Review: Megan Knight – Self-titled

Artist: Megan Knight
Album: Self-Titled (BUY)
Released: Dec. 7, 2015
Genre: Country/Rock

The marriage of country and rock has become increasingly popularized in recent years. This trend is brought out in full force on Megan Knight’s self-titled effort, which successfully straddles a line between the two genres.

Knight’s powerhouse vocals render her capable of doing great things in either genre. This much is apparent right off the bat on up-tempo album opener, “Go Home.” Meanwhile, tracks like “Half of a Man” and “How to Say This” have a definitive rock flair, with the former showcasing pointed, angry vocals from Knight, and the latter featuring a bit of power balladry and an opening riff that recalls Bon Jovi’s “Thank You for Loving Me.”

The shining moment, however, is the Jewel cover, “Who Will Save Your Soul,” which closes out the album with a bang. Knight’s vocal chops are again present here, as she expertly nails the essence of this folk rock classic with her own flair.

Track listing:
Go Home
Fall for Two
Half of a Man
A Lifetime’s Not Long Enough
Time Machine
How to Say This
Subconsciously Attached
Desperate for Acceptance
Everything You Said
In Case You Cared
Who Will Save Your Soul

PHOTOS: Acoustic Bite Trio at Pearly Baker’s

And so, we complete the trifecta from Saturday night!

After I had my socks thoroughly rocked by Acoustic Kitty Project and Roi & the Secret People at Rivals, and after Lisa had a great time capturing the Allentown Freak Out Fringe Festival, I popped over to Pearly Baker’s, where Acoustic Bite Trio was set to play some”acoustified” favorites.

I was only able to stay for a little while (unfortunately, I had to wake up before 7 a.m. on Sunday), but while I was there, the trio featuring Shawn Cav (bass), Scott Harrington (guitar), and Dave Deubler (drums) ran through a jukebox-worth of hits, both classic and contemporary. It was a nice cap to a fantastic evening of live music.

And, of course, I got a few shots while I was there. They’re below!

PHOTOS: Allentown Freak Out Fringe Festival

It doesn’t get much more Underground than this.

While I was rocking out in Easton on Saturday night, LVU contributor Lisa Robinson did us a huge favor by heading to Allentown for this year’s Freak Out Fringe Festival. Lisa went to the main stage, where she the Unholy Sideshow, as well as the Gas House Dance Hall Revue.

This event showcases the alternative arts scene in the Lehigh Valley, and just how diverse and vibrant the region’s culture is. Lisa’s photos capture the essence of the evening — a fun festival of avant-garde entertainment, where people are free to be themselves.

Enjoy the gallery! We look forward to coming back in 2017.

Can’t-Miss Shows of the Week: June 27-July 3

Summer is in full swing, and we are coming up on a holiday weekend. While you will surely have an opportunity to enjoy grilled burgers, ice cold beverages, and maybe even a trip to the shore this weekend, there is, as always, plenty of live music to enjoy right in your backyard. Exercise your independence as you travel across our section of this great land for some…

Can’t-Miss Shows of the Week!

Tues.., June 28 | 9 p.m.
Raven Lounge Open Mic featuring Marc Ambrosia
Venue:
Raven Lounge, 1718 Sansom St., Philadelphia
Admission: FREE, 21+
Description: Feel like making a mid-week trip to Philly? Be sure to check out Marc Ambrosia, who will surely be performing tracks off of his album, “Footprints.”

Wed., June 29 | 10 p.m.
The Moondogs at The Funhouse
Venue:
5 E. 4th St, Bethlehem
Admission: FREE
Description: The Moondogs howl for a Wednesday night party at the stalwart South Bethlehem venue.

Thurs., June 30 | 7 p.m.
Musos at The Originals Music Series
Venue:
Chicago Restaurant, 1179 Airport Rd., Allentown
Admission: FREE
Description: Musos returns to rock the stage at Chicago.

Fri., July 1 | 8 p.m.
Whiskey Hollow Debuts (w/ special guest Crossroads Duo)
Venue:
Chicago Restaurant, 1179 Airport Rd., Allentown
Admission: FREE before 10 p.m.
Description: Start July with the debut of the Valley’s newest country band.

PHOTOS: Summer Blowout Show with Roi & the Secret People and Acoustic Kitty Project

In case there was any doubt left, Saturday night at Rivals Sports Bar & Restaurant proved once again that Easton Rocks.

The stage at Rivals was graced by the presence of Acoustic Kitty Project, fronted by Carter Lansing, and Roi & the Secret People, who are currently competing in a MusicBrackets.com music video contest for a $5,000 cash prize.

Both acts performed brilliantly, with Acoustic Kitty Project setting a country rock tone during their hour-plus set. Roi & the Secret People then followed with another trademark performance that blended sounds from the rock, pop, and progressive spheres.

Hats off to both bands for another enjoyable night of music (and for the stylish hats of each band’s frontman). Enjoy the photos!

Review: Slumlord Radio – Too Pretty for Tijuana

Artist: Slumlord Radio
Album: Too Pretty for Tijuana (LISTEN)
Released: Sept. 11, 2015
Genre: Punk/Action Rock

Slumlord Radio comes to us from all the way in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a brand of music they call “high-energy, dirty action rock.” Their latest effort, “Too Pretty for Tijuana,” delivers on that promise with tracks that are in-your-face as they are progressive.

Lead single “Bullwhip” starts the album off with a bang, featuring a catchy opening riff and gang vocals reminiscent of KISS, all while staying true to the band’s underground punk vibe (true to form, its music video is banned in China!). Another track of note is “Tycoon,” a gritty, instantly-recognizable headbanger with a chorus containing the album’s title (and which you just may have heard somewhere before)…

“Too Pretty for Tijuana” is raw and unapologetic, and that is exactly what it needs to be. Slumlord Radio has captured the essence of who they are as a band, and it rocks with no questions asked.

PHOTOS: Soundscapes with Shawn Cav and Dan DeChellis at Pearly Baker’s

Thursday night brought me to Easton, where I would visit Pearly Baker’s for the first time. It was a nice first visit to Pearly’s; a mellow evening, accented wonderfully by the musical efforts of Shawn Cav and Dan DeChellis.

Each artist had a chance to showcase his mastery to the Pearly Baker’s crowd. Cav’s work on guitar and bass impressively defied genre, while DeChellis’ captivating work on keys filled the room with a plethora of sounds. Together, the duo created lush atmospheric, improvisational grooves to keep music lovers engaged and guessing what might come next.

This laid back evening of great talent and tunes made me want to return to Pearly Baker’s. Fortunately, I’ll have that chance on Saturday for another Shawn Cav band, the Acoustic Bite Trio.

Until then, enjoy a few photos courtesy of LVU!

 

Help Roi & the Secret People Win $5,000

UPDATE (6/24): Roi & the Secret People’s video for “Phoenix” has made the Final Four. Help them reach the finals!

We’ve heard it all before. Plenty of local bands could do truly awesome things if they “only had the money.”

Well, you have the opportunity to help Easton’s Roi & the Secret People do some of those truly awesome things — and all it will take is a few minutes of your time.

The band’s video for “Phoenix” has outlasted thousands of other videos to make it to the Final 8 of the latest MusicBrackets.com music video competition. Now, they need your help to win the contest and secure $5,000, which will go to support the band’s endeavors.

All you have to do is head over there, sign up for free, and vote for “Phoenix” when it pops up. Yep, that’s it. In doing so, you’ll be exposed to tons more great indie artists and their music. Bonus!

And, just to entice you even more, you can watch the band’s video for “Phoenix” below.

PHOTOS: 3 Pill Morning at The Gin Mill & Grille

Who says Tuesday isn’t a great night to rock?

Folks at Northampton’s Gin Mill & Grille last night were ready to hear the melodic hard rock sounds of 3 Pill Morning. The melodic Minneapolis four-piece is currently on tour, and their Lehigh Valley stop was nothing short of electrifying.

The night began with an opening acoustic set from singer-songwriter Steve McDaniel. McDaniel performed a set of mostly covers, peppering in a few originals that stood tall among classics from artists like Johnny Cash and more.

Then, it was time for 3 Pill Morning to take the stage. The band’s high-octane performance resonated well with those in attendance as they performed a mix of selections from their debut, “Black Tie Love Affair,” and their upcoming release, “Never Look Back.”

Artist Q&A: Jeff Stebbins of 3 Pill Morning

Tonight, Minneapolis-based hard rockers 3 Pill Morning invade the Lehigh Valley to perform at Northampton’s Gin Mill & Grille. Doors open at 5 p.m. for what is sure to be a great night of rock.

Lehigh Valley Underground caught up with Jeff Stebbins, vocalist of 3 Pill Morning, for thoughts on tonight’s show and the band’s upcoming album, “Never Look Back.”

For those in our area who might be unfamiliar, how did 3 Pill Morning originate?
3 Pill Morning got started in Minneapolis with members of several different existing bands joining up and jamming together.  A project was soon formed and have continued to push it into the touring act that we are now.  It’s been a hell of a process, but we are excited to see all that hard work pay off!

You guys deliver high-energy, melodic hard rock. What artists have influenced your sound?
We’ve all got a variety of musical influences ranging from the Chili Peppers and Incubus, to Slipknot and Guns & Roses.

In 2012, you released your debut album, “Black Tie Love Affair,” which garnered attention from the likes of Revolver and Billboard. Looking back, what made that album so successful?
I think with that album we really became better songwriters and really focused on telling the story in a memorable way. We had an idea for the type of album we wanted to create, and we really wanted there to be something for everyone.

Also to your credit, you’ve toured with a who’s who list of modern hard rock, including groups like Shinedown, Sevendust, Buckcherry and, one of my personal favorites, Hollywood Undead. Talk about your touring experience.
It’s been great to hit the road with those bands and learn what it takes to really make it in this business. Some of those bands have really become friends and given us a lot of great advice and feedback to help our career. Plus, who doesn’t love playing in front of killer crowds?!

Tell us a great story from the road!
I think one of the most memorable moments, from a crowd perspective, is the first time we were thousands of miles from home and the entire crowd was singing one of our songs. It was completely unexpected, and to have that moment and see how impactful a great song can be keeps us fueled to do bigger and better things every day.

You’re preparing to release your sophomore album, “Never Look Back.” What can we expect from this record?
This album is definitely more aggressive and has an edge to every song on it. We really captured the emotion of each song, and these songs are real experiences and things that everyone can relate to in this crazy world. We’re really excited for everyone to experience it!

How have you guys evolved in the past four years, from “Black Tie Love Affair” to now?
I think we’ve become a lot more seasoned in the business itself, but have quickly realized the only people that can make things happen are us and our fans. Our new album is exactly what we wanted to write. Our fans are behind us 100% and, because of that, things are really taking off!

Recently, you released the album’s first single, “Electric Chair.” What has the response been so far?
Incredible. We felt like we had a good one with “Electric Chair,” and to get the feedback we have from fans and friends has been everything we’d hoped!

You’re coming to the Lehigh Valley, playing tonight at Northampton’s Gin Mill & Grille. What can we expect from this night of rock?
It’s going to be a party and a high-energy rock show. When we come to town, we want everyone to have a great time and make sure it was worth their while to come out and support the live show. We promise to make it an awesome 3PM experience!

Anything else you’d like to add?
You can preorder our album “Never Look Back” now, and definitely get out to see us on the road.  We’ll be touring nonstop, so don’t be shy!