I have to say, the music scene is getting hot in Harrisburg. Club XL recently opened, offering a large music venue for performances, as well as DJ and dance party nights. “A Taste of Jazz 2018” is coming up this month at Whitaker Center, featuring the celebrated ensemble, Pieces of a Dream. Internationally celebrated Afro beat artist Koko the Wonderman is hitting H*MAC’s Capitol Room, famous for his juju funky soul jazz rhythms and his work with artists such as Sting, Ziggy Marley and Chaka Khan. All that, and these aren’t even my featured shows this month! Check out some of the sick shows going on around town.
THE MESSTHETICS, 5/16, 7PM, LITTLE AMPS DOWNTOWN, $8
Prog, experimental, punk and psych rock fans, this show is made for you. Brendan Canty on drums, Joe Lally on bass and Anthony Pirog on guitar make up the Messthetics, a recently formed trio that will blow you away. Joining them for the night are some local favorites of mine, Concrete Beach and Deletions, so you know it’s going to be good. Canty and Lally were the rhythm section for Fugazi from 1987 until their hiatus in 2002. Pirog, the founder of the band, is part of the duo Janel & Anthony, and he is a well-known music figure in D.C.’s out-music scene. Formed in 2016, the Messthetics started recording their self-titled debut album in 2017, and it was released in March 2018 through Dischord Records with much praise from the independent music community. This improvisational punk power trio may only have nine songs, but, one listen to their album, and you’ll wish you had more. Catch them on Bandcamp before the show, especially “Quantum Path,” my personal favorite. I’m not missing this show for anything, so make your way downtown with me for a classic Harrisburg night out.
THE WAILERS BAND, 5/17, 8PM, H*MAC CAPITOL ROOM, $30-35
I had to double- and even triple-check the event info to be sure I wasn’t dreaming on this show. It’s really them. The one-and-the-only the Wailers Band is making its way to H*MAC’s Capitol Room, and I’m so pumped. One of my favorite vibey records to listen to at work is “Survival” by Bob Marley and the Wailers, recorded back in 1979. Still kickin’ it to this day, the Wailers have continued on through famous bassist Aston “Familyman” Barrett with guitarists Junior Marvin and Donald Kinsey. Bob Marley & the Wailers’ career spanned from 1973 to 1980, creating and performing their famous reggae music for audiences worldwide. After Marley’s death in 1981, Familyman and Junior carried on the request to “keep the Wailers together” because, as Marley said, “By doing that, you keep me alive through the music.” This evening is perfect for some classic Bob Marley & the Wailers songs, spreading good vibes and sending out Marley’s iconic and enduring message: “One Love.”
THE PHRYG, 5/26, 8PM, RIVER CITY BLUES CLUB
River City is excellent at bringing the funk to Harrisburg, and they’ve gone and done it again this month. The Phryg comes to us from Brooklyn as musically gifted earthlings armed with the intergalactic influence of funk. The quartet has garnered attention from publications such as the Performer Magazine, The Jamwich, The Journal News and Pittsburgh Music Magazine for their groovy rock performances. You can tell these guys were influenced by artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Parliament, blending these genres into their own smooth sound. You can’t go wrong with some rockin’ tunes layered with polished vocals, slick guitar, lively rhythms and funky vibes all around.
The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, May 5, The Abbey Bar;
Dreadnought Brigade, May 12, Spring Gate Vineyard;
An Evening with The Machine Performing Pink Floyd, May 19, Club XL;
A Taste of Jazz 2018, May 20, Whitaker Center;
Kofo The Wonderman, May 26, H*MAC Capitol Room;
The Menzingers, May 27, H*MAC Stage on Herr