Music Imports and Exports

I really enjoyed my run of showcases at Lancaster Dispensing Company from January to May and I hope you did as well!  The audiences were very appreciative and I’d like to thank my bands for playing their hearts out!  January: The Naïve Americans and The VCC Duo (aka Jeff Bryson and Leo DiSanto) gave us some fine folk and bluegrass.  February: The Lonelies Tour and Second Hand Suits shared some stylish performances.  March: Lovers League (aka TJ McGlinchey, Christopher Davis-Shannon and Dani Mari) and very special guests The KGB Trio (Kalob Griffin, Robert Dwyer and Eric Lawry) reminded us that the song rules and they live to serve it.  April: Jason Ager and C.O.P.O. and Angelo Melasecca are two great showmen who really know their guitars!

Me with Angela Michele Walker

Me with Angela Michele Walker

May: Ali Wadsworth and Satellite Hearts rocked and Angela Michele Walker Trio rolled.  It was important to me to have a night featuring women vocalists and these ladies definitely shone!

The tagline for the showcases was “Two Regional Gems and a Local Treasure.”  I wanted to introduce bands to Lancaster who I had seen in my travels and pair them with a local act with whom I thought they might connect on some level.  I also wanted the “import” bands to see what a great city and scene we have.  Several of the bands are already finding ways to share gigs and their audiences.  And I’ve had offers to take a version of The Gigspots Showcase on tour.

I “export” bands from Lancaster as well.  My client venues in State College, Williamsport, Wilkes-Barre and Harrisburg usually feature someone I sent them at least once a month.  I am about to begin serving other I-80 venues as well as possibilities along I-70 in MD and WV.  I believe I will be hosting showcases at both World Café Venues (Philly and Wilmington) by the fall.  I’m ridiculously lucky to associate with Gable Music Ventures in DE and NaptownMusic in Annapolis, MD.  Of course you’ve all heard me blab about Pirate Rob, music guru behind OneKoast Entertainment (based in Baltimore), Frozen Harbor Music Festival and Jam at the Dam in Weatherly, PA.  It’s one badass indie music festival that becomes a two-day affair this year.  Gigspots is a perennial stage sponsor.  Contact me or visit PirateRob.com for tickets!

Bjorn Jacobsen and Freeman White at The Factory: Underground

Bjorn Jacobsen and Freeman White at The Factory: Underground

When I go out to “recruit” venues, I often take Bjorn Jacobsen with me on an open mic night or a night where a band I know is playing.  He sits in and I immediately get more respect!  I guess they figure if I know a musician that serious, I must be doing something right.  I’ve seen him win an audience playing AFTER Mike Miz and I’ve seen dudes like Freeman White ask to sit in with him.

One of my favorite services is helping a band fill out a tour or a venue fill a sudden hole in their schedule.  When a venue calls, I know I need to find a good audience fit that will sell some tickets and beer.  When a band calls, they usually have their weekends booked but need gigs to survive the mid-week drives between them.  Sometimes, you get the best for everyone.  I have recently made two national bands (Silencio and Carsie Blanton) very happy by filling their tour calendar.  And I can’t wait for the hugs I’ll get from the venue owners and fans who will get a chance to see them within three hours of home at a reasonable price!Carsie-Blanton-truck-758x392

So send me your poor, hungry bands and fans!  My client venues are the best around and my list is growing.  Check them out for yourself and tip the staffs please.  We’re saving the economy one gig at a time!

Turn It Off

Turn it off.  It seems like a simple enough directive.  Have I been able to turn it off while on vacation?  Barely.  My Facebook, Twitter, band and venue clients call to me like sirens.  I might be spending my days crashing waves and eating slices but my mind can’t escape the music.

De Lazy Lizard bayside bar: 2nd Street OCMD

De Lazy Lizard bayside bar: 2nd Street OCMD

I love my family and friends and am grateful for this week to spend with them in leisure.  But I can’t stop Gigspotting.

I left town with some hot loose ends that are haunting me.  I coordinated a performance by Silencio at Zoetropolis Art House on 7/13 and didn’t get to see the show; we left town that morning.  My friend Bjorn Jacobsen of The Wayfarer Experiment hosted the open mic at Shank’s Tavern in Marietta on Tuesday.  I hated to miss that!  Matt Wheeler played WCL at the Queen Wednesday night after my urging him to connect with Gable Music Ventures’ Singer-Songwriter series.  Missed it.  Today, Thursday 7/18/13, is The Ladybug Music Festival in the streets of Wilmington, DE.  My banner will be flying over the Xtreme Pizza stage.  Awesome women musicians will be in the spotlight from 5-11pm and the streets will be filled with vendors and music lovers.  I will only be there in spirit.

So what am I spotting in OCMD?  Boy, am I seeing a lot of great cover bands!  Our vacation home for the week is triangulated between two great bars: Caribbean Pool Bar on the boardwalk and De Lazy Lizard on the bay.  Both have live music every night and great drink specials.  At the Lizard, I saw Brandon Hardesty of Bumpin Uglies playing solo acoustic.  Have you picked up a copy of their latest, Ninjah: Reggae Assassins?  It’s phenomenal fun!  It was great to be there just relaxing with friends and not working behind my camera.  Tonight we might slip up to 45th Street Taphouse to catch a set by Bond and Bentley.  But first, it will be a seafood feast and some go-cart racing.S1140026

So I’m turning it off for now.  I’ll be back in central PA to stir the pot Saturday night and Sunday brings Dawes back to Long’s Park Summer Concert Series.  I hope to visit my new outrageous pals at The Rattler in Pittston mid-week.  Then it’s Toy Soldiers at Chameleon Thursday and three glorious days of the XPoNential Music Festival in Camden.  Count on me catching some central PA bands on those wonderful stages, namely The Districts and The Stray Birds.  Saturday night I get to see The Lumineers with my daughter.  The festival culminates Sunday night with Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket and other great acts on the AmericanaRama Tour.  It can’t be much bigger or better than that!

Gigspots Interview: Kirk Salopek of Silencio

SILENCIO- A Tribute to the Works of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti

PhilaMOCA (532 N. 12th Street Philadelphia, PA) 7pm 7/12

Zoetropolis Art House (315 W. James Street Lancaster, PA) 11pm 7/13

 

7/12 PhilaMOCA &/13 Zoetropolis

7/12 PhilaMOCA
&/13 Zoetropolis

Twin PeaksMulholland Drive? Blue Velvet?  Maybe even Eraserhead?  How big of a David Lynch fan are you?  If your answer is BIG, this mini-tour by the band Silencio is a must-see for you.  It was Twin Peaks that set Kirk Salopek on a course through the weird and wondrous ways of filmmaker and composer David Lynch that eventually lead to Silencio.

“Man, those Julee Cruise songs from the Twin Peaks soundtrack, I just played that cassette to pieces.  It’s definitely how I came to love that twangy, tremolo-filled kind of 50’s sound.”  Kirk Salopek of Pittsburgh is a self-taught musician on a mission.  He and drummer David Jamison performed in a band The Mandrake Project from 2002-2011.  Their sound was progressive, mixing jazz, prog-rock and much experimentation; check their release A Miraculous Container.  Mid-2011 Kirk visited his local guitar store and saw this Epiphone SG copy “…that looked like it had been dipped in pond water.  Nasty.  My buddy who owns the store said he’d sell it for $40.  I took it home, cleaned it up and holy cow, you’d have to play it to believe it.”  That guitar and Kirk and David’s restlessness for a new musical challenge was the birth of Silencio.Silencio-lpr

“We both loved that retro sound, kind of sci-fi movie, 60’s cop shows, you know.  We started composing some stuff and realized we needed a bass player.  That’s where Matt Booth came in.  David was simultaneously working on a side project and had brought in his friend Dessa (Poljak) to sing a bit.  Well, her looks and her sound were perfect for our project.  The next thing you know, we enlisted Lee Hintenlang on sax and Dan Barrett on keys.  They play with Matt in City Dwelling Nature Seekers.  So in the space of about a month, we had a band and our first show.  It was at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan and it sold out!  We knew we were onto something!”

The David Lynch fan base is a large and voracious body all over the globe.  Lynch hasn’t released a film in a while but has released two music albums since 2010.  All sorts of anniversaries and celebrations are planned for some of his major works in the next year or two and audiences are clamoring for Silencio to be there.  Friday July 12, the band plays the “Eraserhood Forever” celebration at PhilaMOCA to help celebrate that weird neighborhood in Philly where Lynch lived while studying art in Philadelphia.  Eraserhead was his first full-length film in 1977.  Before returning to Pittsburgh (and the studio!), Silencio will also perform at Zoetropolis Art House in Lancaster, PA Saturday July 13 at 11pm.

Is Lynch aware of Silencio?  “Oh yeah, he knows about us,” says Kirk.  “He was interviewed in Rolling Stone mid-2012 and was asked if he had heard about us.  At the time, he replied no but we have heard through channels since that we have his blessing.  Plus, we were mentioned in RS, you know, so that was cool!   Even better has been getting associated with The David Lynch Foundation.  They espouse the use of transcendental meditation and consciousness-based education as therapy for people like soldiers returning with PTSD, victims of abuse and other people whose emotional and psychological scars are deep.  It’s a fascinating organization and you wouldn’t believe how many big stars are involved.  It’s cool to know that you’re making the music you want to make and that people find it not just enjoyable but actually helpful.”

Music fans who love David Lynch films: it makes perfect sense if you know Lynch’s work at all.  But anyone who appreciates great musicianship, ambience and escape should invest a few hours in Silencio.

7/12 PhilaMOCA &/13 Zoetropolis

7/12 PhilaMOCA
&/13 Zoetropolis