By: Rachel Rocks
It’s hard to believe this is my last article of 2017. What happened to this year… it seemed to zoom by in a flurry of craziness. I apologize I haven’t been as supportive as I would’ve liked. I didn’t do as good as usual at “spreading the love”.. I pretty much stuck close to home this year, mainly because of the nastiness we call time, and the lack of it. If you saw me Out and About consider yourself lucky! Or unlucky however you want to view it.. lol. This month I finally made it out to see quite a few bands.
It all started out many nights ago when I was actually on the way home from delivering Lancaster and I saw a Facebook post that Jeff from Element 22 and Darrell from Asking Andy were playing an acoustic show together at the Hershey Vineyards. It’s awesome that the wineries are hosting so much live music. It’s a great combo, and most of the wineries in the area have plenty of space for live music. I have to admit this one was a little strange. They literally had a projector shining directly into the corner where the guys were playing and part of the game was projecting right on Darrell’s face! I personally thought the most ironic part is how much Darrell already hates football. There were plenty of other “screens” throughout the room, it was a shame they wouldn’t turn that one off while the guys were playing. Football or not, the guys did a great job and entertained everyone there and by the end they were even taking requests to make sure all of their fans knew how much they were appreciated.
The following weekend I headed out to the Winner’s Circle for Smokin Gunnz. I haven’t been out to the Winner’s Circle in a super long time. It was awesome to see the room packed on a Saturday with standing room only. It was my first time seeing Smokin Gunnz new guitar player, Zach Beers on the stage. He’s definitely been working hard to make sure he is up to par with the rest of the Gunnz. He already fits in great and has his own fan club! Smokin Gunnz doesn’t necessarily play a lot of the boot scootin songs the line dancers are used to, but I was impressed to see how so many of the dancers improvised without complaining. I also managed to make it to Hollywood Casino on Thanksgiving Eve to see the Smokin Gunnz rockin the stage at Hollywood. It was awesome to see them on such a cool stage. It stinks not being able to take my camera in there, but at least it allows me to let loose and have a good time without worrying about taking pictures all night.
Thanksgiving Eve was a long one, I got a late start because my dog has been sick, but I still managed to make up for it. After Smokin Gunnz I headed back to the Winner’s Circle for Darrell’s newest band, Honkytonk Medics. The Honkytonk Medics did a great job at playing more of the modern country, or shall I saw a more danceable country. For a new band they have quite the repertoire of songs. They were also able to take requests to help keep dancers on the dance floor. The Honkytonk Medics usually play more on the Eastern side of the state, but have recently been creeping over this way more. Keep an eye for them, so you can have your own night of boot scootin and boogying.
After the Honkytonk Medics I zoomed down the street to Double K for Relentless. Relentless is a classic/modern rock band playing all of your favorite rock songs from yesterday and today. I only got there for the tail end of their show, but I was told they had the dance floor hopping earlier in the night. People still claim that Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest party night of the year, but to me it seems like more and more people aren’t staying out as late and are getting home and getting ready to spend some much needed time with their family.
After eating entirely too much food, and then shopping my feet off for Black Friday, I wound up rockin’ the night away at the WTPA Birthday Bash with Mom and about 1,000 other friends! I’m so glad Mom finally got out for a night with me to enjoy the music that she has supported for so many years. The Annual Birthday Bash featuring Kix as the headliner is definitely a well-oiled machine. John Harris has organized it and promoted it every year and it was cool to see so many people enjoying amazing music without having any major issues. The VIP area was a little bit bigger which gave us plenty of room to move, you also had your own bar in the VIP area and there was a side door open with easy access to the rest rooms, maybe next year the VIP should have their own porta potty lol.. Women’s bathroom lines are always crazy no matter where you go, and all the bands were so good you didn’t want to miss any of them.
Leadfoot kicked off the night. It’s been a while since I saw these guys and they definitely got the party started on the right track! Their energy is contagious and they quickly got the crowd involved, jumping and rockin’ along! I really need to get out and see a longer show with them soon! Next up was Grumpy Old Men. I’ve heard a lot about these guys and I’m glad I finally got the chance to see them. They have a great sound, and a majority of the crowd were bopping along to a few of their songs. You can tell they are all seasoned musicians that know how to play, and they were a pleasure to listen to. The last opener of the night was Steel. We all know how much I love these guys.. it was awesome to see them opening for Kix. They’ve been there as fans supporting this show for years, it was great to see them finally get their chance to shine. They fired the crowd right back up again! I’m so glad they stuck to their usual and ended their set with “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. My friend Terri finally made it out to a show and a little head bangin was just what we needed! Last but not least the headliners, Kix took the stage.
It is so hard to believe Steve Whiteman is 62 years old! That man is in amazing shape and has one heck of a stage show! I know there were a lot of relieved fans when we saw Ronnie back on the stage and sounding as good as usual if not even better. With a sold out crowd the band was definitely pumped up and loving every minute of it. They played a lot of their older stuff, but also some newer songs from their ”Rock Your Face Off” album. It was definitely a great night of music from start to finish! I can’t wait til next year!!
On a side note part of the reason we were all there was to celebrate 92.1 WTPA’s 37th Birthday. Unfortunately we had a sad part of the night when we were told that the station was just sold, and believe it or not, it was sold to a Christian radio station. Nothing has been officially announced yet, but chances are WTPA is going to once again have to find a new home. Keep your ear out on the air waves and support this station as much as you possibly can. If you feel it in your heart write a letter to the FCC and let them know how amazing WTPA is and fight for their right to keep the party going another 37 years!
The crazy night still wasn’t over, we made one more stop out at Chick’s in Hummelstown for Frayed Nott. It’s been so long since I crossed paths with these guys, so long in fact that they have a new member. Welcome to Starla! Starla helps out singing lead vocals which helps add even more songs to their set list with a female vocalist. She also does an amazing job blending in harmonies, tambourine and any other percussion she can mix in. The guys were there regular rockin’ selves entertaining the locals and having a good night. After having many conversations with Dave over the phone it was cool finally getting to introduce him and Mom in person. Another nice surprise was seeing Jim and Karen from the Double K at Chick’s, yet again another long-time supporter of the magazine that Mom never got the chance to officially meet. Double K was closed because of it being a holiday weekend, so they took advantage of having the night off to come out and support music in another way.. as patrons! After being good with family over the Thanksgiving holiday it felt good to let loose and get a little “Notty!” You can check out Frayed Nott’s ad in this issue and see where they will be rockin’ next! Double K also has a great line-up this month. Check out their ad in this issue too and get out there and be patrons at their bar.
Yet another side-note.. If you happen to go to Double K and you see a sign out front that says “No Colors”… please don’t be offended. It doesn’t say “coloreds” .. this is 2017.. They only have that sign on their building to let bikers and patrons know they are welcome, but leave your colors at home, we are all family at Double K. EVERYONE is welcome.. and EVERYONE gets treated like family. Unfortunately, some person that’s not from this area saw that sign and posted some nasty things online about the Double K. I know it’s all “freedom of speech”.. but it’s just sad to see such a cool place get so slandered when it’s totally not deserved. Double K loves all the little adults… Red or Yellow, Black, or White, stop on in and have a bite.. and stick around for the live music and maybe even some ice cold beer!
I was finally in town and able to finish off the holiday weekend at 97.3’s Toys for Tots event. This is the 9th Annual Event and the first one I was able to go see and I’m so glad I did. What an amazing evening of music at Joe K’s. It all kicked off with the April Skies. I haven’t seen these guys in many years! I know they’ve undergone some line up changes many moons/years ago, but it was my first time seeing Kemper as their lead vocalist. I simply love his voice and his stage performance. He’s an amazing entertainer and so much fun to watch. He was on and off the stage and walking around as much as he possibly could with his wired mic. Jake still does his fair share of singing and it also a great vocalist, and all of them are absolutely amazing musicians, so it was a great start to a great night of music. I got there a little late, so I missed the first half of their set, but I’m so glad I didn’t miss it completely. Next up were the Jellybricks. Another super talented band. Their shows are few and far between, but they keep releasing music, so keep an ear and an eye out for these guys and catch them when you can, you won’t be disappointed. Their harmonies are crazy cool and fun to listen to. They have played at all 9 years of this event. Their support for this great cause is amazing, just like their music! Next up the Luv Gods took the stage. They’ve also undergone some changes since I’ve seen them too, (again I’ve led a sheltered life this year and obviously didn’t get out much…) Dave Heisey, on bass, brings some new wild energy to the band that I haven’t seen for a few years. I have to admit between him on lead vocals and Len Lechene’s craziness on the drums it sort of makes your head spin around! They still have their three solid pieces to the Luv Gods, Shea and Sal, playing guitar and singing their hearts out, and Mark still playing away on the keys! Shea was also aware of a secret weapon in the room, he brought up Glenn Hamilton, the Program Director and a morning host on The River, 97.3, to sing “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen. He killed it and he only needed a little help from Google to get it done! It was great hearing them again. Hopefully it won’t be so long til the next time. The last band of the night was Shea Quinn’s latest project The Band Who Sold the World, a David Bowie tribute band. I never realized there are so many David Bowie songs I liked, but no wonder they can make a whole set just singing David Bowie. Talk about even more amazing musicians. I know the bass player was Scott Frange, owner and operator of the Player’s Exchange in Lemoyne. He’s been talking about this band for quite a few years now and I’m glad I got the chance to catch them. Wow! What a night of music. Thanks for the amazing line up 97.3. You did an amazing job hosting the night, and Ritt once again did a marvelous job keeping things moving and sounding great behind the sound board.
Oh look another side note… Thoughts and good healing vibes go out to Deuce from the Martini Bros. They were supposed to be part of this show, but word in the club was that Deuce had some kind of bike accident pedal or motor I’m not sure, but unfortunately however he crashed, he messed up his shoulder and was home recovering. I’ve heard good reports about their new bass player and I was looking forward to hearing them play.
Well I finally made it through all of the bands for this month! It felt so good to finally be a busy girl! There is so much happening this month and plenty of schedules to look at throughout the mag and plan your next night on the town! I’m so excited that Blarney’s is going to keep advertising, it’s great to have another venue listing and promoting the bands they are having for the month.
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Super Happy New Year!! I’m looking forward to some much needed time off from my other two jobs, and with all of the craziness of the holidays, who knows how much or how little I will make it out this month. Four SUPER important things happening this month is a super Happy Birthday to my littlest baby, Mason who is going to be 12 on Dec. 5th!!! Happy Birthday to my Mommy and the editor of the PA Musician Magazine Robin Noll on Dec. 18th!! She’s my absolute bestest friend and role model, I love her so much, please make sure and wish her a very happy birthday.. Then there is my big brother Joshy Boshy’s birthday on Dec. 19th. Last but definitely not least is Jesus’s birthday on December 25th. Happy Birthday to Jesus and thank you for all you do for me and my family and for making sure I make it home safe every night!
Well that’s all for this month! If you see me Out and About please stop me and say Hi. Questions or comments, you can email me at RachelRocks@pamusician.net. Please get out there and Support Live Music! And last but not least remember Whitey Noll, aka my Daddy is now on Facebook! Please get on there and send him a Friend Request. He loves talking to old friends and making new ones. I love you Daddy!!!