The February Millennium Music Conference Issue!!! WHOOHOO!! Let’s get the party started already!! Once again, I’m very excited to hang out with everyone at the 22nd Annual MMC and fill my ears with amazing music from beginning to end! This year there is a new Host Hotel, the Park Inn in Mechanicsburg, I hope they are ready for us!!! I will write more about the MMC later, but first let me get started on all of the amazingness I already heard and saw this past month.
It all started with a trip out to Double K for Saddle Horn. I never saw these guys before, and I was happy to see a new local country band making its mark on the area. When I arrived I saw a familiar face, Cheryl, from my class in High School. It’s pretty crazy to see someone I haven’t seen in over 20 years at the Double K of all places. Steve Clouser did a great job on vocals, belting out all of your country favorites. It turns out his guitar player John Dubaich, is also my old Science Teacher’s husband. Then there was Ben Musser, the local mail delivery guy for Liverpool where I grew up, and last but not least Seven Trautwein on drums, surprisingly enough I didn’t know him from my past.. Overall they were great musicians that pulled in a decent crowd especially with all of the freezing temps and crazy weather we’ve been having. They had a saddle for you to ride on, and pose for pictures, of course there were a couple of crazy cowboys/girls in the crowd who had to give that a try! Overall it was a fun and crazy night, but isn’t every night at Double K!?!
Next up I took a trip downtown to HMAC in Harrisburg for the Bee Gees Metal Tribute Band: Tragedy out of New York. VoidHidden was asked to open just earlier in the week and they jumped on the opportunity. They did a great job getting the show started and getting the crowd ready for a great night of music. Their energy was contagious and their music rocked you to the core! I usually cross paths with these guys at the MMC, some of them have even stopped by our Open Mic stage, hopefully I’ll see them again this year. I love seeing local bands take advantage of everything the MMC has to offer.
Next up was Tragedy: An All Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees and Beyond.. Yes, that’s right METAL. “It’s Raining Men” will never be the same, plus many other songs like “Sweet Caroline” or there was that medley by KC/DC & the Sunshine Band, that literally almost had me standing there with my jaw hanging open listening to and watching these guys perform. Not only was every song hilarious and a shocker in themselves, but their outfits, their overall demeanor, and their antics on the stage were so entertaining! Aaron Zimmerman from Steel was with me, and I said those outfits are just what Steel needs!! Thank goodness their instruments were hanging in all the right places! Between songs it was like a broadway play, they had Lance taking care of all of their needs and adding to the show in every unimaginable way possible! Not only were they amazing visual entertainment, but their music itself, the way they tweaked the songs to better suit their needs, and all of their different medleys of so many artists and styles of music, not only was their set well written, but they were all top notch musicians! I’m sure they were bummed about the turn out of this show, but hopefully if they get them back with some more promotion, more people will come in and be as entertained as we were.
After a little chat with John Trainor of HMAC I heard about some amazing renovations that are in the works at HMAC. With already having the Stage on Herr, The Kitchen/Gallery stage, and the huge Capital Room, they already have a pretty amazing set-up, it will be awesome for the Harrisburg area if they make it even bigger. It’s definitely a great place to go listen to a band. Keep an eye out for all of the exciting changes coming soon.
Next up was a trip out to the Winner’s Circle for the Anthony K Band. Anthony K is a Nashville Recording artist that came up here to PA to entertain all of the country line dancers at the Winner’s Circle for four days. Just like the other big country acts he only travels with his regular bass player, so he hires some other local musicians to play with him. The night I was there Darrell Adams was on guitar and Scott Powell from Laredo was behind the drums. You might’ve heard Anthony K’s song, “Marry Me” on Bob 94.9 or any of your other favorite country stations. The band did a great job at keeping the line dancers on the dance floor and the crowd entertained. Anthony K will be back at the Winner’s Circle February 14th-17th. Unfortunately I couldn’t still around for long, I still wanted to make it to the Blue Moose for Hot Like Molly.
When I arrived at The Blue Moose the Purple Shooters were flying and everyone was having a good time dancing along with Hot Like Molly. Jamie Kay’s voice definitely grabs your attention as soon as you hear her. She’s also backed with some amazing musicians that help make their show the complete package! They are a band that truly does play some songs you don’t hear every other band play. They cover over 4 decades of music, so they obviously have plenty of songs to choose from. I’ve seen them a couple times now, and every time their set list is completely different. They have quite the repertoire of songs, which makes them even more entertaining! With a female lead singer, but also plenty of guys that can also sing lead and back her up, it helps make their set list even more diverse! Hopefully our paths will cross again soon!
Believe it or not I snuck off this month and went to the beach for the day.. it was heavenly! On my drive back my friend Terri called and wanted me to go along to go see The Famous at Joe K’s. That worked for me because my friend Amy Leeser was also there celebrating her birthday. As usual The Famous had an amazing, standing room only crowd at Joe K’s. The talent from all of the musicians in The Famous is amazing, so it’s always a great show! I appreciated the shout out from Joey right before their Journey song. There is no denying how much I love Journey!! Thanks Joey! The Famous continues to get more famous with every show. The really cool part is their fans can get Famous too! Who doesn’t like to be famous!!! So don’t wait any longer, keep an eye on these guys and gal and get out there and get famous with them!!
My next trip across the river to Johnny Joe’s for The Blues Vultures. In case you don’t already know, the lead guitar player of this band is Ronnie Younkins, also the lead guitar player of Kix. I never knew he was such a great singer! Dylan Howes, on bass and vocals was a crazy good vocalist too, and that guy can lay down some serious bass lines. It was nice to see my good friend Ed Piccolo switching off drum duties with Tommy Carr. Most of the songs I heard were just good solid rock and roll, but they did throw in a good blues song here and there too. These guys are from down in Maryland, but are trying to work their way up into the Harrisburg area more and more, I sure hope to see them again!
Closing out the night was Nothingmen. Yes! I finally made it to a show!! They’ve been playing lots of local stages all throughout Harrisburg and beyond for over two years now, but they were that elusive band that I just kept missing by mere minutes! I knew they’d be good just because of their caliber of musicians that I’ve seen in other bands, but they were amazing! They play a great mix of covers and sneak in their originals too. I love the line in their biography, “Arby’s has the meats, Nothingmen has the beats.” I would say they have the beats, the meats, and all the treats, with so many quality musicians, the sound from the stage is full and flavorable! I’m glad I finally caught these guys Out and About, now I just wish they would advertise so I can have a better chance of catching them again!
Last but not least is a long time, faithful advertiser, Smokin Gunnz at another faithful advertiser, Double K. The PA Musician survives solely on our advertisers, so to each and every one of you.. Thank you!!! Smokin Gunnz hasn’t been at Double K for a while, so everyone was out in full force ready to support them. I got there at almost the end of the night and it was still crowded, and I heard it was even crazier earlier! It’s awesome to see how Zach has fit right in to the flow of the band. It was a bit strange seeing Mike on the left side of the stage, but he can rock from anywhere! Overall as usual it was a great night of music and a great way to end the month of rock n’ roll!
I wanted to throw a special shout out to Bube’s Brewery in Mt. Joy for allowing me to take the cover pictures and do the interview with Amanda and THE NOISE in the Catacombs of their establishment. We really had a blast and the pictures turned out great! For those of you that don’t know, you can go there and eat upstairs (because it’s cheaper and delicious) I suggest the bacon infused cheddar popcorn, then you can get a tour of the catacombs. The catacombs are part of the underground railroad, and they are also how the brewery stayed in business during the prohibition. There is lots of history in that establishment, it’s really not that far off of 283, halfway between Harrisburg and Lancaster. If you are looking for a fun date night, I highly suggest it! Thanks again Bubes for letting us hang out and be so accommodating to us! You can check out the interview with Amanda and THE NOISE in this issue, and check out that amazing picture on the cover!
Finally, time to chat about the MMC!!!! First things first, pay the extra bucks and stay at the host hotel, the Park Inn. If it snows or any other craziness, we are all safe and nestled in the hotel, and the party still continues, trust me, that has happened, but also it’s nice to be able to just roll out of bed and walk down in time for the panels, mentoring, and of course our Open Mic!! Everything is first come first served, so get there and sign up, don’t be too hungover Friday morning, trust me you will regret it! The Millennium Music Conference is taking place starting Thursday evening, February 22nd thru technically Sunday morning the 25th, at the Park Inn on the Carlisle Pike in Mechanicsburg. It’s the same place where Blarney’s/WS Hardware Bar/(people still refer to it as Wanda’s), or whatever you want to call it. Of course I’m once again looking forward to the annual bag stuffing! It will start hopefully by 5pm. We all get to circle a big table, stuff the bags, and get to know each other, maybe start playing drinking games, eating some gummi bears, or other treats and having a good time! The more the merrier, if we get enough people it’s done in a matter of minutes, and we don’t get so dizzy circling the table. After we’re done stuffing, it’s time for the Kick-Off Party right there at Blarney’s Pub. I’ve never heard of Animal Sun, who is kicking it off at 8:30, but I’m sure they are amazing because the rest of the bands I know for a fact are! Autopilot was at the MMC last year, they come all the way down from Saskatoon, SK, which is in Canada! And are the nicest guys and amazing musicians! I can’t believe the sounds these 3 guys can create. Last year we had late night shenanigans with these guys every night, including stuffing 8 people in one Uber. Then next up is Single By Sunday, with over 24,000 likes on Facebook, and checking out their videos, trust me, you don’t want to miss them!!! Plus they are coming the whole way from Scotland! By the way they are currently looking for a bass to play at their Showcases if you have an extra one you want to loan them, you might want to reach out to them. Then there is Silver Screen from right here in Johnstown, who doesn’t love some grunge music to end the night! Plus, all night long it’s fun seeing people arrive from their long journey to get there to lots of hugs and shenanigans! My favorite part about the MMC is that it is big enough that it brings in some of the top musical acts, and mentors, but also small enough that you actually get to talk to and meet those same mentors and musicians.
Speaking of mentors, make sure you get to mentoring early and get signed up with the mentor that you want, or that Heather suggests, trust me Heather knows her stuff and will make sure you get to talk to who will help you the best. Don’t wait til Saturday at 2pm and then be bummed out because your favorite mentor is booked solid. (Oh and PS make sure and say congrats to Heather and Ivan in mentoring, they just got engaged!! WHOOHOO!) Check out all of the panels, divide and conquer your band, take notes, share the notes with each other, learn as much as you possibly can, (there are over 50 speakers at all of the different panels, but not all of them take the time to mentor, so you’ll have to check out the list to see who is available and when), last but DEFINITELY not least, come see us!!! It’s a new hotel, so I don’t know what “treats” we will be allowed, but we will be hosting an open mic stage right on the trade show floor, you can come play us a song or two and let everyone who’s listening know who you are, where your from and where your showcase is, it’s truly a great opportunity, plus who doesn’t want to listen to music while they are at a music conference! Our stage is open Friday and Saturday from 11-5. We have to shut down at 5pm each day so everyone is ready for the Keynote Speaker! Friday is Andrew Goodfriend, this guy established TKO where he works with amazing artists like Alien Ant Farm, Buckcherry, Drowning Pool, Fuel, Mushroomhead, etc.. Then Saturday it’s Diane Lockner, she is the Regional Manager NE and Midwest for Triple Tigers Records. She spent 11 years at Capitol Nashville where she has worked with many amazing country artists, plus she’s worked with a few record companies where she worked with artists such as: Britney Spears, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, etc.. and believe it or not, back in the day she started out writing for us, right here at the PA Musician Magazine!! Both keynotes will be well worth a listen, that’s for sure! After the keynotes from 7pm-2am it’s time for all of the Showcases at over 28 venues throughout the area. I highly suggest using Uber in the area to get around, if you don’t already have your own transportation, then Saturday, it all starts over again!
One thing I always struggle to understand is why I can’t get more local bands to leave their egos at home and come out and support the Millennium Music Conference. Sure you might’ve heard it all before, or maybe you don’t want to play a little “showcase” spot where you usually get paid to play a full night of music, but what you don’t regularly get is all of the Networking!! Socializing with fellow musicians who have been there done that, etc… This is a musician’s conference!! This is THE conference that is here to help YOU develop as an artist the way that you want to. These mentors are just here to help nudge you in the right direction and help guide you in the process. These mentors have “made it” somehow in the scene and want to help YOU “make it” too. You do need credentials to come to the trade show, but if you are a submitted Showcase artist, you have the credentials you need waiting for you at the Sign in Table. You can also purchase credentials, there are some people that are smart and just come to soak up as much info as they can! Whatever you decided I hope to see everyone Out and About at the MMC, enjoying the music, and talking, breathing, playing, living, and eating music!! I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m a little excited!!!! See ya at the MMC!!!!
That’s all my craziness for this month, make sure you check out all of our venue schedules to see what’s happening throughout the month right here in the wonderful state of PA. I was excited to see Double K’s schedule, all of my Double K friends, make sure and check out Frayed Nott and give them a chance! You won’t be disappointed!! It’s going to be a busy month for sure, but I’m looking forward to every rockin’ minute! If you see me Out and About please say Hello! If you have any questions you can email me at RachelRocks@pamusician.net. You can also read all the articles and check out our Digital Issue at www.pamusician.net. Don’t forget… SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC!!!