Posts Tagged ‘affordable’

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

While browsing through the New York Times music section today, I came across a story about record stores and the lack thereof. After reading, it definitely got me thinking about how many I have (or have not) seen around my area.

Rock the vinyl. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Rock the vinyl. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

It is true that the invention of the internet, the compact disc, and the ability to purchase online have severely slowed down the sales of vinyl records. Of course, the fact that they are “old fashioned” doesn’t help either. A younger generation refuses to see anything past what they grew up with. But then why is it that many new artists have decided to put out their music on vinyl? There is certainly a love affair with the archaic sound quality.

I have to admit, I love the sound a vinyl record gives me. It is so genuine and pure with no technology to doctor it up. But that article I read, called “Record Stores: Out of Sight, Not Obsolete,” is right. Vinyl is hard to find these days. I can only think of a handful of stores that carry records within a 35 miles radius…but perhaps that is more than other areas around the country might have.

There’s just something so intriguing about spending hours at the local record shop, picking through every last old vinyl until you’ve finally found the right 20 or 30 to take home. It’s a past time that, hopefully, will never die.

If you live anywhere near the Stroudsburg, PA area, you might want to check out Main Street Jukebox. They are the best local record shop I can think of and have always been on a campaign to save vinyl records. They buy whole collections and have a pretty huge vinyl area to look through. Check it out and help save the record!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Crosby, Stills, and Nash will perform on August 9. Photo from boston.com.

Crosby, Stills, and Nash will perform on August 9. Photo from boston.com.

One of Pennsylvania’s largest summer music festivals opens its doors to tons of waiting fans today, offering three special performances by The Commodores, Martin Sexton, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Musikfest has been happening in downtown Bethlehem for the past twenty five years now. It has brought many large acts from all across the country to the smallish town in Pennsylvania.

This year, the festival will feature 300 performers, including 10 nightly headlining shows. The concerts will take place on fourteen different stages, eleven of which are free. (Free is good.)

Here’s a quick run through of some of the headliners. You can find information on the rest of the bands performing on the lineup website. I would love to list them all for you, but then this post would never end.

  • The Commodores
  • Chris Isaak/The Wallflowers
  • Yes with special guest Asia
  • David Cook with Green River Ordinance
  • Third Eye Blind with Matt Nathanson
  • The B-52s/Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  • Puddle of Mudd with special guest Stasis
  • Pat Benetar & Blondie with The Donnas
  • George Thorogood and the Destroyers with Jonny Lang
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash

You can see that the festival offers something for everyone. The musical tastes being provided are certainly eclectic to say the least. Each headliner (or two) will be performing one of the nine nights the festival runs.

It should be noted that the headliners cost some money. You can find tickets for each show here. But if you don’t feel like spending the money, there are still tons of free performers spread out all over Bethlehem. It might be quite nice to just walk around and take in the sights and sounds. There are also craft, art, and food vendors all over the place, too.

The whole town pretty much turns into one big music celebration. I recommend you join in the fun!

Get the low down at Musikfest.org.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

For those of you who enjoyed the post about “a music festival everyone can afford,” this post will serve as a conclusion and review piece (with lots of pictures!).

The Mighty High Music Festival jammed on this past Saturday in Vasa Park, putting smiles on the faces of many old and young hippies. This summer marked the second annual concert in the series.

As I had mentioned in my last post about this Festival, the setting for the concert is absolutely amazing. Vasa Park is not only one of my new favorite places to see a show, but it’s suitable for anyone and everyone. The entire park is covered with shady trees, cool grass to lay in, and a wide area to do it all on. But yet, the shows there always remain cozy — not too big or too small.

Donna Godchaux at the Mighty High Music Festival. (7.18.09.)

Donna Godchaux at the Mighty High Music Festival. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

The Donna Godchaux Band kicked things off in a most happenin’ way. After all those years touring with the Grateful Dead, Ms. Donna sure hasn’t lost her voice — not even a smidgen of it. She was belting out harmonies and high notes like it was nobody’s business.

Accompanied by her band, she really made it sound like a Grateful Dead show. After a few songs with just the band, Lisa Mackey of Dark Star Orchestra joined in the performance, making the sound full and strong. It was amazing to see Donna, an original member of GD, with Lisa, a performer who sings her parts in a GD tribute band, together on stage!

The final song of their set together was (appropriately) “Mighty High.”

Then came my personal favorite: Keller Williams. I was so happy to see that he was on his own this time. Lately, he has been touring with Wesley, Droll, and Sipe. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great, but there’s nothing like seeing Keller solo when he can perform his looping of sounds and different instruments.

He ran all around that stage, picking a few notes here and there on his bass, which he had propped up on a stand, and strumming some chords on his guitar. All the while, he was hopping on over to his keyboard and synthesizers, making crazy sounds that the crowd was loving.

Keller Williams strums to his fans.

Keller Williams strums to his fans. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Keller played some of his traditional tunes, including “Freeker by the Speaker” and also some obscure covers, like “Word Up” by Cameo. My favorite parts were when he just jammed out. He walked right up to the front of the stage and let his fans have it.

Which reminds me — if you ever go see Keller, make sure you get a spot right next to the stage. It’s a completely different experience seeing him up close than it is from the back of a venue. You really capture the essence of what he is trying to do with his many instruments.

Last came Dark Star Orchestra. These guys completely tore up the scene at Vasa Park. Not only were they the headliners of the festival, but they played two sets. Fans had the pleasure of listening to them long into the afternoon.

Dark Star Orchestra brings it on home. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Dark Star Orchestra brings it on home. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

They played tons of Grateful Dead hits, including “Cassidy,” “Scarlet Begonias,” and even ended the show with a peaceful, love-your-neighbor performance of “Ripple.” As always, they didn’t let down their fans.

Rob Eaton plays the role of Bob Weir in DSO. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Rob Eaton plays the role of Bob Weir in DSO. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

To see Dark Star Orchestra is very much like seeing an actual live Dead show. It’s incredible how much the musicians in the band sound like the original Grateful Dead.

The audience grooved and glided together to the tunes of GD. It was interesting to see young and old deadheads come together for a little relaxin,’ tokin,’ and dancin.’ (By this time in the festival, almost everyone in my group was a little toasty, but it made for some great grooving, especially with other fans. That’s just the mentality of the crowd.)

At the very end of the show, Keller Williams came back out on stage to perform a few songs with Dark Star. What bliss to see such an amazing group of performers together!

Let’s hope for another Mighty High Festival just as good as this one next summer. I’m already lined up and ready to buy my ticket.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

If you’re at all into jam bands, the summer time is the best time for music festivals. There are fests all over the United States, in places like New York, Tennessee, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Minnesota.

The only downside to some of these music havens is that if you’re low on cash, you might as well stay home. Sometimes, tickets to music festivals can run up to $250 for a weekend, not including food other expenses.

The good news — I have found you a mini festival that will satisfy all your jam band cravings and desires. If you live near the tri-state area, you’re set. The Mighty High Festival in Vasa Park (Hackettstown, NJ) is no three day camping extravaganza, but it’s just enough to give you a little taste of a big summer fest.

Three bands will play on the 18th of July, starting at 1pm. The Donna Godchaux band, featuring Donna Godchaux of the Grateful Dead, will kick things off. Then Keller Williams will take the stage, followed by a nice long set from Dark Star Orchestra.

Donna Godchaux has been touring for ages. Come on, she started out with the Grateful Dead for pete’s sake. It’s amazing that she is still out there, doing her thing. The same can be said for some of the Dead’s other members, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh.

Keller Williams jams out at a past performance in Pennsylvania.

Keller Williams jams out at a past performance in Pennsylvania. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

If you don’t already know him, let me introduce you to Keller Williams. You never know what you’ll get when you go to see him in concert. Sometimes he plays alone, other times he plays with a few back up performers, but it’s always great.

Keller usually breaks out several different instruments when he plays. Sometimes he stands in the middle of all of them, which he has arranged around him in a circle. He goes through them and picks which ones he wants to play, giving each one it’s turn. His instruments range from things like wooden sticks he bangs on his legs to something that looks like a xylophone. But he doesn’t hit the plates on it — he pulls up his hands above the plates to make incredible alien like noises. Some of his music is truly weird, but very creative.

You can read a review of a Keller Williams concert here.

John Kadlecik of Dark Star Orchestra.

John Kadlecik of Dark Star Orchestra. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

And finally, I will get to Dark Star Orchestra. In the Mighty High Festival, it is safe to say that this band will take the longest set. They are basically a cover band, but they cover a very special band that is near and dear to every jam band lover’s heart — the Grateful Dead.

The cool thing about them is that they usually recreate an entire GD show. They play the whole setlist from start to finish, and then at the end they tell their audience what set from which year they have just played.

But these guys sound SO much like the Grateful Dead. It’s really amazing. If you’d like to hear a podcast that yours truly composed about the band, click here.

Might I add on a side note that Vasa Park is a wonderful place to see a concert. It’s outside, it’s open, it’s full of trees and shade. You can come with a chair or blanket, or just chill on the grass. I promise you one thing, my friend. You won’t be disappointed.

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