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Millennium Music Conference, Night Three

February 21, 2008 - Jim Price

(This is the fifth of a series of blog recaps from the 12th annual Millennium Music Conference, which happened last weekend, Feb. 14-17, in the Harrisburg area.)

Saturday night was the busiest night of showcases during Millennium Music Conference weekend, with all of the participating venues presenting numerous bands and artists throughout the Harrisburg area.  Although I had many names on my list that I wanted to see, I had to make some tough decisions along the way, and tried to see as many acts as I could get to.

I first headed to Gullifty’s in Camp Hill to witness two bands, Monacle and The Underhills.  Monacle is a new Harrisburg-based group featuring singer/songwriter Edwin Tichenor, who I saw earlier in the afternoon performing acoustic during the Millennium trade show.  Edwin, drummer Jon Robinson and bassist Cool B Dell blended acoustic rock, folk and funk into a catchy, easy-to-digest sound.  From Philadelphia, The Underhills also demonstrated a strong knack for melodies in a slightly harder vein, as they performed songs from their CD, The Road From Here, along with newer material.  Five members strong this night with an additional keyboard player, The Underhills’ delivered a full-bodied sound; often driving and harder-edged, yet smooth and polished.

I then returned to the Radisson main stage to see an act that floored me during last year’s Millennium, Brooklyn-based rock and performance group Witches In Bikinis.  On the surface, this group delivers exactly what the band name suggests; six gorgeous “witches” clad in bikinis.  (Last year, the group donned witch capes as well.)  But beyond the obvious eye candy aspect, these gals and the four-piece band behind them offer a unique and entertaining presentation.  Each “witch” is a dance instructor, thespian, dancer or theater student; and with the band, they put together a live music and dance spectacle suggesting a blend of 60’s beach movies, The Rocky Horror Show, the Rockettes and Broadway.  The group’s musical style is a blend of surf rock and the B-52’s, and each song becomes a vignette and production complete with costumes, props and choreographed dance moves.  Witches In Bikinis kept the large Radisson crowd glued to the action as they did such songs as “Horror Flick Chicks,” “Zombie March,” “Jennifer of the Jungle,” “Freak Show Safari,” and their own title anthem, “Witches in Bikinis.”  During one number, “Party Like a Chimpanzee,” the Witches recruited three audience members to come onstage and give their best chimpanzee impersonations.  Witches In Bikinis’ show was fun and exciting, and again was a highlight of my Millennium experience.

The Radisson’s bar lounge also hosted entertainers during the conference, featuring acoustic and solo acts.  I headed there next to witness Harrisburg-based electronica project The Programaddicts.  The Programaddicts is the brainchild of its creator, Jamison, and is a one-man act featuring Jamison on vocals, guitars, and programming.  The Programaddicts is the name that Jamison gave to his multi-instrumented keyboard and digital array.  As it turned out, the Radisson lounge was the perfect setting for this performance, as a large audience was tightly packed into the room, and in close proximity to Jamison as he performed upbeat electronica original songs with an 80’s Brit-pop flavor.  Jamison quickly had some dancers as he performed songs from his Technology Baby CD such as “Cool Like You,” “Sweet Sweet,” “City Girls,” the title “Technology Baby” and “The Real Thing;” he also tied together a rendition of Animotion’s 80’s dance hit “Obsession” with his own original song “Obsession Tonight.”  The Programaddicts’ happy-go-lucky electronica party provided another highlight to Millennium weekend.

From there, I headed north on Routes 11 and 15 back to Rumors in nearby Enola, this night presenting an evening of all female-fronted groups.  Philadelphia-based trio Showin’ Tell was in the latter stages of their performance when I arrived.  I first saw this group two years ago during Millennium; like that performance, Showin’ Tell again performed bristling classic punk-driven rock with a melodic, soulful dynamic.  Singer/guitarist Jeska (who represented New Jersey in the 1996 Miss Teen USA Pageant), bassist Lo E and drummer Nicolino (a guy) capped their set with a caustic spin on the Janis Joplin chestnut “Piece of Your Heart.”  Finishing the evening was Harrisburg’s Deja Vudoo.  This group offered female-fronted heavy modern rock, peppered with slight goth and techno flavors.  Singer Tina Marie displayed a rangeful and powerful voice, as well as personality and charisma as she sang on intriguing songs from the group’s debut CD, Scratching the Surface, such as the title song, “Real to Me,” “Dreamin,’” “Making Angels Cry,” “Scapegoat,” “Immortal,” “Your God” and more. 

The busiest night of Millennium showcases had drawn to a close.  One more day of panels and showcases remained to this year’s conference.

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From Philadelphia, The Underhills perform at Gullifty's in Camp Hill during a Saturday night Millennium Music Conference showcase.


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