Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Musical Notes: Musical Resolutions–End the year without ending your wallet.

R. Ariel. Photograph courtesy of R. Ariel.

Amidst the snowy days and holiday prep, it’s that time again to contemplate New Year’s resolutions. One thing that’s on my mind for next year is better money management, especially when it comes to  a night out in Harrisburg. To help you make your own list and check it twice, I’ve highlighted shows this month that are all under $20. It is possible to save some money for the holidays while still seeing quality shows around the city, and we’ve got your hookup for a fun winter. Have a wonderful and safe holiday season, stay thrifty, and I’ll see y’all in the new year!

DON’T SLEEP, 12/1, 6:30PM, H*MAC STAGE ON HERR, $8-10
We’re kicking off the column this month with some Harrisburg natives with a taste for high-octane performances. Don’t Sleep is a hardcore band featuring frontman Dave Smalley, former singer of Dag Nasty, Down by Law, ALL and DYS. Other members of the band, guitarist Tom McGrath, drummer Jim Bedorf, bassist Garrett Rothman and guitarist Tony Bavaria have played with groups such as Very Americans, The Commercials and Junction. Talented and passionate, Don’t Sleep stays humble, defining themselves as “five friends playing hardcore and trying to make a positive impact on the world.” If you haven’t been through a hardcore phase, these guys are sure to get you hooked. The band is celebrating their new record release at H*MAC featuring performances by Steel Nation, Tonka Tuff and Bitter Taste.

Coming to you through Harrisburg’s DIY scene, Phoenix, Ariz., native R. Ariel will play at Little Amps for a special show in the Olde Uptown neighborhood. Rachel Ariel is a self-described experimental electronic femme artist currently touring North America. She is also known for her work as a photographer, videographer and author. Her creative energy, soulful lyrics and dreamy instrumentals are sure to create a cozy evening of heartfelt musical expression. Joining her are Kafari from Portland, Maine, and Weird Year, a favorite local band from here in the city. Catch R. Ariel’s album, “Identified Demon,” on Bandcamp before the show. I like the song, “Her,” for the minimal sound and soulful lyrics.

Rounding out the featured shows this month is a bona fide family band bringing back rock n’ roll. The Middleton Brothers started out in the ‘70s when Stan and Charlie Middleton, two teenaged brothers, decided to start a group together. Going by many names and consisting of different members throughout the years, the Middleton Brothers added Stan’s two sons to the group, living the dream as a rockin’ family band. The sound of the ‘60s has been rich in the Middleton Brothers’ repertoire since the brothers started, and it is still going strong. Drawing influences from their rock n’ roll roots, funk and R&B, the group brings their soulful yet accessible vibe for a groovy time. Find live tracks on their website for a sample of their feel-good, classic sound.


Benjamin Vo Blues Band, Dec. 1, River City Blues Club
John Brown’s Body, Dec. 2, The Abbey Bar
Ben Brandt Trio, Dec. 8, River City Blues Club
Start Making Sense: Talking Heads Tribute, Dec. 15, The Abbey Bar
Kilmaine Saints, Dec. 16, H*MAC Stage on Herr
Colebrook Road, Dec. 22, The Abbey Bar

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