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A Weekend of Triple-Bills and Anniversaries

February 29, 2008 - Jim Price
This weekend is offering up some interesting options on the local live music scene to consider.

If you’re not afraid to brave the snow-covered roads in the Altoona area on Friday night, there are several shows worth checking out.  If your tastes lean towards original hard and heavy rock, Aldo’s is the place to be for their “Leap Year Party” triple-bill featuring Solegion, Way Down East and Choking Faith.  From Indiana, Solegion plays hard-driving, no-holds-barred rock in the tradition of rocking free spirits like Guns’N’Roses, The Cult, Jet and Buckcherry.  The recent addition of guitarist Kyle Cameron gives Solegion a more metal dynamic and adds more edge to the group.  Kyle joins charismatic frontman Jarrod Bartock, guitarist Adam Getty, Simon Richard on bass and Nick Tercek on drums.  McConnellsburg foursome Way Down East combines the weighty and metallic heaviness of Pantera and Clutch with the southern and redneck swagger of ZZ Top and Hank Williams Jr.; in fact, the group even displays a framed portrait of Hank Jr. onstage when they perform!  Lead howler/guitarist Paul Wilson, guitarist Charles Harr, bassist Horse Gelvin and drummer Randy Wilson will showcase song material from their latest CD, Summon the Sea Hag, which came out last fall.  And Altoona heavy-hitters Choking Faith will demonstrate their torrid brand of savage heavy metal, fronted by the feral howl of singer Jason Mittan.  Old and new song material is likely to be on display this night, as well as a few select amped-up covers from Queen, Skid Row and more.

If you’re a braver soul willing to tackle the Buckhorn on a snowy Friday night, the White Lady Tavern also features a triple-bill, headlined by popular Altoona/Ashville quintet Hello, Vixen.  Singer Mark Simanski, guitarists Bill Maguire and Brian Simanski, bassist Justin Brown and drummer Steve Holtz will bounce off the walls with their brand of punk-infused modern rock, including original songs and charged covers from such names as the Bouncing Souls, Me First & the Gimme Gimme’s, New Found Glory, Lustra, Blink 182 and more.  The undercard will include Hollidaysburg punk-rocking trio The Scraps, demonstrating their bristling and sarcastic brand of high-velocity punk rock.  Singer/guitarist Marty Scrap, bassist Peter Metalhead and drummer Justin Cuff will fire off short and sweet odes from their recently-released CD, Therapy for Retards, including some songs clocking in at under a minute!  And their song themes often deal with the Altoona area, especially ridiculing the area’s drug problems.  And back after a year-and-a-half away from area stages, The Opposition roars back into action with their high-powered blend of streetwise punk, metal, funk and even slight hip-hop elements.  Fronted by singer Mike “Iceman” Bryant, The Opposition will likely be introducing a number of new songs during this show.

If you prefer a more mainstream brand of rock, you can check out rising regional party band favorite Shots McGee, performing Friday at the 4D’s Lounge.   Formed in November, Shots McGee pairs former 7th Gear singer/guitarist Brendon Burns and bassist/singer Kelly Montgomery with traveling regional singer/songwriter Rhyne McCormick on vocals and guitar, with Randy Servello playing drums.  From Shots McGee you’ll hear a variety of classic and current rocking favorites, spanning Sublime’s “What I Got” to the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin,’” and from Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” to Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”  Brendon, Rhyne and Kelly all sing, and Shots McGee offers a fun, uplifting party to help you forget the winter doldrums for a little while.

Saturday night presents some interesting options as well.  If you’re a fan of roots rock, Pittsburgh’s Legendary Hucklebucks brings their spirited brand of rabble-rousing modern rockabilly to Aldo’s in Juniata.  And area party-rocking favorites Bad Daze celebrate five years together as a band with what should be a festive show at 30 Something Restaurant & Lounge (formerly City Limits) in Altoona.

And I must indulge in some shameless self-promotion.  If you’re near a radio Sunday evening, Q94’s weekly local music show, “The Backyard Rocker,” achieves the decade milestone, celebrating ten years of bringing local and regional bands and artists to your radio every Sunday night.  Since they were the first band guests to appear on the program shortly after its debut in March, 1998, Felix & the Hurricanes will again be the guests on the three-hour “Backyard Rocker” anniversary special, which begins at 7 PM.  And the word is that the Hurricanes have some special surprises planned for the tenth anniversary celebration, so you won’t want to miss it!

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Way Down East singer/guitarist Paul Wilson, during a performance at City Limits last St. Patrick's Day weekend.


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