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Millennium Music Conference Recap, Night Two
February 16, 2008 - Jim Price
(This is the third of a series of blog updates from the 12th annual Millennium Music Conference, happening this weekend, Feb. 14-17, in the Harrisburg area.)
Although the Millennium Music Conference showcases began on Thursday night, things really kicked into full action on this night, Friday. Some 25 different venues were hosting bands and performers throughout the Harrisburg area. Live music fan that I am, this always presents a dilemma for me - who do I go see? Often, two or three bands that I'm most interested in seeing are all playing at the same time, so I have to pick and choose. This night, though, I had a game plan in place, and didn't have to make any tough decisions.
My Friday night showcase bandwatching started at the host hotel, the Radisson, where nine different bands were performing. I saw the first five, starting with York-based power-trio Codorus Cruise Line. This group did driving guitar rock, including a number of songs from their recently-issued debut CD, Down That Alley. Guitarist Brady Henry, bassist Sean Diebert and drummer Jeremy Schlosser generated constant energy and enthusiasm for their music, with Brady displaying some excellent guitar solo work along the way. Second, on a second adjacent stage, was Shippensburg-based fivesome Ledbetter -Heights. Their style and sound was a little slower and more melody-geared, with a slight nod to Pearl Jam and Creed. Ledbetter Heights performed a number of songs from their forthcoming new CD, Evolve, coming out later this month. Next was a Pittsburgh entry, Eye C Snakes, who played a feisty-brand of female-fronted, melodic rock. This group features a brother-sister combo, with Danielle Barbe on lead vocals, and David Barbe on lead guitar. They demonstrated hard-rocking energy and poise on their set of driving original rock. This group recently joined the stable of noted producer David Ivory, who is working with the group and helping get them to the next level. They were followed by Moto Guzzi, a new Harrisburg area band featuring former Halestorm guitarist Leo Nessinger. Moto Guzzi’s sound was hard, fast and furious as they played a selection of punk-fueled, hard-driving modern rock. And the fifth band I saw at the Radisson was Montreal-based rockers The Respectables. This band was fun, doing fiery, friendly blues-rooted rock hinting at early 70’s Stones, the Black Crowes and Goo Goo Dolls. Their songs were catchy and singable, and their energy and enthusiasm quickly caught on with the audience.
With many showcases happening in the Harrisburg vicinity this night, I left Radisson and headed to another nearby Camp Hill venue, Dorado, to see two acts I met earlier in the day at the conference. First was northeastern-PA-based progressive jazz trio Chromatica. This group did a unique style of jazz, marked by interesting and unusual chording and chord shifts, and overall talented musicianship. Chromatica performed selections from their CD, Out of Bounds, released last year. I also stuck around for the next performer, solo keyboardist and singer Genevieve. From Los Angeles, Genevieve sang a brand of soulful pop, showing her expressive, high-ranging and emotion-packed voice. She was a friendly performer who was at home in front of an audience, and performed with confidence and poise.
At this point, there was one more band that I wanted to see this night, playing up the road at Rumors in Enola. I went to see one of the Altoona entries at this year’s Millennium, Spirit Lost. Spirit Lost rocked the house with their selection of edgy, modern-meets-progressive original rock. Singer Austin Tepsic showed a lot of energy and spirit as he howled and growled out lyrics to original songs such as “Soul Seeker,” “Pieces of a Stained Glass Mind,” “Misery of a Wounded Heart,” several new songs, and a rowdy rendition of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” His support cast, guitarists Brian Smith and Joe Harpster, bassist Russ Patterson and drummer Lisa Fazenbaker, provided a tight and powerful backdrop. Their first foray into Harrisburg was a successful one, and the group’s performance won some new fans. This Altoona entry to Millennium represented well.
York's Codorus Cruise Line (The CCL for short) opens the evening's showcase entertainment at the Radisson.