Reviews

Build the Scene & the Pennsylvania Rock Show’s coverage of Rock for Life 20

Light ‘Em Up – Ratrod

Light 'Em UpPhiladelphia rockers “Ratrod” have dropped their scorcher of an album “Light ‘Em Up” and are looking to melt faces. Featuring a very grass roots style of rock ranging from the Aussie yarl of AC/DC to the smooth delivery of Grand Funk Railroad and John Cougar….I think it’s needless to say it’s time to shut off WDVE and educate yourselves on some new rock n’ roll. With production that bears a live, on stage intensity and raw, yet crisp production…..it’s no wonder this band of Phili rockers are making waves and taking names.

If originality is what you are looking for, you may find some disappointment here, but that’s not to say “Light Em’ Up” isn’t worth your time. It becomes very evident early on that the album is a reminiscence of sounds and songs that shaped these musicians as a unit…and a tight one at that. The band blaze, croon, and stomp through the album at mid-paced speed dropping rocker after rocker unapologetically. It’s inevitable that the band are going to escape the reference of AC/DC within the vocals and rythmn section especially, but if the shoe fits….lace that bad boy up and hit the ground running. The vocals alone are enough to even make Brian Johnson blush. As mentioned before the guitars broaden the spectrum a little further with its barrage of classic/grass roots riffage and stellar guitar leads that are littered throughout the album.

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Black Ridge – A Good Time To Go

Feeling like taking a shot of nostalgia based with a good dose of the blues? Pittsburgh rock group “Black Ridge” have recently dropped their newest batch of tunes aptly titled “Good Time To Go”.

“Good Time to Go” serves as a pseudo-retro rock record of sorts. Crisp, clean production with just enough grit to drive the emotion home help cement the impact of this album. The band does a great job of paying tribute to their influences while still adding a fresh take to their style, ranging from classic rock to the blues and even hints of jazz and lounge in places.

Stand out cuts include “Walk Out the Door”, “New Day”, and closer “Nothing at All”. In “Walk Out the Door” we see the band at the their rowdiest with a classic rock/Foo Fighters infused rocker. Great blues and alternative rock riffs lead the parade with a powerhouse of a vocal performance. “New Day” we see the band strip the track down to bare bones in a timid emotional atmosphere. Slow and smooth saxophones lead the way as they cry the blues. In “Nothing at All” we see the band work their best to bring the album to close in an epic finale. With an emotional backdrop of instrumentals and possibly the strongest vocal performance on the album, prepare to have chills sent down your spine.

“The Fight” by After the Fall

2018 Summer Throwdown Fueled by Monster Energy – Country Music and Miles of Trails Add Up to an Amazing Festival!

The first annual Summer Throwdown at Mines and meadows ATV/RV Resort in Wampum, PA was a huge event of country music!! This family friendly festival had everything you’d expect and so much more, four days might not be enough time to explore it all!

While our focus is the music there was so much going on that there really was something for everyone. From the big stage to the bike jumps, vendors, woods, mines and trails, there was music, laughter and a great time was had by all. Many came to camp while others came for the day, even the rains on Friday did nothing to dampen the spirits or those who were a part of this four day festival. Folks stayed in the shade when possible during the warm day as they relaxed but couldn’t be kept from the stage area when Township Road started with their feel good sound and came out in droves to see John King hit the stage when the sun went down Friday night.

Saturday I caught a mixed bag of delights, with the music playing between freestyle motocross jumps and an announcer from Froggy FM letting everyone know more about the bands and what was going on that day, the crowds easily moved to and from the trails and across the large open field. Perfectly blended times meant not racing from one thing to the next and this was a first for me, watching mid air action as riders performed stunts high above the crowd. One of the amazing men flying through the air was 2017 X-Games Gold Medalist, Destin Cantrell and all three stunned the crowd with their feats.

Some of the bands I caught during my time there were:

Township Road – Country, Rock
John King – Country
The Hills and The Rivers – Post-Apocalyptic, Street Folk
Molly Alphabet – Country, Folk, Rock
Bindley Hardware Co. – Americana
North of Mason-Dixon (NOMaD) – New Country, Rock

Fueled by Monster Energy this festival was a highlight of my summer with friendly people, amazing food vendors (there is such a thing as portabella mac and cheese and you need to try this!!) and taking my time checking out just some of the 85 miles of trails for riding over the over 870 acre area. This is going to be a mainstay in my summer festival stops and hopefully next time I get to try out a mine tour as well!

Photo and article credit: Jana Lee Macheca/First Angel Media

Amber Alexis – Rock for Life 19

Here is a video from Rock for Life 19’s Friday night line up. This video was taken by their bassist, Garry Simmons. For those of you who are not familiar with the band’s history between us and Amber Alexis,  They used to come to every Pennsylvania Rock Show broadcast and hang out and support the band. We love every opportunity that we get to support them. With that being said, check out the video below featuring their original songs Pushed Me and A Good Laugh.

skell – Rock for Life 19

Just over 23 hours ago, Xfactor1 was finishing their set on the Iselin Community Ball field and skell was back stage getting themselves ready to headline the show. As usual, skell came out and provided the people in the field with exactly what they wanted, METAL! This band never ceases to amaze us. We got to witness solos from Mikey Palone on guitar, Mike Ekis on bass, and Cam on the drums. We were provided with everything that we were expecting and then some things that we never imagined. At the end of their set, skell debuted 4 brand new songs. One was a tribute to Wally Wrights daughter called Stone. They followed that up with A track dedicated to their beloved former drummer Keith Kweder, and then finally a song that is dedicated to all those that have lost someone. This last track included the debut of Wally on keyboards with the band. Wait, you said 4 songs… the encore was a track called Sinister. Instead of trying to explain all of this to you, I’ve borrowed the video below that was shot by Reina Peli Art & Photography. Speaking of Reina, you can see her amazing photos of the event on her Facebook page.