Last year, I didn’t have the chance to attend Touchstone Theatre’s Jakopa Punch Bowl. Lisa filled in for me and did a fantastic job, but I was bummed that I couldn’t make it, because it sounded like an interesting event and a great time.
I was right. Last night’s installment of the event was nothing short of fantastic.
The packed Charles A. Brown Ice House was treated to Cajun fare, courtesy of SouthSide 313, The Bayou, and The Wooden Match as they enjoyed a night of stirring musical performances from locals, highlighted by Touchstone Theatre’s own New Orleans-style jazz band, Jakopa’s Punch.
First, The Bastard Sons welcomed the crowd by trading songs and stories. This night’s collective consisted of group co-founders Mike Roi and Carter Lansing alongside Jason Hedrington. It was my first time enjoying a Bastard Sons gig up close, and it was well worth the wait! Each man had standout moments throughout the set, including Roi’s rendition of Roi and the Secret People’s “Sweet Maria”; Lansing’s solo take on his original, “Company Store,” from Acoustic Kitty Project’s latest, “Saturday Night”; and Hedrington’s captivating presentation of Prince’s “Nothing Compares To You” that proved the Roi and the Secret People keyboardist comes with a mean set of pipes.
Then, it was party time, and Jakopa’s Punch set the tone with big, loud, bombastic covers of favorites, leading with Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and also including hits like Elton John’s “Levon” and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Tears of a Clown.” Frontman JP Jordan was a particularly engaging presence, instilling a high energy that made people get out of their seats and dance from the opening note. I certainly look forward to seeing Jakopa’s Punch again.
Then, closing the night and keeping the party going was The Charts’ Funk Band, comprised of upperclassmen from Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. The fivesome sounded polished beyond their years, delivering smooth tones and tight rhythms to keep the dance floor full.
All in all, we had a great time at the Jakopa’s Punch Bowl, and it has made its way onto our list of can’t-miss annual events. Take a look through our lens below (and, thanks to The Ice House for having immaculate lighting conditions last night!)