Fall Preview: Fests and Fundraisers Keep the Scene Moving

There is a myth that exists in the Lehigh Valley, and it goes a little something like this: the music scene dries up when summer ends. As the sun begins to set earlier in the day, so, too, does it set on the active season in our arts and culture community.

That notion could not be further from the truth.

Between festivals, showcases, and our typical haunts, our dance card is already filling up for the fall, and will likely keep us out of the pumpkin patches and absorbing the sights and sounds as the autumn chill permeates the air. Here’s what’s on our radar.

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Allentown ArtsFest is happening, like, right now.

Allentown ArtsFest
Dates:
Now through Oct. 2
Location: Cedar Beach Park, Allentown
Description: ArtsFest 2016 features more than 300 artists, vendors, musicians, buskers and performers. All admission and entertainment is FREE for all ages.

Oktoberfest
Dates:
Now through Oct. 2; Oct. 7-9
Location: SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Description: Music isn’t all Oktoberfest has to offer, with games, dachshund races, food and, of course, plenty of great beer. If you’re looking for tunes, though, Scott Marshall (10/1, 9 p.m.), The Moondogs (10/8, 4 p.m.), and Truth & Soul (10/9, 12 p.m.) are among the highlights that stand out to us.

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On Oct. 27, Alpha Zero Three returns to the scene of their live debut.

Alpha Zero Three and Rofo Audio at The Originals Music Series
Date: Thurs., Oct. 27
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Chicago Restaurant & Club Gravity, 1179 Airport Road, Allentown
Description: Both AZ3 and Rofo Audio, rising rock acts in the Valley, will be performing new tunes from their upcoming releases.

Thirteen Butterflies Productions’ Annual Anti-Bullying Show
Date:
Sat., Oct. 29
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Allentown Masonic Temple, 1524 W. Linden St., Allentown
Description: Craig Thatcher, Friar’s Point Band, Taylor Ash, and many more artists cap Anti-Bullying Awareness Month with an all-star jam.

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There’s a lot of bacon in this photo. The only thing missing… is you.

PA Bacon Fest 2016
Date: Nov. 5-6
Location: Center Square, Easton
Description: 100+ vendors, 10+ musical acts, and bacon. Lots and lots of bacon.

Third Annual Arts on the Move
Date: Sat., Nov. 12
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. 4th St, Bethlehem
Description: We went into this a bit on Thursday, but to re-iterate: four great performers and an art/instrument auction to support the Greater Lehigh Valley Music Association’s scholarship program.

Jazz, Coffee, and Limitless Possibilities

Nestled in Allentown’s 10th Ward is a quaint, quirky space where art, music and community collide.

I’m talking about Coffee House Without Limits, a Queen City gem that has begun to make a name for itself in artistic circles. Located at 707 N. 4th St., Coffee House Without Limits serves up hot beverages and cool vibes with equal ease, sharing a conjoining door with the popular Alternative Gallery.

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Bryan Tuk, right, keeps time while Bill Warfield improvises on trumpet.

On a rainy Thursday night, I had the opportunity to visit Coffee House Without Limits for the first time, which was packed with patrons young and old to see The Bryan Tuk Complex. It was the perfect night for some intricate, experimental jazz from the always-on-point Tuk and his band, which consisted on this night of B.D. Lenz on guitar, Bill Warfield on trumpet, and Tony Marino on bass. The evening also served, to me, as a microcosm of what our scene can be, every night of the week: people of all ages, demographics, and backgrounds, coming together at a cool, upstart venue for the sake of enjoying some original tunes.

Perhaps this diversity is a byproduct of the many offerings Coffee House Without Limits gives to the community at any given moment. Artists can work with Coffee House Without Limits to schedule music, poetry, or other performances, or participate in open mic nights. Coffee House Without Limits also offers performers “CWOL Sessions;” opportunities to tape intimate, in-house performances, akin to NPR’s Tiny Desk sessions. A full schedule of events can be found on CWOL’s homepage.

Coffee House without limits is no longer a secret to me, and I look forward to heading back, sooner rather than later.

GLVMA’s Third Annual Arts on the Move Set for Nov. 12.

We enjoyed our Musikfest rendezvous with the Greater Lehigh Valley Music Association so much, we’ve decided it’s time for another round!

Lehigh Valley Underground is proud to sponsor the Third Annual Arts on the Move, taking place on Saturday, November 12 at Touchstone Theater, 321 E. 4th St. in Bethlehem.

Arts on the Move is a fundraiser for the GLVMA, with all proceeds funding the organization’s scholarships, to be awarded at the 18th Annual Lehigh Valley Music Awards on March 5, 2017. The evening will feature live music from local performers Triple G, Project 32, Jordyn Kenzie, and Erin Kelly. In addition, Arts on the Move will host an auction of unique instruments donated by local musicians and styled by local visual artists.

Tickets are $15 and can be found on the GLVMA’s Eventbrite page. For updates and more information, visit Arts on the Move on Facebook, and check back with Lehigh Valley Underground and DustinSchoof.com in the weeks leading up to the event.

PHOTOS: The Fourth Annual Slatington Bike Night

Last Saturday was a beautiful day for an All-American good time. That’s what Slatington Volunteer Fire Company provided its town’s residents with the fourth annual Slatington Bike Night.

This “night” actually began at noon, and featured food, beer, vendors, bikes, cars and, of course, music. Our friends at The Fyre & Ice Show put the day’s entertainment together, with five local bands rocking a blend of covers and originals throughout the day. First up was Wicked Beaver, who featured a setlist of familiar classic rock hits to get things warmed up.

Next, Bethlehem-based Eighteenth Hour came to the stage, switching things up and turning heads with their well-crafted rock originals.

By the time Eighteenth Hour concluded, it was the middle of an laid-back weekend afternoon. Our musical lineup had just the thing for such a relaxing atmosphere: father-daughter duo AVYLON, who came through with some new originals and a jukebox of covers.

Crowds had begun to gather in larger numbers as AVYLON’s set went on. While this was, no doubt, because of the duo’s acoustic stylings, it was also due to the fact that the ever-popular CA/CD — an AC/DC tribute band, as you might guess — was up next. The band’s renditions of songs like “Thunderstruck” and “Dirty Deeds” were on-point, as was its onstage presence throughout the set.

Finally, as night has begun to creep its way into Slatington Bike Night, those who stuck around were in for a real treat, as Long Island-based REVEL 9 had made their way to the Valley for the occasion. It was my first time seeing the hard rockers — unbelievable, considering their song, “All I’ve Become,” has been my podcast’s theme song for two years — and they did not disappoint! With blazing guitars, REVEL 9 presented songs off of its two albums, “The Razorblade Diaries” and “The Reality Crush,” as well as unreleased tracks and a couple of well-timed covers. Frontman DJ Pearlman even stuck around afterwards to give CDs to the kids who had stayed to rock out, ensuring a love of music in the next generation.

With the day in the books, there was a good feeling in the air. It was one of gratitude, and of a unity through music. Thanks to The Fyre & Ice Show for including us, and for putting the day’s great lineup together.

Hey, look! I’m a ‘Music Industry Master Mind!’

One hot summer day earlier this year, I was on the phone with John Scargall, touring country artist and #GoodFriendoftheShow. John and I talk to catch up on each other’s projects every so often, and to bounce ideas off of one another.

As this particular conversation went on, John told me about his upcoming Music Industry Master Mind podcast. The series features John interviewing “some of the music industry’s top executives and minds to find out what makes them tick; [and] the beliefs and strategies they use in order to achieve tremendous success.”

John’s Music Industry Master Mind guest list includes CEOs and top industry A&R executives, and provides valuable industry insight to anybody passionate about making music their life’s mission.

Now, I am ecstatic and humbled to tell you that Music Industry Master Mind also features the story of Lehigh Valley Underground!

John extended the offer to me to share my experience of building Lehigh Valley Underground, from fledgling blog to local online music powerhouse(?). To have my name — and, especially, Lehigh Valley Underground’s — listed alongside some of the top executives in the music industry today is a tremendous honor, and to share my thoughts on John’s amazing platform is something for which I’m incredibly grateful.

Thanks to John for including me! Please have a listen to the podcast to learn our origin story (Spoilers: The Quinn Spinn is involved), what it takes to succeed, and my hopes for LVU’s future.