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A Forecast for Musical Fireworks

April 12, 2007 - Jim Price

During the waning moments of a fun and heated jam session that closed out the first Burgi’s Blues Fest event last November, singer/guitarist Felix Kos of Felix & the Hurricanes remarked to the rest of the musicians onstage, “Hey guys, can we all get together and do this again next weekend?”


Felix had to wait five more months, but his opportunity for another jam session has arrived, and will happen this Saturday night, April 14, at Burgi’s Roundhouse in Greenwood.


Burgi’s Spring Rock and Blues Fest will start at 8 PM, and feature four bands:  The Desperadoes from Johnstown, the Tony Mollick Project and Sofa King Cool Band from Pittsburgh, and Altoona favorites Felix & the Hurricanes.  It has all the makings for an unforgettable evening.


The Desperadoes are approaching their 30th anniversary of entertaining audiences throughout western Pennsylvania.  The only interruption during that span was a four-year gap from 1989 to 1993, when the group’s ringleader, singer/guitarist Mark Middleton, left the group to join the nationally-signed Southern rock/metal group Raging Slab.  Mark reconvened The Desperadoes after leaving Raging Slab, and the group has been going strong ever since.  Come armed with your requests; Mark, bassist/singer Mike Suppes and drummer Harold Knappenberger will arrive on Burgi’s stage with a library of at least 800 songs to choose from.  They solicit audience requests; and often, even if they admit not knowing a requested song, they’ll give it their best try anyway – more often than not, still nailing the song on target!



For Latrobe’s Tony Mollick, this Saturday evening’s show will provide one more step in his recovery.  Last June, some two weeks before Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was seriously injured in his well-documented motorcycle-car crash; Tony was seriously injured in a similar accident, breaking both shoulders, his right humorus, clavicle and 9 ribs, and collapsing his right lung.  Tony spent the rest of the year recovering from his injuries.  Last November’s Burgi’s Bluesfest marked Tony’s first appearance back onstage since the accident, solely in a singing capacity.  Earlier this year, Tony was able to start playing his guitar onstage again.  This Saturday night, Tony makes his full return in front of an Altoona audience, assisted by bassist and Altoona native Fuzz McGirk, and drummer David Blake.  Expect to hear scorching blues rock with a vengeance from the Tony Mollick Project, in what should be a triumphant return.


Making their first appearance on Burgi’s stage will be another Pittsburgh-based group, The Sofa King Cool Band.  This group first formed as an acoustic duo last summer, featuring Blues Eyed Blonde guitarist Tony Caldarelli and singer/guitarist Simon Beeching.  The pair became an electric group in September with the addition of bassist Joe Harry and drummer Holly Cullum.  The Sofa King Cool Band’s style and sound is described as traditional electric blues and screaming blues rock, rooted in the traditions of Robert Johnson, Albert King, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Allman Brothers and more.


And Felix & the Hurricanes will provide their popular brand of toe-tapping, rug-cutting classic and blues rock.  Felix, drummer Bob Watters and bassist/singer Jeff Clapper should keep audience spirits high with their growing catalog of original songs and favorites from the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stevie Ray Vaughan, ZZ Top and more. 


And conditions appear to be very favorable for another jam session to break out this night.  This Saturday’s show will mark the first time in several years that Mark Middleton, Tony Mollick and Felix Kos have shared a stage; and that reunion will likely be the cause of some jam session celebrating. 


The forecast is for musical fireworks onstage at Burgi’s Roundhouse this Saturday night.  If you are a fan of blues and classic rock, this should be a night not to miss!

  Burgi’s Roundhouse is located at 1830 East Pleasant Valley Boulevard in Greenwood.  For more information, call 943-1333.

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