An interesting aspect of checking out bands and artists on the local level is that you never know when a band that you see one night on a local stage might become tomorrow’s next big thing nationally.
Once in a while we see it happen here in the Altoona area. Back in 1990, for example, on a frigid January night, The Badlees played to ten people in an empty house at Altoona’s Engine Room. Five years later, we were hearing The Badlees’ two hits, “Angeline Is Coming Home” and “Fear of Falling,” on the radio. Also in the early 90’s, a band called Public Affection performed to a similar empty Engine Room. Coming up on August 21, we’ll be able to see that band performing at Blair County Ballpark along with the Counting Crows and Collective Soul. Of course, at one point along the way, Public Affection changed their name to Live. In 1996, Fuel played two shows at New Sebastiano’s (now City Limits); two years later, Fuel’s hit “Shimmer” was making the group a household word nationally. And Atlantic Records recording group Halestorm played on stages at Peter C’s, The Gingerbread Man, the Station Mall and the Cresson Sportsmen’s Club along their journey to major labeldom.
This Friday night, June 15, at Altoona’s 4D’s Lounge may be your next opportunity to catch a rising star, when the Bethlehem-based band Spitshine comes to town.
Spitshine first surfaced in 2001 with their debut EP, and has been on a steady rise ever since. The group’s 2004 CD, Transaudio, gained them more attention, and also earned them honors at the annual Lehigh Valley Music Awards. In 2005, Spitshine captured the “Stars of Bethlehem” award at Bethlehem’s annual Musikfest (a week-long music festival featuring numerous national names), earning an opening slot for George Thorogood. Last year, the group teamed up with noted national producer David Ivory, who has worked with such names as Patti Labelle, Erykah Badu, Molly Hatchet, Silvertide and Halestorm. And earlier this year, Spitshine signed a two-year development deal with Media Five Entertainment, the management and booking agency that helped Fuel and Live break through to the national level.
The current edition of Spitshine features lead singer/guitarist Bryan Harmony, lead guitarist/singer Larry Werner, bassist/singer Shane Stoneback, and drummer Karras Johnson.
Spitshine’s original sound is a crisp and driving brand of melody-geared modern rock not far removed from the Goo Goo Dolls, Fuel and INXS. Some of the group’s most popular numbers include their new song collaboration with David Ivory, “I Don’t Want You,” along with “I-H8-U,” “Every Little Lie,” “No Good,” and the softer “Mandalyn” (a regional radio hit in the group’s southeastern Pennsylvania home area).
In the live setting, the group delivers ear-candy melodies with a hard-rocking wallop, performed onstage with a feverish energy. Bryan is an expressive and exciting frontman who constantly works the stage and maintains contact with the audience, while Larry is good for several lead guitar solo fireworks displays during the course of any given night.
It’s impossible to predict which bands and artists will ultimately break through to the national spotlight; but the pieces seem to be coming together favorably for Spitshine. This Friday night at the 4D’s Lounge is an opportunity to witness this group; and if Spitshine does eventually gain national notoriety, you’ll be able to say that you saw them when they passed through the Altoona nightclub circuit.
The 4D’s Lounge is located in the Pleasant Valley Recreation Center in Altoona. For more information, call 943-9462.