By: Chris Rider
With June peeking in the window, I find myself facing a crazy busy month ahead between my son graduating High School (Congratulations David!), vacation, several scheduled music shows and at least one music festival/community event. Happy for outdoor music events once again, and just enjoying life as it comes. This was yet another month of incredibly good music and I consider myself lucky to be able to experience and capture just a small piece of it a moment at a time. We have a great music scene in Central PA that is not only extremely talented, but also full of people that I have come to refer to as simply “good humans”. The older I get…and lately it feels like a LOT older LOL…the more I’ve come to value having good humans in my life. I truly appreciate you all. Ok, enough of ‘Deep Thoughts With Chris’, let’s get on to the music, shall we?
My first trip out for this article was down to Lovedraft’s Brewing in Mechanicsburg to what turned out to be PACKED house. Lovedraft’s is doing a great job, along with 717 Entertainment, LLC in bringing great shows to Mechanicsburg. They bring national acts to their stage and pair them with scores of local bands, making for shows with a ton of variety. This particular show started out with my friends in Dinosaurs In Paris. The boys brought the heat to start the show with their mix of metal, rock and a little pop for flavor. They played all original music including 1 or 2 new songs like “New Spark”. They absolutely killed their set. Next up was Emo-Rock band Lives Lost. Disclaimer: total coincidence, but I ended up seeing these guys not once…not twice…but three times this month! No, I’m not stalking them (and I don’t think they’re stalking me?), they just got themselves booked for a number of really sweet shows that the stars aligned for me to also be at LOL. Tanis and the boys brought their all original songs about life, and the tough times we all go through from time to time to the stage. The songwriting skill brought to their table, is solid! Next up was a new band for me, Central PA based Voidhidden: a six piece rock band that brought solid rock show with some psychedelic vibes mixed in occasionally that I really enjoyed. If you get a chance, they’re definitely worth checking out! Fourth band on the bill was A True Calling, and hard rock band with a touch of metal that played a great set. This was their first show out in 6 years, and they did an awesome job. I hope they continue to get out and play shows, as I’m sure lots of you will enjoy seeing them. Headlining the evening was Maryland based Jimmie’s Chicken Shack. I don’t think anyone listening to music over the last few decades in this area has not at least heard of them. Celebrating their 30th anniversary, they played a ton of their classics as well as a few new ones off their upcoming album release. Unfortunately I did not get to catch their entire set, but as I got to catch them at a festival later in the month, I did make up for that.
My second trip out for the month was down to another favorite venue of mine in the midstate with my good friend RJ Conrad of Rascal Revival to The Englewood. This evening, Andy Mowatt and the boys in AMFM brought their unique style of music that is an awesome blend of jam, funk, blue, rock and maybe a few more. Playing all original music, Andy’s lead guitar stands out with a sweet but soulful and funky sound. The band blends together to bring super tight melodies with a great rhythm. Their sound is so deep and rich that it’s really hard to believe there’s only five musicians on the stage.
My next trip was down to HMAC in Harrisburg for a show that I’d been anticipating since its announcement: Medusa’s Disco Album Release Party. The bands chosen to support Hunter and the boys for their album release party were an absolute perfect fit for the evening. First up was a band I wasn’t familiar with, Creatures Of Content. CoC is a South-Central PA based five piece, female fronted jam band with a cool sound mildly reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane. They brought a great groove with some powerful guitar licks that really started off the show in style. Next up was a band that I saw a few years ago (maybe not so coincidentally, they were playing with Medusa’s Disco then, LOL), Maryland based Mojo Bozo’s Electric Circus. These guys take the stage with a loud, tight funky rock with a psychedelic twist and sometimes throw in a bit of 50’s/60’s surfer style to create a sound with an energy that simply defies the size of the stage and room they’re playing in. Third on the bill was a band I’ve heard a lot about, and finally got the chance to experience, Chestnut Grove. Chestnut Grove is a five piece band with several of them changing up spots on instruments throughout the show (HOW DO YOU DO THAT? LOL). They played a very polished show with a lot of talent and great stage presence that I really enjoyed. Headlining the show was our very own Medusa’s Disco, celebrating the release of their new self-titled album. The boys exploded on to the stage with a few of their older songs including Freezer Burnt (one of my fav’s) as well as a number of their new songs. The crowd was intense, singing and dancing along with a ton of energy and love. I picked up their cd (as well as a very useful flask!) and have to say, it’s awesome. Do yourself a favor and pick it up, you won’t be disappointed!
The following week I headed down to Hanover for the first annual Rock On The Hill Music Festival, dreamed of and organized by my friend Brenden Starr (an incredible musician in his own right btw). For being the first of this festival, I have to say that it was incredibly well organized. While it did have a few hiccups (what large event doesn’t?), they were overcome by the awesome staff and attendees to make for a great day. Seeing as how I photographed 27 bands on 2 stages over a thirteen hour time period in temps that reached 95 degrees, it’d be impossible for me to talk about all the bands individually in a single article, but I will say this — EVERY single one did an awesome job in the heat bringing their own individual style of music to the stage for a great crowd. I saw bands there that I’ve been listening to for years and I saw bands there that were totally new to me and turned me into an instant fan. Please give Rock On The Hill’s Facebook page a like and follow so you can be informed when next year’s event is planned www.facebook.com/Rockonthehillmusicfest. I can guarantee that almost everyone will find music to enjoy. On top of all the awesome music, they had a large number of food, beer and wine vendors, and a cornhole tournament! If you’d like to see the images I captured over the course of the day (8 albums with around 240 or so total images) you can see them on my page: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisRiderPhotography/
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, 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: email@example.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.