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The Blues Goes to the Dogs!
May 2, 2014 - Jim Price
An evening of live blues, soul and blues rock on an Altoona stage will help out some retired racing dogs this weekend.
The concert, taking place Saturday evening at The Church In the Middle of the Block Cultural Center in Altoona, will provide a summit of two of the state’s premiere blues-geared performers: Pittsburgh rock’n’roll great Norman Nardini and Harrisburg’s Nate Myers & the Aces. The show will begin at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 with a complimentary appetizer and refreshment reception before the concert. The cost is $15 per person, with proceeds benefiting Monica’s Heart Greyhound Adoption, an organization devoted to finding loving homes for retired greyhound racing dogs.
During many of his performances, Nardini proclaims he is conducting “the church of rock’n’roll,” and this show will actually feature him and his band performing in a former church. Nardini’s song library includes several numbers themed around dogs, such as his popular 1980s anthem “Love Dog” and “Work Like a Dog” from his latest album, 2011’s “Bone A Fide.”
Nate Myers & the Aces have performed throughout the mid-Atlantic region since 2001. Myers has established himself as one of the state’s premier harmonica wailers, and has previously hosted the popular “Harpapalooza” benefit event in the Harrisburg area, which showcased some of the East Coast’s most renowned harmonica players. Myers and his band The Aces perform a blend of blues, funk, soul, country and even a touch of hip-hop.
For fans of impromptu jamming and musical fireworks, this looks to be an excellent show; and chances for both groups mixing their talents onstage at some point during the evening would appear likely.
The Church in the Middle of the Block is located at 217 Fifth Avenue in Altoona.
The weekend and upcoming week will feature several other noteworthy happenings on area stages as well, beginning with Friday afternoon’s “End Of the Year Bash” at Penn State Altoona’s Intramural Field, celebrating the end of regular classes at the campus before next week’s finals. Monroeville-based singer/songwriter Corey Zeik, frontman and guitarist for the band Get The Picture, opens the afternoon at 3 p.m. Next will be the father-and-son group Acoustic Time, which pairs former Cut The Mustard and Sharp Turns singer/songwriter Donny Burns with his son, Donny Jr. And popular Altoona-based pop punk/rock group The Big Time will headline the event. Admission is free; in case of rain, the concert will be moved inside the Adler Athletic Complex on campus.
Fans of heavy rock may find interest in the four-band, all-ages concert happening at Pellegrine’s on Friday night. Headlining will be Ohio Valley-based foursome Doctor Smoke, whose sound is inspired by the early 1970s heavy metal sound of early Black Sabbath, as well as Type O Negative, Mastodon and other forms of doom-styled heavy metal. Sharing the bill with them will be local progressive doom-rock practitioners Black Sun, Klockwick and Wreathbearer. The show begins at 9 p.m.; admission is $7 per person.
Pellegrine’s will also host an open blues jam event on Sunday evening, which will pay homage to a departed area musician and blues enthusiast. Organized by area drummer and blues fan Bill Hocherl, the Harry Walter Tribute Open Blues jam will kick off at 6 p.m., and any blues musicians and blues bands are welcome to attend and participate. Admission is free. The jam will be in honor of Harry Walter, a longtime musician and founding member of The Hawks Blues Band who passed away in 2009.
Besides the open blues jam, several more open mic opportunities have sprung up on area stages. McGarvey’s (formerly Aldo’s) kicks off their acoustic open mic night on Monday evening starting at 8 p.m. Any and all acoustic musicians are welcome to attend, as well as singers and comedians. A sign-up sheet will be available for performers to reserve a performance space during the evening. A new open mic has also started on Tuesday evenings at D’Ottavio’s Gran Sasso in Hollidaysburg. Hosted by Rich Dasch and Dave Baird of the Backyard Rockers, this open mic also welcomes acoustic performers, singers and songwriters. A sound system will be provided, and performers are welcome to plug in and play. Admission is free. And Pellegrine’s continues their weekly Wednesday Open Mic/Jam Night event as well.
And the “Battle of the Acoustics” competition at Northern Cambria’s City Hotel has entered its semifinals stage, with preliminary round winners vying to punch their tickets to the contest finals on May 15. During the first semifinals staged this past Thursday night, Ground Crew, Brian Nipps & Dave Mallin and Paul Hoover were picked by the judging panel and audience votes to move on to the finals. The second semifinal round takes place this Thursday night. Partial proceeds from the event help out Northern Cambria County-based youth athletic and recreation programs.
As always, readers are encouraged to support the wide variety of musical talent gracing area stages every week, and help ensure that such music continues to happen. And if you plan on imbibing while enjoying the music, drink responsibly, get a designated driver or call a cab.
Here is a full listing for live music on area stages this weekend and the coming week:
“End Of the Year Bash” featuring Corey Zeik, Acoustic Time and The Big Time at Intramural Field, Penn State Altoona (all ages, free admission, starts 3 p.m.; in case of rain, event will be moved inside Adler Athletic Complex)
Rukkus at McGarvey’s (formerly Aldo’s), Altoona
Dr. Smoke, Wreathbearer, Klockwick and Black Sun at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (all ages, starts 9 p.m.)
Felix & the Hurricanes at Heidelberg Club, Altoona (starts 9 p.m.)
Fueled By Ignorance (F.B.I.) at Salsa’s Mexican Grille, Bedford
Rick Ramsey at Patton American Legion, Patton
Norman Nardini and Nate Myers & the Aces at The Church in the Middle of the Block, Altoona (starts 7 p.m., $15 donation; proceeds benefit Monica’s Heart Greyhound Adoption)
Seas We Fear to Sail, The Remainders and Paul Johnson at McGarvey’s (formerly Aldo’s), Altoona
This Albatross at 4D’s Lounge, Altoona
The Syrins at Family Pizza, Altoona
Chris Vipond & the Stanley Street Band at Belmar Hotel, Altoona
Stella’s Revenge at Shaw’s Bar, Altoona
Sugar Ridge at Heidelberg Club, Altoona
Bazooka Joe at Williamsburg Legion, Williamsburg
Left for Dead at Glenn’s Place, Claysburg
KB & the Crew at Schellsburg VFW, Schellsburg
Seize Fire at Dew Drop Inn, Mann’s Choice
Shallow Nine at Steele’s Tavern, Hopewell
Fuse at Magoo’s, Cresson
Untyed at Spanky’s, Loretto
Fail at Castle Pub, Ebensburg
Rapid Fire at Sunshine Bar, Coalport
Harry Walter Tribute Open Blues Jam at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (starts 6 p.m.)
Felix & the Hurricanes at Shaw’s Bar, Altoona
Greg Burley at Andy’s Bar & Grill, Altoona (starts 8:30 p.m.)
Open Mic Night at McGarvey’s (formerly Aldo’s), Altoona
Open Mic Night with Rich and Dave of the Backyard Rockers at D’Ottavio’s Gran Sasso, Hollidaysburg (starts 8 p.m.)
Ty Ayers at 4D’s Lounge (upstairs), Altoona
Open Mic/Jam Night at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (starts 9 p.m.)
Felix & the Hurricanes at 4D’s Lounge (upstairs), Altoona
Felix & the Hurricanes at Belmar Hotel, Altoona (starts 9 p.m.)
Brian Pavlic at 30 Something, Altoona
“Battle of the Acoustics” at City Hotel, Northern Cambria; featuring Alex Clark, Solegion Rock, G-Street, Chandler & Kenzie, Stevie & Chelsie, Andy Lubert and Unhurried Ways (starts 7 p.m.)
Organ Trio East at Boxer’s Café, Huntingdon (starts 9 p.m.)
(More shows may be added to this list as information becomes available. Feel free to check back.)
To report additional shows or corrections to this listing, email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Norman Nardini, during an October, 2012 performance at the Altoona Ramada. Nardini and his band return to Altoona to perform at The Church in the Middle of the Block on Saturday evening, in a double-bill with Nate Myers & the Aces.