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Get Your Wings!

July 9, 2009 - Jim Price

No, this is not a look back at the 1974 Aerosmith album that gave us the classic rock staple “Train Kept A Rollin.’”

It is a reminder that one of the annual highlights of summers in Altoona returns this Thursday evening, July 9, to Lakemont Park.  The Lakemont Park Wing Offs will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. every Thursday through August 13, providing an opportunity for friends, co-workers and families to get together for the enjoyment of chicken wings from various area restaurants, refreshments, fun and…live music.  Proceeds from the event will again benefit the Hollidaysburg American Legion.

For live music fans, this year’s Wing-Off features the return of two bands that haven’t graced Altoona stages in years.  The Wing-Off kickoff this Thursday will feature the Punxsutawney-based classic rock band Down To The Wire, a band that frequented the stage at Altoona’s 4D’s Lounge for much of the ‘90s.  Much of the current band is the roster that graced the Dees stage: lead singer Joe Serian, keyboard player Kevin Cielo, lead guitarist Matt Taladay, and bassist Dominic Catanzarito.  Brian Rowan completes the line-up on drums.  As before, expect Down To The Wire to light up the stage with their soaring renditions of classics from Journey, Boston, Kansas, John Mellencamp, Head East and many more.

And the July 23 Wing-Off will mark the Altoona return of Hybrid Ice, a dominant force on statewide stages through much of the ‘80s and ‘90s.  Their career spanning four decades, the Danville-based band’s current line-up is the same one that first arrived on Altoona stages in the late ‘80s, and created the group’s first two albums, the self-titled 1982 Hybrid Ice album (featuring “Magdelene,” a song later covered by Boston) and 1988’s No Rules.  The Wing-Off appearance will mark the return of guitarists Galen Foulke and Chris Alburger, keyboardist Bob Richardson, bassist Jeff Willoughby, and drummer Rick Klinger; all five members sing.  Expect Hybrid Ice to play material from the first two albums, as well as their newly-released CD Mind’s Eye.  And the group will likely reprise their replica renditions of classics from Boston, Kansas, and Queen…And as fans who saw this group back in the day can attest, NO area band has ever pulled off Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” the way Hybrid Ice did!

The remaining Wing-Off bands are well worth seeing as well.  Altoona’s Chris Vipond & the Stanley Street Band will bring their improvisational rock, funk and jam flavors to the Wing-Off on July 16; Centre County party rockers Loudmouth – recently expanded to a quintet with the addition of two ex-members of The O.C.B. (Original Cover Band) – will play the Wing-Off stage on July 30; and two established regional party band favorites, Green Eggs and the Giants Of Science, will entertaining the wing-eating audiences on August 6 and 13 respectively.

Wings, friends and great live music will again converge for fun times starting this Thursday at Lakemont Park.  Enjoy the Wing-Off fun while it lasts!

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Down to The Wire will entertain at the kickoff of this year's Lakemont Park Wing-Offs on July 9.


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