Platinum hit-makers from the 1990s, comedian from many TV shows to play Musikfest Cafe in Bethlehem

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Platinum hit-makers from the 1990s, comedian from many TV shows to play Musikfest Cafe in Bethlehem

Posted on: March 27th, 2014 by tommyj

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A 1990s band that had an album that sold five times platinum and produced three chart hits will play a show at Café in Bethlehem, it was announced today.

So will a comedian who has appeared on multiple television shows, including "Seinfeld, " "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Friends," "The Big Bang Theory" and more.

Spin Doctors, whose 1991 album "Pocket Full of Kryptonite" sold 5 millions copies and produced the Top 10 hit "Two Princes" as well as the Top 40 hits "Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong" and "Jimmy Olsen’s Blues," will play at 8 p.m. July 25.

Tickets are $30 and $50

Comedian Brian Posehn, who was the first host of the metal award show, "Revolver Golden God Awards," in 2009, and also appeared in the movie "The Devil Rejects" and co-wrote the "The Last Christmas’ Comic Book," will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 21.

Ticket are $28 in advance and $28-$32 on day of show.

Spin Doctors also in 1994 were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Two Princes," as well as for the American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Album for "Pocket Full of Kryptonite" the same year.

The group’s follow-up album, 1994’s "Turn It Upside Down," also went platinum. The group has released four albums since, with its latest being last year’s "If the River Was Whiskey."

Also among the six new concerts announced will be alternative rock band Toad The Wet Sprocket, which in 1994 had the No. 1 modern rock hit "Fall Down," and had the platinum albums "Fear" and Dulcinea" in the early 1990s. It will play at 7:30 p.m. June 29, with tickets $30-$50.

And singer-songwriter Howie Day, who had the gold, Top 10 hit "Collide" in 2004, will play at 7:30 p.m. June 11. That song came from Day’s 2003 gold album, "Stop All the World Now," and was featured on popular TV shows such as "Grey’s Anatomy" and "One Tree Hill."

Tickets for his show will be $19 and $22.

Tickets for all the new shows will go on sale at 10 a.m. April 1 to ArtsQuest Members and 10 a.m. April 4 to the public at and 610-332-3378.

Other shows announced are:

Classic Albums Live – Fleetwood Mac’s "Rumors," 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24. Tickets: $34-$39.

More than a month after Musikfest had its earliest sellout ever with country star Keith Urban, another summer concert at ArtsQuest’s SteelStacks campus has sold out.

Modest Mouse 2The surprise may be that it’s the concert by chart-topping indie rock band Modest Mouse, whose May 21 concert at Levitt Pavilion SteetStacks went on sale just over two weeks ago.

ArtsQuest announced Tuesday night that the show, which it announced as a 3,000-person standing capacity, had sold out.

That’s an auspicious start for the Levitt’s new paid-concert Yuenglin Summer Concert series, for which ArtsQuest officials said it hopes to schedule two to four concerts. The tickets were $40 each.

Also surprising may be that the Modest Mouse show sold better than almost any of the five headline Musikfest shows announced so far.

Urban sold out his 6,600-capacity Musikfest headliner show in 26 days back in February – making it the earliest Musikfest sellout ever.

But Sheryl Crow, for whose Aug. 4 show tickets went on sale at the same time as Modest Mouse’s, have sold just 2,500 or so, according to the Musikfest website.

, whose Aug. 5 Musikfest show went on sale Feb.28, have sold barely more than Modest Mouse – nearly 3,200. Americana rockers The Avett Brothers, whose Aug. 7 show went on sale way back on Dec. 6, have sold about 3,400 tickets.

Another surprise maybe that the fastest ticket sales for a Musikfest headliner this year besides Urban this year is 1980s boogie-rockers ZZ Top. That show, which will headline Musikfest’s opening night Aug. 1, just went on sale March 21 and already had sold more than 3,500 tickets.

Another surprise about Modest Mouse’s sale is that indie rock typically hasn’t been a big seller at ArtsQuest. It offered and MGMT at Musikfest in 2011, drawing 3,211 and 4,800 people, respectively. Those were relatively small crowds for Musikfest’s then-7,200 main stage capacity.

This year, Steel Stage will have a capacity of 6,600.

ArtsQuest also had an indie-rock festival called Nowadays at ArtsQuest Center in 2012, offering smaller and lesser-known acts, but it did not sell well and was not held for a second year.

Modest Mouse in 2004 had the platinum album "Good News for People who Love Bad News," then saw its 2007 disc "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank" debut at No. 1 and go gold.

It topped the Modern Rock chart in 2004 with the song "Float On," which went gold, and had two other Top 10 songs on that chart with 2004’s "Ocean Breathes Salty" and 2007’s "Dashboard."

"Good News for People Who Love Bad News" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Rock Album and "Float On" also got a Grammy nomination.

"We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank" was the group’s last full album. Its last release was a 2009 EP, "No One’s First and You’re Next." The band’s members have said it is writing and recording material for a new disc, but no release date has been set.


Gwar, the satirical, theatrical shock-rock band whose singer, Dave Brockie, was found dead in his home Sunday, was scheduled to announce an area concert when that devastating news came, officials said.

Gwar was going to announce this morning, March 26, that it was coming to Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg for a May 30 show with Doyle and Cannibus Corpse, promoters SLP Concerts and the Sherman said.

The show has been canceled, as have all of Gwar’s shows.

Brockie, who performed under the name Odorous Urungus (and under the band’s heavy, cartoonish costumes) was found dead by a band mate at 6:50 p.m. Sunday in his Richmond, Va., home, said Jack Flanagan, the band’s manager. Brockie was 50.

Details, including the cause of death, have not been released.

Flanagan issued a statement Monday that said, "It is with a saddened heart that I confirm my dear friend Dave Brockie, artist, musician, and lead singer of GWAR [has] passed away.

"Richmond authorities have confirmed his death and next of kin has been notified. A full autopsy will be performed. My main focus right now is to look after my band mates and his family. More information regarding his death shall be released as the details are confirmed."

That was the last information released by the band. Reports have said police do not suspect foul play, but an autopsy will determine the cause and manner of death.

SLP and The Sherman were scheduled to announce the upcoming show this morning. Tickets would have gone on sale Friday.

"The Sherman Theater team is deeply saddened by the sudden death of GWAR lead singer Dave Brockie," Sherman President Rich Berkowitz said in an e-mail. "We were all looking forward to announcing this exciting show and bringing there special brand of entertainment to our theater.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the remaining members of the band."

Stan Levinstone, president of SLP Concerts, said, "It’s a terrible loss to the music world. Especially, when you lose someone as funny, as passionate and as hardworking as Dave Brockie. He will be missed."

SLP booked Gwar several times to play at Allentown’s Crocodile Rock Café, including shows in June 2010 for the band’s 25th anniversary, and in February 2011.

In November 2011, the band’s guitarist, Cory Smoot (AKA Flattus Maximus), died of a congenital heart problem. Gwar replaced Smoot and continued touring. Brockie was the band’s last original member.

Though Gwar’s 2010 album "Lust in Space" broke the Top 100, and the band was nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Video and Best Metal Performance, the band probably was best known for its connection to the 1990s MTV cartoon "Beavis + Butt-head," on which the title characters were enamored of Gwar.

Brockie also appearances on Fox TV’s show as Odorous Urungus, the show’s "intergalactic correspondent."

In an interview with Lehigh Valley Music before the 2010 show, Brockie – responding in the character of Odorous Urungus, an alien warlord — said that performing as Gwar for 25 years was "like the bat of an eye, really."

"When it all started it seemed like it would last forever. And now that it’s gone on for 25 years its seems like it only lasted a moment," he said. "And the most surprising thing about it all is that we’re still here.

"So it’s kind of like a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s like, ‘Oh, it’s so great that we’ve enjoyed such a wonderful career, but then on the other side, it’s so horrible that we’ve been stuck on this [darned] planet for 25 years."

When two prominent musicians share the stage for a show, three things can happen.

They can compete and step on each other’s toes, talent-wise. They can both be complacent, figuring two names are enough to carry a show, and end up falling flat.

Or they can inspire each other to produce a great show.

To the pleasure of the crowd, that’s what Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin did in just the second stop of their "Stories and Songs" tour when it stopped Wednesday at Musikfest Café at ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem.

That was especially true for Colvin, whose performance was the direct opposite of the lifeless, self-indulgent duo show she did with Mary Chapin Carpenter at the same venue in April 2012. Colvin sang songs with a power and fearlessness that would have seemed unimaginable in that earlier show, and was engaging with the crowd, as well.

And Earle, well, he displayed the talent that made his show at Sands Bethlehem Event Center last year one of that venue’s best.

But the best thing was that it seemed the two singers made each other better throughout the 18-song, hour-and-45-minute show.

It was evident from the opening song, a cover of The Everly Brothers’ "Wake Up Little Susie," which they attacked with enthusiasm, despite the relaxed atmosphere – the two alone on the stage with acoustic guitars, Earle in a flannel shirt and jeans, Colvin in a flowing, flowered dress.

For most of the night, they alternated songs, occasionally joining with the other, but more often simply watching with the audience.

"We’re going to take turns playing each others’ songs, helping each other out when you can, and try to outtalk each other," Earle said.

Actually, there was just the right amount of talking – it never seemed forced, almost always added to the song experience and there was far less of it than there was music.

Earle started with his song "Devil’s Right Hand," explaining it wasn’t the anti-firearm song it’s perceived to be, but telling the story of how he had a turn of heart about guns when his then-teen son Townes stole his handgun. The performance was as powerful as the introduction, with Earle stomping his foot as he sand.

Colvin responded with her song "Trouble," quiet and filled with tension as her voice built.

Earle then played his "Goodbye," which he said the two considered singing together, but that he feared the reaction of Emmylou Harris, the only partner he’s had on the song. Colvin followed with "A matter of Minutes," before which she demonstrated how the song was written as a response to "Goodbye."

Both then did covers: Colvin a surprisingly introspective reading of Gnarls Barkley’s "Crazy" and Earle an expectedly good version of his mentor Townes van Zandt’s "Poncho and Lefty."

Then Colvin sang her biggest hit, the 1997 chart-topper "Sunny Came Home," even softer and more sensitive than the original. (She skipped that song in her duo show with Carpenter).

The two first combined for Earle’s "Someday," which he preceded with an explanation of how it was written as he spiraled into drug addition, and how Colvin’s recording it helped right his life. Again, the performance was as powerful as the story.

From then, virtually every song was great. Together they sang Earle’s "Fearless Heart," and out of nowhere Colvin’s voice belted out – fearless, indeed. And her singing was by far its best as they again paired for her "Diamond in the Rough" – biting and strong, as both strummed with such intensity that they leaned toward each other as they did, seemingly a magnetic attraction.

Earle preceded his wonderful "City of Immigrants" by talking about living in New York, and mid-song his vocals soared before he had the crowd sing along. They joined for his anti-monopoly "Burnin’ It Down," and Colvin was strong on her "Wichita Skyline."

Perhaps the best of the night was when they joined for Earle’s "The Galway Girl," with him on mandolin and Colvin on guitar. Earle explained they had spent St. Patrick’s Day in an airport, and "We want a do-over."

It was a perfect segway into the Celtic-flavored stomp (which Earle literally did), which Earle sang full-voiced, with Colvin seemingly spurring him on. Having Colvin with him "significantly dilutes the ugly on stage," he said.

And they closed the main set with "You’re Still Standing There," Earle’s duet with Lucinda Williams, whose part Colvin strongly filled.

They returned for an encore together of The Beatles’ "Baby’s in Black" that was good but rugged, then closed with the expected performance of Earle’s hit "Copperhead Road."

"We got to play this ’cause we want to get the f— out of here alive," Earle jokingly said. But it was a full and wonderful performance of a great song, the artists clearly spurring each other on.


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