Power Popaholic Fest 2016 review

This was a special Fest as this year we also were raising money for The Spirit of Harmony Foundation (Todd Rundgren‘s charity) and our second year at Bar Matchless after last year’s concert. The night was started with Oberon Rose playing selections from his upcoming album, great songs here and a few from the debut LP too. He was followed by Joe Caravella and The Reign, who rocked out a nice long set including covers of Badfinger and Beatles tunes — the band was tight and also played some new music thats due for release soon.

Unfortunately The Connection had an emergency and cancelled last minute, but Dave Rave came on and saved the day with his band, Haliee Rose and special guests Sal Medina (Milk and Cookies) and Dennis Diken (The Smithereens). They rocked the house as both Hailee and Dave have new albums on sale. The following night was started loudly by Meyerman as his new band shook the walls, followed by New Jersey favorites The Modulators promoting their new album “Try, Try, Try.” Then Boston native Ray Paul took to the stage and played selections from the soon to be released “Whimsicality.” We closed out the Fest with The Zombies of The Stratosphere who played a jangling set with some country overtones.

We were also able to make a donation to The Spirit of Harmony Foundation, giving a check to John Siegler and Kevion Ellman, both from Todd Rundgren’s Utopia. Thanks goes to The Odd Fellows Lodge #125 of Mineola for supplying the donation. Its great when you can support the arts and art education with one event. I had a great time and I know the bands had fun too.

Ray Paul and Broken Promise Keeper

Ray Paul

Ray Paul “Whimsicality”

Ray Paul is a Boston performer very much in the mold of his idol Paul McCartney, on his opener “I Love It (But You Don’t Believe It)” is a straight ahead rocker with a Macca hook and Rickenbacker rhythm. In addition Ray’s vocal timbre is similar, so “You Don’t Have To Prove Your Love” could be mistaken for the ex-Beatle on first listen. But Ray Paul has  a bit more bounce to his melodies on “A Fool Without Your Love” and “In My World.” Add in guest appearances by Clem Burke (Blondie), Emitt Rhodes, Terry Draper (Klaatu), Kurt Reil (Grip Weeds), Gar Francis, and you’ve got a top notch album.

A faithful cover of Manfred Mann’s “Pretty Flamingo,” sounds even better than the original in my opinion. Ray’s skill writing those “silly” little love songs like “Jeannie,” is evident as it carefully constructed a narrative about a widower. And a cover of the Grass Roots “Temptation Eyes” is slowed down as the chords resemble “my Guitar Gently Weeps.” He covers Macca’s own “Oh Woman, Oh Why” with a spirited bluesy performance. I may be nitpicking, but I would’ve liked less covers and more originals. Still, this is highly recommended album and… catch Ray performing at next month’s Power Popaholic Fest!

CD Baby | Amazon

Broken Promise Keeper

Broken Promise Keeper “Broken Promise Keeper”

Broken Promise Keeper (aka Rob Stuart) is an Atlanta musician who has been a reliable purveyor of power pop for many years and his latest self-titled album still delivers the goods. Starting with “Here We Go” the quick tempo, manic beat and harmonies in the chorus set a good tone even if Rob’s vocal tends to be a bit nasal. “She’s So Cool” is a bit more measured and the mid-range vocal is best utilized here.

However for goofy fun you can’t beat “Sasquatch Love.” This is a great single in the vein of They Might Be Giants about falling in love with a girl who’s “ten foot tall and covered in hair” and its my favorite track here. “Get My Message” and “Play Ball” have good rhythms worth following; the latter song about a dad’s take on Little League Baseball. There are plenty of decent songs here (no real filler) so give this one a chance!

CD Baby | Amazon