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Jim Price

Joined: 07 Dec 2002
Posts: 4818
Location: Altoona, PA

 Post Posted: Thursday Mar 06, 2008 
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Able to escape the workplace relatively early this night, I headed to The Hitching Post for a long overdue round of barbecue ribs and some pickin’ and grinnin’ courtesy of Mama Corn.

I got to see the better part of two sets, as singer/guitarist Bruce Foor, singer/banjoist Jeremy Nelson, dobro man/singer John Stevens, mandolinist Brad Floyd and bassist Brett Fanelli tapped the collective lexicons of guys named Monroe, Flatt, Scruggs, and Traditional, to deliver bluegrass and folksy sounds to a receptive Post crowd. I didn’t catch too many song titles this night (I’m still learning this bluegrass stuff!), but got to hear renditions of “Catfish John,” “Tell It To Me,” “The Race Is On,” “Mountain Dew,” and logically, to finish the show, “Good Night.”

It all sounded good, with the Corn’s pickin’ and grinnin’ in good form, and the Children of the Corn (the audience) cheering approval along the way.


I guess you could say that this is the summer where I got hooked on minor league baseball. I took in more Altoona Curve games this summer than ever before (seven games over five nights, including two doubleheaders; the Curve’s record in games I attended this year was 4-3). With the Curve’s season ending the previous week, I decided to head to State College this night to get my first taste of Happy Valley minor league baseball, taking in a State College Spikes game at Medlar Field. This was the night that Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Zack Duke started on the mound for the Spikes as part of his rehab from shoulder problems. Zack pitched 5 1/3 strong innings and gave up just one run, and the Spikes won the game, 4-1.

After the game, I headed to downtown State College to take in some live music. I eventually settled on The Brewery, to catch a performance from Brian Lubrecht.

The Brewery wasn’t especially busy when I first arrived shortly into Brian’s first set. Armed with his acoustic guitar, Brian performed a variety of song material spanning the 60’s through 90’s, and fielding audience requests along the way. Among songs Brian did during the first set were Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy,” Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line,” Alice In Chains’ “Down in a Hole,” Bob Seger’s “Night Moves,” Led Zeppelin’s “Hey Hey What Can I Do,” Stone Temple Pilots’ “Interstate Love Song,” an interesting arrangement of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right” and more. Brian was competent on all of it, and showed flexibility and versatility in performing this range of song material. He also broke out a harmonica on the set-closing rendition of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”

More people arrived at The Brewery during the course of the first set and ensuing intermission. Brian made that intermission a short 15 minutes so he could get back to the stage and entertain the arriving people.

Brian’s second set was relatively short, about half an hour. During that set, Brian did Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” and The Who’s “Pinball Wizard,” before running into a technical snafu during the Doobie Brothers’ “Black Water” (a factor that contributed to the shortness of the set). Two different guest singers, Jeff and Brendan, joined Brian to sing some songs later in the set.

After another 15-minute intermission to resolve the technical issue, Brian returned for the final round. During this set, I got to witness Brian demonstrate his skills for accommodating college drunks in the audience. Several had arrived at The Brewery and were partying hardy, and they were quickly in front of the stage as Brian got started with an audience participation rendition of the Eagles’ “Take It Easy.” Brian left the drunks try their hands at singing on the lead mic on the ensuing rendition of CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising,” the Bruce Springsteen double-shot of “Hungry Heart” and “Glory Days,” and Sublime’s “What I Got.” During this portion, it was revealed that one of the revelers, Pete, was celebrating his 21st birthday, so this group of drunks was apparently on the obligatory Happy Valley bar tour. The cavalcade of drunks continued to whoop it up in front of the stage as Brian did the Rolling Stones triple-shot of “Gimme Shelter” into “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Honky Tonk Women.” Brian then broke out a unique and bluesy arrangement of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” before another guest singer took over lead mic for the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” The night then ended with a Johnny Cash number.

Brian again sounded good through it all, and I had to give him credit for maintaining his composure and being able to perform with the plethora of alcoholically-enhanced individuals cavorting around him on the stage. Brian took it all in stride, singing his tunes, accommodating the drunks, and keeping the house properly entertained.

Brian Lubrecht (left), with a little help from his new drunken friends.

Again, Brian Lubrecht.

Once again, Brian Lubrecht and friends.


As you may recall from a few weeks earlier, I had done a roadtrip to the Schuylkill County Fair in late July in an attempt to see my friend Sterling Koch and his Victory In Heaven Band. Mother Nature had other plans, though, and thunderstorms in the neighborhood forced a cancellation of that performance.

Determined, though, I gave it another try this Friday, traveling to another fair I had never been to before, the annual York Fair, to catch V.I.H. before they stepped aside at the end of the month. I was successful this time, although it was a challenge.

First, although I anticipated the trip would be three hours, I decided to take “the scenic route,” taking Route 30 instead of the PA Turnpike. This decision almost ended my trip early, as a truck hauling a trailer overturned on the first ridge heading east from Breezewood, blocking Route 30 in its entireity. Fortunately, an off-duty state policeman knew a dirt-and-shale road/lane detour around the accident and back onto Route 30 further up the hill, and led a line of cars around the accident. I also was doing this trip in the middle of a Friday afternoon, and had misjudged my arrival in the general Chambersburg and New Oxford vicinities during afternoon rush hour, so gridlock extended the time of this journey. And as I arrived at the York Fairgrounds at around 7 PM, I had to wait in gridlock to get a parking space, as Willie Nelson was part of the evening’s grandstand entertainment, and everybody was arriving for that concert as well. But I persevered and eventually got parked on the fairgrounds and made my way in. After experiencing the relative smallness of the Schuylkill County Fair a few weeks earlier, I experienced the hugeness of this fair, boy was this place big! It took me a while to locate the tent where V.I.H. was performing; in fact, I was in real danger of missing them again as the start time of their final performance of the night, 9:30, arrived.

In my quest to find V.I.H. during their earlier performances, I came across York rockers Paddywak, as they were setting up to do a show of their own. Since it was in between V.I.H. performances at this point, I stuck around to see what Paddywak was up to; this was my first time seeing the group since their foray up this way to play Peter C’s a few years ago. Singer Dutch Lynes, guitarist Scott Hearn, bassist Bill Kahler and drummer Chris Rosier entertained passers-by with a mix of modern rock favorites and original songs, including a number of tunes from their new CD. Paddywak rocked hard on numbers from Creed, 3 Doors Down, Puddle Of Mudd, Seether and more; with Dutch frequently stepping out into the crowd to keep them involved in the show. Once Paddywak arrived at their intermission, I set off to try to find V.I.H. once more.

This time, I succeeded. I proceeded down a path from Paddywak’s performance area, and in the distance, I heard what sounded like the bass line to the group’s funky original “On Time.” I followed the sound of the music and arrived inside V.I.H.’s performance tent “right on time,” and bore witness as singer/steel guitarist Sterling Koch, keyboardist Larry Adam, bassist Kate Koch and drummer Larry Baudoin dazzled with their blend of upbeat funk and blues. Each song became a lively and inspired workout; highlights included their funky rendition of Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover” with its “Play That Funky Music” side-journey, their bluesy instrumental read of “Amazing Grace” with Sterling’s “Rocky Mountain Way” references, leading into the spirited set-ending rendition of Sam & Dave’s “Hold On,” ending in a purple haze of star-spangled glory! Hallelujah! This band was on the money and tight, and gave an uplifting, rousing performance. At one point, I chuckled as Larry Adam took over on a keyboard solo display during one song, as Sterling turned away from his instrument to conduct a CD sale at the side of the stage! I was glad to finally catch up with the Victory In Heaven Band, and be able to enjoy this show before the group went their separate ways in a few weeks.

Afterward, I returned to catch the remainder of Paddywak’s performance. A respectable-sized crowd of onlookers, including a number of teenagers, watched as Paddywak did more original numbers and tunes from Green Day, Hinder, Buckcherry, Fuel and more. I was a little surprised to hear Paddywak break out Buckcherry’s “Crazy Bitch” at a public outdoor event like this, and watched to see if any older passers-by took note of the song’s lyrics as it was performed. Singer Dutch again stepped out from the tent and got audience members involved in the show, and once again it was a good hard-rocking time.

After Paddywak’s set concluded, I browsed around the fairgrounds for a little while longer, before departing to catch some live band nightlife elsewhere in the York area.

Larry Adam of the Victory In Heaven Band.

The Victory In Heaven Band.

Sterling Koch of the Victory In Heaven Band.

Again, Sterling Koch.

Again, the Victory In Heaven Band.

Again, Sterling Koch of the Victory In Heaven Band.

Kate Koch and Larry Adam of the Victory In Heaven Band.

Once again, Sterling Koch.

Once again, the Victory In Heaven Band.

One more time, Sterling Koch.

Rocking the York Fair, Paddywak.

Again, Paddywak.

Bill Kahler of Paddywak.

Once again, Paddywak.

Dutch Lynes of Paddywak brings the party out to some fans.


After departing the York Fair, I headed through York itself for my first time ever, and eventually ended up at The Glad Crab in Dallastown (south of York) to catch a look at the band Piece Of Me. I arrived during the intermission before the band’s nightcap set, procured a brew and staked claim to a booth not too far from the front of the stage.

Featuring singer Bill Stevens (quite possibly one of the most tattooed frontmen in the state), guitarist Kevin Beichner, bassist Mike Hocker and drummer Randy Gray; Piece Of Me played hard-hitting rock from the 70’s to present during the ensuing set. Opening with Jet’s “Cold Hard Bitch,” Piece Of Me rocked with Stone Temple Pilots’ “Plush “ Nazareth’s “Hair of the Dog,” and Puddle Of Mudd’s “She Hates Me,” which brought dancers onto the Glad Crab’s dance floor. The group did a version of Sublime’s “What I Got,” followed by Pearl Jam’s “Evenflow,” sung by a guest singer named Jimmy. The rock continued with numbers from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Collective Soul, before the group did a rendition of Temple Of The Dog’s “Hunger Strike.” Piece Of Me then introduced one of their own songs, the hard and uptempo rocker “Dogs.” Next was a version of Pantera’s “Walk,” Alice In Chains’ “Would?,” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” to close out the set. The rowdy audience wanted more and demanded an encore, and Piece Of Me responded with a version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing,” which showcased Kevin’s skills on the fretboard.

Piece Of Me was tight and powerful, with Bill’s voice displaying ample agitation, grit and range; and Kevin showing some impressive pyrotechnics on his instrument. This was, simply put, good hard muscular rock, the type that will put hair on your chest. It was a good show overall, and I was glad to make the trek here to check it out.

Piece Of Me, rocking the Glad Crab.

Again, Piece Of Me.

Piece Of Me’s multi-tattooed frontman, Bill Stevens.

Again, Bill Stevens of Piece Of Me.

Kevin Beichner of Piece Of Me.

Randy Gray of Piece Of Me.

Once again, Piece Of Me.

Once again, Bill Stevens of Piece Of Me.

Once again, Kevin Beichner of Piece Of Me.


After overnighting at the Pennsylvania Musician “Bed & Breakfast” facilities in Liverpool (translation, Whitey and Robin Noll’s homestead; upon christening the ‘bed & breakfast’ name, Whitey said “You mean I actually get breakfast this morning?”), I did the roadtrip back home to the ‘Toona, pitstopped briefly, and then made my way further west up the hill to Ace’s Music Sales in Cresson, where another Customer Appreciation Day outdoor concert was taking place.

This show was already a few hours old as I arrived, and I missed earlier performances from Kamikaza Katfight, George Bollman Jr. and Vent. Spirit Lost was performing as I arrived.

Singer Austin Tepsic, guitarists Brian Smith and Joe Harpster, bassist Russ Patterson and drummer Lisa Fazenbaker entertained the small audience with their mix of rocking originals and covers. In between original songs such as “Alone,” “Misery of a Wounded Heart” and “Piece of a Stained Glass Mind” were renditions of Foo Fighters’ “Monkey Wrench,” Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls,” Metallica’s “Fuel,” Tool’s “Stinkfist” and more. Spirit Lost’s execution was sharp, despite not having many people to play to at this point in the day.

Here is footage from Spirit Lost’s performance:


Spirit Lost, rocking at Ace’s Music Customer Appreciation Day.

Again, Spirit Lost.

Joe Harpster and Russ Patterson of Spirit Lost.

Austin Tepsic of Spirit Lost.

Brian Smith of Spirit Lost.

Again, Brian Smith of Spirit Lost.

A young fan finds a unique seat to view Spirit Lost’s performance from.

Up next, George Bollman, Jr. filled in with a few tunes while the next band, Beyond Reason, set up their gear. George performed his mix of country and gospel, doing Ricky Skaggs’ “Crying My Heart Out Over You” and his own song “Jesus Is All I Need,” the latter borrowing the melody line of Willie Nelson’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”

George Bollman, Jr.

After a quick set-up, Beyond Reason was ready to go. Lead singer/guitarist Dan Myers II, guitarist Tom Urbain, bassist Jamie “Deathmaster” Smith and drummer Chris Myers kicked off with Alice Cooper’s “Eighteen,” commencing a set of rocking favorites from 70’s to present. The group continued with Cracker’s “What the World Needs Now” and an abridged two-minute rendition of “Free Bird” (for those fans who are in too much of a hurry to sit through the 9-minute version!). The set continued with numbers from Steppenwolf, Elton John, more Skynyrd, Queen, Gin Blossoms, White Stripes, Blues Traveler, War, the Black Crowes, their own origjnal tune “Rain” and more. Highlights included the Deathmaster-fronted versions of Gin Blossoms’ “Found Out About You” and White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” (because he wasn’t sick this time around when I saw him sing them, lol!), the interesting pairing of Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See” into Guns N’Roses’ “Sweet Child O’Mine” and back again, and the set-closing version of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away,” which displayed some good vocal harmonies and evolved into an audience singalong.

Here is footage from Beyond Reason’s performance:


Beyond Reason.

Dan Myers II of Beyond Reason.

Chris Myers of Beyond Reason.

Again, Dan Myers II of Beyond Reason.

Tom Urbain of Beyond Reason.

Jamie “Deathmaster” Smith of Beyond Reason.

Beyond Reason...wasn’t drunk. But then again, neither was the crowd!

A young fan jams along with Beyond Reason.

The young axeslinger.

The youngster exchanges licks with Urbs of Beyond Reason.

Another young fan storms the stage during Beyond Reason’s set.

Again, the Deathmaster from Beyond Reason.

Beyond Reason’s Dan Myers II gives the young fan a show.

Finishing the day’s music was a band I had not been able to see yet, young Cambria County rockers Panic Mode. Comprised of lead guitarist/singer Christian Brennan, rhythm guitarist Josh Gallagher, lead singer Tony Way, bassist Chuck Kauffman and drummer Derek Gabella; Panic Mode fired off a charged mix of hard rocking origjnals and a few select covers. Delivering a brasxh, go-for-broke sound, Panic Mode did original assaults such as “Sunday Night,” “Mind Games” “Blood on the Board” and “Broken Days;” and also threw in renditions of Buckcherry’s “Lit Up,” Jet’s “Cold Hard Bitch” and the Misfits’ “Dig Up Her Bones.” These guys were lively, especially Christian, who lept atop speakers and chairs to fire off his guitar work. And although they rocked hard, they had fun and never took themselves too seriously, even breaking out a tune from the movie The Wedding Singer. A legion of fans and parents of the band members cheered heartily as Panic Mode played this day, in what would turn out to be one of their final shows.

With some young fans seated up front to check them out, Panic Mode.

Christian Brennan of Panic Mode.

Again, Panic Mode.

Tony Way of Panic Mode.

Once again, Panic Mode.

Derek Gabella of Panic Mode.

Jamming from atop the patio banister, Christian Brennan of Panic Mode.

Yet again, Panic Mode.

Once again, Christian Brennan of Panic Mode.

Josh Gallagher of Panic Mode.

Christian Brennan and Josh Gallagher of Panic Mode.

Josh Gallagher and Tony Way of Panic Mode.

The weather cooperated and provided a nice sunny afternoon, and although the audience was on the light side throughout the day, Ace’s Music’s latest Customer Appreciation Day was a good time. I’m glad I came to check it out!


After doing some dinner and resting up from the live music I had already enjoyed this weekend, I was off to experience more of it. Run You Down Productions, headed up by Roadkill mouthpiece and bassist Greg Majewsky, was presenting a showcase of its artists at City Limits.

Greg’s own band led off the musical fireworks. I arrived early during their set, in time to hear Greg, guitarist Sean McCracken and drummer Shawn “Teach” Evans break out one of my all-time Roadkill favorites, “Hardcoreo.” The trio then did a new tune, I believe called “Better Dead Than Wed.” After the tunes “Mr. Fish” and “Dog Days,” Roadkill showed off a country flavor with the tune “Only Thing Country About You…” The group continued with their songs “I Don’t Care,” “The Adam Stomp” and “Lost in the Woods,” before Sean fronted the group on Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” and the group closed their set with another new song, “Smooch Me Booty.” It was typically twisted and caustic Roadkill, and well-appreciated and depreciated by the smallish City Limits audience.

Roadkill, opening the Run You Down showcase at City Limits.

Greg Majewsky and Sean McCracken of Roadkill.

Greg Majewsky of Roadkill.

Again, Roadkill.

Sean McCracken of Roadkill.

Letting the hair fly, Greg Majewsky of Roadkill.

Taking his guitar to the floor, Sean McCracken of Roadkill.

Once again, Greg Majewsky of Roadkill.

Next was an acoustic project, Hollow Bodies. A duo, they performed a mix of original songs and select covers. The original songs included such titles as “Beer Thirty,” “O-Face,” “The Long Way Home” and “Issues,” the latter song with Greg from Roadkill assisting on tambourine. The pair also did such cover fare as the Mamas & Papas’ “California Dreamin,’” the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams,” Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” the Monkees’ “(I’m Not) Your Steppin’ Stone” and Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker.” Hollow Bodies’ performance was loose and somewhat haphazard, and these two didn’t appear to have been playing together for very long. Hopefully more stage time will tighten their presentation.

Hollow Bodies.

Again, Hollow Bodies.

Then, time for something completely different…and heavy! State College-based fivesome Lay Waste closed the night with a set of brutally heavy metal. Greg Majewsky’s nephew, Ben Majewsky, is the lead vocalist. Lay Waste drilled heavy metal brutality over the course of a nearly 30-minute set, with a sound clearly inspired by Pantera and Slayer. I didn’t catch much in the way of song titles, except for the assault that closed the show, “Choose the Form of Your Destruction.” Lay Waste sounded strong overall; tight on their instruments and appropriately ferocious on the vocals. Their sound was a little muddy and distorted, but this group was clearly talented, and should be worth looking out for on area metal stages.

Lay Waste, putting pedal to the metal at City Limits.

Again, Lay Waste.

Although not strongly attended, the Run You Down showcase at least exposed some new artists to some new Altoona area fans, and it will be interesting to see how these artists develop, as well as what other bands and artists might enter Greg Majewsky’s recording label stable in the months ahead.


The initiative started by Rockpage member musicians last winter, Rock For The Troops, had proceeded through the spring and summer months in its efforts to videotape and collect footage of area bands and fans expressing love, support and appreciation for local troops putting themselves in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan. The first phase of the Rock For The Troops effort culminated this day in a day-long concert event at Altoona’s Heritage Plaza.

Due to workplace duties, I arrived a little too late to catch the first band of the day, the Rock Brothers, who kicked things off bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 10 AM. I arrived towards the end of the second band on the bill, Spirit Lost’s, set, and watched as they did one of their original tunes before finishing with Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell,” with Generation Gap singer Brian Elliott sharing lead vocal duties with Austin Tepsic.

With Generation Gap’s Brian Elliott helping out on lead vocals, Spirit Lost.

An awake fan cheers on Spirit Lost.

Brian Elliott and Austin Tepsic.

Lisa Fazenbaker of Spirit Lost.

Next was a short set by Friends Of Mine, a pick-up acoustic group featuring some seasoned vets of the area music scene. Bill Hocherl, Harry Walter, Jerry Berkstresser (Band of Gold), Tony Delecce, Ken Oyler and Gabe Papetti did a short set featuring such songs as America’s “Don’t Cross the River,” Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children,” the Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down” and more.

Friends Of Mine.

Dustin Burley followed with a strong set that showcased his talents. Dustin did what he does best; smoothly transitioning between original songs and select covers, exploring on his acoustic guitar as he went along. He did original songs such as “Broken Mirror” and “Yesterday,” and wove them among versions of Men At Work’s “Down Under,” Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads,” the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” and more.

Dustin Burley.

Kevin “ToonaRockGuy” Siegel points out some weird-looking, camera-toting Rockpage administrator to the crowd.

Generation Gap was next. Singer Brian Elliott, guitarist/singer Keith Little, bassist Harry Walter and drummer Ed Murvine played a mixture of rocking favorites from the 70’s through 90’s; including songs from Goo Goo Dolls, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Tom Petty, Stray Cats, Collective Soul, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more. Generation Gap welcomed two special guests during their set, guitarist Jimmy Smith on Big Head Todd’s “Broken Hearted Savior” and Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” and John Stevens to contribute harmonica on the set-ending rendition of Blackfoot’s “Train Train.”

Generation Gap rocks at the Rock for the Troops concert.

Brian Elliott of Generation Gap.

Keith Little of Generation Gap.

Harry Walter and Keith Little of Generation Gap.

Some onlookers take in Generation Gap’s performance at the Rock for the Troops concert.

Again, Generation Gap.

Jimmy Smith joins in to play some additional guitar with Generation Gap.

Again, Brian Elliott of Generation Gap.

Guest John Stevens blows some harmonica with Generation Gap.

Generation Gap and their guests.

One more time, Generation Gap.

At this point, the spotlight fell on two young guests. Tabitha Piper read a special poem about the troops serving overseas, before Kayla Kennedy sang a rendition of "God Bless America."

Tabitha Piper recites a special poem.

Silver Sunday then fired up the mood of the festivities with a happy-go-lucky set of female-fronted modern and original rock. Frontlady Cathie, guitarist Buck Dickson, bassist Mike Stanley and drummer Todd Harshbarger performed original tunes such as “I Know,” “Last Chance Lullaby,” “Just Like Lisa” and more; as well as a freewheeling slate of cover material such as Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady,” The Outfield’s “Your Love,” Fallout Boy’s “Dance Dance,” Bryan Adams’ “Summer of 69” and more. This band was clearly fired up and happy to be a part of this special day; they kept the music upbeat and nonstop, lifting the adrenaline level and the spirits of the onlookers.

Silver Sunday steps up the party during the Rock for the Troops concert.

Buck Dickson of Silver Sunday.

Cathie of Silver Sunday.

Cathie and bassman Mike Stanley of Silver Sunday.

Again, Cathie of Silver Sunday.

Silver Sunday’s festive set continues.

Todd Harshbarger of Silver Sunday.

Once again, Cathie of Silver Sunday.

Again, Mike Stanley of Silver Sunday.

Again, Todd Harshbarger of Silver Sunday.

Donna staffs the Rock for the Troops table under the tent.

Next was Keith Little from Generation Gap, offering a brief solo guitar and vocal performance. After uttering the words “I suffer for my music, now it’s your turn…,” Keith performed a rendition of Dave Mason’s “We Just Disagree” and another song.

Hollidaysburg’s Red Letter Band continued the positive vibes with their set of uplifting, hopeful songs. Blending tight melodies with spirited execution, The Red Letter Band demonstrated their brand of praise rock, as a legion of fans danced and cheered along. Some of the tunes the group performed this day included “Say Praise,” “Free,” and the closer “Praise Adonai.” Their playing was clean and tight, and their melodies and vocal harmonies were bright. The Red Letter Band added to the developing theme of area musicians giving all in their performances and putting their best feet forward for the audience and for the troops.

The Red Letter Band puts their best effort forward to Rock for the Troops.

Again, The Red Letter Band.

Jeff Ritchey of The Red Letter Band.

Larry Snowberger of The Red Letter Band.

T.J. Simendinger of The Red Letter Band.

Russ Reihart of The Red Letter Band.

Once again, The Red Letter Band.

Again, Jeff Ritchey of The Red Letter Band.

A legion of fans stand, dance and cheer on The Red Letter Band’s performance.

One more time, Jeff Ritchey of The Red Letter Band.

Making it all sound good throughout the day, Shawn Hocherl of Showtime Sound.

Then it was Homer’s Army’s turn. These guys were great as well; bassist/singer Mike “Griff” Griffiths, keyboardist/flute player Tim Homerski and drummer Kim Dull played a variety of classic rock, kicking off with Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” and continued with the Stones’ “You Got Me Rocking,” Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road,” Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone,” The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” (with Generation Gap’s Brian Elliott singing lead) and Jethro Tull’s “Locomotive Breath” to finish the set. Jimmy Smith also made another guest appearance, helping out on guitar. Homer’s Army also brought their ‘A’ game, demonstrating stellar musicianship, confidence and poise.

Homer’s Army brings their musicianship to downtown Altoona’s Heritage Plaza.

Tim Homerski of Homer’s Army.

Mike “Griff” Griffiths of Homer’s Army.

Homer’s Army, with guests Brian Elliott and Jimmy Smith.

Griff of Homer’s Army, flanked by guests Brian Elliott and Jimmy Smith.

Again, Griff and Jimmy Smith.

Bending some strings, Jimmy Smith.

Again, Jimmy Smith.

Firing away on flute, Tim Homerski of Homer’s Army.

Again, Tim Homerski.

Once again, Griff of Homer’s Army.

Next was the anticipated debut of lady rockers Kitty Whip. Lead singer Cryssie, guitarist Dawn, bassist Kimi and drummer Justin (The Scraps) played a competent set of rocking covers from Lit, Ramones, Joan Jett, White Stripes, Nirvana, Weezer, The Donnas and more. These gals and guy did a good job, despite looking a little nervous to be playing in front of this large crowd. The crowd cheered approval, and a few little girls began dancing and skipping rope as Kitty Whip’s set progressed. It was a good start for Kitty Whip, and hopefully this group will gain confidence as they log more stage experience together.

Here is footage from Kitty Whip's performance:


Kitty Whip makes their arrival in Altoona as part of the Rock for the Troops concert.

Guitar goddess Dawn of Kitty Whip.

Head Mistress Chryssie of Kitty Whip.

Bass Diva Kimi of Kitty Whip.

Again, Kimi of Kitty Whip.

Again, Kitty Whip.

From another angle, Kitty Whip.

Once again, Kimi of Kitty Whip.

Justin of Kitty Whip.

Again, Chryssie of Kitty Whip.

Again, Dawn of Kitty Whip.

Some young ladies dance and play in front of Kitty Whip.

Kitty Whip makes this young lady skip. (Hey, I made a rhyme!)

One more time, Kitty Whip.

The Tony Mollick Project had been slated to perform earlier this day, but ran into automotive problems en route and were running late. But they eventually arrived. Clouds had been building during the course of the afternoon, but as The Tony Mollick Project started their set, the showers began. That didn’t dampen the group’s spirits, though, as they delivered a loud and proud set of blues-infused rock. The group did several of their own original tunes such as “Likely Story” and “Rusty Angel;” as well as versions of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Willie the (P)imp” and “Couldn’t Stand the Weather,” the “Peter Gunn Theme,” the Stray Cats’ “Rumble in Brighton,” and the Allman Brothers’ “Dreams I’ll Never See.” Frontman/guitarist/namesake Tony Mollick displayed ample soulful vocals and fiery guitar work, anchored by the strong rhythms of bassman Fuzz McGirk and drummer David Blake. This set saw another appearance by the day’s frequent-flyer guitar-playing guest, Jimmy Smith, contributing some licks to “Rusty Angel.”

ToonaRockGuy makes some announcements while the Tony Mollick Project sets up.

Tony Mollick of the Tony Mollick Project.

David Blake of the Tony Mollick Project.

The Tony Mollick Project rocks for the troops.

Fuzz McGirk of the Tony Mollick Project.

Again, Tony Mollick.

Again, David Blake of the Tony Mollick Project.

Once again, Tony Mollick.

With frequent flyer guest Jimmy Smith again contributing guitar licks, the Tony Mollick Project.

I was able to remain for one more band, Lies Inc. Singer J.D. Hicks, bassist Kent Tonkin, guitarist Jason “Daxman” Berardi and drummer Ron Brode mixed original tunes with 90’s and modern rockers. The original song selection included all four songs from the group’s EP, and the cover selection included tunes from Rancid, Fallout Boy, Ozzy Osbourne and more. As with the other bands this day, Lies Inc. brought their ‘A’ game and made their performance count; they were sharp and inspired, and kept the energy of the day riding at a high.

Lies Inc. rocks for the troops.

Again, Lies Inc.

J.D. Hicks of Lies Inc.

Jason “Daxman” Berardi of Lies Inc.

Again, J.D. Hicks of Lies Inc.

Ron Brode of Lies Inc.

Kent Tonkin of Lies Inc.

Once again, Lies Inc.

Work duties called, and I had to depart from the concert at this point, missing the debut performance of Slacker Theory, and the day-closing performance of Felix & the Hurricanes.

This had turned into a truly special day. The energy level and emotions rode at a positive high all day; even late day rains couldn’t dampen the spirits of the musicians and audience. Following this show, the collected footage from the Rock For The Troops campaign was compiled and edited for DVD’s and picture CD’s to be produced and sent to local troops during the forthcoming Christmas holiday season. It was an overall great day for the local music scene, as this area’s musicians shined, and did so helping out a great cause. Here’s hoping this is the first of many such shows to happen at Heritage Plaza, to help out worthy causes and allow the area music scene to demonstrate that it is a beneficial asset to this community.


After finishing up my “Backyard Rocker” duties this night (with the aforementioned Tony Mollick Project in studio), I headed to Shaw’s in Juniata to see one of the bands I missed during the Rock For The Troops concert, Felix & the Hurricanes.

A friendly, rowdy crowd was in the house and partying down as I arrived during the Hurricanes’ second set. The group was in the midst of “Take Me to the River,” before veering into Iron Maiden’s “Innagaddadavida,” the group’s latest default song of choice whenever lead ‘Cane Felix needs a bathroom break. Bassman/singer Jeff Clapper and drummer Bob Watters held down the fort while Felix relieved himself. Upon his return to the stage, the ‘Canes continued with the Beatles’ “Something,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” and the set-closing original number “Walking a Straight Line,” complete with turtle-dancing female ‘Caniac in front of the stage!

The nightcap set continued the festivities. The Hurricanes began with a new one of their own, “Hurtin’ People,” followed by ted Nugent’s “Free for All” and Molly Hatchet’s “Flirtin’ with Disaster,” before guest Loren Johnson stepped up to the mic to sing on Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About.” The Hurricanes then did the Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker,” before guest Rob “RobTheDrummer” Bonsell sat in behind the kit to supply the beat on the night’s last song.

After a glorious day at the Rock For The Troops concert, the Hurricanes provided just the right good time party to cap the weekend.

Felix & the Hurricanes close out the weekend at Shaw’s.


Rocking for the Troops
Area bands brought ‘A’ game
Local music shined

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Jim Price

Joined: 07 Dec 2002
Posts: 4818
Location: Altoona, PA

 Post Posted: Saturday Dec 19, 2009 
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