Platinum-selling Australian pop-rockers Little River Band recently returned to the Infinity Hall they helped open four years ago.
They don’t exactly come from the land of ice and snow—rather, the home of the cheesesteak. And it actually hadn’t been as long as usual since Philly’s Get The Led Out had rock ’n’ rolled in the Pioneer Valley. Based on the success of the band’s now-annual Calvin Theater performances in January, the Iron Horse Entertainment Group (iheg.com) invited them to perform at its newly acquired Mountain Park last summer.
As GTLO took to a packed house at the Calvin on the evening of Jan. 19, singer Paul Sinclair couldn’t help but notice that the thirst for his band’s spot-on brand of Led Zep-replicating still bordered on insatiable. After intermission, he conducted a quick oral investigation into the phenomenon.
“How many first-timers do we have here for our third annual Calvin show?” he said. “And how many repeat offenders?”
The rabid cheering that ensued after the latter query was not at all uncommon that evening. In fact, the band received a standing ovation after every tune in the set—whether it was a Zep standard like “Kashmir,” “Good Times/Bad Times” or “Stairway,” or deeper album cuts like “Thank You” or the Adam Ferraioli drum showcase “Moby Dick.”
“Like you, we are all Zeppelin fans first and foremost,” Sinclair would later explain of GTLO’s M.O. “And as you can see, we aren’t into dressing like the band or pretending to be them. We are more interested in recreating the records we all know and love as accurately possible.”
As the band thundered through a spot-on rendering of Zep’s “Ten Years Gone” replete with three guitar players capturing all the studio-recorded lines, it appeared as if not even the original wielders of the “Hammer of the Gods” themselves could have done the beautiful track more justice in a live setting.
The following night, The Crawler ventured out to the little club in Connecticut’s so-called “quiet corner” that has been making so much noise of late: Norfolk’s Infinity (infinityhall.com).
It’s a beautiful drive, and the Hall’s bistro is truly a dining destination unto itself. But more importantly, he found it more than a neat coincidence that the band he saw open the venue back in April of 2009, “Cool Change” purveyors Little River Band, were back in town.
Since River’s first run-in with the “Fin” and its grand opening gala, a reputation for both exceptional artist treatment and pristine acoustics has helped the fledgling venue obtain A-list acts, a public access television deal (CPTV’s Infinity Hall Live series) and a state grant to help open a sister venue in Hartford soon.
But this evening, singer/bassist Wayne Nelson seemed much more interested in more recent history.
“Man, this is so great to see,” he declared to the raucous ovation. “I swear, the other night, it was like this [crossing his arms] all night.”
As River trotted out hit after hit like “Lady,” “Lonesome Loser” and “Happy Anniversary,” the energy level continued to soar.
“Help Is On Its Way” was preambled with a nice salute to the U.S. military. And the current guitar battery of Greg Hind and Rich Herring takes the River to new heights—breaking off into blazing, dueling guitar jams reminiscent of vintage Skynyrd.
Last but not least, the world’s preeminent mentalist, The Amazing Kreskin, checked in to report that he will literally put his paycheck on the line when he performs at Stafford’s Palace Theater this Friday, Feb. 1.
“I will select a small committee from the audience, have them confirm we have never met before, then have some of them escort me out of the building while the others hide my check for the evening,” he explains. “When I return, I will ask no questions, just ask everyone to think about it. If I am unable to find it, the evening’s performance will be free.”
Before Palace Theater owner David Bacchiochi gets too excited, it should be noted that Kreskin’s success rate is only slightly less than the percentage of times the person in front of me in line has an item which requires the cashier to stop everything and wait for the manager: he’s failed nine times in more than 6,000 chances in his career.
Tix are $25-$30 and available at ticketfly.com.•
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