RSSLocal Scene By Tom Lounges

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

Three decades not “Z’Nuff” for South Side rockers

Three decades not  “Z’Nuff” for South Side rockers
August 28, 2014 1:00 am  • 

Has it really been 30 years since hippy revivalist band Enuff Z’Nuff first burst out of Chicago’s South Side (Blue Island) to conquer MTV and radio playlists with their Beatlesque brand of paisley pop?

It really HAS been three decades since the band, then spelling their name Enough’s Z’Nuff,” formed to play local clubs in 1984 as a quartet. EZ’s big break came when their song “Fingers On It” landed on the soundtrack of the 1986 film “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” starring Michael Rooker.

Three years later bassist/band leader Chip Z’Nuff, with a completely new line-up, released the group’s self-titled debut album for Atlantic Records. I remember writing the first national feature published on the Z’Nuff lads for the now long defunct “Song Hits Magazine.” In 1991, EZ was heralded as “Hot New Band of the Year” by Rolling Stone Magazine.

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'Doggie Days' celebrated with cars, bikes and bands

'Doggie Days' celebrated with cars, bikes and bands
August 21, 2014 1:00 am  • 

 “We’ve been wanting to do some kind of big outdoor event this summer and we love animals so this just seemed to be a great fit,” said Broadway Glass & Customs general manager Todd O’Day on how he and his staff came to do this Saturday’s “Doggie Days End Of Summer Fest” from 1 to 6 p.m. benefitting The Humane Society of Northwest Indiana.

Saturday’s event began as a car and bike show, but in recent weeks has grown to include live music, food by Amichi Grille of Highland, craft vendors, children’s entertainment and more. The event is now expected to fill the entire parking lot of Broadway Glass & Customs at 6491 Broadway in Merrillville. For registration information on car and bike show: (219) 884-6277.

Donating performances from atop a flat bed truck will be (in order) Travis Lane Fugate and Greg Pogue (country/rock), acoustic trio Jack Adams, Taylor Garrison and Aaron Harris (rock/pop) and classic rock band The Mall Rats.

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L.C. Fair's battle competition a tight match

L.C. Fair's battle competition a tight match
August 14, 2014 1:00 am  • 

As emcee for last week’s “Battle of Midway” at the Lake County Fair, this columnist was excited to see top shelf young talent coming up the region music scene ranks. The style of each competing band was completely different and ranged from hard alternative and classic pop/rock to country/pop and jazz fusion.

This year’s event was trimmed back from events of past years and featured four bands in the finals to compete from the many submissions sent. Each band had more performance time and change over time, creating a less stressful environment.

Congratulations to the country pop group Capernaum, who are ably fronted by spunky and energized singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist LeAnn Stutler, on taking first place honors in the 2014 “Battle.” The win was by a narrow margin of just one point over jazz fusion quartet Guffaw.

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A weekend of Beatles, Beatles, Beatles

A weekend of Beatles, Beatles, Beatles
August 07, 2014 1:00 am  • 

This is a great weekend for Northwest Indiana Beatles’ fans. There'll be three events over three days all celebrating the Fab tunes of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Tonight at Lake County Fair marks the debut performance of Rooftop, a new Beatles tribute band who, according to band leader Jim Hillegonds, forsakes attempts to look like the four famous Mop Tops in favor of recreating the group’s music. They put an emphasis on the more complicated latter day material.

“Rooftop performs songs from the Beatles final live performance, known as the ‘Rooftop Concert’ from January, 1969,” Hillegonds said. “The band's main focus is on rarely heard Beatles classics with a set list that includes songs from their double L.P. record, ‘The White Album,’ ‘Let It Be,’ and ‘Abbey Road.’ We use the same instruments, i.e. guitars, amps and keyboards, to recreate those classic Beatle tunes. And every song is performed completely live without any pre-recorded tracks.”

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Front Porch teachers showcase their talents

Front Porch teachers showcase their talents
July 31, 2014 1:00 am  • 

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).

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Kanisha K. grooves into the Region

Kanisha K. grooves into the Region
July 24, 2014 1:00 am  • 

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.

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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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