The dose of nostalgia you get from toy gawking — in my opinion — is like no other. Whenever I’m on a Walmart or Target run, I have a tendency to gravitate toward the toy aisles to see what new Marvel action figures line the shelves – yes, I am that person.
This time of year you have that excuse to go shopping in those aisles, while browsing through those figures for yourself, or to purchase something for an actual child. Next month, there is an opportunity for that excuse. On the eve of Thanksgiving at The Tank in Agawam, Tru Entertainment and Promotions is making a comeback with a “Toys for Tots” show that has a stacked lineup of some local favorites.
’Support The Scene, Be The Scene’
Longtime local music scene supporter and fan, John Trudeau started promoting shows under the name Tru Entertainment and Promotions in 2011 in Western MA. Since that time, the promotions crew expanded to promoting shows in Plymouth, MA to New Haven, CT all while making a dominant name in the local music scene here. Chances are, if you have been to heavy rock and/or metal shows in the area in the last decade, you have been to a show promoted by Trudeau and his entourage.
“We have had the honor to work with some amazing local and national, and even international artists such as Shadows Fall, Flotsam and Jetsom, Brazilian/American bands Unconscious Disturbance and Soulfly (separately), Diecast and many more,” Trudeau said.
One show he picks as one of his all-time favorites was the Soulfly show at Maximum Capacity in Chicopee back in October, 2014. I was at that show, it was one of the first shows I attended to review for the Advocate. The venue fulfilled the meaning behind its name. That was one of my favorite local shows as well, for sure. Everyone was there, like a reunion of heavy music-loving friends.
“Another great show was also at Max Cap and it was heavy on comebacks,” Trudeau added, “Shadows Fall, Medicated Savage, and Split Shift with an epic comeback show with the support of Dead By Wednesday, Grzelakurse, and Disguise the Curse.”
The Thanksgiving eve show is all ages and with an early start time of 6 p.m., it’s perfect to take your kids to even if you go for the beginning of the gig and make it home for bedtime.
With it being the first Tru Entertainment and Promotions show in a little while, it’s also a special one that is all about the cause.
“We are collecting toys for the U.S. Marines ‘Toys for Tots’ foundation,” Trudeau said. “We will have boxes for toys at The Tank through the whole month of November. The cover at the door [for the show] will be $5 with a toy, or $10 without a toy. $5 of that $10 will also be donated to the ‘Toys for Tots.’”
“One thing Tru Entertainment and Promotions was always big on was benefit shows and that will be a huge part of anything we do moving forward,” Trudeau continued, “We did a ‘Toys for Tots’ every year we booked in the past. This seemed like a perfect opportunity!”
One of the band’s of the evening, metal titans, and one of my local favorites One Ton Tommy Gun have six new unrecorded songs that they have been working on to complete. They will be performing those along with some songs off of their latest album “Fragments” that came out in 2021.
“Always awesome to work on something for local kiddos through our local music family. Few things can touch the excitement of opening a present on Christmas day, especially to young kids,” One Ton Tommy Gun vocalist Scott Manchester said, “Many parents/families are struggling to make ends meet these days more than ever it seems. Anything we can do to help is a blessing. Really cool to see bands and the community come together and do something positive.”
Sheepdog are also slated to slay the stage with their energetic stoner/doom metal for the first time playing a “Toys for Tots” show. They are planning to have their second album available on CD just in time for the show. It’s a followup from their debut “Gargoyle in the Garden” that came out in 2019. “If you don’t have fun at a Sheepdog show … check your pulse!!!!” vocalist Jamie Cross teased.
Thrash metal band Sacrum from Westfield are also on the bill. They recently released some unreleased tracks on Spotify that you can check out ahead of the live performance.
Hard rock band Shotgun Shack who formed back in 2011 will be performing for the first time in a while. “My brother [bassist in the band] passed away in July 2021. We got back together for him, I’m back on bass for him. It’s been very emotional for me but the music is great,” Daniel Lemarier of Shotgun Shack said. They are also in production on a new album.
There are also a couple of acoustic acts for the evening. Neal Liptak of blues rock band Moondawgz will be performing solo with his smooth bluesy rock to fill your soul. Kenny Bisulc who covers musical acts from Tom Petty to Foo Fighters will be looking for a dancing audience.
There will be plenty of time for fundraising and there will be a 50/50 raffle along with other offers that night. The slogan for Tru Entertainment and Promotions has always been ‘Support the Scene, Be the Scene’ and Trudeau urges people to come out to shows, since it is the only way the shows will go on. “We need all local scene supporters to get off their couch and make themselves part of this amazing family,” he said.
Stay tuned, there will be another Tru show at The Tank coming on Jan. 20, 2023. Follow Tru Entertainment & Promotions on Facebook for upcoming details and lineup for that show, along with any additional future shows.
Nov. 23, 6 p.m., all ages at The Tank, 478 Springfield St., Agawam. $10 cover or $5 cover with an unwrapped toy to donate.