Rider’s on the Storm – April 2024

Getting a head start to writing my article for this month with the CPMA’s right around the corner.  March has been an interesting month for sure…while the Mother Nature definitely seemed to forget from day to day what season we’re in, the music was still hot! I know…lame…but I’m leaving it here 🙂  It was a great month of music and friends…and that’s what it’s really about for me.

My first trip out was to see Dave McCullough at Spring Gate Winery.  It’d been a bit since I’d seen Dave play and my first trip to Spring Gate, definitely a win-win.  A solo acoustic act (sometimes adding harmonica) covering songs like Horse With No Name, Heard It In A Love Song, What I Got, Folsum Prison Blues and a ton of others, Dave played a great variety of songs for a good crowd.  Being my first time to Spring Gate, I went on walkabout for a bit as well and have to say it’s just a beautiful place.  I look forward to visiting again!

The following weekend I had the pleasure of attending the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Central Pennsylvania Music Hall Of Fame’s new home at the Englewood Roasting Company.  Awesome to walk through and see all of the history of our local music scene.  Please stop by some time, grab a cup of coffee and head back to just soak it all in.

Since I was already at the Englewood Roasting Company, it just made sense to head next door to The Englewood for a night of music.  I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that it was a night that I’d been looking forward to since the day it was announced LOL.  I was excited to share this evening with my dad who was in town for a quick visit, along with Wendy and my son David. Opening up the evening was the guys in The Jellybricks, cranking out a great set in preparation for their upcoming trip to play in SXSW down in Austin TX the following week.  Ripping songs like Rock And Roll Suicide, D.O.A., and their newest release All About You, Larry and crew were as impressive as ever and certainly set the stage for the evening’s headliner.  For the third year in a row, in March, The Badlees took the stage (all three years putting on shows Friday and Saturday nights btw) to a huge roar from the crowd.  Cranking out classic originals like Angels Of Mercy, Angeline Is Coming Home, and Long Goodnight as well as incredible covers of Shipping Up To Boston, Paint It Black and Locomotive Breath…it’s honestly hard to put in to words descriptive enough to convey just how awesome this night was.  Pete and the guys are consummate showmen and just downright great people and it’s always a pleasure covering their show.

A few days later I headed down to Lovedraft’s Brewing in Mechanicsburg to catch a band that’s played around Central PA for a long time.  Opening up the evening was West Virginia based Breach The Silence.  This crew took the stage with authority, hammering out their original metalcore tunes with power that just slapped you across the face.  Adrian Blitzer then took the stage: I think it’s been about six or seven years since I’d last seen them, and if anything they’ve only grown in energy and stage presence.  The guys partied with the crowd while throwing out a mix of tunes of any genre like Bulls On Parade, Gin And Juice, What I Got, Voodoo and a ton more. 

The following week I made the super long trip down to The Doyle Hotel in Duncannon for a quick dinner and some tunes from Thom Lewis.  Thom played a solo acoustic show for the crowd covering a ton of songs that I grew up on from artists like James Taylor, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd and more.  This man has a great sense of humor, a ton of talent with his guitar, and a great voice; all of which made for a great evening.

Next up: our local Grammy’s, the Central Pennsylvania Music Hall Of Fame’s Fifth Annual Music Awards at the beautiful Hershey Theater.  I’m not sure what I love most about this evening: maybe it’s that I get to see so many of our incredible artists in one place all at once, maybe it’s seeing them get recognized through nominations and winning awards for all their hard work, or maybe it’s just seeing everyone come together and showing their support for our local music scene; or maybe it’s just all of that tossed in to one beautiful night.  Regardless, every year is better and better with Brandon and his crew showing how hard they’ve worked to honor our music scene.  Congratulations to all of the nominees and award winners of the evening!  Special shout out to Doctor D Photography for taking home the award for Best Photography, very well deserved!  Kudos also to everyone involved in the After Party hosted at The Englewood where a ton of the ceremony attendees went to celebrate the evening, congratulate the winners, and continue just having a great night together.

The following night I trekked back down to Lovedraft’s Brewing for another 717 Entertainment event.  If you somehow aren’t familiar with Nick Meyers and 717 Entertainment, take a quick look at the cover and give the article a good read.  Nick’s doing great things for our music scene and was even awarded a Spot Award by CPMHOF for Promoter Of The Year, and it was very much deserved.  On top of all that, I had the honor of shooting this show beside fellow CPMA Best Photography winners Frances Axsmith and Rock Documented.  This show was going to be well photographed for sure!  Starting out the evening was Central PA based Chasing The Vulture with their Alt Rock/Grunge mix that had powerful guitar riffs mixed with haunting vocals that did a great job of warming the crowd up.  Next up was Survive The Conspiracy, a progressive rock band based out of Shippensburg. STC continued the energy and rock, getting the crowd involved and having a great time on stage.  Hitting the stage next was Red Lion based Coal.  Speaking to Dal (lead singer), he mentioned that they’d not been in the magazine as of yet.  I know I’ve covered them a time or two in the past, but if I somehow did not mention it then, I am now:  If you haven’t seen Coal, DO IT!  They’ve had a few lineup changes over the years, but they continue to work hard and each time put on a show better than the last.  Dal and the guys did an awesome job pounding the stage with their original alternative hard rock tunes and really brought the crowd in to the stage.  Next was my pals from Frederick Maryland – Tubefreeks.  It was great seeing the guys again as they rocked the crowd with their original rock and celebrating their newest album release: Unhinged.  Tubefreeks have been working hard, putting out great music and getting some really solid press as a result which is always great to see.  Headlining the evening was a band that can easily be referred to as a Supergroup: Art Of Anarchy.  Featuring Ron Thal (toured with Guns N’ Roses for 8 years, Lita Ford and Asia)…just a downright awesome person to meet and a wizard on guitar.  Vocals by Jeff Scott Soto who’s sung for Yngwie Malmsteen, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and even Journey for a year.  Brothers Jon Votta and Vince Votta on guitar and drums, Tony Dickinson on bass.  It was just a pleasure to mingle with the guys prior to the show, they loved meeting and talking with their fans about music, peanut butter eggs, and anything else that happened to come up LOL.  Once the guys took the stage…the best description I can lay down for this show was “face melting.”  The music was awe-inspiring combined with a stage presence that easily showed their many years of rocking so many thousands of rock fans.  I managed to pick up a signed copy of their latest record – Let There Be Anarchy and am having a blast listening through it my second time today while I finish out my article and images for the month.  Definitely something worth checking out in my opinion.

So there it is, my month of music through my eyes and ears. I want to once again thank all the bands, venues, and everyone else involved in our incredible local music scene for everything they do.  Just a reminder:  if you’ve got a show coming up that I should see; make sure to send me an invite, shoot me an email or a message, let me know about it. Venues: please don’t hesitate to reach out to me as well. The majority of the shows that I go and shoot I find out about through invites from all of you or your friends. Hit me up on facebook: @chrisriderphotography or email: chrisriderphotography@gmail.com, stop me if you see me and say hi. Until next month…go find some live music and give them and the venue your support, they truly need it more now than they ever did.