Despite the lack of a new release from Will Smith, 2016 has been a pretty great year for Philly music. What are my “best of” choices for 2016? Find out below. Read more
Tag Archives: VoirVoir
Last night, I concluded Super Saturday by heading over to Bethlehem’s historic Ice House for the final concert of the summer in Tape Swap Radio’s IceHouse Tonight series. The night featured four hardcore bands — Swimmers Lungs, Manbeast, Tile, and Couch Slut — making for, frankly, the heaviest night of music I’ve ever experienced.
Last night’s show, as well as all of Tape Swap Radio’s efforts, was completely DIY and took a village to make a reality. The series was started by local residents Matt Molchany (whom you might know as the frontman of indie rock band Voirvoir) and Shamus McGroggan. The pair, as well as a host of local musicians and music supporters, make it their mission to showcase a different genre at each Tape Swap Radio show.
I also found it interesting to learn that Tape Swap Radio does more than produce live events. Tape Swap is also a music and video series that exclusively features DIY and independent bands. The show airs every other Friday at 11 p.m. on 88.1 WDIY FM, the Lehigh Valley’s NPR station.
On behalf of Lehigh Valley Underground, I want to send congratulations to Tape Swap Radio for a job well done on last night’s show, and a sincere “Thank You” for their efforts in making our music scene that much more vibrant. You can learn more about Tape Swap Radio online and on Facebook.
Musikfest is a time of unique opportunities in the Valley. For music fans, it is a chance to see national touring acts – Run DMC or Don Henley, for example – whose appearances in the area would otherwise be few and far between. At the same time, we are exposed to a unique cross-section of local acts. For musicians, it is a chance to play to a more diverse selection of than they might be used to. In either case, Musikfest is a vehicle for exposure. I spoke to several local artists about this year’s experience, both on and off the stage.
Matt, from VoirVoir
On the Bethlehem get-stoked-rock darlings’ Tuesday evening performance at the Provident Bank Main Street Stage: “It was the ideal set to me – I felt like we were one with the audience, not above or below them. We were communicating.”
On the band’s reception from the crowd: “It was the first time I ever heard people singing along as loud as I heard myself, which was amazing.”
“And there were so many new people we connected with; we almost sold out of merch after the first set.”
On familiar faces: “All the local support from friends and family made it magical.”
On the rest of the week: “I had to work pretty much every second up until our set, and after. I’m bummed I missed Slinghot Dakota and Summer Scouts.”
On the upcoming weekend: “Ape [April, who plays keys and sings in VoirVoir] and I are stoked to go see Kississippi this weekend – we played with them at Siren Records and they were great, and sweet people to boot.”
On tonight: “What I’m looking forward to is walking around and happening on something, like when I was a kid.”
On the overall experience: “Musikfest is a great opportunity for local musicians to connect with new people – from the area and beyond – and, like our Tuesday night set, play a lovely show for friends and family in the middle of the town we love.”
Todd, from Trouble City All-Stars/Goat Wizard
On his hectic week: “Six total sets for me and Trouble City at Volksplatz, and then bars and clubs around the vicinity of Musikfest like the Funhouse, the Wooden Match, and Steel Pub. We even played at a car show this weekend.”
On late night sets: “[They’re like] Musikfest after parties, for when the Fest night is over but people still want to party!”
On the best bands he saw this week: “Band from Mars [a Bowie tribute] or VoirVoir. It’s a toss up.”
On the evolution of Musikfest: “I was happy to see a lot more local bands this year, and I was happy to be in my band playing this year for the seventh time. There’s a very good feeling about the whole town coming together and having an awesome music festival.”
On next year: “I’m looking forward to doing it again, and I have to thank the people that bring us back each year and support us, and all the people that come out and support us every year. It means the world to us.”
“Also looking forward to more rad bands; every year the program for the festival gets better and better!”
On his Musikfest all-time favorites: “Every year they bring back Runa Pacca, the Peruvian flute players. Seriously, the best; they are the true essence of my Musikfest.”
Tuesday night started a bit early for me than Monday’s adventure did. For one thing, I am (mostly) recovered from the Lehigh Valley Music Awards Rock Showcase, so it was easy for me to get moving.
It was even easier for the Festplatz crowd to get moving around 5:30 p.m. That’s when the Sensational Soul Cruisers took the stage. The vocal quartet — with one of the tightest backing bands you’ll ever hear — played more than an hour’s worth of Motown, soul, and R&B hits that kept the dance floor way more packed than you’d expect on a Tuesday afternoon.
There was still plenty of soul to be had a Musikfest after the Soul Cruisers wrapped up. For one thing, The Groove Merchants were getting ready to begin their second set of the day on the Provident Bank Main Street stage in celebration of their new album, “Take It.”
I swear, the Groove Merchants’ blend of funk, jazz, blues, and rock keeps getting better every time I see them. Frontman Tye Vallone excelled at his job, keeping the crowd engaged with his charisma and ability on multiple instruments, while solos from guitarist Luke Ferracone and trumpeter Dylan Hinnershitz wowed those who had gathered around for the band’s set.
As dusk came over Main Street and The Groove Merchants packed their instruments and merch table, it was time for a change of pace courtesy of Bethlehem indie rockers, Voirvoir. The five-piece packed the front of the stage with fans and supporters, injecting even more youthful energy into the night with anthems like opening song, “I Wanna.”
Tuesday’s lineup is particularly exciting to me. The official halfway point of Musikfest 2016 is marked by artists I’ve personally had the privilege of covering, as well as those I’ve seen, but who might be new to the Lehigh Valley Underground audience.
Come along with me, and I’ll make sure you know who’s who before the day is through.
Musikfest Five-Point Preview
Day 5 – Aug. 9, 2016
Joyous | 12 p.m.
Stage: Wells Fargo Festplatz (North)
Description: Sneak out for lunch (or just take the day off) to hear some classic soul and R&B.
Seamus Kennedy | 5 p.m.
Stage: Red Stag Pub Liederplatz (North)
Description: The popular Celtic folk artist returns to Bethlehem once more.
The Groove Merchants | 7 p.m.
Stage: Provident Bank Main Street (North)
Description: Funk, soul, blues, and jazz collide for the second time today (the band also plays in the same spot at 5 p.m.).
Voirvoir | 8:30 p.m.
Stage: Provident Bank Main Street (North)
Description: There Are No Good Goodbyes, so say hello once more to the local indie rock masters.
Scythian | 9 p.m.
Stage: Air Products Americaplatz (South)
Description: One of the ‘Fest’s most popular returning performers brings their unique, thrilling brand of rock.
There’s more where that came from! Check in with DustinSchoof.com every morning throughout Musikfest for a full free stage lineup!
Musikfest starts this weekend, and we’re popping in on our summer break to preview the action! Joining us is Ricardo Flores, President of the Greater Lehigh Valley Music Association, who talks to us about the organization’s mission, values, and the Lehigh Valley Music Awards Rock Showcase, sponsored by Lehigh Valley Underground, happening Sunday, Aug. 7 from 8-11 p.m. at Musikfest’s Plaza Tropical stage.
Plus, we play music from artists who you’ll hear at the festival!
The Groove Merchants – John the Savage
Alex Radus – We Can’t Play Like Django
This Way to the Egress – Earworm
Doubting Thoma$ – Slate Clean
Voirvoir – I Wanna
Scott Marshall – Hope on the Cross
Not For Coltrane is the tip of the iceberg this week.
You might expect the week before the start of our nation’s largest free outdoor music festival to be the calm before the storm. That is not the case.
What a stacked lineup we have for you with this week’s…
Can’t-Miss Shows of the Week!
Tues., Jul. 26 | 6 p.m.
Burn Halo, Malicious Intent & Husk
Venue: The Gin Mill & Grille, 1750 Main St., Northampton
Admission: $10 advance/$12 door
Description: A triple threat of hard rock highlights your Tuesday night.
Thurs., Jul. 28 | 7 p.m.
September Silence and Deprived at The Originals Music Series
Venue: Chicago Restaurant, 1179 Airport Rd., Allentown
Description: The Originals returns to Chicago with another great night of rock.
Fri., Jul. 29 | 10 p.m.
VoirVoir with Jonathan Monument
Venue: The Funhouse, 5 E. 4th St., Bethlehem
Description: Switch things up midweek with a double dose of indie rock.
Sat., Jul. 30 | 7 p.m.
Trapped in Static at the WSCI Radio Summer Concert Series
Venue: Tally Ho Tavern, 205 W. 4th St., Bethlehem
Description: The New Yorkers add more interstate flavor to South Bethlehem.
Sat., Jul. 30 | 7 p.m.
Shawn Cav Ensemble Record Release Show
Venue: The California Drum Shop, 343 Rauch St., Bethlehem
Description: Shawn Cav and his eponymous group will be celebrating the release of “Glass Houses.
Bethlehem’s own VoirVoir is celebrating the release of its album, “There Are No Good Goodbyes,” with an official, DIY video for its lead track, “I Wanna.”
The video features surrogate footage of the “Rock-afire Explosion” band from the vintage Showbiz Pizza restaurant chain. The high-energy, anthemic track is itself an indie rock explosion, restless in nature as vocalist/guitarist Matt Molchany sings about busting loose and reaching beyond the status quo.
Stream the album in its entirety — and read a killer review — by visiting WXPN’s The Key, and check out the video for “I Wanna” below.
It was a packed house Friday night in the Fowler Blast Furnace Room at SteelStacks in Bethlehem for the hometown heroes Slingshot Dakota‘s record release show with fellow Lehigh Valley comrades Voirvoir and Summer Scouts.
With everyone excited for the start of the summer, spirits seemed high as we anticipated hearing songs of the brand new record, “Break,” the release of which was officially being celebrated by Slingshot Dakota that night.
The always excellent Voirvoir started off the show with their distinctive sound of heavy, synth-infused indie punk. The generally soft vocals and hard synth leads of singer/keyboardist April Smith, combined with the fuzzy guitar riffs and strident, pleading vocals of guitarist/singer Matt Molchany, are some of the defining characteristics that make this band great.
Summer Scouts were next on the bill, and they were noticeably excited to be on the stage playing for us. This punk rock/indie band hyped the crowd as much as possible in between their fast-paced repertoire of punk rock and indie songs. Lead singer Katherine’s impressive vocal range was met with gang vocals by the rest of her band to provide an even heavier appeal.
And finally, it was time for Slingshot Dakota to do what they came to do – play an incredible set to a room full of their closest fans, friends, and family. For those who may not know, they are a 2-piece band from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Husband-wife duo Carly Comando and Tom Patterson have been touring and performing around the country for the past 10 years. This band seems to radiate happiness and positive energy, and it is certainly expressed in their music. Even between songs, both members frequently thanked their friends and family — many of whom were in the audience — and showed nothing but gratitude and respect for the local scene and everyone involved.
With Carly expertly navigating the keyboard while singing raw, introspective lyrics — and drummer Tom Patterson holding it all together with his unrelenting style of heavy, deliberate drumming — there wasn’t a person in the room who wasn’t grinning ear to ear.
There are a lot of great shows in the Lehigh Valley (and a bit beyond) this week. While we can’t possibly go wrong no matter what we choose, it has left us with some tough choices as we figure out our own schedule for Thursday and Friday. So, you get to share our (good) problem of having multiple excellent entertainment options. We present you with the…
Can’t-Miss Shows of the Week!
Thurs., June 9 | 7 p.m.
Acoustic singer-songwriter night at The Originals Music Series
Venue: Chicago Restaurant, 1179 Airport Road, Allentown
Description: Crossroads Duo and Adam Jacob highlight this stripped-down night at the weekly showcase.
Thurs., June 9 | 9 p.m.
A Night of Improvisation with The Now
Venue: Rivals Sports Bar, 5 Lehns Ct., Easton
Description: The Lehigh Valley’s improvised music group receives support from live dancers and a video display for an intriguing evening of performance art.
Fri., June 10 | 7 p.m.
Slingshot Dakota Hometown Album Release Show (w/ Summer Scouts and VoirVoir)
Venue: ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem
Admission: $10 advance; $12 door
Description: The nationally-known, Lehigh Valley-raised duo returns home to celebrate the release of its new album, “Break.”
Fri., June 10 | 8 p.m.
Lauren Marsh (w/ Giada J. and Lullanas)
Venue: Hard Rock Café, 1113-31 Market St., Philadelphia
Admission: $10 advance; $12 door
Description: The Jersey native with Lehigh Valley ties will perform tracks from her red-hot indie pop EP, “Veracity.”