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RSSLocal Scene By Tom Lounges
Lounges looks at the latest projects of local musicians and bands and lets people know about upcoming musical events.
Front Porch Music presents "The 2nd annual Front Porch Music Festival" from 3 to 7pm Aug. 3 at downtown Valparaiso’s Central Park.
"This event features many of the folks who make Front Porch what it is to the community," said Front Porch Music owner Chad Clifford. "Last year’s fest turned out to be a beautiful day and got a wonderful response, so it gave me great optimism about its ability to grow and to develop into an annual thing."
The fest is virtually seven hours of non-stop music of many styles and genres. It also includes activities like a free kid’s ukulele class, a free face painting class, plus food vendors and a beer garden. Tickets are $15 and $5 for kids (under 12).
Several months ago a radio promotion friend Tom Mazzetta suggested this 21-year-old R&B/pop singer from Holland, Mich. named Kanisha K. might be a good guest for my weekly Lakeshore Public Radio show, “Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges.”
It only took a couple of tracks from her 8-song, self-titled debut CD to convince me Mazetta was right. Kanisha K. – the K. is for her surname Kasten – proved to be a wonderful guest. She was poised, confident, well-spoken, humorous, and a gifted vocalist.
Since then, several radio stations have likewise discovered this sensational singer who also writes much of her material. Northwest Indiana music lovers can catch her live Aug. 1 for a 7:10pm mini-concert at Gary’s U.S. Steelyard prior to a Railcats vs. Kansas City T-Bones home game then again for a 90-minute concert Aug. 7 in the Lakeshore Public Radio Free Entertainment Tent at the Lake County Fair.
Summer has officially arrived in Northwest Indiana now that Hammond’s 11th annual Festival of the Lakes has kicked off at Wolf Lake Memorial Park (2338 Calumet Avenue).
The five-day summer celebration which began last night and ends July 20 includes all the carnival rides, midway foods and game booths one would expect to find – only the real focus is on the top name entertainment.
Gary, Indiana’s own Kinsey Report struck the opening chord last night while sharing the stage with reggae music icon Jimmy Cliff. Tonight features regional country favorites The Jimmy Sarr Band opening for Big & Rich (featuring Cowboy Troy).
With the national economy still recovering, the last few years have been an especially tough time for those in the arts as people trying to keep ahead of their bills have had less money than usual budgeted for entertainment.
Like any business, Northwest Indiana’s historic arts treasure Memorial Opera House, 104 Indiana Avenue, in downtown Valparaiso, also has monthly bills to pay. But at MOH they have the added cost of continuous maintenance needed for the 121-year-old venue which has hosted everyone from John Philip Sousa and The Marx Brothers to Roger McGuinn. All these years later, MOH remains a hub of entertainment in the region with a continuous schedule of live theater productions and live music concerts.
"Arts venues across the country rely heavily on sponsors, donors and special events that bring an income flow to help cover operating expenses. Memorial Opera House is no different," said MOH business director Michelle Smith. "So to continue maintaining this venue and to continue presenting the great entertainment for our community, our production engineer Stretch Miller and I started brainstorming on ideas. Stretch reached out to local musicians he knows with the idea of doing a day-long concert and ‘Rock The House’ is the result."
With the sexy image and sultry vocals of West Coast actress-turned-singer Terri Nunn, the band Berlin helped introduce American music fans to Europe’s Electro-Pop sound. The band's racy first hit debuted in 1982.
“It was really hard to get radio play because that kind of lyric content had never been done in a pop song before. There were towns that wouldn’t let us perform live because they ‘…didn’t want to hear us sing about that kind of stuff’,” said Nunn, long-distance from Santa Rosa Valley, Calif.. “It’s tame by today’s standards, but it was pretty cutting edge then. Because of that, it exploded as an underground hit.”
Nunn loves the evolution of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and where it’s gone since Berlin first hit the scene. “EDM is exploding and it’s re-inspired me to use sounds people have not heard Berlin use before,” she said.
Oscar & The Majestics were a hard-rocking, soul-influenced, garage-punk quartet of the 1960s from Gary who recorded most of their tunes at the legendary Chess Recording Studios in Chicago for the USA Records label.
The four original members return to the glory of their youth tonight on the gazebo stage at Highland’s Main Square Park with a 7 p.m. free public concert.
“Rock ‘n’ roll is something that just stays with you,” explained the band’s guitarist, vocalist and namesake Oscar Hamod. “You get older, you move on, you do other things, but the music is always there inside you. It never goes away. It certainly hasn’t for us.”
The annual “Livin’ It Up Benefit for Porter County Special Olympics” has grown considerably since last year and now includes a bike run, bike show, car show, beer garden, food vendors and several music groups performing noon to 9pm at Sunset Hill Farm County Park (the corner of Route 6 and Meridian) on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a great event,” said John King, host of the “Livin’ It Up” radio program aired Thursdays on Valparaiso’s WVLP-98.3 FM and a member of the Special Sports Boosters board for the county.
“This year we have teamed up with Porter County ABATE. We have been working with them the last three years on their Ultimate Bike show, in which they were donating the proceeds to Porter County Special Olympics,” continued King. “Their festival was always two weeks before ours. So this year we combined the Livin’ It Up music festival with the Ultimate Bike Festival to take it to another level. The Porter County Parks Department has been such a great supporter of both of our organizations and has really made it possible to make the festival bigger. ABATE’s Cathy Szymanski is doing an outstanding job of organizing this year’s fest. We have numerous local sponsors which allow us to make this the best festival yet. It is a tremendous feeling for me to see our community rally around such a great cause.”
As a radio DJ for many years, it is often my job to dictate people’s moods with the music I play and provide a soundtrack to their good times. Last week while cruising around Northwest Indiana with the car windows down, I compiled my Top 10 summer songs other than those Beach Boys songs that just scream - “Summer!”
These tunes are perfect for trips to the beach, days in the park, sitting poolside, or firing up the backyard grill. Load these tunes on your MP3 player, grab some sunscreen and go have some fun in the sun!
1) Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta – “Summer Nights” (1978)
Tired of trudging out to local watering holes and seeing bands or singing karaoke on the weekends? Looking for something different? May I suggest making plans to catch the return of “Variety-Ville” on June 7 to Valparaiso’s historic Memorial Opera House?
Having once hosted the likes of The Marx Brothers during the glory days of Vaudeville, the venerable century old Opera House seems the ideal venue to host “Variety-Ville,” which according to co-creators Frank and Buddy Devil is – “equal parts vaudeville, burlesque, cabaret, ‘Rat Pack’ and The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Frank and Buddy Devil aka The Lounge Devils are hosts/producers/performers who believe the old ways are sometimes the best ways. In this high tech entertainment era of gaming, digital music, on demand streaming movies, etc. sometimes we need to put away the electronics to “re-boot” and “reconnect” with some old-school slapstick comedy, plate-spinning masters, acrobats, magicians, tap dancers, strongmen doing feats of strength, torch singers, and well…as the name suggests…a “variety” of things from an era too soon forgotten.
Northwest Indiana’s four-piece Capernuam — LeAnn Stutler (lead vocals, guitar, mandolin, and saxophone), Will Wyatt (drums, vocals), Mark Lugo (bass, vocals), and Gabe Dudlicek (lead guitar, ukulele) – all members of the Christ Lutheran Church Youth Group, will step up and plug in on May 31 to help their economically strapped house of worship.
The fundraiser for Christ Lutheran Church in Hammond runs from 2-8pm on the church grounds, located at 7051 Indianapolis Boulevard and includes a silent auction, used book sale, food vendors, and more. Capernuam’s 4-7pm performance will blend t original songs with a variety of country and rock covers by the likes of Miranda Lambert, John Mayer, the Goo Goo Dolls and Bon Jovi. Admission is $3 per person/$10 per family. More: (219) 844-6122.
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