Concert Review: Power Popaholic Fest – Day 2

Eric Barao
London Egg
Paul Bertolino
Paul Bertolino
Eric Barao
Chris Richards and The Subtractions
Stephen Lawrenson

Review by Barry Dreyfus | Photos courtesy of Tom Parisi and Elizabeth Racz

Having decided that one day of incredible power pop wasn’t sufficient, Day 2 picked up right about where they left off. Opening the 2nd night was Paul Bertolino, whose sophisticated take on pop harkens to Bachrach/David and a Cali sunshine feel. His voice showed power and versatility and the band, augmented by a great horn player, created a rich that layered sound. Eric Barao followed and wowed the crowd with a set of songs that ranged through a number of tempos and some songs had nice psych-pop touches.

Chris Richards & The Subtractions traveled the farthest to play this night and yet came out stormin’ with dual jangly guitars and big thumping rhythm. Playing songs from throughout their decade together (and greatest hits album Decayed), they sure showed Brooklyn what we’ve been missing. Nick Piunti (on rhythm guitar) played 2 tunes from his acclaimed CD and we were also treated to a Legal Matters song. The next artist hadn’t appeared for years on stage but the overwhelming success of Obscuriousity pushed Stephen Lawrenson to take the act on the road. And the crowd could not have been more pleased. Terse guitar leads and beautiful harmonies from his band mates added the right amount of embellishment.

If anybody’s energy was wavering NYC’s neo-mod whirlwind of sound, London Egg alleviated that by delivering a blistering set of ultra-crunchy power pop. Fleshed out with a new drummer and rhythm guitarist their focused intensity gained more “swing” and bounce to go with the thunder. A fast and furious cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking” had everyone on their feet as Powerpopaholic Fest 2014 wound down. It was a weekend of music that needed to be heard and anyone here can attest to that. Power-pop mission accomplished!

Back in Stock! The Power Pop Tee Shirt

If you were at Power Popahoplic Fest then you already knew we have the best tee shirts ever. They sold out at our merch booth, but you can still get one! Its an exclusive design you can get nowhere else. Click here and get your shirt today!
Boogieman_shirt

DJ Dave “The Boogieman” with his classic POWER POP tee in heather grey, shows off to Lisa Mychols.

Mychols_Tee

Lisa just had to get one too. The queen of Power Pop is ready to hit the stage!

The Cherry Drops and Leanne Kingwell

The Cherry Drops

The Cherry Drops “Everything’s Groovy”

Who knew you could mix Garage and Bubblegum pop with seamless precision?  The Cherry Drops have done this making a themed album that combines every 1960s power pop influence you can name. Like the Archies-styled cartoon cover the LP begins rather harmlessly with “Pop, Pop (Til You Drop),” but then shortly veers into the garage with the hand-clapping “Little Girl.” The next tune, “Outta Sight” was voted “coolest song” by Little Steven for good reason. It features a strong beat with some great layered riffs and a wicked dueling guitar solo at the break (cool, indeed!).

And its not just music, but pop culture that’s celebrated. “Shlemiel, Shlemazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated” is a blazing  punk surf theme, that’s a tribute to 70’s TV show “Laverne & Shirley.” The Beach Boys influenced “Summertime Is A State of Mind” soothes, and a crisp cover of The Raspberries “I Wanna Be With You” excites. In fact you’ll hear lots of familiar influences buried in the music, and its not all retro, “Let’s Bug Out” is like Weezer meets Jan & Dean and “Surfer Slut” combines Dick Dale and The B-52’s. The bottom line of all this is pure power pop fun. Highly Recommended.

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Leanne Kingwell

Leanne Kingwell “Choking on Halos”

Aussie rocker Leanne Kingwell wrote “Choking On Halos” in Melbourne and recorded it in Hollywood over a period of two years. And she’s not your typical pop diva. In fact she’s the anti-diva, with influences rooted in The Clash, Nirvana, and My Chemical Romance. Starting on “This High” a dense bed of guitars form below the melody and allow Leanne’s rasp to come to the forefront. “Saviour” is a defiant but smoky approach that gives the song almost a gothic atmosphere. “Sunshine” is a pretty cool single filled with sex-filled lyrical metaphors, and think Sinead O Connor meets Romeo Void with a Pixies fetish on the title track.

Recommended tracks also include cool “My Flag On The Moon,” plus the dynamic dance tunes “Kickin” and “Slingshot.” If you are looking for pop with a deep dark edge, Leanne has you covered.

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Concert Review: Power Popaholic Fest Day 1

Evil Arrows
Evil Arrows
The Rhino House band
Corin Ashley
Corin Ashley
Lisa Mychols
Evil Arrows (Bryan Scary)
Lisa Mychols
Lisa Mychols
Posters at The Rock Shop
keyboards for Corin Ashley

Review by Barry Dreyfus  |  Photos courtesy of Tom Parisi

The summer officially ended this past weekend and went out in a blaze of power chords, melodies and catchy songs at the 2014 Powerpopaholic Fest at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn. Friday night’s sets opened with Brooklyn’s own Rhino House Band; who immediately brought the energy with a brilliant and almost funky rhythm section and edgy, kinetic tempo shifts In their well-conceived songs. Augmented by excellent guitar work and some truly memorable songs, I’m sure they’ll become a staple on the scene. The Lisa Mychols 3 followed and brought a furiously punky West Coast texture to Lisa’s new songs. With a far punchier sound than in her studio work, Lisa ripped thru a great set with her usual joy and the band provided more than solid support.

Corin Ashley came on to pull fully realized pop gems off his latest album and inject them with charm, a great sound with nice colorization by the keyboards and his playful manner. And of course, the requisite “la-la’s” and harmonies expected from a top power pop band. Then came Bryan Scary and Evil Arrows; who were, to my ears, the surprise of the night. Fusing disparate pop elements from Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground to 60’s garage bands to late 70’s pop-punk Bryan whipped the crowd into a small frenzy. So many blended influences manifested themselves in their songs it was hard to count them all. This band sure bears watching. The night was brought to a close by The Thigh-Highs with their mix of Yardbirds-like guitar play with strong rock n’ roll backing and cleverly written songs. The lineup highlighted the various styles and influences that go into good power pop and there was still a 2nd night yet to come.  Visit Power Popaholic’s Facebook page to see video of the event!

Rob Bonfiglio “Freeway”

Rob Bonfiglio

On his third LP, the veteran musician (guitarist/songwriter/producer with multi-platinum pop act Wilson Philips; guitarist & co-conspirator for former RCA power-pop band Wanderlust) still knows how to create joyous power pop, like the opener “Lonely World” by contrasting the sweet chorus with the isolating lyrics “What is love, what is wealth, when you’re all by yourself?”

This effort has a more laid back California feel than previous albums, using more contemporary pop rhythms with rich melodies. “Almost Blue” is a smooth Eagles-like tune with some great slide work in the break. “I am Tomorrow” is another great song with a simple pop beat that builds into a complex tapestry of melody with sharp backing harmonies. “Beautiful” has a good mix of chord shifts and dramatic romantic lyrics. The pop craftsmanship here can’t be discounted, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Not that Rob has forgotten how to rock, “Best Plans Never Made” is an excellent rocker with a nod to Ringo and Paul, catchy swagger and the dense guitar outro.

The album goes through adult themes like hope, forgiveness and the frustrations of life and love. Bonfiglio’s pop sensibility is similar to Andrew Gold with the bouncy “Under The Gun” and the sunny “Golden State” with its sunny, deliberate tempo and some heavenly harmonies very reminiscent of Bob’s famous father-in-law. Overall a low pressure album that hits all the right notes, even with the slight instrumental “Prelude”and it makes my year end list for 2014.

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