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Archive for the ‘Steelstacks’ 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: 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: June 10, 2018] David Wax Museum

Our whole family saw David Wax Museum play at XPNFest a few years ago.  They were great (and were very friendly afterwards).  We knew we wanted to see them again, so when we saw that they were playing this tiny venue at SteelStacks (and that admission was FREE), we couldn’t pass it up.  The fact that it also coincided with the Food Truck Border Brawl (in which food trucks from NJ and PA battle for most popular dish) did not hurt!

The weather sure did though.  It was rainy and a but chilly.  Not ideal food truck weather.  So, rather than making a day of it, we drove down for dinner.  We enjoyed our food truck food and then headed inside for the show.  I think it was supposed to be outside, but they wisely moved this show inside to be incredibly intimate.

It was also fun to have the kids with us for this show (even if Clark chose not to sit with us and we wound up keeping them up and out pretty late–but hey it was almost summer). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 14, 2016] Ben Folds with yMusic

2016-07-14 22.42.16This was the third time that Sarah and I have seen Ben Folds and he never fails to put on a great show.

Both of the previous times had been as an opening act (and both times were with Guster, interestingly).  So it was great to see him headlining.  I didn’t know a lot about yMusic before the show, but I enjoyed his disc with them So There.  It promised to be a great show.

And since, as I mentioned with Gracie Folds, we were literally three people from the stage, we knew the show would be special. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 14, 2016] Gracie Folds

2016-07-14 19.36.50The Levitt Pavilion Steelstacks in Bethlehem is one of my favorite venues.  Last year I saw Modest Mouse there and this year it was Ben Folds.  I raved to Sarah about the venue last time but I don’t think she realized just how great it would be until we walked onto the grass and walked up to the stage where there were only two people in front of us.  And, if we were pushier, we could have easily gotten up to the fence.

So, yes, we were about three people from the stage.  And just to make it better, the forecast predicted massive thunderstorms all night long, but by the time of the show, the clouds had parted and a cool breeze came in through the field.

As the show started a young girl walked out and sat at her keyboard and told us her name was Gracie.  Anyone who is a fan of Ben Folds knows he has a daughter named Gracie.  But those of us who have no concept of time passing still assume she is like 6 years old.  Well, she is 17 and she opened for her dad.  And that’s pretty awesome. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 20, 2015] Modest Mouse

2015-07-20 21.06.16Just as I had seen Neil Young less than a year ago, so I had seen Modest Mouse less than a year ago.  The last show I saw with them was a sort of preview of the then unreleased new album.  Now the album is out and there’s a single from it and everything.  This show was announced very quickly and it was in the Levitt Pavillion at Steelstacks, a venue I didn’t know, but which I will certainly return to.

It was awesome being about seven or 8 people away from Isaac to really watch him go nuts.

Modest Mouse can be really catchy, but they are often dissonant and Brock is known for being prickly.  So, imagine starting off your show with the third from the last song from your new album.  And from there, Brock sang and raged and jumped around and was a total maniac.

He seemed to get shocked twice (from sweating a lot?–it was 85 degrees at night) and said “Did you see that?  That hurt so much!”  And man can he yell. (more…)

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