Tuned In – Feb. 2016

Not-to-be-missed music news

Chunky Life Winter Tour
Eclectic area group Tweed on national circuit while finishing new EP

The Newark-Philadelphia-based band Tweed is on a two-month tour across the U.S. while putting the finishing touches on their debut EP, The Chunky Life.

The band is known for high-energy performances and improv, weaving a psychedelic web of funk, rock and electronica. Tweed, made up of AJ DiBiase, Joe Vela, Jon Tomczak and Dan McDonald, formed at the University of Delaware in 2010. Members now call Philadelphia home.

The band will hit Newark’s Home Grown Café on Saturday, Feb. 13, before continuing the tour for the rest of the month, finishing up in Dayton, Ohio. For updates on the new EP, visit tweedmusic.com.

Birthday Bash
Spokey Speaky plays fifth annual Bob Marley celebration

Wilmington reggae trio Spokey Speaky is throwing another birthday bash honoring the late Bob Marley—who would be 71 years old—on Saturday, Feb. 6, at World Cafe Live at The Queen. The band, with assistance from other area artists, will perform Marley’s songs downstairs at 8 p.m. for the fifth year in a row, celebrating the legendary artist’s work and life. With sets featuring classic hits, deep cuts and Marley-inspired music, this show is for everyone from Marley novices to aficionados.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 the day of the show.

JJ Appleton & Jason Ricci in Arden
Blues masters bring new album hits

Award-winning blues harp master Jason Ricci and singer-songwriter-guitarist JJ Appleton came together in 2015 for a joint album, Dirty Memory. Now they are touring the East Coast, and they will stop at Arden Gild Hall on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m.

With original songs that give a nod to Delta blues and roots history, Dirty Memory enhances modern Americana authenticity with raw emotions and musicianship with acoustic sounds. Ricci’s harp performances blend with Appleton’s wry, truthful songs and guitar skills.

Tickets are $14 for Arden Concert Gild members and $16 for non-members.

skribe at Grain
Annapolis folk band comes to Newark

Three-piece garage folk band skribe, from Annapolis, Md., will play a set at Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen on Main Street, Newark, on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Since 2009, skribe—vocalist and guitarist Aaron Yealdhall, upright bassist “Uncle Ben” Gilbert and drummer Justin “JK” Kruger—have been building momentum in the Maryland folk scene, starting musical collaborations and generating a following. Fans and fellow artists helped crowdfund the band’s recent 12-inch LP, Less Is More, which showcases the artists’ growth and raw dynamic.

The performance, at the eatery’s Dogfish Head Stage, will begin at 9 p.m.

Artistic Musician
Kevin Niemi combines art forms to create a meditative process

Kevin Niemi wears several hats: professional, bassist, visual artist. He has a knack for connecting his two passions: abstract, expressionist action-painting with music, as bassist for local group The Joe Trainor Trio.

For both art forms, it’s all about the process, not the outcome, says Niemi.
“It’s meditative. I get lost in it,” he says. “For both, there’s no track of time, it just kind of happens.”

Niemi, a musician for well over a decade—and by day, currently an IT specialist for a local financial company—was already playing bass in theater performances when he met local musician Joe Trainor at rehearsals for Jesus Christ Superstar with the Wilmington Drama League in 2003. A few months later, Trainor asked Niemi to play in a City Theater Company performance, and after a few more musical collaborations, a rock trio was born in 2007. They’ve been playing ever since.

Meanwhile, for nine years Niemi has been painting as a means of self expression, inspired by artists like van Gogh, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. He was always interested in art but didn’t begin to pursue it until a friend told him to buy materials, and “just do something. It doesn’t matter what it is, just go do it, make something,” he recalls.

He followed the advice, and one day began sliding paint around a canvas. Before he knew it, hours had passed. Niemi says he tried another painting, and another, and as the brushwork improved, he began to identify and differentiate favorite tools and experiment with various styles and paints, letting himself be guided by his inspiration—both as a painter and musician, always focusing on the artistic journey.

“It’s just me, the canvas and paint. Or me, the music and audience,” Niemi says.

Since then, his work has been exhibited at The Philadelphia Book Company and as part of the Wilmington Fringe Festival. He’ll also be a part of the Wilmington Art Loop on Friday, Feb. 5, at the Grand Opera House. His pieces will be on view at the main stage gallery showing from 5-8 p.m.

And for his band’s upcoming performances, see joetrainortrio.com.

Ladybug Festival presents new concert Feb. 27

On Saturday, Feb. 27, the Ladybug Festival presents Sisterbugs, a musical evening featuring local sister duos, at World Cafe Live at The Queen. Artists Nalani & Sarina, Joy & Peace Ike, and Danielle & Jennifer will take the stage, along with newcomers Lullanas, twin sisters who are excited to get involved with the Ladybug Festival—an annual, outdoor summer female-fronted music festival in downtown Wilmington (Save the date: this year it will be on Thursday, July 21).

Sisterbugs starts at 7 p.m. and is $15. Prior to the show, an inaugural small forum, Music 101, will be launched by Ladybug founders as a discussion with industry experts providing firsthand knowledge of the music industry through a series of panels. This will take place from 3-6 p.m. in the Olympia Room at The Queen.

Afterward, attendees can go downstairs to a cash bar and networking mixer, providing interaction and connections with professionals who are in marketing, image consulting, and other fields in the music industry. Sisterbugs will start immediately following the mixer.