)?  Pirate Rob!  Never heard of him?  Pirate Rob, aka Rob Bryan, is owner/partner of DNL Entertainment, One Koast Productions and a plethora of other music-related ventures.  When Pirate Rob says it’s a party, he makes Capt. Morgan look like Donald Duck.  When he brings his band of merry bands to play, it’s “…a festival of conviviality” to quote Long John Silver.

I first met Rob at The Legendary Dobbs in Philly one cold November night.  I had gone to check out my friends Lovebettie’s show and he had several bands on the bill.  He is a blunt yet easy-going guy with a ready laugh and great taste in music.  He is too busy to waste words or time.  It’s always the next horizon, the next adventure, the next show. He handed me some cd’s and said, “Stay in touch.”

Soon I was noticing the bands Pasadena and Bond and Bentley sharing shows with Lovebettie in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Buffalo and Philly.  These two distinctive, powerful, professional bands belong to what I call Rob’s fleet.  I had no idea what a large and vibrant music scene existed in the Baltimore-Annapolis region or that it connected to OCMD, Dewey and Rehoboth Beaches.  This guy could summon up thirty bands with a lopsided grin, it seemed.

I felt the full force of his fleet at Pirate Rob’s Birthday Bash on February 18, 2012.  He sold out the 1,500 capacity Rams Head Live in Inner Harbor and fifteen bands played their asses off, each ending their set with, “Thanks a lot everyone and ‘F&*k you, Pirate Rob’!” as is apparently tradition.  It’s obviously a true sign of love and respect in this crew.  You should hear 1,500 people scream it sometime.  You’ll know.

Talk to any of the bands who work with him; he makes stuff happen.  Go to any show he’s part of and you’ll get it.  These people are believers and they stick together.  Best of all, you can join in on it!  One Pasadena or Bond and Bentley show will be all it takes, but take my word for it: you need to check out Sweet Leda, The Grilled Lincolns, Bumpin’ Uglies, Fresh Competition and the whole fleet.

I just spent the weekend with this crew at Jam @ the Dam.  It was like a family reunion for 400 people and the best party.  With thirty years of party experience under my belt, you can take my word for it.  Or not.  But if you have any thoughts of a weekend trip to OCMD, make it the weekend of July 28-29 and request Monday off.  Pirate Rob and Jayslow Entertainment are throwing Blockstock IV in The Party Block that Sunday.  If you can make it, you will be there very late.  If you miss it, just drop anchor on the couch because you are not sea-worthy.

F&*k you, Pirate Rob!  And sail on, brother!

You land-lubbers can see videos from Jam at the Dam at this link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC43C3D4C10B5FA32&feature=plcp

If you were there: great partying with you!!

Summer of Love

For many people, the winter holidays provide them the best opportunities to visit family and friends.  I do best in the summer.  Many of my friends are former teacher colleagues and former students.  Many are friends of my youth and we now combine our families for summer vacations.  Golf and fishing buddies come out of hibernation.  Schedules loosen and neighborhood cookouts and cocktail parties happen much more spontaneously.  My block is recognized as the garage-hangout capital of the neighborhood.

The heat simmers up the love!  Yes, it’s been two weeks since I blogged.  Again.  Wish I could just push a few keys and bring you all with me!  It’s been great to see many new and familiar friends as I follow bands and enjoy the bounty that Lancaster offers us in the summer.  This time, I was off the grid with up to 38 friends old and new throwing a little mountain-house party I call Loyalstock.  It’s our 17-acre summer decompression chamber.  So since I’m back in town, let me throw a few shout-outs to the folks making my summer sizzle!

Thanks to Music For Everyone (MFE) for two fabulous Music Fridays!  I can’t wait for July 20!

Thanks to Long’s Park Summer Concert Series for great weekly shows, especially Sister Sparrow and Mia Borders.  Dawes is coming July 22!

Thanks to Mike Males and MyRuralRadio.com for York County’s first camp out-music festival: Genesis Fest was a genuine success!

Thanks to Mike Van Jura, Greenbelt Events.com and The Abbey Bar at Appalachian Brewing Co for the Season Pass Holder appreciation show with Simone Felice and for the amazing summer of shows to date!  That pass is the best $100 I spent all year!

Thank you to Lovebettie, Sweet Leda and Pete Bush and Hoi Polloi for trusting me enough to play your host in Lancaster!  I know you’ll be back!

Thank you to Steve and Trinette for letting all my rowdy friends invade your mountain home for a week of Loyalstock!  Thank you to all who attended; you are wonderful, gracious guests and a ton of fun to party and jam with!  Thank you Nick Schucker of NAS Sound and Entertainment for ridiculously great sound and lights at Loyalstock.  Thanks to my best man Ward Smith who again won the prizes for distance traveled and hours jamming.  You can play anything with anyone!

I will post more frequently in July and will add in links to all the pics and videos I have collected.  Tomorrow I head for Weatherly, PA to cover DNL’s Jam @ the Dam: 35 bands for $30 and draft beer is included.  I should have plenty to say about Pirate Rob’s event if I survive it!  Other upcoming highlights include Cabinet at Chameleon Club Friday July 13 and WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival July 20-22.  Seizure later!