Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Musical Notes: It’s Still Beating–In Harrisburg, the heart of rock ‘n roll plays through.

It’s getting close to my favorite time of year.

In this column, I definitely mention seasons a lot, but there’s something extra special about those cooler evenings spent on porches with friends or out on the town in the Burg. The Kipona festival hits its 102nd anniversary early this month, the Celtic Craic Music Fest returns towards the end of the month, and, as always, there are plenty of fun shows to go around the rest of the time. We have some big names coming through the city, so keep an eye out and be sure to give them a big Harrisburg welcome!


Even though Harrisburg is a small city, it’s attracted the attention of big-time artists looking to book a show while on tour. Two-time Grammy winning artist Rickie Lee Jones is coming to town, and you know it’s going to be a good time. Starting her pop career in 1978, Jones wowed her fans with “Saturday Night Live” performances, Rolling Stones covers and 15 albums to boot. Jones has undoubtedly got spunk, but she’s also got the heart to match it. Her confessional style of playing and her honest, soulful lyrics have inspired many artists. If you haven’t heard her before, check out some of her older material like the critically acclaimed “Pirates” or look up her newest album, “The Other Side of Desire,” tales from life in her current home of New Orleans. The song “Chuck E’s in Love” is a classic and, hopefully, Harrisburg will get to hear her play it live in the Capitol Room.


Everyone seems to love the ‘80s, especially the decade’s unique sound. Harrisburg’s hottest new venue, Club XL, is hosting Hybrid Ice, the self-proclaimed “most famous unknown band in the world.” This prog rock band, hailing from Danville, Pa., has been active from 1969 on, taking a hiatus from 1998 to 2002 and switching some band members along the way. Their claim to fame came back in 1982 when they released their radio hit song “Magdalene.” It gained much attention back then but hasn’t lost any of its quality along the way. Boston even covered the song on its 1994 album, “Walk On.” Prep your big hair, neon colors and spandex because this is going to be a rockin’ night to remember.


Perhaps better known by some for her stints in her former bands, Neko Case is giving Harrisburg a taste of her transformative solo career for an evening at Whitaker Center. With roots in the Vancouver music scene back in the ‘90s, Case started her music career playing drums with her bands and, eventually, went on to form Neko Case and Her Boyfriends and, later, The New Pornographers. With her solo career, Case went back to her punk and country roots. Her newest album, “Hell-On,” was released earlier this year, and its title track is mesmerizing. This genre-defying, country-leaning powerhouse is sure to bring the house down.


Kitchen Dwellers, Sept. 7, The Abbey Bar

Torture Ascendancy, Sept. 8, J.B. Lovedraft’s

Peter White, Sept. 9, Dauphin County Jazz & Wine Festival

The Hackensaw Boys, Sept. 13, The Abbey Bar

Chris Jamison, Sept. 14, H*MAC Stage on Herr

Grumpy Old Men, Sept. 15, River City Blues Club

Continue Reading