RSSLocal Scene By Tom Lounges

Lounges looks at the latest projects of local musicians and bands and lets people know about upcoming musical events.

Top names set to turn it up in Indiana

Top names set to turn it up in Indiana
July 17, 2014 1:00 am  • 

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).

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Rockin' the opera house

Rockin' the opera house
July 10, 2014 1:00 am  • 

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."

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Berlin’s Terri Nunn is singing and looking better than ever

Berlin’s Terri Nunn is singing and looking better than ever
June 26, 2014 1:00 am  • 

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.

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Local Sixties teen idols ready to rock the Region

Local Sixties teen idols ready to rock the Region
June 19, 2014 1:00 am  • 

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.”

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Local Scene: Region bikers and bands rally for Special Olympics athletes

Local Scene: Region bikers and bands rally for Special Olympics athletes
June 12, 2014 1:00 am  • 

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.”

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Local Scene: Songs of Summer

Local Scene: Songs of Summer
June 05, 2014 5:30 am  • 

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)

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Local Scene: Devilish duo offer "Variety" of vintage entertainment

Local Scene: Devilish duo offer "Variety" of vintage entertainment
May 29, 2014 5:30 am  • 

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.

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Local Scene: Musical youth step up and tune up for their church

Local Scene: Musical youth step up and tune up for their church
May 22, 2014 5:30 am  • 

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.

MUSIC NOTES:

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Hammond detective still making a difference in young lives

Hammond detective still making a difference in young lives
May 15, 2014 1:00 am  • 

The 9th annual Joe B. Memorial Bike Run and Concert produced by the family and friends of Detective Sgt. Joe Betustak Jr. returns to Hammond’s Wolf Lake Memorial Park Saturday.

What began as a lone event to help with the sense of loss felt when bone cancer took their son and brother in 2005 after a long battle has evolved under the guiding hand of Joe Betustak Sr. into The Joe Betustak Memorial Foundation – a 501(c) (3) charity honoring the Hammond native who served his city for 13 years as a motorcycle officer, a member of the SWAT team, before ending his career with the narcotics unit.

The event always includes a motorcycle run assisted by The American Veterans Motorcycle Riders Association (AVMRA) and a multi-band concert sponsored by The Cavalier Inn of Hammond. All money raised each year helps the families of specific Region youngsters currently battling cancer. The Foundation board has selected 5-year-old Jazmine DeJesus of Merrillville and 15-year-old Amber Gallagher of Highland to be this year’s recipients.

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Kickback's summer tour kicks off to promote new CD

Kickback's summer tour kicks off to promote new CD
May 08, 2014 6:00 am  • 

Chicago's The Kickback — comprised of brothers Billy (vocals, guitar) and Danny (drums) Yost, Eamonn Donnelly (bass) and Jonny Ifergan (guitar) — is prepping for the release of their new full length album titled “Sorry All Over The Place” this summer. The session was produced by Spoon drummer and engineer Jim Eno.

An advance single/video of the song “Sting’s Teacher Years” has been released to path the way for the new album; and in the video singer Billy Yost acts as his own lyric-pad with words scrawled all over his face and body.

The Kickback earned a solid reputation as an explosive live act after a steady two years of touring and supporting acts like White Rabbits, Smith Westerns, Here We Go Magic, Tapes ‘n Tapes and Telekinesis. They hit the road for the summer months with Quiet Company and Driver Friendly starting June 4th at The Beat Kitchen (2100 Belmont Ave.) in Chicago. Catch the lads next as they warm up for the tour on May 14 at Chicago’s The Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave.). More: thekickbackband.com

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