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Archive for the ‘Bethlehem, PA’ Category

[POSTPONED: October 12, 2020] Mountain Goats (solo) [rescheduled from June 4]

indexWhen this show was rescheduled there were still a few chairs left. Musikfest Cafe seems like  a pretty safe venue–lots of distancing available.  But I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to a show yet.  Having it postponed, made the decision for me.

I like The Mountain Goats quite a lot.  I think John Darnielle is a great songwriter.

I’ve never seen them (or him) live and I’ve often thought it would be an enjoyable night, but they’re usually just under my radar.

I’d usually prefer to see a band rather than its lead singer solo, but in this case, I don’t know if it would make that much of a difference to me.  Seeing him at the Musikfest Cafe would be pretty fantastic–a great venue with excellent acoustics.

The biggest surprise to me is how quickly his shows sell out.  If this one hadn;t sold it, it was very close, by the time it was postponed.

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[CANCELLED: July 31, 2020] The National

indexI like The National quite a lot.  Although sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes their songs can be more than a little dour.  But they also have a tremendous sense of humor–they have done three songs for Bob’s Burgers after all.

I never really considered seeing live them until my friend Armando told me how great they were in concert–one of his favorite live bands.  Since he and I both love seeing Phish and Pearl Jam, I figured I should put them on my list.

When I saw they were playing SteelStacks, I immediately grabbed a ticket.  Nevermind that S. and I were going to be leaving for the Newport Folk Festival that evening (probably). I didn’t think that one through, but I remained optimistic that I could pull it off.

We saw Julia Jacklin open for First Aid Kit tow years ago.  About her set I said

Jacklin is not a partier, but nor is she a downer either.  She is thoughtful and inquisitive.  Her music, even live, is fairly spare–except when it’s not–and she sings pretty quietly–except when she doesn’t.  She was charming and funny–delightful in an opening act.

When the Newport Folk Festival was cancelled on April 29, I was very bummed.  My silver lining was that I might get to see The National.  However, on June 10, The National announced that they would be cancelling their tour.

Well, now I certainly hope they come back next year.

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[POSTPONED: June 16, 2020] Bright Eyes / Lucy Dacus [moved to July 29, 2021]

indexI’ve never been much of a fan of Conor Oberst.  Although after seeing him in Better Oblivion Community Center, I gained a new respect for him and foudn I actually liked him.

I don’t know a lot about Bright Eyes (except that the songs sound strangely like The Replacements to me).  I wasn’t planning on going to this show (even though Steelstacks is a cool venue).

However, I kept getting notifications that Lucy Dacus was playing at Steelstacks.  I have seen Lucy a couple of times and would be more than happy to see her again.  When I got the notification, I assumed it meant she would be playing inside in one of the smaller venues (which would be outstanding).  I didn’t realize it was because she was opening for Bright Eyes.

This show was in fact postponed until next July–over a year away.  I have no idea what my calendar will be like then, but I think maybe by next July, I could be ready for Conor and Lucy again.

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[POSTPONED: June 4, 2020] Mountain Goats (solo) [moved to October 12]

indexI like The Mountain Goats quite a lot.  I think John Darnielle is a great songwriter.

I’ve never seen them (or him) live and I’ve often thought it would be an enjoyable night, but they’re usually just under my radar.

I’d usually prefer to see a band rather than its lead singer solo, but in this case, I don’t know if it would make that much of a difference to me.  Seeing him at the Musikfest Cafe would be pretty fantastic–a great venue with excellent acoustics.

The biggest surprise to me is how quickly his shows sell out.  If this one hadn;t sold it, it was very close, by the time it was postponed.

2425316-1591535737

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[POSTPONED: April 20, 2020] Lotus Land [moved to October 30]

indexI have no interest in seeing tribute bands.  If I can’t get the real thing, then I won’t get it at all.

However, this Rush tribute band intrigues me because in the pictures they both use doubleneck instruments and their ads say they play mostly late 70 and early 80s Rush.  This is a period I’ve never seen live and I think it might be fun.  Plus they are very highly praised in their reviews.

I put this on my calendar as a show to see if there weren’t much else going on at the time. Well, it turned out to be a hugely busy concert month so I probably wouldn’t have gone.

However, Lotus Land seem to tour up and down the East Coast pretty much constantly, including this rescheduled show in October.  I suspect I’ll be able to see them some time in the not too distant future.

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[ATTENDED: February 7, 2020] Suffacox [Mach 2]

When I entered Boot & Saddle, I saw that the opening band was named Suffacox.   I had never heard of Suffacox and was rather puzzled by the name.

I was even more surprised when I saw the band setting up because I was standing a few feet from the stage and a guy kind of squeezed in front of me (which I thought was kind of rude as there was so much empty space).  He then proceeded to remove his coat and soon enough I realized he was the guitarist for Suffacox.  Whoops.

When the band started, the guitarist, John Terlesky, told us that they were Suffacox… Mach 2.  He said that they had been a band in the mid 90s and now they were back together again.

In their first incarnation they were led by Wayne Hamilton (whom they spoke of as if I’d know who he was, which I don’t).  Hamilton has passed on and now the rest of the original band is back with an extra guitarist and a manager/backing vocalist. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 6, 2019] Steve Page Trio

I saw the Steven Page Trio about a year ago in Philadelphia.  When he announced that he was touring some more and coming to Bethlehem, I grabbed tickets for me and S. right away.

S. doesn’t really know his solo stuff at all, but she is a fan of BNL and has always said how much she liked his voice, so I thought it would be a fun, relaxing, seated event.

We were so close, we were literally right next to the stage.  When you’re standing, its a coveted spot, but when you’re seated, it’s terrible!  Luckily, they moved Dean Friedman’s giant monitor out of my way so I could actually see them all.  But in hindsight, sitting a few seats back would have been far preferable.

The weirdest thing is every time he picked up or put down his water bottle I thought he was going to talk to me (he didn’t).

I love being up close, the angles were just all wrong.  Any pictures I took were going to be of Steven’s crotch (!).   Fortunately, the vocals sounded fine.

I have learned from past experiences that seeing an artist a few months apart often means the same or a similar setlist.  And that’s what happened here.  Although when I look at other recent shows I see that he seems to have a kind of rotating setlist of some of the songs.  I saw that the night a few nights before us was amazing with “Alternative Girlfriend” (the song I really wanted to hear!) and “Someone Who’s Cool” an Odds cover!  They also played “Manchild,” my favorite new song of his and “Break Your Heart” both of which I have heart before but, come on, they are awesome.  Incidentally Odds opened for Steven Page in Canada.  Once again I wish I was above thee border not for political reasons. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 6, 2019] Dean Friedman

I was really excited to see that Steven Page was going to play in Bethlehem.  I grabbed seats immediately.  And when I saw the set up of the room, I grabbed seats right in the front.

In my head, this room was going to be set up with a short stage (maybe a foot high) and a series of tables around it.  Instead, what we had was a full-sized stage (four feet tall) and a series of tables that went right up to the stage.  So, in fact, I could rest my arm on the stage if I wanted to.

It was also unexpected that you could order food at these tables–with waitstaff service!  Evidently you could have arrived at 6 and ordered a proper dinner.  We arrived at 7:15 and had (rather yummy) Parmesan fries.  It was also awkward having strangers sitting across from us.  They really didn’t seem like people we wanted to talk to either.

When the usher seated us he told me I did a great job getting seats.  But he was wrong.  We were actually too close!  And the way that Friedman had his gear setup, his monitor was literally blocking my view .  I couldn’t see him at all when he played the piano and I could really only see his face and guitar when he played guitar. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 14, 2018] Slingshot Dakota

I was planning to see Slingshot Dakota back in the summer of 2016.  They were doing a show with VoirVoir a Bethlehem band that I really like.  But I wound up not being able to make that show.  So I was happy to see them this year, right back in SteelStacks.

It was after they went onstage that Carly Comando told us that they were really excited to organize this entire show with ArtsQuest’s blessing.  She picked the opening acts, Small Mess and Petal, personally, and she made sure that Lehigh Valley Girls Rock was a beneficiary.  She even insisted that there be a food drive as well.

Lehigh Valley Girls Rock is dedicated to empowering girls and women + trans and nonbinary folks through music and art
We build self-confidence and foster a sense of belonging.
We nurture an inclusive, supportive environment.
We connect people who then develop meaningful friendships.
We inspire community involvement.
We teach acceptance.

They even had a special Lehigh Valley Girls Rock-related surprise at the end of their show. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 14, 2018] Petal

Petal is the creation of Kiley Lotz from Scranton, PA.  She has released a few albums and an EP (all on bandcamp).  Her recorded output has a somewhat heavier alternapop sound–there’s some great bass on her records.

She plays quite a lot and I have almost seen her a few times.  I believe that most of her concerts are with a band, although this one was solo.

It turns out that she is also good friends with Carly Comando and Tom Patterson from Slingshot Dakota–Kiley has a special connection to the Lehigh Valley, too.  And she was very happy to support Lehigh Valley Girl Rock.

Lehigh Valley Girls Rock is dedicated to empowering girls and women + trans and nonbinary folks through music and art
We build self-confidence and foster a sense of belonging.
We nurture an inclusive, supportive environment.
We connect people who then develop meaningful friendships.
We inspire community involvement.
We teach acceptance.

There was a raffle before the show and she donated a bunch of stuff to one of the baskets (I didn’t win any of the baskets). (more…)

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