By: Chirs Rider
And in a flash, June is gone! Holy cow this month went fast, at least for me. Between the craziness surrounding a graduation followed by a much needed week-long vacation, I still managed to hit five shows with a total of 18 bands over the last month as well as doing a few promotional shoots. Genre’s ranged from straight up Louisiana blues, to “Butt-Rock” and Metal acts, with a great variety spanning the two. One of the things that I love about what I do for Pennsylvania Musician is how it has expanded my taste in music; I used to be pretty picky about my music, but now I’ve grown to appreciate all kinds…and there’s a ton of just about any type of music you could ask for here in Central PA, there’s no doubt of that!
My first trip out was to a new (to me) venue, Mickey’s Black Box in Lititz with my son David. Three of the four bands playing this evening I was pretty familiar with, but I got an invite I couldn’t pass up. I’d heard an awful lot about this place, and it certainly lived up to all the hype. First up for the evening was a band that’s no stranger to the magazine, the kings of Butt-Rock (they’re genre description, not mine! LOL) themselves, Defiant. Al and the boys came out and set the stage on fire from the get-go, not literally of course, playing a kick-ass set including their new release “Viva La Revolution” and one of my fav’s of theirs “Wendy”. Next up was a band that, by dumb luck, I’d now seen three times over the previous month. Lives Lost, led by Tanis Pellegrini, played a great energetic set of their original rock tunes. These guys are playing all over the place, all the time. Definitely give them a visit. The third band playing was one I’ve heard a lot about, all positive…and they did not disappoint. Ignite The Fire is a four piece rock band out of Maryland with incredible vocals, beautiful melodies, and a sense of showmanship that I absolutely love seeing on stage. These guys come through Central PA a lot, you would be doing yourself a favor to make sure you catch their show some time. Headlining the evening was multi-CPMA winning band Eternal Frequency. Not only are these folks ALWAYS working hard to create new music, they’re just awesome humans. This evening they played an awesome selection of their original rock tunes including Step Up (check out their official music video on YouTube, you might catch my son & I if you look close LOL), Parasite, and their newest release A.I. Overall, I have to say it was a pretty amazing night.
Next up was a trip to a place I always have a good time at: HMAC. Not only is this a beautiful venue with great employees and leadership, but they just announced an amazing new partnership with Live Nation Concerts. HMAC itself is remaining unchanged, but this partnership will only lead to bringing even MORE incredible shows to Harrisburg for all of us. This particular evening was to see a headliner that I’ve listened to for years, thanks to my dad. Opening up the evening Lightning Malcolm, hailing from North Carolina and bringing his solo acoustic “Louisiana Swamp Blues” show which was a mix of blues, rock and some slide guitar snuck in occasionally. I sat out on the deck with Malcolm prior to the show just having a chat about life for a bit, he proved to be a really cool guy. Playing originals such as My Sugar Baby, Just Friends, and Stomp your Feet; it was a fantastic musical set that I’m sure gained him some new fans in the crowd. Headlining the show was none other than Tab Benoit. Tab brought his fast, hard hitting, raw and deep Louisiana blues to the stage and left nothing behind. Playing a mix of originals and covers that he made his own like Shelter Me, For What It’s Worth (easily the best live performance I’ve had the honor of witnessing), Nothing Takes The Place Of You, Hank Williams’ “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It”, and one of my favorites of his “Medicine”; Tab took ownership of the Capitol stage from the moment he set foot on it.
My third trip out was to Lovedrafts Brewing in Mechanicsburg for another great show put on by 717 Entertainment. If I haven’t mentioned it (and I probably have, but it bears repeating), these folks have created a very unique venue to enjoy all genre’s of music while having an awesome menu of food and craft beers. Starting out the evening was a young three piece band (ranging from 15 to 21 years old) called Big Handsome. These guys came out on the stage and played a very energetic set of rock with some punk mixed in. It was very cool to me to see them each take a turn on vocals. These guys were pretty talented for sure. Next up on the bill was my pal Jon Garcia & The Hopeless Romantics. The guys have been busy recording a bunch of new music in the Pop-Rock genre and debuted a few of those songs this evening. These included One’s For Each Other, Good Talker, and Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Allright For Fighting.” Next up for the evening was a local band you’ve likely heard of by now…and if you haven’t, you’ve been asleep at the wheel. Lyndhurst is an all original four piece rock band with a little emo and punk thrown in for flavor. This evening they played a few of their new songs: Messy, and Sorry For The Way I Am (a personal favorite of mine), and even “Rick-Rolled” the crowd with Never Gonna Give You Up. Headlining the evening was yet another band I’ve heard a lot about: Wildstreet. NYC based 80’s style Glam/Hairband style rock, these guys put on an awesome how. It was loud, it was fast, it was nothing but pure rock and roll with a stage presence that showed years of experience.
Next up was a trip up to Sunbury to see my friends at Spyglass Winery, and photograph a show beside my brother from another mother, Jeff Solomon. I never fail to have a great time at Spyglass, and this was no exception. This was a show with two bands that I’ve literally listened to (again, thanks to my dad) since before I could even walk. Starting off the evening was Foghat. While their lineup has changed a bit over the years, they sounded so, so good. Playing classics like Driving Wheel, Upset and Lonely, Fool For The City, and everyone’s favorite Slow Ride. Headlining the show this evening was none other than George Thorogood And The Destroyers on their “Good To Be Bad” tour. George brought the heat this evening with his hard Rock & Roll “Proving Rock and Roll is still alive!” My first time seeing their show, it didn’t disappoint with a multitude of their hits including Who Do You Love?, One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer, Bad To The Bone, and even playing Tequila. It was a memorable night for me on several levels.
My final trip out for the month was down to Dallastown for the Building Bridges For Brianna event. From the event’s Facebook page: “Building Bridges for Brianna is an organization founded by Matt Dorgan in response to his grief from losing his daughter Brianna to suicide on December 3, 2020. We are based in York County which is where we put our efforts to build the bridge.” Suicide is something we’ve all experienced at some point, in some way. In the middle of the day, a number of folks including Matt came on stage to tell their stories…it was a heartbreaking and emotional moment, but at the same time inspirational in seeing everyone’s commitment to helping people in need. I’m quickly running out of room here but have to at least mention each of the bands that donated their time and music for the event. Three Day Rain is a bluegrass style band covering songs from a variety of genres. End Of Days is a classic rock cover band playing songs like Mississippi Queen, Sweet Emotion, Tom Sawyer and many others. Hot Mess is a rock cover band playing songs like Highway Tune (HAVE to give a shout out to David Snyder, who’s vocals for this song were AMAZING!), American Band, Fire Woman and Cumbersome. Heroes 4 Ransom is a rock band with a very personal connection to the cause of the day, playing originals suck as Break, Reaching Out and still my favorite of theirs, their version of Imagine which they’ve even gone to the lengths of owning the rights to their version. Rounding out the evening was Maiden America, an Iron Maiden tribute band headlined by the man himself: Gordon Tittsworth. Playing The Trooper, Sea Of Madness, and many more of Maiden’s extensive metal library, they did an awesome job!
So there it is, my month of music through my eyes and ears. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, stop me if you see me out & around 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.