Nightcrawler: Birthday Kiss

As recently as a month ago, local scenester Crystal “Kissy” Willard wasn’t sure of the exact date, lineup or even venue for her 30th birthday bash. But she knew there would be cupcakes.

Oh, yes. There would be cupcakes.

“I have girlfriends teasing me about making my own cupcakes for my own birthday,” Willard admits. “But I don’t have a dude to surprise me, and I am particularly excited because I decided to go with gingerbread.”

While Willard says that guests of her Dec. 6 Waterfront Tavern ( soiree in Holyoke are certainly welcome to bring baked goods for all to enjoy as well, she is quick to note that any gifts or party contributions are far from necessary.

Her real gift is just to be able to enjoy a few of her favorite bands—Stare Down The Sun, Crescent Hill, Uncomfortables and Untitled, this year—with a packed room of friends. Anything above and beyond that, she concludes, is just icing on the cake. Cover is $5 for this 21-plus show. Doors open at 8 p.m.


In other news… not only had it been a long time since they rock ’n’ rolled… to managing partner Dave Fleury, Saturday, Nov. 23, was the hardest his Crestview Country Club ( had ever rocked in its near-century of existence when American Led Zeppelin soared into the banquet room’s main hall.

“I’m a huge music fan, and we’ve had Beatles and Neil Diamond tributes since we took over last year,” Fleury notes. “I’m obviously also a big golf guy… I mean, why would you buy such a place if you weren’t, right? But I have to say the night of the American Led Zep show was far and away my favorite experience I’ve ever had here… and I grew up around here playing golf, so I’ve seen lots of things. Zep was always my favorite and this idea has been kicking around my head for years. Having it come to fruition so vividly with such a great band is quite simply a dream come true for me.”

Bringing to life the sonic sugarplums that had been dancing in Fleury’s head were American Led Zeppelin, a locally based outfit formed in 2008 with scene staple Livio Gravini at the helm.

Utilizing the Zep-friendly buffet menu for the evening for many of his seques (including Down by the Seaside fish ‘n’ chips, Moby Dick drumsticks and more), Gravini and company mowed through two blistering sets of classics (“Whole Lotta Love,” “Rock N’ Roll,” “Stairway To Heaven”) and chestnuts (“Ten Years Gone,” “Wanton Song” and of course the dessert du jour, “Custard Pie”).

Drummer John Miyslinki’s exact replica of John Bonham’s infamous see-through drum kit upped the authenticity ante as well. And the Crawler truly hopes said skinman gets or has a drum head endorsement deal, because with the ferocity and intensity of his strikes, he must go through a set a week. Talk about the Hammer of the Gods…

By show’s end, there was little doubt among any in attendance that they had just witnessed the premiere Led Zeppelin tribute band in terms of how Zeppelin themselves always played—opting for live versions of tunes wherever possible and always tackling each tune, no matter how epic, as a foursome on stage.

To witness the region’s best Zep-plica act—the fullest recreation of Led Zep’s studio works—check out Philly’s Get The Led Out (, a world-class six-piece coming to Noho’s Calvin Jan. 18.


Last but not least, anyone wondering where in the world Sean Altman—author of the theme song for the famous PBS series Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?—has been lately need look no further than Noho’s Basement ( On Friday, Dec. 6, Altman will bring his critically acclaimed JEWMONGOUS show to said venue—performing such original holiday cockle-warmers as “They Tried To Kill Us (They Didn’t, Let’s Eat),” “Just Too Jew For You” and of course, the season classic “Phantom Foreskin.”

Tix are $10 and doors open at 8 p.m.•


Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, P.O. Box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email

Author: Gary Carra

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