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Nationals – May 2017

By Eric Hoffman

   Greetings Rockers ‘N’ Rollers! The highlight of this past month was the reuniting of Jet Silver, a band that began in Lancaster in the late 80’s and remained popular locally thru the 90’s. Jet Silver played two amazing shows: including a benefit in Lancaster at Tellus 360 on April 23rd and I was very fortunate to have them play a house party at my home.  The band had not performed in 3 years and were incredible playing their entire self-titled album from beginning to end. Founding member Joel Kline sang as if a day hadn’t passed. Kline plays bass, while Sal Saunders and Shea Quinn provide guitars with Ryan Sohmer on drums. I am beyond grateful to Ryan and the entire band for making this band and these shows happen again. There is even word of Jet Silver producing a new record.

    Indie rock band Shiny Toy Guns also reunited recently to honor the 10th Anniversary of their first studio album We Are Pilots. The band played 5 reunion shows in 4 cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and New York City. It was great to see the band back together at Webster Hall in NYC and to hear their great album that was nominated for a Grammy. There is no word of the band’s future plans, singer Carah Faye has been following a solo career at the moment.

    Baltimore based Future Islands began their current tour with 4 sold-out intimate hometown shows at Ottobar. The synth pop band announced the shows with the release of their fifth studio album The Far Field, on April 7th. The Ottobar’s capacity of only a few hundred hardly compares to Future Islands current tour of 3,000+ venues. The band has announced 48 shows so far, with appearances at massive festivals including Coachella and Glastonbury. I was beyond lucky to score tickets to the April 9th show and witness the band in such a special atmosphere.

    Lastly, Sean Wheeler, singer of punk band Throw Rag, returned to the East Coast helping with vocals for Brant Bjork. This is a band I’ve only become recently familiar with and is currently touring with doom-metal band Pentagram. It was great to catch up with Wheeler, and to witness  the unbelievable performer he is, who hasn’t toured the East Coast in years. Unfortunately the show at Baltimore’s Soundstage did not include Pentagram’s notorious singer Bobby Liebling, who was unable to appear. The band stated Liebling’s “addiction recovery is a daily struggle” referring to his lifelong drug addiction.

    NATIONAL NEWS:  The funeral for rock n’ roll legend Chuck Berry took place on April 9th in St. Louis. The celebration began with a public viewing, in which hundreds of fans filed past Berry, whose beloved cherry-red  Gibson guitar was bolted to the inside of his coffin’s lid. Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss wasn’t scheduled to speak but someone urged him to take the podium. Paul McCartney and Little Richard both sent notes of condolences. The Rolling Stones sent a floral arrangement in the shape of a guitar. At the end of the funeral, a brass band played “St. Louis Blues” while Berry’s casket was carried out. Chuck Berry’s final studio album will be released on June 9th. The album, titled “CHUCK”, is Berry’s first album since 1979’s Rock It.Dualtone Records says eight of the 10 new recordings were written by Berry, who worked on the album until 2014.

   Seattle rockers Pearl Jam, the late rapper Tupac Shakur and 1970s hitmaking band Journey were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 8th. David Letterman replaced an ailing Neil Young as the person inducting Pearl Jam. One of the night’s most anticipated performances was Journey’s. But despite earlier reports, Steve Perry did not perform with the current Journey members. Instead, Arnel Pineda sang lead as the band performed their hits, including “Don’t Stop Believin.” Perry, estranged from the band for many years, did embrace guitarist and co-founder Neal Schon on stage. Joan Baez, Electric Light Orchestra and Yes were also part of the 2017 class inducted at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

   Prog metal band Tool has announced a North American summer tour. There isn’t any word on a new album from Tool, which hasn’t released new music since 2006. The lineup for Tool is currently Danny Carey on drums, Adam Jones on guitar, and Justin Chancellor on bass, with Maynard James Keenan on vocals. The shows are being billed as an unparalleled sonic and visual experience, and the band’s use of visuals and lights in past concerts certainly validates that claim. The 20 dates itinerary includes Hersheys Giant Center on May 25th.

   Bob Dylan finally received his Nobel Literature medal on April 1st at a hotel next to the conference center where Dylan was performing a concert later that night. The intimate ceremony with members of the Swedish Academy, described Dylan as “a very nice, kind man and pleased by the award. The 75-year-old American singer-songwriter originally declined the invitation to attend the traditional Nobel Prize banquet and ceremony on Dec. 10th — pleading other commitments. But in order to receive the award worth 8 million kronor ($894,800), Dylan must give a lecture within six months from Dec. 10. He said a recorded version of it will be sent later. The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Dylan for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition. Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Touris currently in Europe and returns to North America in June and July. The trek begins with 3 nights at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY (June 13, 14, 15) and then Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware on June 17.

   Violent Femmes have announced a run of dates in North America with Echo & The Bunnymen this summer. The tour starts at The Mann in Philadelphia on July 11th and is in all amphitheaters and outdoor stages, so fans should be ready to enjoy some beautiful scenery along with the tunes. Violent Femmes reunited at Coachella in 2013 and releasedWe Can Do Anythingin 2016, its first album of original material in more than a decade. Echo & The Bunnymen also reunited in the ’90s, though Pete de Freitas, the group’s first drummer, and keyboardist Jake Brockman, have died. The band is currently based around vocalist Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant. Echo & The Bunnymen’s last release was “Meteorites” in 2014.

   Scorpions is inviting special guest Megadeth on the road for a month-long tour of North America later this year. The dates for theCrazy World” tour begin Sept. 14th in Reading, PA., at Santander Arena. Scorpions has been rocking since 1965 and is still led by guitarist Rudolf Schenker. The singer is Klaus Meine, Matthias Jabs plays lead guitar, Pawel Maciwoda holds down the bass, and former Motörhead member Mikkey Dee plays the drums. The band released its latest album, Return to Forever, in 2015. Prior to the North American trek Scorpions is mostly in Europe in the summer, with tons of festival appearances booked.

    It’s been a year since Prince died from an accidental drug overdose at his suburban Minneapolis home. Search warrant records were released regarding the 57 year old singer’s abuse of opioid pain pills. Dozens of counterfeit pills were found in a search of Paisley Park, including at least one that tested positive for fentanyl – a synthetic drug 50 times more powerful than heroin. It was stated that Prince was “going through withdrawals, which are believed to be the result of the abuse of prescription medication.” The recent news has surprised and saddened those who knew him as someone with a reputation for clean living.

UPCOMING SHOWS: The Cult Baltimore Rams Head Live May 3. Supersuckers / Dead 50s Harrisburg Abbey Bar May 5. Local H / Anthrophobia Northampton Gin Mill May 7. Tommy Conwell & Young Rumblers Ardmore Music Hall May 13. Pixies Baltimore Rams Head Live May 14. Kings Of Leon Columbia MD Merriweather Pavilion May 14. Jesus & Mary Chain Philadelphia Union Transfer May 15. Midnight Oil Philadelphia Keswick Theatre May 16. The Virus York Skid Row Garage May 26. The Orwells Philadelphia Union Transfer May 26. Future Islands Philadelphia Fillmore May 29.

    Email: ERockHoff@comcast.net

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