Davey Dickens Jr. picked up a guitar six years ago. Next month, his band releases its debut album.
It’s funny how much difference five years can make in a person’s life.
Take local country musician Davey Dickens Jr. for instance. It wasn’t until 2011, when Dickens was 32 years old, that he started playing guitar. Yet, just five years later, in March 2016, he found himself in one of Wilmington’s most esteemed recording studios, performing and recording his songs with some of the area’s most seasoned musicians—members of the then newly formed Davey Dickens Jr. and the Troubadours.
“I’d never stepped foot in a studio, ever,” Dickens says, his voice betraying amazement at where he is today: His band releases its debut self-titled album on Feb. 16 at World Cafe Live at The Queen.
The album features eight songs penned by Dickens and touches on life’s challenges as well as some of its joys. Montana Wildaxe co-founder and guitarist Kurt Houff encouraged the project early on.
“Kurt and I got to be pretty good buddies,” Dickens says. “He started coming up to the house, and we did a couple of song-writing sessions. [Then] we started playing out a lot as The Troubadours.”
The Troubadours came to include a former bandmate of Dickens, Dave Van Allen, on pedal steel, along with Houff’s fellow Montana Wildaxe bassist Tony Cappella and former Caulfields drummer Ritchie Rubini, who did double-duty as producer during the band’s sessions at Studio 825 last year.
“I’m so blessed to have such a force,” says Dickens.
For Dickens, those blessings included attracting the interest of Johnny Neel, famed keyboardist most known for his time with The Allman Brothers. After getting a copy of Dickens’ material, the Wilmington-born Neel agreed to return to his native state to play on the album.
While Dickens is somewhat amazed at the band’s success, he isn’t resting on his laurels. “We’ve got a lot more material,” he says.
Davey Dickens Jr. and the Troubadours play Upstairs at World Cafe Live at The Queen on Feb. 16. Advance tickets are $10 and include a copy of the new album plus a band t-shirt. More details at worldcafelive.com.
Classical Guitar Performance by Duo 220 Set for Feb. 25
Hailed for their technique and musicianship, classical guitarists Adam Larison and Andrew Stroud of Duo 220 have established a firm position in a newly emerging generation of guitar ensembles.
The Wilmington Classical Guitar Society is hosting a performance by the duo at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant (503 Duncan Rd., Wilmington) on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m.
Duo 220 strives to create programs that are new, fresh and accessible through a mixture of both standards and lesser-known works in the guitar duo. Admission is $10 for students, seniors and WCGS members and $15 for general admission, available at the door or online at wilmingtonguitar.org.
Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles
Join an intimate evening performance with Cory Henry and his band, The Funk Apostles, on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Clifford Brown Performance Center. Henry is a 29-year-old Brooklyn-born songwriter, organist, pianist and music producer well-versed in jazz, gospel and funk. He has toured with Bruce Springsteen, Michael McDonald, P. Diddy, Boyz II Men, Israel Houghton, Donnie McClurkin and Kirk Franklin and has released two albums, First Steps (2014) and The Revival (2016).
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins promptly at 7:30. Early bird tickets are $20 through Feb. 5 and $30 after. Tickets are available at ccacde.org.
The Arts at Trinity
On Saturday, Feb. 18, at Trinity Episcopal Church (1108 N. Adams St., Wilmington), The Arts at Trinity presents a performance by the Mid-Atlantic Chamber Music Society as part of its 2016-2017 music series. Admission is free. Donations are accepted. The performance is at 7:30 p.m.
Open Mic Night
The Music School of Delaware hosts a bi-monthly open mic night on the second Thursday of every other month, beginning in February. On Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wilmington branch – 4104 Washington St.—the event will include professional-grade equipment for artists: drum set, grand piano, electric piano/synth, guitar/bass amplification available upon request, microphones, PA system and monitors. A complimentary recording of the performance is available to all participants as well as an after party. The event is free.
Thrones in the Round in Philly
The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience is coming to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Sunday, Feb. 26. It will mark the first time an orchestral concert like this will be performed in the round.
The performance is expected to be massive in terms of sound, size, and visuals, sure to mirror the Emmy-winning show’s stature. Innovative music tour production and video technology will take the audience through the seven kingdoms of the Game of Thrones universe.
The Travel Songs Foundation
Delaware band and creative organization Travel Songs recently established a nonprofit, The Travel Songs Foundation, and launched its first project: preserving instrument-making in Peru’s Andean region.
In 2013, the band—now foundation—broadened perspectives with a successful Kickstarter campaign that funded the group’s first award-winning documentary, Travel Songs: Peru.
Now, the Travel Songs Foundation takes things a step further, and is chartered under the Delaware Community Foundation with the mission to connect cultures through music. Funded by grants and tax-deductible donations from its supporters, the foundation fulfills its mission by producing documentaries and other multimedia about music and culture from around the world. Paired with each film project, the foundation identifies a critical need in a host country’s local music or culture and launches a charitable initiative.
The first initiative for the foundation launched mid-January in Cusco, Peru, and is called The Sabino Luthier School. While filming in Cusco in 2013, the team met and interviewed a Peruvian instrument maker named Sabino Huaman, who expressed a fear that his trade, which had been passed from generation to generation within his family for more than 100 years, would soon disappear.
In launching The Sabino Luthier School, the foundation hopes to help preserve this local art. By the end of this year-long intensive training course, students at the school will possess the general skills to be able to construct traditional Andean instruments, and will have the training to pursue building or repairing string instruments as a profession.
The project covers full day courses every Saturday in 2017, all travel and lodging for the students, a course instructor wage for Huaman, as well as the cost of all tools and materials. The Travel Songs Foundation will also provide equipment and training to a local videographer (Huaman’s son) to document the students’ progress throughout the year.
Mélomanie will present provocative pairings of early and contemporary works in innovative chamber music on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 4 p.m. at CAMP Rehoboth (37 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach) and on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. at The Delaware Contemporary (200 S. Madison St., Wilmington). Parking is free onsite and a reception follows the performance. These concerts feature the premier of “Just a Regular Child” by Delaware composer David Schelat and collaborations with two guest artists, violinist Daniela Pierson and cellist Todd Thiel. The repertoire also includes works by Couperin, Guignon, Bartók and Corelli.
General tickets are $25, and $15 for students ages 16 and older. For children through age 15 admission is free.
Purchase tickets online at melomanie.org, at the door, or at 764-6338.
The Shine A Light On The Queen concert series has been a hit with the public from the outset, and this year’s event, The Shine A Light on ’77, promises to exceed those numbers on its way to another sell-out and another lucrative fundraiser for the Light Up The Queen Foundation.
Set for 8 p.m. Saturday, March 4, at World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington, the concert will once again bring together an all-star musical lineup of scores of the most popular and revered singers and musicians in the Wilmington area. They’ll be celebrating the music of 1977, when punk and disco were bursting into full flower, signaling a new wave in pop music.
One change fans will note this year is the March date. In previous years, the concerts took place in February, when the chance of inclement weather was a greater variable. In 2015, a stifling blizzard hit the area on the day of the show, rendering many roads impassable.
Yet, says bassist Betty Bullington, “It was a full house. You never would have known the weather was so bad outside.”
For its first three years, the series was a musical tribute to The Rolling Stones. Two years ago, organizers switched gears and decided to fete the music of 1975. It was a 40th anniversary retrospective on what concert co-producer and performer Rob Grant describes as “a time when some of the best music was being made.”
“Besides, we ran out of Rolling Stones songs and, let’s face it, the ‘70s were cool,” he says.
“It [will be] a really big mix of funk, folk, disco, good old country and badass rock and roll,” says Shine A Light performer Davey Dickens Jr. about this year’s show. “There was a lot of stuff going on in 1977—and the 1970s as a whole—musically.”
A Worthy Cause
Grant, who sits on the of the Shine A Light Planning Committee, also performs at the event. He says it gives him and other musicians “an opportunity to play some great music with really talented musicians and performers while also knowing we are helping a worthy cause.”
“The Light Up The Queen Foundation began in 2011 with a single arts education program and has developed and diversified over the years,” says Tina Betz, the Light Up The Queen Foundation executive director.
“The concert is by far the biggest fundraiser for the Foundation, pulling in approximately a half million dollars in its six-year run. The money raised has benefitted over 10,000 young people through musical arts programs,” she adds.
The foundation also provides education on social issues and healthy living, along with education through music and art.
“The concert for the Light Up The Queen Foundation is a truly worthwhile event in a city constantly struggling with their arts programs,” says Joe Trainor, who is seen by many as a leader in the area’s music and theater scene. Trainor has organized many tribute concerts for bands such as The Eagles, Queen and Genesis, outside of his own extensive oeuvre of original work. When asked for one word to describe the event, he didn’t hesitate: “Community.”
“This event brings people together and provides an opportunity to play with others you don’t normally get to play with,” he says, adding that this spirit of community forces everyone to “up their game.”
Trainor enjoys the wider palate the tribute to an entire year offers versus celebrating a single band’s repertoire, because the gamut of music is both a challenge and a change of pace. Other musicians share that view.
“There are no songs we wouldn’t want to play [on the playlist],” according to Tony Cappella, the troubadour bassist from Montana Wildaxe, who also performs with approximately a dozen other bands. “If anything, it gives us a chance as musicians to step out of our comfort zones. We love new challenges and styles.”
Cappella’s own musical career began a few years before 1977. “There is a really good chance I might be playing on a song I haven’t played on in 40 years,” he laughs.
For the performers, the journey to the night of the show rivals the actual show.
“In a way, the show itself is a bit anti-climactic for the musicians,” says Lew Indellini, lead singer of Special Delivery. “Don’t get me wrong, we love performing for this event, but the meetings, discovering the playlist, the rehearsals and collaborating with some of the most accomplished musicians in the area is one of the best parts of this event for us.”
“It’s great to have helped invent something all the performers look forward to,” says Shine A Light Committee member and event co-founder Kevin McCabe, “especially since I’ve looked up to many of these musicians for such a long time.”
Despite the high level of musical accomplishment of the individual performers, “there is no ego” involved, according to McCabe, who also performs. “Everyone has a lot of respect for one another.”
Last year’s show ran much longer than the intended three hours. At the first musicians’ meeting for this year’s show, Grant emphasized quicker change-overs between songs. Singer Dan McGowan and guitarist Mike Petrillo discussed additional production value.
“We believe adding more production value will enhance the experience for the audience,” says Petrillo.
The meeting also was an opportunity for “rookie” musicians—most of them younger—to meet the rest of the members.
“I couldn’t believe how passionate everyone is,” says Samantha Poole, who will be performing at her first Shine A Light event.
“The gig itself is one thing, but the relationships you develop are very special,” she says. “My father used to play in The Sky Band with Nick Bucci when I was 10 years old. I’ve performed onstage with Nick since then, but it will be amazing if I get to perform with him at this year’s event.”
Poole’s father will be in attendance, making it extra special for her.
Newcomer Pat Kane, the wunderkind 20-something guitarist, may be the youngest performer at this year’s event. He will share the stage with some of the “silverbacks”—the musicians who are his grandparents’ age.
“It would be great to continue to add more young musicians and singers each year,” says Poole, to continue what has quickly become a tradition and centerpiece event of the local music landscape.
The Light Up The Queen Foundation “helps feed and cultivate the local arts,” says Betz, “by bringing music to young people who may, one day, be up on that stage themselves performing in a Shine A Light event.”
Tickets are available at the World Cafe Live website, WorldCafeLive.com. General admission is $60 and a limited number of VIP tickets are available for $250. Kathleen Ford, the Shine A Light Committee chair, says a portion of the price of the tickets is tax deductible. “But,” she adds, “don’t hesitate, because they are going quickly.”
Travel Songs: Peru Wins Area music and documentary group gets an international award
Travel Songs, a Wilmington-based organization of musicians and filmmakers, recently won the Audience Appreciation Award at the 2015 Folk Music Film Festival for their documentary Travel Songs: Peru. The festival was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, and Travel Songs member Tyler Holloway was there to accept the award.
Travel Songs: Peru, the group’s first documentary, was filmed in summer 2013 and premiered last December at Theater N in Wilmington. Through it, crew members for this film—producer Zachary Humenik; photographer and score director Samuel Nobles; camera operators George Murphy and Colin Shalo; sound engineer Tyler Holloway, and production assistant Tyler Doherty —aim to bridge cultural gaps and create a common ground through documenting art forms from around the world.
“I was amazed to see that the standing-room-only crowd, consisting of filmmakers, academics, journalists, and a couple of hundred school children, were so enthralled by an English film,” says Holloway. “The crowd went silent as they were drawn into the Peruvian world. This reaction was very special to me—it exemplifies the mission of Travel Songs to connect cultures through music and reinforced that music is a universal language.”
Adds Humenik: “I would like to think that people can feel the film and see the passion that went into it. I think we did well to connect with people on an intimate level. We got great access, had a great team, and I think the people we interviewed and met with really trusted us to share their stories in a way that felt real. That’s important—people can tell when something feels real.”
Travel Songs is in the process of registering as a nonprofit organization to enhance funding for films, and to expand charitable giving programs. The goal is to establish initiatives in each country Travel Songs films in, promoting local musical styles and cultural arts programs.
“It includes setting up musician workshops, lecturing at universities, and advocating for music and the arts—all of these things are important if we really want to share our message,” says Humenik.
He says the documentary projects are the center of the Travel Songs organization right now, leaving little time for the band to perform. Humenik, Holloway, Nobles and Doherty, members of the actual band currently live in various cities.
Fundraising for the next documentary—which could be filmed in either Cuba or Tunisia, along with a few other options—will begin this month. For more information and to view the Peru documentary for free, visit travelsongs.org.
British Star in Arden Robyn Hitchcock brings talent and wit on Jan. 23
Robyn Hitchcock, one of England’s most-loved contemporary singer-songwriters, is coming to Arden Gild Hall for a WXPN Welcomes show on Saturday, Jan. 23. The alternative rock artist will blend his folk sound and psychedelia, along with wry British humor, of course.
Since founding the art-rock band The Soft Boys in 1976, Hitchcock has recorded more than 20 albums. He’ll perform songs from his most recent album, The Man Upstairs, which he describes as a “bittersweet love letter to a vanishing world.”
Special guest Emma Swift, an Australian singer-songwriter, joins Hitchcock on tour.
The show begins at 8 p.m.; tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members.
Brian Fallon & the Crowes Gaslight Anthem singer performs at The Queen
Radio 104.5 will present Brian Fallon & the Crowes on Sunday, Jan. 10, at World Cafe Live at The Queen.
Fallon, best known as vocalist and guitarist for the Gaslight Anthem, is also working on a debut solo album, Painkillers, set for release early this year.
Gaslight Anthem announced plans last summer to go on an indefinite hiatus following a successful European tour. Get Hurt (2014), the band’s acclaimed fifth studio album, hit number 4 on the Billboard 200.
Special guest Cory Branan will bring his alternative singer-songwriter sounds to The Queen.
Doors open at 7 p.m., the show starts at 8, and tickets are $22.50.
Band of the Royal Marines UK’s Royal Navy musical branch comes to The Grand
For something a little different, see the Royal Navy’s Band of the Royal Marines at Copeland Hall at The Grand on Wednesday, Jan. 13. The group is part of The Royal Marines Band Service, the musical wing of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, which consists of six bands.
The Band of the Royal Marines is celebrated for the quality of their music, visual grandeur and precision drill. The band performs popular classics, big band, stimulating contemporary works and entertaining solo features.
They also provide jazz, string and woodwind ensembles, making the group one of the most versatile and adept in military music. The Grand performance is part of their first-ever U.S. tour.
Tickets are $36-$42, and the show begins at 8 p.m.
Say farewell to cabin fever with this collection of classes, exhibitions, performing arts, and more
Ushering in post-holiday doldrums and cooped-up blues, winter is arguably one of the dreariest times of year. But fear not: we’ve compiled a list of fun indoor options to get you off the couch and out of the house. From concerts to children’s activities to beer-or-wine-and-yoga sessions (yes, you read that right), we’ve got every taste covered.
Floral Fun at Longwood Gardens
At Longwood Gardens, winter is far from bleary, thanks in part to the annual Orchid Extravaganza, on view this season free with Gardens admission from Jan. 23-March 27. The Conservatory transforms into a tropical oasis featuring Longwood’s largest and most diverse display of orchids ever.
For a personal challenge, try the Botanical Illustration Studio. Use your artistic skills to illustrate plants and flowers from Longwood’s greenhouses and grounds. The studio time gives you a chance to receive individual attention, constructive suggestions, and encouragement. Work at your own pace on your project, large or small, surrounded by fellow artists. This is a six-session course, on Mondays from 12:30-3 p.m., Jan 4-Feb. 8.
Johnny Gallagher at The Queen
Wilmington native Johnny Gallagher—musician, award-winning actor and Broadway performer—will come to World Cafe Live at The Queen on Friday, Jan. 22, to showcase his singer-songwriter skills.
His debut album, Six Day Hurricane, is set to be released Jan. 15 via Rockwood Music Hall Recordings. The first single of the album, “Two Fists Full,” is available through Soundcloud.
The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15-$25.
For those up for a jaunt to New York City, Gallagher can be seen on Broadway in the Roundabout Theater Company production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night starting in March.
The Musical Box: Recreation of Genesis’ Foxtrot
In 1972, the English rock band Genesis toured to promote their fourth album, Foxtrot. The first concert on the tour began a trend of combining music and theatre.
The Musical Box—a Sunday, Jan. 17, performance at the Grand’s Copeland Hall—undertakes the reproduction of the original concert to give people an illusion of being at the actual Genesis show. Visual reconstruction of the show is based on photos and slides of the original concerts, magazine articles and first-hand experiences. Tickets are $32-$39.
Cinderella at the baby grand
First State Ballet Theatre—Delaware’s professional ballet company—presents Cinderella, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 20-21, at the baby grand in Wilmington. The classic fairy tale with the ultimate happy ending is told with wit and elegance. Tickets begin at $14 for students ages 18 and under. Senior, group and military discounts are available. The performance starts at 7 p.m. on Feb. 20 and 2 p.m. on Feb. 21.
Wine, Cheese & Honey Pairings at Penns Woods Winery
Penns Woods Winery in Chadds Ford, Pa. is teaming up with local cheese and honey artisans to bring exclusive wine, cheese, and honey pairing events on select dates (Jan. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 31). Indulge in a sit-down pairing of five premium Penns Woods wines matched with various cheeses and honey from local farms. Admission is $28; reservations are required. Live music is on Jan. 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 2-5 p.m.
Contact Penns Woods at 610-459-0808 to make a reservation.
Great Balls of Fire!
From Feb. 6-May 30, the Great Balls of Fire! exhibit at Delaware Museum of Natural History explores the pop culture fascination of a catastrophic impact from an asteroid or comet. If there was a dinosaur-killer in earth’s past, is there a human-killer in our future? The exhibit asks: What are the chances and how do we assess the risks? For that matter, what are asteroids, comets, and meteorites, and where do they come from?
Chicago—The Musical at The Playhouse Chicago – The Musical has it all: a universal tale of fame, fortune and “all that jazz,” one show-stopping song after another, and fantastic dancing. The award-winning show is coming to The Playhouse Feb. 23-28. Based on a 1926 play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins, it’s based on actual criminals and crimes she covered. A satire on corruption in the administering of criminal justice, the performance explores the concept of the “celebrity criminal.”
Poetry in Beauty: the Art of Marie Spartali Stillman
Marie Spartali Stillman (1844-1927), one of a small number of professional female artists working in the second half of the 19th century, was an important presence in the Victorian art world of her time and closely affiliated with members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. Poetry in Beauty, the first retrospective exhibit of Spartali Stillman’s work, runs through Jan. 31 at Delaware Art Museum. In addition to approximately 50 of her pieces, works from public and private collections in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, many of which have not been exhibited since Spartali Stillman died, will also be on view. After the exhibition, her art will be transported overseas and on view at the Watts Gallery in Guildford, England, through June 5.
Winter Classes & Fun at CCArts
Center for the Creative Arts in Yorklyn offers a bounty of fun and productive wintertime activities. First up, “Ballet for Adults” runs Tuesdays (10-11 a.m.) from Jan. 12-March 15. Study under Ballet Master Val Goncharov in these adult classes. Tuesdays (9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) from Jan. 12-March 1, try your hand at oil painting. Learn basic techniques through demonstrations, discussions and application. Tuition is $184 for members and $204 for non-members. For a one-day class on Saturday, Jan. 9, “Glass Fusion” (9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.) will explore the art of melting glass into designs to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Create a sun-catcher, pendant, tray or dish using glass that will be provided. Tuition is $40.
Additionally, try out “Yorklyn Live,” a CCArts Open Mic Night every third Thursday. It’s free, with a cash bar and food. Lastly, a Dinner Theater called “Blind Love” on Saturday, Feb. 6, is about how a blind man sees what a fool does not. People can come for dinner, drinks and dessert. The show is at 7:30 p.m. and tickets, which can be purchased online, are $35.
Call 239-2434 for more information about these activities.
Robots: they’ve explored the far reaches of space, the depths of oceans, and the inner workings of the human body. Now children ages 4-14 can explore robots themselves at Hagley’s Invention Convention, from Jan. 16-18.
The weekend includes robotic demonstrations, hands-on engineering challenges, and in-person conversations with professionals who use robots in their daily work. Visitors will discover how the Wilmington Police Department uses bomb robots to dispose of explosive devices, and guests also will take part in tinkering tables, create-an-invention fun, and a hands-on science fair. Invention Convention will be in Hagley’s Soda House and Library. Admission is $8 and $6 for children. Hagley members and children ages 4 and younger get in free.
Additionally, Hagley features the exhibit “Driving Desire: Automobile Advertising and the American Dream” through autumn. It explores the relationship between automobile advertising and Americans’ car buying decisions. Driving Desire is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Yoga in the Paradocx Tank Room
Uncork, relax and unwind at Paradocx Vineyard in Landenberg, Pa., on two Sundays—Jan. 10 and Jan. 24—for Yoga in the Tank Room at 11 a.m. Your focus will be drawn away from the everyday hustle and bustle with this unique yoga class in the winery tank room. Each class is designed to relax the mind—and open the senses to encourage a mindful wine-tasting experience. Tickets are $25, and the event includes a 60-minute yoga session with wine tastings of four wines to follow. (Bring your own yoga mat.)
Winterthur Book Club & Exhibition
Embrace learning and quality time at Winterthur’s Pages of Time: Mother & Daughter Book & Craft Club. On the first Thursday of each month through May, from 6-8 p.m., this is ideal for book worms and crafty girls in 4th-6th grade. Discussions will revolve around historical fiction books, and there will be tasty snacks and crafts related to the book each month. Tickets are $25 per member adult/child pair; $35 per nonmember pair for the complete seven-month series. Winter dates and books include: Jan. 7, Betsy Zane: The Rose of Fort Henry; Feb. 4, Seaman: The Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis and Clark; March 3, The Smuggler’s Treasure. Call 800-448-3883 to register and for more dates.
Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia, an exhibition running March 26-Jan. 8, 2017, examines the profound influence of Asia on the arts of colonial Americans. This scholarly exhibition is the first Pan-American study to explore how craftsmen across North, Central, and South America adapted Asian styles in a range of media—from furniture to silverwork, textiles, ceramics, and painting.
Delaware Theatre Company Acting Classes
Attention, aspiring actors: ready to take a step in the right direction? Have fun while exploring characters and scenes in a six-week course at Delaware Theatre Company, Sundays from Feb. 7-March 13 (5:15-7:15 p.m.). Take on the actor’s role of examining scripts, finding characters’ objectives, and exploring various acting techniques to bring out your richest performance. Though no experience is required, students should be ready to participate, to jump in and work together—and have fun. The course is $180, and open to adults ages 18 and up. Classes are also available for children and teens.
Touch Tank: Lunch and Learn
Join the Delaware Children’s Museum staff daily from 12:30-1:30 p.m. for feeding time at the Touch Tank Aquarium. Learn about the food marine creatures eat, the habitat they live in, and special facts about the vertebrates and invertebrates who share the tank. Or stop by Try Science: Be a Physiologist, Jan. 9-10, from 11 a.m. to noon, to learn about the body’s parts that work to keep it running. Children can become junior doctors or nurses as they take a hands-on and entertaining look at the organs and systems inside a very unusual patient—the DCM’s 7-ft. doll, Stuffee.
Beer & Yoga at Victory Brewpub
Victory Brewing Company’s Kennett Square brewpub is hosting Beer & Yoga on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 9 a.m. After the yoga session, enjoy food and beer pairings. Instructor Diane Rogers will guide participants through the yoga process. Tickets are $30.
New Sounds on Main Street
Grain will host more live music each month
More live music is now coming to Newark’s Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen four nights a month. After receiving positive feedback from customers about the new Main Street establishment’s Dogfish Head Stage, which features occasional acoustic artists, management has brought in Gable Music Ventures to program four nights of live music per month.
Lee Mikles, co-owner of Grain, says: “We are very excited to add Gable to the team to bring us entertaining and new musical acts on a regular basis. This original music will be a great complement to the acoustic acts that we will continue to share with our guests.”
Starting this month, the first and third Fridays and second and fourth Saturdays will be programmed by Gable. Music fans can expect to see regional and touring original bands who will add some variety to the local acts Grain has been hosting. Additional live music happens at Grain every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
This month’s performances are: folk-songwriters Megan Knight and Brooke Dicaro on Nov. 6; pop-rockers Danielle & Jennifer on Nov. 14; acoustic rock-blues-funk artist Frank Viele on Nov. 20, and pop-R&B-soul musician Nelly’s Echo on Nov. 28.
A Rocking Good Time
Joe Trainor Trio and Hot Breakfast! to jam at the Smyrna Opera House
Hot on the heels of their Smyrna Opera House tribute to Billy Joel, The Joe Trainor Trio returns to the Opera House’s B. Stimson Carrow Auditorium on Saturday, Nov. 7, for a night of original music. Wilmington-based singer/songwriter Joe Trainor (piano) along with Kevin Niemi (bass) and Jeff Dement (drums) bring their unique piano-rock to Smyrna for one night only. Joining them will be the Wilmington-based acoustic dork-rock duo Hot Breakfast!
A full bar will be available. The show starts at 8 p.m.; tickets range from $8-$16.
Get Wild at Wilmo Rock Circus
The “biggest show in the Small Wonder” is back
Dubbed the “biggest show in the Small Wonder,” Wilmo Rock Circus is back for a fifth year to create indoor festival fun. Founded by Gable Music Ventures and Joe Trainor, the event is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving—Nov. 28 this year—and for the last four years has taken over the entire venue at World Cafe Live at The Queen. Fifteen bands will perform between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight, utilizing both stages. Circus-themed extras like “circus master” emcees, handmade circus art, circus-themed food and drink options are included. Tickets are $20.
Grateful Dead Dance Party
Dec. 4 fundraiser in Arden
The Gilded Road: A Grateful Dead Dance party brings the thrills and chills of the annual Brandywine Valley Association’s Deadfest event—but in the winter and indoors. The Friday, Dec. 4, event at Arden Gild Hall will feature area musicians and all proceeds will benefit the Arden Gild Hall’s kitchen renovation.
The close-knit winners of this year’s Musikarmageddon are a fun and quirky, high-energy, alt-hip-hop-funk band
The baby grand was silent with anticipation on a Saturday night in September as the crowd and competing bands waited to hear the fate of the Musikarmageddon finalists.
When local group Weekday Warriors were announced as victors, a tremendous cheer erupted from the audience—and from Dan Lord, the band’s drummer, who stood triumphantly on a large speaker with his arms raised in celebration.
The four band members—Lord (known by friends as “Lord Dan”), singer and guitarist Russell Kutys (Russell “Que”), bassist Isaac Moore, and guitarist Deej Jalil—came onto the stage, bear-hugging each other and swapping repeated high fives—three per person, to be exact, which is their “secret” handshake.
“It was really gratifying,” says Lord.
The band had come a long way from their first-ever show at JB McGinnes Pub & Grille two years ago, when all members had the flu, with temperatures reaching 102 degrees, according to Lord. But by the time the high energy alternative-rock-hip-hop-funk group from Newark entered Wilmington’s battle-of-the-bands, they were brimming with confidence.
“We knew we had a pretty good chance of winning,” says Lord.
Musikarmageddon 2015 presented perhaps the most diverse group of bands in the event’s nine-year history. The competition offered audiences country, pop, heavy rock and hip-hop, among other genres. At the Sept. 26 finals, local bands Poor Yorick, The Jolly What, and It Is What It Is faced off with Weekday Warriors at the baby grand.
The Warriors joined the ranks of such noted past winners as Minshara, Glim Dropper and New Sweden. Their on-stage energy may have won them the victory—Lord says the band likes “to get people dancing” and includes rapping by Kutys—but the glue that holds the guys together is their friendship.
“The reason we have such strong connections to each other? We’ve all known each other for a very long time,” says Lord.
He was the drummer for Jalil’s band, Echo Mission, in 2009, and he and Kutys have been playing music since 2011. And Lord remembers playing shows with Moore’s old band, My Worst Critic, years prior to that. Another friendship factor: most of the members have been roommates at some time or other at a Newark house dubbed “The Bungalow,” which is currently home to Kutys and Lord and doubles as practice space and recording studio.
The band itself was born at open mics at Mojo Main, the dimly-lit Main Street bar that took the place of East End Café for just over three years before closing its doors last March. The location is now a trendy craft beer bar and restaurant, Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen. The friends hosted trivia and open mic nights at Mojo, and the band held its first album release party at the bar.
“Our goal is to make enough money to buy Grain on Main back and restore it to its dive bar glory,” Lord jokes.
Kutys and Lord came up with the band name on a typical Monday three years ago. The friends met up in the afternoon on Main Street for a few beers. They threw back one, then another, and then another, then launched an unofficial beer crawl down the street in broad daylight—an activity typically reserved for Friday or Saturday evenings for weekend warrior partiers.
The band started getting shows in Newark, Wilmington and Philadelphia while recording a number of EPs and albums, including September 2014’s Quantum Collapses, a 16-song CD recorded at The Bungalow and mixed by a friend, James Drake. Their newest EP, Three High Fives—a reference to the greeting band members exchange whenever they see each other—was released this past summer. It’s a collaboration between Weekday Warriors and others who “want to make good music with other good friends,” says Lord. “That’s what we did with this album.”
Newark musicians like Poor Yorick and Melissa Forsythe from the band This is Weird were among the artists who collaborated with the Warriors, who in turn often participate in their friends’ albums.
“We’ve all been friends since the Mojo Main days and we continue to work together to help each other out,” says Lord.
The Warriors’ current project is Uppers, Downers and All Arounders, an album slated to be finished by summer 2016. It’ll be a collection of the band’s most recent songs, says Lord.
The friends are excited to take their quirk and humor to new places. They have three Saturday shows coming up in the area: on Nov. 7 at 1984; at School of Rock’s Fall Jam Nov. 21, and at Wilmo Rock Circus Nov. 28.
And for the record, despite the band’s carefree name, all members—mostly UD graduates—are employed professionals, and ironically enough, the majority hold daytime office jobs.
“We first started promoting the band as ‘the drunkest band on Main Street,’ but now I feel like we’re much more mature,” says Lord. “I don’t think we’re going to be the next Beatles, but at this rate if we can continually grow our momentum over the next five years, we’ll be touring around the East Coast.”