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Live Music Everywhere!

July 27, 2012 - Jim Price
This is the time of the year when area music action is so widespread and heavy, you might have a harder time avoiding it than finding it! Concerts, festivals, homecomings, fairs, benefits, special shows and more will make this a very busy week for live music connoisseurs!

Concerts? Toad the Wet Sprocket, known for their ‘90s alternative rock/pop hits “Fall Down” and “All I Want,” will perform this Friday night at Tussey Mountain Amphitheater near Boalsburg. The group – named after a phrase from a Monty Python skit – enjoyed their initial hit-making run from 1986 to 1998 before breaking up. The band members started reuniting on a part-time basis in 2006, and announced their full return as a working and touring band in 2010. The group this year is releasing their comeback studio CD, called “All You Want.” Friday night’s concert will begin at 6 p.m. with performances from popular State College groups the JR & Natalie Band and Ted McCloskey & the Hi-Fi’s; Toad the Wet Sprocket will take the stage around 9 p.m.

Also on Friday evening, as a tune-up for next weekend’s Flood City Music Fest, renowned folk/blues performer Chris Smither will perform at the new People’s Natural Gas Park in downtown Johnstown starting at 7 p.m. Smither has been performing and creating music since the late ‘60s, and his career has included collaborative work with Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris, Jorma Kaukonen and more. The concert begins at 7 p.m., and also features guest performers Striped Maple Hollow.

Festivals? Let’s start with the 19th annual African American Heritage Festival, which takes place this Saturday at Penn State Altoona. The African American Heritage Project has again put together a busy day of arts and crafts, exhibits, ethnic and American food, information displays, children’s activities, and live entertainment. Musically, this year’s Festival features New Jersey-based jazz flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq, Pittsburgh’s Ibeji Drum Ensemble with their demonstration of African percussion and rhythms, New York jazz pianist Bob Baldwin, and Pittsburgh ensemble House Of Soul with their celebration of ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s soul and R&B. The African American Heritage Festival runs from 12 noon to 8 p.m. Admission to the festival is free; there is a $1 parking fee.

For jazz fans, Houston Person, Russ Kassoff and Jay Anderson are featured entertainers at this year's JazzPA celebration in downtown Bellefonte. The event continues through Saturday evening. Other performers at this year's celebration include the Arthur Goldstein Quartet, John "JT" Thompson, Zeropoint, Kevin Supina, The Tarnished Six, the Bellefonte and State College Area High School Jazz Bands and more.

In addition, Houtzdale presents their annual Houtzdale Days festival through Saturday night, featuring multiple activities throughout downtown Houtzdale, including fireworks on Saturday night. Live music will be part of the festivities, including Elvis impersonator Scott Allegretto on Friday evening, and Johnstown rock’n’roll favorites The Conniptions on Saturday evening.

Roaring Spring continues to celebrate 125 years of existence with their annual Spring Dam Weekend, which happens through Sunday afternoon near Spring Dam and the train station. The festivities will kick off Friday evening, with various activities, food and refreshments, and live music. Your Dad’s Friends provide the music on Friday evening starting at 6:30 p.m. The Good Seeds will entertain on Saturday evening starting at 7. And Felix & the Hurricanes will perform on Sunday afternoon starting at 1 during the classic car show.

Homecomings? Ebensburg is staging theirs this weekend, with events on Friday night and Saturday. Downtown Ebensburg streets will be closed off for a block party on Friday evening, with the group The Midnight Specials entertaining at 7 p.m. Ebensburg’s American Legion will also feature outdoor acoustic music with Stacy and Tony Feighner of Never Enough starting at 5 p.m. The music heads to nearby Lake Rowena on Saturday evening, with Johnstown horn rock favorites the Flood City Brass beginning at 7 p.m.

Fairs? The Clearfield County Fair begins Monday evening, and will feature all the usual amenities that fairs usually do – farm animals, agricultural exhibits, rides, games, multiple food vendors, and live music. Some of this year’s music slate at the Fair include pop rock group Hot Chelle Rae on Tuesday night, The Clarks and Chris Higbee on Wednesday night, The Band Perry next Friday night (Aug. 3), and Twisted Sister, Great White and Jac ‘n Jill next Saturday night (Aug. 4).

Benefits? Altoona’s Railroaders Museum hosts the Teal for Diehl Cancer Benefit on Saturday afternoon starting at 3 p.m. The bands Kyx and Inside Out (featuring former Kyx members) will provide the musical entertainment.

And on Friday evening, the Benefit for Crystal Cannon and her family will take place at the Hill Valley Inn (formerly the Hill Valley Hotel) near Mount Union. Proceeds from this show will help raise funds for Cannon, who recently has undergone several surgeries and procedures. The bands Timber Tantrum, Drop Dead Sarcasm, Gun Metal Gray, RTL (Represent The Lie) and A Beautiful Mess will donate their talents toward the cause. The show starts at 6 p.m.

And special shows? If you are a fan of the 1960s British Invasion, a special concert Saturday night at State College’s historic State Theatre will spotlight that era of music. “The British Invasion” will begin at 7 p.m., and feature a number of local State College bands and artists recreating the music of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, the Who, Moody Blues, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Dave Clark Five and more. The scheduled performers include Ted McCloskey & the Hi-Fi’s, Screaming Ducks, Pure Cane Sugar, Jason McIntyre & Jason Tutwiler, Tommy Wareham, Miss Melanie & the Valley Rats, Bishop & Wilgus, Harold Taddy, Vic Rizzo, Ginger Woolridge and Billy Bucha. Proceeds from the event will benefit the State Theatre and the Bestwick Foundation, which helps out local families affected by cancer.

And Aldo’s in Juniata presents two national-caliber performing acts during the coming week. On Tuesday, The Dreaming – featuring former members of national recording group Stabbing Westward – will perform, with special guests Aunt Lisa’s Bone. The Dreaming will do their own original song material, plus many of the cyber-rock radio staples that Stabbing Westward made popular during the 1990s. Openers Aunt Lisa’s Bone will introduce their new singer, marking the stage return of popular longtime Altoona area frontman Troy Earnest; and the group will make the transition from former name to new name, as they announce their new monicker and commence their new phase.

Aldo’s will also present Megaforce Records recording group XFactor1 on Thursday night starting at 9:30 p.m. From Columbus, Ohio, XFactor1 is a rising name in hard modern rock and metal, and their music has been receiving increasing amounts of airplay on satellite radio and syndicated national radio programs. Altoona-based metal rockers Samara will open the show with their visual multi-media stage spectacle.

Needless to say, this is one of the busiest weeks of the year for live musical activity in our area. Pick out a show or two, and show your support to help keep live music happening!

Here is a full listing for live music on area stages this weekend and the coming week:


Never Enough (acoustic) at American Legion, Ebensburg (outdoors, starts 5 p.m.)

Toad the Wet Sprocket with JR & Natalie Band and Ted McCloskey & the Hi-Fi’s at Tussey Mountain Amphitheater, Boalsburg (starts 6 p.m.)

Chris Smither and Striped Maple Hollow at People’s Natural Gas Park, Johnstown (starts 7 p.m.)

Your Dad’s Friends at Spring Dam Weekend, Roaring Spring (starts 7 p.m.)

Scott Allegretto “Tribute to Elvis” at Houtzdale Days Festival, Houtzdale (starts 7 p.m.)

Midnight Special at Ebensburg Homecoming, downtown Ebensburg (starts 7 p.m.)

Steve Johnopolos at Raphael’s Steakhouse, Altoona (starts 6:30 p.m.)

Conner Gilbert at Zach’s, Altoona

Flight 19 at 4D’s Lounge, Altoona

Stereo Frenzy, Xs For Eyes and Pitfall Combat at Aldo’s, Altoona

The Crackers at Pellegrine’s, Altoona

Jack & the Country Gentlemen at Thirsty Dawg Taverne, Patton (starts 9 p.m.)

Broken Arrow at Yesterday’s Party, Ebensburg

Ben Dumm & the Deviants at the Castle Pub, Ebensburg

Felix & the Hurricanes at Sokols, Lilly

Benefit for Crystal Cannon and Family at Hill Valley Inn, Mount Union; featuring Timber Tantrum, Drop Dead Sarcasm, Gun Metal Gray, Represent The Lie (RTL) and A Beautiful Mess (starts 6 p.m.)


African American Heritage Festival at Penn State Altoona; featuring Galen Abdur-Razzaq, Ibeji Drum Ensemble, Bob Baldwin and House Of Soul (starts 12 noon, free admission)

Teal for Diehl Cancer Benefit at Railroaders Museum, Altoona, featuring Inside Out and Kyx (starts 3:30 p.m., donation $20)

Cancer Benefit with Force Of Habit and Velocity at Petersburg Firehall, Petersburg (starts 4 p.m.)

Octane at Conemaugh Township Wing Blast, Greenhouse Park, Johnstown (starts 5 p.m.)


Doug Whitfield at Raphael’s Steakhouse, Altoona (starts 6:30 p.m.)

The Good Seeds at Spring Dam Weekend, Roaring Spring (starts 7 p.m.)

Ebensburg Homecoming with Flood City Brass at Lake Rowena, Ebensburg (starts 7 p.m.)

Lonewolf at Muskrat Beach #2, Glendale Lake, Prince Gallitzin State Park (Mountain Days, starts 7 p.m.)

The Conniptions at Houtzdale American Legion (Houtzdale Days Festival, starts 7 p.m.)

“The British Invasion” at the State Theatre, State College; featuring Ted McCloskey & the Hi-Fi’s, Screaming Ducks, Pure Cane Sugar, Jason McIntyre & Jason Tutwiler, Tommy Wareham, Miss Melanie & the Valley Rats, Bishop & Wilgus, Harold Taddy, Vic Rizzo, Ginger Woolridge and Billy Bucha (starts 7 p.m., benefits the Bestwick Foundation and the State Theatre)

Green Eggs at 4D’s Lounge, Altoona

Seas We Fear to Sail, Drain the Sorrow at Aldo’s, Altoona

Johnny Danger at Belmar Hotel, Altoona

The House Band at Shaw’s Bar, Altoona

Dakota Rose at Cesare Battisti (Jack’s Grubb Shack), Altoona

Cottonmouth at Bellwood Eagles, Bellwood (members and guests)

Locked and Loaded at Mugshotz, Gallitzin

Bodacious B at Madhatters, St. Boniface (starts 9:30 p.m.)

Flight 19 at Alley Popper, Houtzdale

Shades Of June at Yesterday’s Party, Ebensburg

Hair Force One at Castle Pub, Ebensburg

7th Gear at Jay’s Place, Ebensburg


Felix & the Hurricanes at Spring Dam Weekend, Roaring Spring (starts 1 p.m.)

Bodacious B at Alley Popper, Houtzdale (starts 3 p.m.)

Aaron Wolf at Madhatters, St. Boniface (4-7 p.m.)


Last Stand at Marzoni’s, Duncansville (5-8 p.m.)

Zupe at Reservoir Park Amphitheater, Tyrone (starts 6 p.m., free admission)

Felix & the Hurricanes at Shaw’s Bar, Altoona

Juke Left at Yesterday’s Party, Ebensburg


Hot Chelle Rae at Clearfield County Fair, Clearfield (starts 8 p.m.)

The Dreaming (featuring former members of Stabbing Westward) and Aunt Lisa’s Bone at Aldo’s, Altoona (starting 9 p.m.)


The Clarks and Chris Higbee at Clearfield County Fair, Clearfield (starts 8 p.m.)

Big Mac & the Fries at Highland Park, Altoona (starts 7 p.m., free admission)

The Backyard Rockers at Cesare Battisti Club (Jack’s Grubb Shack), Altoona (starts 7 p.m.)

7th Gear at 4D’s Lounge (upstairs), Altoona

Open Mic Night at Mugshotz, Gallitzin (starts 8 p.m.)

Open Mic/Jam Night at City Hotel, Northern Cambria (starts 8 p.m.)

Open Mic/Jam Night at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (starts 9 p.m.)


The House Band at PA American Legion 21st District Wing Festival, Legion Park, Hollidaysburg (starts 5 p.m., free admission)

The Hawks Blues Band at WingOff, Lakemont Park, Altoona (starts 6 p.m., $5 park admission)

JR & Natalie Band and Bryan & Bennett at WingFest, Tussey Mountain Amphitheater, Boalsburg (starts 6 p.m.)

Steve Summerhill at Jethro’s, Altoona (starts 7 p.m.)

Acoustic Mayhem at Belmar Hotel, Altoona (starts 8:30 p.m.)

XFactor1 and Samara at Aldo’s, Altoona (starts 9:30 p.m.)

Felix & the Hurricanes with Dave Villani at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (starts 9 p.m.)

Tom “Ying” Yannitelli at Thirsty Dawg Taverne, Patton (starts 9 p.m.)

(More shows may be added to this list as information becomes available. Feel free to check back.)

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Blog Photos

Pittsburgh's Ibeji Drum Ensemble, performing at Penn State Altoona's Slep Center in February, 2010. This group will provide some of the entertainment at this year's African American Heritage Festival at Penn State Altoona on Saturday afternoon.


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