Last weekend was amazing for live music in our area. I spent as much time as I could catching shows and disregarding real life responsibilities for the weekend. Happens.
I ended up going to three live shows from three very different genres. Variety is the spice of life, my friends!
For the past 10 years, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars have been traveling the world bringing their Reggae Sound to countless fans. Their uplifting and inspiring music quickly brings the smile to your face and the feeling of positive reggae vibes to your soul.
What I find more important here is their diplomatic role as the voices of millions of refugees across the globe. The violence in the West African country of Sierra Leone forced millions of people to leave everything and flee the country from the attacks of violent rebels. Attacks that actually took the lives of some of the original members of the band.
Through the violence, lost loved ones, and the struggle to even survive day-to-day life, the music remained. Their latest album “Libation” presents a more roots-inspired, stripped-down offering. I recommend putting on that album when you’re feeling blue or the next time you want to surprise your friends while hanging out drinking a few libations yourself!
The performance of Sierra Leone’s All-Stars was an inspirational reminder of the determination, and approaching life with a positive attitude to achieve your goals in life.
Friday night I took the night off however, Saturday was going to be a whirlwind.
See my awesome boss, Sara, got me the perfect gift for music lovers: concert tickets! I have been so excited to see my favorite metal band playing their breakout album, Messengers, in its entirety, marking 10 years since the release of the album.
August Burns Red was coming home to a sellout crowd at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, their hometown.
I’ve been listening to ABR since 2004 when they released their EP, Looks Fragile After All, on the Lancaster-based CI Records. I remember the day a friend came in and said, “You have to hear these kids from Lancaster.” I have been a fan of ABR ever since.
ABR released their last album on Fearless Records last year titled, Found in Far Away Places, an album that introduced their fans to more diverse sounds from the band. The song, “Identity,” stood out the most, and it would eventually be nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance.
This show was to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the album that really put them on the metal community map, though. Messengers is straightforward and heavy. I needed a fellow metalhead to join me so, my buddy Joel drove us down since Sara was kind enough to get me two tickets to this show.
We enjoyed a few IPAs before the show ($7 for a Troegs Perpetual, REALLY?!), and once ABR took the stage I headed to the front. The guys cranked out song after song, note for note, word for word and only stopped to acknowledge the crowd one time. It was loud, hot and bodies were crammed into the narrow club. It was amazing. I have seen ABR five times now, and this was absolutely the best show I have ever seen them put on. The energy, the technical abilities of the musicians and the sincerity of the lyrics makes ABR one of the best metal bands you can see right now.
While Metal may not be your cup of tea, there is something to be said and be proud of knowing that a group of local boys from Lancaster are touring the world as one of the top metal bands in the industry right now. Oh, and that Grammy nomination I mentioned earlier.
We left the Chameleon Club and headed straight to The Abbey Bar to catch one of my favorite local bands, the very funky and previously written about, Dr. Slothclaw.
Dr. Slothclaw is currently in the studio now, and I cannot wait until they release the new album because the second half of their set that I could catch was pure, freak funk perfection. These guys get better and better every time I see them. Follow their adventures on Facebook and get to one of their shows!
Wow, three shows in 48 hours. But, there is no rest for the wicked because Feb. 23-25 is the Millennium Music Conference throughout the Harrisburg area. I will be out and about all weekend going to show after show live-tweeting all of my adventures.
Follow me on Twitter: @HBGMicah to tag along with me this weekend and get out there and support local music!