Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s the magical month of December, a super dooper busy month, but still so much music to see and hear! If I wasn’t busy I’d be bored, so why not keep pushing through! As the city lights begin to twinkle, a vibrant energy takes over the streets. Local music venues come alive with the soulful rhythms and electrifying beats of homegrown talent. Join me on a journey through the bustling world of live music in central PA and beyond.
This month I have to start way back to the Halloween Mischief Night at JB Lovedrafts. JB Lovedraft’s transformed into a haunted haven for revelers seeking a night of spine-chilling fun. The night kicked off with the soulful tunes of Matt Jameson Acoustic. Clad in a zombie clown costume, Jameson set the mood with haunting melodies and dark songs that sent shivers down the spine. The atmosphere was thick with anticipation as the crowd, a mix of ghouls and skeletons, swayed to the acoustic beats.
Following the acoustic enchantment, The Border Line took the stage, breaking the spell with their unexpected twist—costumes of The Wiggles. The juxtaposition of the cheerful children’s entertainers against the dark and heavy music created a surreal atmosphere that had the audience both amused and slightly unnerved.
VoidHidden’s entrance was nothing short of cinematic. Dressed in black and gold, with sparkling masks that concealed their identities, the band brought an aura of intrigue to the stage. VoidHidden’s music, an alchemy of original rock, echoed through the venue, creating an immersive experience for all in attendance.
Next, Defiant took the Halloween costume game to a whole new level with their homage to horror icons. Dressed as Michael Myers, Freddie Krueger, and more, they had a sinister presence that seemed to be pulled from the darkest nightmares, Defiant brought these characters to life with a spine-chilling authenticity. The crowd couldn’t help but applaud the commitment to the spooky spirit, and their killer original music.
Closing the night was Observe the 93rd, decked out in suits adorned in spooky pumpkins that added a touch of whimsy to the spooktacular affair. The band’s energy was infectious, and the pumpkin-clad performers brought an element of lighthearted fun to the stage. On November 10th, Observe the 93rd also released another amazing single, “We Are Already Dead”. Do yourself a favor, and go stream it! During the show Observe the 93rd had out paper and pencils so their fans could draw ghosts, aliens, or UFOs. I’m thrilled to say that my ghost made the cut, and you can see it in their latest video, coming out of a graveyard. Again another amazing original, creative idea from OT93. They never cease to amaze me! Get ready for their CD Release show at XL Live on December 30th! Their latest album will be “Eternalism” and I can guarantee it’s going to be amazing and well worth the listen!
On a whimsical Wednesday, Matt Jameson took the stage at Snappers Bar and Grill for a memorable night of music and charity during the United 4 Animals Benefit. The event featured cash raffles and prizes, adding an exciting element to the evening. Congratulations echoed through the venue as the winners celebrated their good fortune. Jameson, true to form, delivered a stellar performance that spanned the musical spectrum, from timeless tunes to contemporary hits, and everything in between. The excitement doesn’t end there! Matt Jameson is set to return to Snappers Bar and Grill for a New Year’s Eve DAY extravaganza from 1-4 pm. Mark your calendars and join the festivities as Snapper’s bids farewell to the year with music, merriment, and a whole lot of fun. You never know what you’ll hear at one of Matt’s shows, not only does he continue to surprise people with his song choices, but he also has been paying it forward by letting musicians play a few songs during his breaks. I also went to his shows at The Doyle Hotel in Duncannon where he had multiple guest performers, and Middletown Anglers and Hunters, where Brian W. Griswold was back on the mic, amazing people with his brand new original.
On a Friday night, Carlisle was in for a musical treat as Dave Gates and Matt Jameson unleashed their talents at Back Porch Brewing and Hook & Flask Stillworks, respectively. Dave Gates, renowned as a human jukebox, turned Back Porch Brewing into a musical haven, jamming out tunes that left the audience in awe. Meanwhile, at Hook and Flask Stillworks, Matt Jameson Acoustic took things up a notch, rocking the roof off the venue with his signature style and infectious energy. The surprise twist of the night came when Dave joined Matt on stage at Hook & Flask. The fusion of their musical talents created a synergy that resonated through the heart of downtown Carlisle, leaving the audience craving for more. I heard a rumor that this Spring, we will be able to hear Matt and Dave play a full show together! So stay tuned for more details in the future. If you missed it once, you won’t want to miss it again!
The night wasn’t over for me yet, my next stop was at Hollywood Penn National for the Vertigo Vultures. The night unfolded into a crescendo of classic rock hits and the dance floor pulsed with energy as attendees reveled in the sounds of their favorite tunes. As the night progressed, it became not only a celebration of music but also a bittersweet farewell. Amidst the packed dance floor, I had the chance to bid adieu to dear friends Muff and Nancy, who are embarking on a new chapter in Holiday, Florida. I’m told they have room for guests, hopefully they’ll be ready for me when I ring their doorbell! Word on the street is that Kyle Schnitzer, their lead singer is also leaving the band! He will be finishing off the year, but then will be focusing on family. If you haven’t seen him on stage, do yourself a favor and get out and see their show before it’s too late! The show will go on, and a new lead singer will be found, and hopefully Vertigo Vultures will continue to amaze us one note at a time!
Matt Jameson graced the stage at the Copper Pub once again. The atmosphere at the Copper Pub was electric as the crowd, filled with dancing and singing enthusiasts, embraced the night of live music. Brian W. Griswold, a consistent source of musical brilliance, added an extra layer of magic to the evening by amazing the audience with a few songs during Matt’s break. The continuous flow of live music throughout the night became an unexpected bonus, keeping the energy high and the patrons thoroughly entertained.
After Matt’s show I zoomed over to Flinchy’s, where they were celebrating two decades of business with a bang, featuring the sensational Swisher Sweets. The venue was packed to capacity, with standing room only, as patrons danced and sang along in a jubilant celebration of Flinchy’s milestone. Joey, Phil, and Swish, the dynamic trio of Swisher Sweets, displayed an undeniable chemistry on stage, delivering a performance that was nothing short of spectacular. The connection between the musicians was palpable, translating into an electrifying show that had the entire crowd on their feet.
On a Thirsty Thursday, Derek Henry took center stage at the Doyle Hotel in Duncannon, delivering a mesmerizing performance that left the crowd spellbound. As both a talented singer and performer, Henry showcased his musical prowess, creating an unforgettable experience for all in attendance. A distinctive feature of Henry’s performance was his unique approach to playing the guitar—left-handed. This added an extra layer of intrigue to an already impressive show, highlighting his exceptional skill. The atmosphere at the Doyle Hotel was not only fueled by the music but also by the delightful combination of delicious food and top-notch service.
On a Friday night, I headed back to the Copper Pub, where the stage was set for an incredible performance by Jason Carst. I had the privilege of having the delightful company of Mason and Kyra for a delicious dinner. The evening unfolded into a musical journey filled with hits and personalized requests that resonated with everyone. Jason Carst’s ability to keep the audience entertained was evident as he effortlessly played a mix of popular tunes.
After Jason’s show, I headed down south to see Stonewood at Hollywood York, where they were transforming the venue into a haven for rockin’ country music enthusiasts. The band skillfully navigated hits from Shania Twain to AC/DC, creating a playlist that catered to diverse musical tastes. The dance floor buzzed with energy, drawing in a packed crowd eager to revel in the electrifying performance. Shannon, the charismatic front lady, stole the spotlight with her remarkable voice and stage presence. Backed by the equally talented members of the band. The fusion of country and rock genres showcased Stonewood’s versatility, providing a musical experience that transcended boundaries. The dance floor was packed with fans that could immerse themselves in the contagious energy of the band, making the night unforgettable.
On a Saturday night, I headed back to Hook & Flask to see DMC Duo. In November, they marked a significant milestone, celebrating five years of musical collaboration. Fresh from the Josie Music Awards, where they garnered four nominations, the duo showcased their growth and dedication to their craft. While they may not have clinched a win, their presence at the awards made Pennsylvania proud. DMC Duo’s musical journey has seen remarkable progress, with the release of two original songs and the promise of more to come. Their commitment to evolving as artists is evident, creating an atmosphere at Hook & Flask that was not just a celebration of their past but a glimpse into the promising future of their musical endeavors.They are continuously pushing boundaries and exploring new creative horizons. DMC Duo proved that their journey is still unfolding, with exciting developments on the horizon for their fans and the Pennsylvania music scene.
My next stop of the night was at Jimmy Jaxxx Shine Shack, where Brian W. Griswold took the spotlight for his first full show. Stepping in at the last minute for Matt Jameson, Brian’s performance was nothing short of spectacular, showcasing his versatility and ability to captivate any venue. The impromptu performance not only demonstrated Brian’s readiness to rise to the occasion but also proved that he could rock any stage with finesse.
The night’s final destination was Jen-Jen’s Rhythm & Brews, where the ever-energetic Steel took the stage for a show that showcased their commitment to musical innovation. Demonstrating once again their versatility, Steel introduced new songs and twists to their performance, including the addition of a mandolin to the stage. The dance floor at Jen-Jen’s was a lively scene, filled with the infectious energy of Steel’s music. A special highlight of the evening was the presence of Joanie’s Mom, 84-year-old JoAnne, whose fancy dance moves became a living testament that age is just a number. The atmosphere at Jen-Jen’s was one of celebration, with the dance floor hopping and drinks flowing.
XL Live played host to the thunderous sounds of The Four Horsemen, a Metallica tribute band, on Thanksgiving Eve. The venue echoed with the electrifying energy of metal enthusiasts banging their heads and singing along to the iconic tunes. The crowd, filled with familiar faces, showcased the strong support for live music on this special evening. XL Live, known for consistently hosting exceptional bands month after month, once again delivered an unforgettable experience with The Four Horsemen.
The Friday after Thanksgiving brought the party to Hollywood Grantville with Funktion, an energetic 8-member band. Their diverse repertoire spanned multiple decades, creating a musical journey that kept the dance floor packed and the energy high. Accompanied by Madi for her inaugural casino experience, the night turned into a blast of singing, dancing, and having a good time!
The month concluded with a musical journey down memory lane as Debbie Gibson took the stage at Mt. Airy Lodge Casino & Resort. Performing iconic hits like “Electric Youth” and “Lost in Your Eyes,” Gibson also treated the audience to the magic of her new songs, “Illuminate” and “Cheers.” The show was a delightful blend of nostalgic classics and fresh tunes, creating an unforgettable experience. Sharing this blast from the past was made even more special as the evening unfolded with my best friend, Holly. The evening encapsulated the power of music to transcend time and create moments that linger in the heart for years to come.
I am delighted to be able to use the amazing technology of ChatGPT. It really made writing this article so much fun! I hope you enjoyed reading it, as much as I did writing it! December is filled with birthdays for our family this month! Mason, my baby, and the reason I became Rachel Rocks will be 18 on December 5th! Mom, aka Robin Noll has a big whopper of a birthday on December 18th, she will be 70 years young! Josh, our fearless leader, has a birthday on December 19th! Of course we also celebrate Jesus’s birthday on December 25th. I hope you all get a chance to experience the magic of the Christmas season with your friends and family. December truly is a magical month! As you are out there celebrating with friends and family this holiday season, remember DO NOT DRINK & DRIVE! Trust me when I say it’s not worth the risk!
Make sure you get out there and Support Local Music! So many musicians give up so much time with their own family and friends to keep us entertained and food on their tables. When you are in an establishment and a musician is pouring out their heart on the stage, please take a moment to clap after their songs, and throw a tip in their bucket! If you see me Out & About please say Hi! Have a Merry Christmas Everyone!!! You’ll be reading my next article in 2024! ~photos in Out & About by Rachel Rocks~