By: Rachel Rocks
Happy New Year!! 2017 was a year of chaos and craziness. I’m really not complaining my life is never boring, but I’m still hoping things will slllloooowww down. I’m very blessed to have so many family and friends that keep me hopping from activity to activity, but every know and then I wish I could just freeze time and take a nice long breather, and maybe a bubble bath! I managed to squeeze a couple of bands in this month, mixed in with all of the birthday and holiday celebrations.
My first night out and about I saw Steel at Double K. Every night with Steel is a wild party, but this night they were also celebrating Aaron’s birthday, so everyone was even crazier than usual, and of course Vicki made one of her famous cakes! Steel plays so many of my favorite head banging songs. It never gets old watching people see Steel for the first time and watching people love every song they play. Steel’s energy is contagious and gets people on the dance floor and loving every minute of their show. Steel’s stage presence is always entertaining just to watch, let alone hear. Even their drummer Trevis gets involved making as many facial expressions he can making eye contact with crowd and having a blast in the process. They also had a couple of musicians watching their show, and as usual they invited them up on the stage for a song. Gary Lee Roxx took over the microphone and Dave Gary strapped on Dave’s bass, it gives the guys a break and it mixes things up and always makes it interesting. If you want to be fully entertained while you are out on the town check out Steel’s ad in this issue and plan your next night out!
My next night out was a long one, it started with a quick visit to see the first set of the Nate Myers Trio at Colonial Lounge. It’s not the ideal place to see or have a band, but kudos to them for still doing what they can to support live music, and kudos to Nate, Pete, and this night it was Kenny behind the kit, for making it as much of a show as they could. Their big smiles, quick wit, and hilarious humor were all still there mixed in between their amazing music. They played mainly originals, but threw in a couple of covers that were requested. As usual Nate and his crew go above and beyond to keep the crowd entertained. You can catch Nate Myers jamming with his rock n’ roll blues all over the midstate and beyond. To see his full schedule check out his website at www.natemyers.com.
The next stop of the night was The Blue Moose for Suzi Brown. I haven’t crossed paths with Suzi since the MMC last year, but it is always a special treat when I do. Just seeing her makes me miss the fun times of the MMC. It’s hard to believe the Millennium Music Conference is only a month away. This year it’s going to be February 22-25th and it will be over in the Park Inn, which is the hotel attached to Blarney’s. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen Suzi at one of her shows, but not only does she still have her amazing storytelling and percussion guitar playing, but she has also added in a looper machine. She is now an even more impressive one woman band. Every time I cross paths with Suzi I’m amazed with her talent and this night was no different.
The last band of the night was Booby Trap at Double K. As usual the room was nice and steamy with people on the dance floor having a great night of rock n’ roll. Three guys in the band are getting ready to celebrate 20 years of jamming together! If you’re in a band or know a band, you know how absolutely impressive that is. There’s no drama or egos, just a few friends having a good time and entertaining people in the process. The way they can back each other up with just a nod of the head or just existing is pretty awesome.
The word on the street is that Double K is cutting back to only have live music on Saturdays. It’s a common occurrence amongst venues. It’s so hard to get people to come out and be willing to pay a cover two nights in a row, or even just come out period. People look at their schedule and pick and choose which shows they can afford to come to, and which ones they will have to skip. It’s sad to see how strapped people are in today’s world, but it’s so true. Venues are getting fewer and further in between. If you enjoy live music I highly suggest getting out there and supporting it before it’s gone!
My next night out was another trip to Double K for Banished for Life. These guys probably don’t even want me to say how long they’ve been playing together, but the most important part is they can still get the stage rockin’ and the dance floor packed with people having a great night! The music alone should be enough to get people on the dance floor, but the Purple Hooters probably help too! If you are at Double K ask Karen or Jim for a Purple Hooter. You’ll be hootin’ and hollerin’ and the next day you might even wind up with a new purple bruise, that makes you wonder how that got there! In all seriousness tho, the Banished for Life fans are tons of fun and make sure everyone is having a party! The guys on the stage rock the night away playing so many of your rock favorites. They also play quite a few of the older rock songs that I don’t hear every night which is refreshing!
The last night out of the month was on a Thursday to The Blue Moose in Linglestown for their open mic night. I was told it was being an Unofficial 717 Christmas Party. There were quite a few musicians there. Unfortunately I missed most of them because I didn’t get there until 11. One set I wish I would’ve heard was Timmy and The Creeping Thyme. They created a whole set of just Christmas music that I heard was pretty amazing. I also missed Ben Bollinger from Six Bar Break and I always appreciate his music. When I got there Sweet Corn and Peanut were on the stage. I heard them play on our acoustic stage at the MMC before, but they are always a special treat. They are a husband and wife duo that are so in sync with each other that they take “harmonies” to a whole new level and just sing in stereo. The way they can match each other’s inflictions in their voices is just amazing. Each note, sang in stereo. The Blue Moose isn’t a very big room, but their voices are so powerful they probably don’t even need a mic. Sweet Corn has some amazing guitar licks, mixed in with Peanut’s leg slappin rhythms, foot stomps, and overall shenanigans and topped off with their amazing voices. It was definitely a very special Christmas treat. Next up was Suzi Brown, she told me about the open mic while I was out at her show the week before, and I’m glad I stopped out to see everyone. After Suzi performed a couple songs, she invited everyone up for a wild jam to end the night. I was excited to see Sofeya hop up there with her ukulele. Overall it was an amazing night of music. They are trying to have open mics the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at Blue Moose. It’s definitely a super fun night of absolutely amazing music.
I also enjoyed just hearing Ben networking with Sweet Corn and Peanut. They were sharing secrets about how to get their music copyrighted, to even which cameras work best for video and other secrets they’ve discovered with trial and error throughout the years. It’s awesome to see musicians working together. It again gave me the itch for the Millennium Music Conference. The MMC is all about music! People playing, talking, and learning all about music. I know a lot of local musicians don’t take advantage of this opportunity right in their own backyard, but I can tell you, if you don’t come out, you are missing a huge opportunity. Sure, you might not get paid to be there, but the information you can absorb and learn just from talking to other musicians is priceless. Then if you actually go to the panels and learn from so many down to earth amazing professionals, and create friendships that last years!! You need a foot in the door to a different area other than Harrisburg, the MMC is your threshold! Get out there and spend a couple bucks to invest in your music and in your talent. Take advantage and get involved, talk to people, swap stories, support each other, and do yourself a huge favor and go out and hear some of the music that attacks Harrisburg for two nights. I’ve never been disappointed in any shows I get to go see. And one more tip is just don’t sleep… there is too much you’ll miss! For all of the details, that are at this point getting updated daily, check out www.musicconference.net.
A super special thank you to those that ordered special pictures for their favorite rockstars for Christmas. My last second idea of selling some pictures to make a couple bucks for my own Christmas shopping worked out great! If you would still like to purchase pictures of your loved ones and favorite rockstars I’d be more than happy to get them printed for you. I also can make collages if I have enough pictures of your Rockstar. I save ALL of my pictures… so trust me I have lots to choose from. I’m also starting to create a spreadsheet so I can find my pictures even faster. Starting January 1st I’m going to start featuring some of my favorite pictures on my Facebook page. They might be older, or newer. I hope I don’t offend anyone by posting pictures of them with an old band, or whatever. If you really don’t want your picture featured, please let me know. If there is a certain person or band who’s pictures you would like to see, you can let me know that too! I can send you pictures to view in private so you can surprise your loved one, or I can also just share them on Facebook. I appreciate all of your continued support. There’s no way I could ever get all of my pictures printed in the magazine, but there are plenty of good ones I know a lot of people would enjoy seeing.
Well that’s all for this month!! Huge birthday shout outs this month to my most beautiful sister in the entire planet, Andrea Greene on January 6th, and my super studly and absolutely amazing husband, Kris on January 8th! There wouldn’t be a Rachel Rocks without his continued support behind the scenes. Again, I will say I am so extremely blessed to have the family and friends that love me and support me. Hopefully you will see me Out and About this month. I hope you all have a very blessed and music filled 2018!! If you have any questions or comments you can hit me up at RachelRocks@pamusician.net. Don’t forget to check out www.facebook.com/PAMusicianMagazine.