Written by Gina Tutko-Usalis & Gerry Ulicny
PA Music Scene
They screamed and cheered and never stopped moving. And that was just the bands!!
Sunday night, November 22 was a full house at Gullifty’s Underground. Gullifty’s maybe underground but on this night – it was “music heaven” for the fans of the Badlees.
The Badlees were the main attraction, playing their second show in five years after a show the night before at Goodfellas in Pottsville. The Goodfellas show got a few lukewarm reviews, which the band freely took responsibility for while bringing the house down in a much better – no, a GREAT show – Sunday night. “We did our first show in years yesterday,” said frontman Pete Palladino as he praised the audience for singing along.” You guys did better than us… you knew all the words.”
The evening began early, with a line stretching into the kitchen of Gullifty’s restaurant well before the doors to Gullifty’s Underground opened at 6 pm.
Gullifty’s Underground is an appealing place, with a stage that can be seen from every inch with eye-catching brass rails and hardwood floors, a dance area demarcated by black-and-white tiles, and gorgeous pressed tin walls. Unfortunately, pressed tin is not the best acoustically speaking but if you sit (or stand) center to right while facing the stage it doesn’t affect the sound as much as if you get into the alcove at the left. However, the left alcove is where you can hang out with the on-deck bands and go shopping and have a lot of fun, so there’s still something to love. Add an array of food choices which are huge in portion, $3 pints & a vast drink menu, and a wait staff that jogs with a smile and you’ve got a really sweet place!
Now, you know that the PA Music Scene went on the road mostly for the Badlees, but yes, also for the other two supporting performances … it was a WOW line-up!!! There was some SMOKIN music way before the acclaimed Badlees took the stage! We weren’t the only ones hyped to see it; lots of fans and many people involved in the local music biz were there. Noticed in attendance was Chris Gardner, Executive Producer/Manager of the Love is Rain Project, Terry Selders, Owner of Susquehanna Entertainment, Marc Levin, “RockLawyer” from Rhoads & Sinon, Jason Shaffer, Engineer/Producer at After 7 Studios. Also on the radar, Randy Knaub from The Eclectics (former bassist of HWJ), 3 members of Stamper Lumber – Hank, Joe Ben and Robin and performer Darcie Miner, to name a few.
First on deck was HotWingJones, the promptest band in the local music scene or as they put it – “just five guys putting on some good tunes.” They were putting the finishing touches on setting up as we came in and they got to it fairly quickly. Favorites like Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” were well received, as were new originals by this well established band, like “Just Your Friend” and “Sittin’ On A Chair.” By two or three songs in, the crowd was thoroughly grooving. They were surely a hit with warming up the crowd with their twang, bluesy Alt Country style. HotWingJones is comprised of Andy Shemeta (lead vocals/bass), Corey Woodcock (pedal steel), Jerry Carbone (lead guitar), Talbert Ford (rhythm guitar) and Rocco Beckenhelm (drums, vocals). You can check them out again on December 11th at the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center – Stage on Herr.
Next up was Pan.a.ce.a – an even bigger hit that night. This high energy quartet includes Tim Farley (vocals), Matt Jaffin (bass), Paul(y) Young (guitar) and Kevin Harry (drums). Doing something a bit less electric than normal (they were billed as acoustic but that did not happen 100 percent), they fit nicely as the “stepping-it-up” band to get ready for the sound of the Badlees. But that’s not to say they weren’t a band totally in their own right. By softening it a bit, you found out lead singer Tim Farley truly is a crooner and that just as many girls will fall in love with him that way as much as when he’s belting out his heartaches and pain in true heavy rock form. His vocals are truly sensational! Songs like “The Fix” always gets the crowd going, and the love song, “Now or Never” was a surprisingly sweet ballad coming from these guys. In fact, if we had gone there to see Pan.a.ce.a we would have been totally satisfied!! In fact the ONLY thing we don’t like about this band is that typing their name is so distracting. Pan-dot-a-dot-ce-dot-a: (Pan.a.ce.a) see what we mean? So can we just call them Panacea or does that violate something? Glad we never had to cover Prince when he wasn’t Prince (laughing). Anyway, dancing to Pan.a.ce.a music would have taken place if the floor wasn’t so jammed by the time they wrapped it up. It was pretty much standing room only by the time the Badlees took the stage. Let’s just say it was HOT in there!! The opening bands were superb!
As Ed Sullivan would say, “Right here on the stage – it was time for the really big shew (show).”
As Pete Palladino (vocals), Bret Alexander (guitars, vocals), Ron Simasek (drums) and Paul Smith (bass) took the stage as the Badlees, the crowd of fans applaused and screamed. The Badlees opened with a new song “Peter Pan” that quickly had fans singing the chorus and continued on with tribute to their fans (both old and new). They powered on to a lively mix of classic Badlees songs along with highly anticipated new tunes. Palladino’s energy was truly evident and was so reminiscent of the early days. Bret Alexander taking lead vocals on a few of the songs highlighted the amazing talent we have all come to know from him in all aspects. Getting the crowd thoroughly immersed in the new song “Drive Back Home” and naturally “Don’t Let Me Hide” was in there and became a whole-bar sing-along. They saved “Angeline is Coming Home” for an encore which was demanded by the fans chanting “one more song … ONE MORE SONG!” Guest musician Aaron Fink (Breaking Benjamin) playing guitar and Nyke Van Wyk on violin added to the musicianship that was terrifically taking place before our eyes. Gullifty’s Underground was vibrating and the fans were really rockin’ out with their favorite tunes!!
The encore show-ending finale was the song “The Weight” – always a Badlees kicker - a truly rollicking good time. Hard to keep track of everyone on the stage but everyone who played that night was invited and it was a serious jam session which was a load of fun and oozing music with about 12 guys onstage.
The merch table was plentiful. On display for sale was HotWingJones’ CD Saturated, Pan.a.ce.a’s newly released CD We The Broken and Pan.a.ce.a t-shirts. The Badlees had every one of their previous CDs along with the newly released Love Is Rain and even offered a cassette (mommy, what’s a cassette tape?)– dating themselves a little. You couldn’t beat the prices at the merch table which topped out at $10 for the new CD! If you are a Badlees fan … or needed an awesome Christmas gift for a Badlees fan, you could have bought the entire collection that night!! We assume that collection will be available throughout the entire Love Is Rain Tour.
The way these musicians worked together, respected each other and promoted each other was enough to make one believe that there truly is a musical renaissance going on right here in PA. It took an aggressive push by the staff at Gullifty’s Underground to get the crowd out of there after the show and we know because we were one of the last to leave. We didn’t want it to be over!!
And, the latest BUZZ says it’s going to go on and on… we can’t wait to hear the Badlees again. The next show will be their First Annual Badlees Show at The Woodlands. They really want to make it a special event. The Woodlands has lots of rooms for anyone that has to travel. It’s the day after Christmas, so it will be the debut of the First Annual Badlees Christmas Party at the Woods. Tickets are only $10. Special guests include Pan.a.ce.a, Lemongelli and Underground Saints. Plus Aaron Fink and Nyke Van Wyk will be with them again. So if you missed November’s shows, you’ll get to hear some unbelievable musicians on December 26th. Show starts at 9 p.m.
For more information related to this article check out the links below:
For The BADLEES:
The BADLEES Facebook: Facebook
The BADLEES MySpace: Badlees.com
The BADLEES Amazon Store: Amazon.com
The BADLEES ‘Love is Rain’ page: Badlees.net
The BADLEES CDBaby Store: CDBaby.com
The BADLEES i-Tunes Store: iTunes
The BADLEES e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For GULLIFTY’S UNDERGROUND:
Gullifty’s Underground: Website
Gullifty’s Underground: MySpace
For THE WOODLANDS:
The WOODLANDS: Website
The WOODLANDS: MySpace
For pictures and video:
PA Music Scene: MySpace
PA Music Scene: Facebook