A hit 1980s garage-rock band, a 1960s pop-hit family group, a classic psychedelic rock band, an "American Idol" finalist and a phalanx of blues, funk and soul highlight the 2014 season of Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, the free outdoor summer series.
The 50-concert season at ArtsQuest’s SteelStacks campus in Bethlehem will open with May 16 preview shows by Easton indie-pop band Our Griffins and a May 17 show by Philadelphia Americana act Beaucoup Revue.
Opening weekend features the first national headliner of the season, The Smithereens, on May 24.
The New Jersey-based group is best known for its Top 40 songs, "Too Much Passion" and "A Girl Like You," and for having its song "Blood and Roses" used as the theme song of the 1986 movie "Dangerously Close."
The Smithereens played a ticketed show at SteelStacks’ Cafe in 2012.
Also playing opening weekend will be Dr. K’s Motown Revue on May 23, Texas rock band Green River Ordinance on May 25, and rising indie rock act NEULORE on May 26.
The season concludes Sept. 13 with a dance party with Brother Joscephus & the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra, along with Lehigh Valley blues favorite the BC Combo.
Other big names include:
•An Aug. 30 show by The Cowsills, which had a hit in 1969 with the theme to the Broadway musical "Hair" and was the inspiration for the TV show "The Partridge Family."
•A Sept. 12 show by psychedelic rock band Vanilla Fudge, which hit the Top 10 in 1967 with "You Keep Me Hanging On"/"Take Me for a Little While."
Blues offerings will be headlined by an Aug. 28 concert by guitarist Coco Montoya, who was a member of seminal British blues-rock group John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.
"This year’s Levitt Pavilion summer concert lineup is one of our most diverse ever, with an amazing array of artists set to perform from May through September," said Mary Stubbmann, chairwoman of Friends of the Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, the nonprofit that operates Levitt Pavilion.
"Whether you love the sounds of Americana, blues and world music, or you enjoy classic artists like Vanilla Fudge and The Smithereens, you’ll find it at SteelStacks this summer."
Critically acclaimed Playing For Change, which dedicates itself to promoting positive social change through music and features musicians from nine countries on four continents, will play June 12. The ensemble this summer will visit all six Levitt Pavilions nationwide, in part through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The American Hitmen, a group formed by Marines during fighting in Fallujah, Iraq, during Operation Phantom Fury in 2004, will play, appropriately, on Sept. 11. The group appeared on Season 8 of NBC‘s "."
Other blues offerings will include on July 25, Grammy Award-nominated guitarist and songwriter Tab Benoit on Aug. 21, Lehigh Valley native Eric Steckel and his band on , Sept. 1, and Valley favorite Craig Thatcher and his band on July 12.
The Levitt Pavilion is part of the national Levitt Pavilions network of free outdoor music venues, built and supported by the Mortimer Levitt Foundation and community partners. The foundation, based in Norfolk, Va., requires at least 15 free concerts a year and 10 children’s programs a year.
For more information on Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks and its 2014 summer concert series, visit http://www.levittsteelstacks.org.
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