‘E’-asy Come.. ‘E’-asy Go: The Big E’s final weekend and more
Sep29

‘E’-asy Come.. ‘E’-asy Go: The Big E’s final weekend and more

Still haven’t secured your Maine baked spud or lobster-laden Mac N’ Cheese from the New Hampshire building? Better hurry. Its almost time to shepherd the Clydesdales back into the trailers and put the burlap sacks of the Giant Slide in mothballs. But that still doesn’t mean all hope is lost in terms of checking out some solid, “free with admission” musical sets by so notable names at The Eastern States...

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Nightcrawler: Ringo’s son assumes throne for The Who
Aug17

Nightcrawler: Ringo’s son assumes throne for The Who

The Who certainly aren’t kids anymore, but the iconic British rockers proved more than alright as they absolutely tore through a 21-tune, hit-laden set before a capacity crowd at Mohegan Sun (mohegansun.com) late last month. Catalog spanning radio staples like “I Can’t Explain” and “I Can See for Miles” melded seamlessly into “Behind Blue Eyes,” “You Better You Bet,” “My Generation” and Tommy’s “Pinball Wizard” and...

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Nightcrawler: Panic Room
Mar28

Nightcrawler: Panic Room

Panic! at the Disco ushering in new era of arena rockers; Dio-alum laden Last In Line headline ‘Hump Day’ show in Holyoke It’s a frequent exchange between those who once swung Bics to-and-fro during power ballads and teased their hair so high they could barely fit through regulation doorframes. “Who’s going to carry the.. (cough, cough)…sorry man, you never get used to that ethereal mix of dried ice...

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Nightcrawler: Going Gentle Into That Good Night
Jan23

Nightcrawler: Going Gentle Into That Good Night

After more than two decades delivering the music news in print, Nightcrawler moves online Editor’s Note: Scene stalwart Gary Carra’s Nightcrawler column has long been a fixture at the Valley Advocate — a history that goes back, as he explains here, to the bygone era of Advocate branches in Springfield and New Haven. This week, his column transitions into a semi-regular blog on our refreshed and expanding website. Enjoy some farewell...

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Nightcrawler: Country First
Jan09

Nightcrawler: Country First

This week, a few of the Valley’s more notable country boys will slap on their Stetsons and give the scene a swift, cowboy boot to the posterior. First out of the gate: on Friday Jan. 13, Trailer Trash will serve up heaping portions of modern country rock at Holyoke’s Waterfront Tavern. Cover charge for this 21+ show is $5. The following night, Northampton’s The Bum Steers have rustled up no less than The Lonesome Brothers and Wild...

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Nightcrawler: It’s Not Yuuuge – It’s Jewmongous
Dec19

Nightcrawler: It’s Not Yuuuge – It’s Jewmongous

Sean Altman was best known as a member of the a capella singing group Rockapella, which had a recurring role on the PBS television show Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego? from 1991 to 1995. Since then, based on Altman’s website, he’s been mugging with former senator Joe Lieberman, sharing stages with Billy Joel and Whoopi Goldberg, and hanging out with Terry Gross on NPR. So where in the world is he now? On Friday, Dec. 23,...

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Nightcrawler: Saying Adios to ‘El Tony’ Cruz Reyes
Dec05

Nightcrawler: Saying Adios to ‘El Tony’ Cruz Reyes

Longtime radio personality Mike “Haze” DeJesus’s tale of his first meeting with Springfield-area rockers Hypnotic Kick smacks of a tacky joke set up. “Eighteen years ago, three Puerto Rican gents and an Irish lad walked into the radio station,” he recalled. “I was a fan from day one.” On Sunday, Nov. 27, DeJesus was one of the first to break some devastating news that rocked the regional music scene: Anthony “El Tony” Cruz Reyes, who...

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Nightcrawler: Talkin’ Turkey
Nov21

Nightcrawler: Talkin’ Turkey

Thanksgiving Eve is roundly considered one of the busiest bar days of the year. True to form, this Wednesday, Nov. 23, finds the Valley circuit smattered with live entertainment offerings. Country rockers Trailer Trash will be holding court at Chicopee’s Maximum Capacity, for starters, and Barry Kingston and His Screaming Souls will assume their annual pre-Turkey Day slot at Noho’s Iron Horse. Looking for something a...

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Nightcrawler: Kiss and Time
Nov07

Nightcrawler: Kiss and Time

Can you rock and roll all night and still be home for the 11 o’clock news? The Crawler did — just a couple of Saturdays ago at Mohegan Sun. KISS may be known for their outlandish make-up, ghoulish antics, and fist-pumping anthems. But behind all the greasepaint, the has also managed to amass an impressive knack for tapping opening talent. In fact, many KISS opening acts over the years — which have included Bon Jovi, AC/DC, Iron...

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Nightcrawler: Last (Friday) Impressions
Oct24

Nightcrawler: Last (Friday) Impressions

Most people get paid on it. A few don’t eat meat on it. Ice Cube makes movies about it.  Some thank God for it. Others create restaurant chains derived from that acronym … But that’s the last Friday reference, promise. And speaking of last Fridays: since Oct. 28 is the final ‘F’ of this month, prolific popster Rick Murnane will be releasing another new tune online. “I was going to put out an album this year, but I decided...

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Emo Core
Oct10

Emo Core

He has played multiple instruments, in multiple bands, for multiple decades. The sum total of all these multiples? Scene stalwart Henning Ohlenbusch has played with or supported acts of almost every genre in his prolific career. Rock, pop, surf, psychedelic… You name it. But even Ohlenbusch must admit, the latest gig he has booked – Nov. 16, at the Iron Horse in Northampton – is a definitive first. It’s an Emo show of...

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Nightcrawler: The Big E … DM
Sep26

Nightcrawler: The Big E … DM

Any calendar will tell you Sept. 22, is the official date of the fall equinox — which is fine, for those astronomically-correct types. But this year, I prefer to think of the solstice as happening on Oct. 2 when the Big E in West Springfield hosts an EDM concert they’re calling the Electric Equinox. “There is a growing EDM [electronic dance music] following in this area and for the past few years, we have been working towards building...

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Nightcrawler: Weather or Not
Sep12

Nightcrawler: Weather or Not

Could you be… won’t you be… my neighbor? It’s an indelible marriage of image and song performed daily by Fred Rogers on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood as he shed his business casual attire and slipped into his favorite sweater and sneaks. He was an icon for anyone who remembers getting up early to watch cartoons on Saturdays, waiting in line at Strawberries for the hottest new record on Tuesdays, or fixing a...

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Nightcrawler: VIP, Yeah, You Know Me
Aug29

Nightcrawler: VIP, Yeah, You Know Me

He is certainly a scene fixture, clocking more than his share of road miles and hours packed in vans. But let’s face it: the guy’s named after a luxury vehicle, not to mention immensely talented. So why wouldn’t a talent buyer tap the Valley’s own Pete Maserati to perform in luxury lounges for VIP guests at high-profile concerts? “I have to thank Jeff Mann, one of the bar managers at TJ Hourihan’s back in...

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Nightcrawler: Eric Gaffney Plays Free Saturday Show in Florence
Aug26

Nightcrawler: Eric Gaffney Plays Free Saturday Show in Florence

Seba-(no)-dough Show Eric Gaffney says sayonara to summer with free Florence show Sebadoh co-founder Eric Gaffney rounds out the Acoustic Saturday Summer Series at JJ’s Tavern in Florence this Saturday, Aug. 27. “I recorded two full-length records in a six month period this same time last year,” Gaffney told the Crawler. “They gathered some favorable reviews, but lately I’ve been playing more solo gigs...

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Nightcrawler: Rock the Boot
Aug15

Nightcrawler: Rock the Boot

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Thomas Delmer “Artimus” Pyle comes to the Valley this Saturday, Aug. 20. He’ll be performing with his Artimus Pyle Band and their “ultimate tribute to Ronnie Van Zandt’s Lynyrd Skynyrd” as part of the Rock The Boot Music Fest, held at the Ludlow Fish and Game Club. Trailer Trash, Lobsterz from Marz, and Livio Gravini and The Free Spirit Society will also lend their sonic skills to the annual...

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Nightcrawler: It’s Been Awhile
Aug01

Nightcrawler: It’s Been Awhile

Five years ago, homegrown rocker and country boy Aaron Lewis was teed off about the impending consolidation of his children’s school. True to form, he swiftly rose above the rhetoric to form his own nonprofit, the It Takes A Community Foundation, and reopened the endangered institution as a private facility. The fifth annual Aaron Lewis and Friends will occur at the Pines Theater in Look Park on Friday, Aug. 12. Tix range from...

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Nightcrawler: Root Effect
Jul19

Nightcrawler: Root Effect

Musician and artist Wendell Rheinheimer, the owner of Moonlight Designs screenprinting in Easthampton, has been doing a little moonlighting of his own in recent months. The fruits of a new collaborative effort with his partner, organic vegetable farmer Shana Totino, will be unearthed for public consumption this Thursday, July 21 when Greenfield’s newest music venue — The Root Cellar — sprouts up on Fiske Avenue. Nestled beneath...

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Nightcrawler: Give ‘Em The Slip
Jul10

Nightcrawler: Give ‘Em The Slip

Slip-not seeks new skin beater; Splitshift, FNB celebrate sonic milestone Local tribute band Slip-not will be marching to the beat of a different drummer — er, clown? — if they can find the right basher to fill the oversized shoes of departing Joshua Keller. “We’re looking for a serious drummer with double kick and hard hitting hands,” notes ‘Nots’ William Brault. “Or a serious percussionist with...

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Nightcrawler: The Name Game
Jun22

Nightcrawler: The Name Game

SWMRS boasts unique punk pedigree What’s in a name? The members of SWMRS are barely in their 20s and can already claim quite a lot. Reportedly inspired by watching Jack Black and his homage to headbanging — the film School of Rock — together in elementary school, the band first emerged on the West Coast scene as The Raining Souls. Shortly after, the took a brief turn as The Clocks before settling on Emily’s...

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Nightcrawler: (Sex) Change-Up
Jun16

Nightcrawler: (Sex) Change-Up

Pocketful of Sexchange reunites scene staples The Pixies’ Frank Black famously referenced them as a “dangerously untethered band specializing in abandon and dementia.” They’ve also shared stages with area upstarts The Unband and Fountains of Menstrual Pain, to name a choice two. But the truth is, it’s been a long time since scene staples Connolly Ryan, Mike Flood, David Keating and Kurt Fedora rock...

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Nightcrawler: (Holly) Miranda Writes
Jun06

Nightcrawler: (Holly) Miranda Writes

  Carrots enhance the eyesight. Spinach helps you grow big and strong. And cranberries … make you rock? “It’s how I learned to play guitar back when I was 14,” explains the 33-year-old singer-songwriter Holly Miranda. “I was on a mission trip to Belarus and this girl brought a guitar and taught me ‘Linger’ and ‘Zombie’ by The Cranberries. I had been playing piano since the age of...

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Nightcrawler: Who’s rocking the stage at this weekend’s International Food Fest
May23

Nightcrawler: Who’s rocking the stage at this weekend’s International Food Fest

  By Gary Carra    In 2014, Thomas Kielbania Jr. revived Chicopee’s storied Kielbasa Festival after a nearly two-decade hiatus. Now, he’s reinventing it – and renaming it, and relocating it – to West Springfield, for what’s shaping up to be a super-sized smorgasbord of savories, suds and sounds. Welcome to the first annual International Food Festival, running from May 26-30 at the Eastern States Exposition...

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Nightcrawler: Noho’s Betsy-Dawn Williams releases international rockabilly record; free, family concerts kick off in West Springfield
May18

Nightcrawler: Noho’s Betsy-Dawn Williams releases international rockabilly record; free, family concerts kick off in West Springfield

By Gary Carra Forget about the unemployment rates and bleak economic forecasts from the usual cast of politicos and pundits. Northampton’s Betsy-Dawn Williams says she has proof positive it’s a bull market out there. “I’ve just been signed for the second time to El Toro Records, an indie-roots label based in Barcelona, Spain,” she beams. “It’s a nifty deal for me as they distribute...

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Nightcrawler: Vampire Diaries
May09

Nightcrawler: Vampire Diaries

An interview with Joe Perry, Aerosmith vet and member of the Johnny Depp-led band Hollywood Vampires Gary Carra: Joe – big fan. I’ve been kicking around Western Mass for a quarter-century now, either playing music or writing music, so of course I’ve come across countless people with peripheral connections to you.  Joe Perry: A local! Great. So I can slide into my full Boston accent? Gary: Feel free to drop all your ‘R’s. And speaking...

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Nightcrawler: ‘Hole’-d Up
May02

Nightcrawler: ‘Hole’-d Up

Sutherland swaps silver screen for six-string; Gartska jams with guitar gods… briefly He was a “Lost Boy.” A “Young Gun.” One of “A Few Good Men” to enjoy a three decade career on both the silver and small screens alike. But in 2015, actor Kiefer Sutherland says he was holed up in a recording studio working on some demos he originally wanted other artists to record. When two songs became four,...

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Nightcrawler: Decade-dence, 90s pop, 80s rock and Guns N bobbleheads
Apr25

Nightcrawler: Decade-dence, 90s pop, 80s rock and Guns N bobbleheads

Better call Mr. Peabody and Sherman. Looks like someone’s gotten a hold of the Wayback Machine. First stop: Foxwoods Resort Casino’s Grand Theater this Friday, April 29. Not only will female hip-hop heavyweights Salt-n-Pepa be there, but so will literal heavyweight Biz Markie, Coolio, Tone Loc, and Vanilla Ice (Ice Baby). The tour is called “I Love The ’90s,” and tickets range from $60 to $100, depending on your proximity to the frat...

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Nightcrawler: Mercury Rising Queen For A Night in Springfield; Foxwoods’ Battle Of The Bands Seeks Combatants
Apr20

Nightcrawler: Mercury Rising Queen For A Night in Springfield; Foxwoods’ Battle Of The Bands Seeks Combatants

By Gary Carra There’s been a growing trend in tribute circles over the past decade. While the songs remain the same for bands like Zep-licators Get The Led Out (coming to Holyoke’s Mountain Park Aug. 5) and Billy Joel recreators Big Shot, the need to physically look like the act one emulates has gone the way of Blockbuster store. Let’s face it, bad wigs, moustaches and tacky costumes are the quickest way to turn a solid, sonic...

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Nightcrawler: Kobra Kai Ready for a Body Bag? 80s cover kings strike Whiskerz, but then what? Outer Stylie Puzzle
Apr12

Nightcrawler: Kobra Kai Ready for a Body Bag? 80s cover kings strike Whiskerz, but then what? Outer Stylie Puzzle

A little more than a month ago, the Valley’s own Jon Donais arrived in Chile, Santiago. He had flown in with his present band, hardcore heroes Anthrax, along with headliners Iron Maiden on “Ed Force One” — an aircraft infamous in aviational circles for both its “Book Of Souls/Iron Maiden” graphics outside and Iron Maiden frontman/official pilot Bruce Dickinson inside manning the stick. Later that evening, both bands would perform...

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Nightcrawler: A Not-So-Bright Idea, Matthew Larsen, Mitchells go back to the Dark ages; Green River Festival
Apr05

Nightcrawler: A Not-So-Bright Idea, Matthew Larsen, Mitchells go back to the Dark ages; Green River Festival

Everyone wants to be a Renaissance man, in a Renaissance band … or at very least, ensconced in a scene or city that has been awarded the “Renaissance” brand. But Matthew Larsen is kicking it old school — back to the “dark” ages, one could say. Back in 2006 while still recovering from a stem cell transplant, Larsen says he had the bright idea to bring his music to a more intimate, dimly-lit atmosphere. “I didn’t have the energy needed...

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Nightcrawler: Miracle Men, Legion reunites; Valley Talent Showcase in full swing
Mar29

Nightcrawler: Miracle Men, Legion reunites; Valley Talent Showcase in full swing

By all accounts, regional college rockers Miracle Legion had a miraculous 13-year run, scoring rave reviews and even regular rotation flirtations with MTV back in the heyday. In 1996, however, they released a disc the band now affectionately refers to as their “swan song before the swan dive.” It was titled Portrait of a Damaged Family, and set against the backdrop of not having a label and on-going legal wrangling with the last one...

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Nightcrawler: Home Bodies
Mar22

Nightcrawler: Home Bodies

Eclectic sextet Bella’s Bartok reports that they drastically changed up their recording style for the new full-length Change Yer Life, the completion of which they will celebrate this Saturday, March 26 at Pearl Street. They’ve cut out the middle men and, for that matter, cut out the commute to the studio altogether. What’s better than making music you love while simultaneously knocking out a couple loads of laundry?...

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Nightcrawler: Storm Front, New England notables converge on Max Cap; is Tony Sitler about to rock with AC/DC?
Mar14

Nightcrawler: Storm Front, New England notables converge on Max Cap; is Tony Sitler about to rock with AC/DC?

A “Perfect Storm” is slated to touch down at Chicopee’s Maximum Capacity this Saturday, March 19. Sorry, Walmart, but there will be no need for folks to stock up on water, batteries, flashlights,Vaseline or whatever else all those alarmist types go scurrying around for whenever such prophecies are made. For this forecast is rooted in a deep passion — and mastery — of music more than mere meteorology. “Honestly, a lot of credit for...

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Nightcrawler: Leppard Spotting
Mar08

Nightcrawler: Leppard Spotting

The Hysteria On The High Seas luxury liner had already left port when Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott came up mute — a case of laryngitis leaving him unable to take the mic for his boatload of fans. Luckily, crewmate Andrew Freeman was equal to the task. The Valley native had tackled many a Def Lep tune as a regular performer at the Rock Vault show at the Tropicana in Vegas. And he had a pretty good reference in that Leppard guitarist...

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Nightcrawler: Bluesman Group Therapy, musicians reflect on the passing of Ed Vadas, Shea’s back
Feb29

Nightcrawler: Bluesman Group Therapy, musicians reflect on the passing of Ed Vadas, Shea’s back

Tom Mahnken never performed with noted bluesman Ed Vadas & his Fabulous Heavyweights. And, truth be told, he ended up doing just fine with his own Trailer Park band. But on the eve of Vadas’ passing Feb. 18, the Trailer Park frontman fondly recalls his brief chance at becoming a Heavyweight contender. “It was around 1987, and there was a spot for a guitarist in the band,” Mahnken says. “I went to Ed’s place, he listened to some...

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