This summer is going to be special for Rockaway and those who love live music! And not only because of those Beatles-loving guys from Blac Rabbit who it made to the Ellen show. Have you seen those guys at a Connolly’s Open Mic? They are unbelievably talented. How do I know it’s going to be a great summer? It's because the last couple of weekends I have been out and about checking out the music scene, and even in this frigid spring season there is music everywhere, and it is really top notch.
I recently visited the Rockaway Brewing Company for the launch of Rattrap Bumpkins’ rock video done by Marcus. The video was awesome, and the setting with the lighting at the Brewery was reminiscent of a late 1960’s party in Haight-Ashbury. Rattrap played after and honestly, they never sounded better; crisp, hard stops with anthem-type original songs. Very cool stuff.
That same night, I wandered into Rogers to catch some music there and was greeted by the acoustic act for the night, Wine with Sue. This band has been plying its trade for almost 25 years now and they have their sound down pat. Playing America’s Horse with No Name, I found myself staying for the entire set. These guys really have it together, and their harmonies are outstanding, blending in with their talented lead singer.
I decided that the next weekend I would take a stroll around town and check out who else was playing. Not expecting music, I stopped in to Uma’s for a bite this past Friday and found a three-person band fronted by Patsy of Surf Club fame. Those guys had a very cool sound, mixing Paul Simon and Bob Marley songs to the delight of all there. After finishing the filet mignon kebob (highly recommended), I headed over to the Belle Harbor Yacht Club where 3 Sheets to the Wind was performing.
Kathy Moriarty-Courtney does a great job of booking really talented musicians for the second floor lounge of the Yacht Club, and TSW was no exception. They played some heavy rock numbers combining the blended voices of all three musicians with some really interesting guitar work. The guitarist uses a synthesizer hooked up to his guitar to simulate a keyboard sound, which broadens their sound tremendously.
Of course the highlight of the week was gregarious Robert of Thai Rock booking Billy Fleming and Friends, and a few days later Bill’s brother Jimmy with the Electrix. If you have never heard Billy and his wife Annette play together, you are missing something special. They live in California and visit Rockaway from time to time, so if you get a chance to catch them around town, don’t hesitate. That night, Matt Corrigan, who reprised a few Grateful Dead numbers to perfection, joined them.
Regarding the Grateful Dead, if that is your bent, well the Electrix provided that in spades on Saturday night, playing mandolin, fiddle and electric guitar, the Electrix mined the catalogue of Old and in The Way and then went electric for some classic Dead tunes.
All these musicians play for the love of live music, and they all have their followings. But do yourself a favor and check out the live music scene in Rockaway, especially as the weather warms up (and it will, at least I am told). Of course, you are probably familiar with the Bugalou concert series recently implemented by our good friend Bugsy (yes I am the Lou, but it’s really Bugsy’s show). While the main acts have been great, bringing nationally known acts to Rockaway, it’s really the opening acts that are the main attraction to me. Because the opening acts are just as good, if not better than the main acts. Who has played? Solshyne, Walter Ensor, Danny Mulvanerty, Bobby Butler, Gerald Bair, Chris Vought, Kerry Kearney and BreezyGrass. Wow, that is a really talented group. And you know what? They will all be playing in Rockaway this summer too. Can the open mic at Connolly’s be too far off? Did I forget anyone? Oh yeah, those pesky Grayriders will be making the rounds too. See you all out there!!!