Spooktacular Live Music Guide to Halloween for Roanoke and Beyond

Halloween is creeping up quick. But before you start stock piling candy to fill the bags of costume-clad kiddos, there are parties a plenty in what promises to be another year of adult Halloween insanity. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a guide to the best live music around the region this weekend. So, tap into your inner freak, costume up, and prepare to get your boogie on with spooktacular fun courtesy of a few of our favorite venues

The Bazaar Presents Illbotz, Subtle Munitions and The Aurora Observatory with Slideshow

This past Friday at The Spot on Kirk, Jamie Booker from The Bazaar of Roanoke, a local non-profit dedicated to fostering and cultivating artistic expression in SW Virginia, put together a wonderful line up of eclectic musicians for a fun night of local music.

The Aurora Observatory opened the show with an energetic set. It was their first show in Roanoke since April, and with their new drummer, Phillip Roseberry. They played original songs off their first and second albums, and finished their set with a cover of Faith No More’s, Everything’s Ruined.

Support Live and Local Music This Saturday at the First Annual Listen Local Fest

This Saturday, Dr Pepper Park at The Bridges is throwing its first Listen Local Fest, an event aimed at highlighting a few of our region’s top local music talent. The event, which runs from 3:00 – 9:30 on Saturday, will feature four very different local bands, as well as several performances by local hip-hop artist and DJ Poe Mack.

The event, which was planned in conjunction with Dr Pepper Days (Oct. 24), was planned to help show community support to local artists and will feature local food, as well as some local businesses, according to Waynette Anderson, president of Sponsor Hounds, the company that oversees events at Dr Pepper Park.

Jake Dempsey

Dempsey’s Way: 5 Pieces Of Advice For Musicians

My first thought when asked to write a guest post titled “Five Pieces Of Advice For Musicians”, was that I am probably in no position to give professional advice to upcoming musicians, as I’ve been bumbling along trying to figure out a way to make a living at it for more than 20 years now. My journey has taken me from peanut butter on a spoon in the back of a 90s astrovan with a hi-hat stand jabbing me in the side, to playing for audiences in the thousands with catering and in good hotel rooms. From having credits on Grammy-winning recordings, to being back to the peanut butter, but in a newer model van.
All said, I have played many, many gigs during my career. I have worked in many facets of the business, including musician, live sound engineer, recording engineer, stage hand, event organizer, producer, booking agent, talent buyer, and manager. I do have a good idea of what works, or maybe more importantly, what does not.

So in lieu of “giving advice” with the notion that I have anything at all figured out, I will share five things I have screwed up along the way and how to avoid these things, and why. I’m not an authority on what or what not to do or how to “Make it” (whatever that means). However, I have messed up and learned from it. Plenty. That, I have things to say about.

Go Fest

Go Fest Brings Ultimate Combination of Adventure and Music to Roanoke

This weekend more than 30,000 athletes, adventure seekers, music lovers, and craft beer enthusiasts will converge in Roanoke’s River’s Edge Park for the 6th Annual Anthem Go Outside Festival, which kicks off Friday night and runs through Sunday, Oct. 14 – 16, highlighting the best of our region’s outdoor recreational activities.

This year, the festival is going even bigger with a new partnership to make live music more of an integral part of the offerings. The creators of the event, the Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke City Parks and Rec, have teamed up with the annual producers of FloydFest, Across the Way Productions, to bring in top-quality musical acts. While all music is still free to festival goers, this year’s Go Fest music lineup will be the best yet.

The music starts at 7:00 on Friday night with live tunes by Uncle John and Friends, led by local musician John McBroom. Then on Saturday, the Cox music main stage features back-to-back shows by the FloydFest On the Rise winners, Urban Soil and Rebekah Todd and the Odyssey, two North Carolina Americana soul bands. Rock reggae group Dale and the Z Dubs play another 45-minute set before the main headliner, instrumental funk band, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, takes the stage at 9:00. Denson, a master saxophonist has toured with the likes of Lenny Kravitz, the Rolling Stones, and acid jazz DJ Greyboy.

Mad Iguanas! Mad Iguanas! Mad Iguanas!

It was a wet, warm summer night at Parkway Brewing Company. One of those where the rain was driving sideways and the roll up doors had to be closed to keep the place and everyone in it dry. But no one inside was worried about the rain as local jam band Mad Iguanas was driving the packed house to a frenzy with a scorching cover of “Fire on the Mountain.”

It’s in between the Grateful Dead covers and a mix of original jams, where the Mad Iguanas have developed a reputation as a highly funky and fun jam band that consistently delivers a good time. Currently, the band’s line up consists of Foster Burton on rhythm guitar and vocals, his brother Daniel on bass and backing vocals, Henry Lazenby on lead guitar, and a rotation of drummers. The Iguana’s lead singer Foster has a style to him reminiscent of the late Garcia. A jolly fellow with a wide smile, that you instantly know you want to share a beer with. I did just that awhile back to discuss the origins of the Mad Iguanas and the future of the band.

Taubman Fundraiser Pairs Blues, Brews, & BBQ for a Good Time

In the shadow of Jump Mountain, just outside Lexington, 100+ guests gathered at Grace Hill Farm on Saturday to enjoy Blues, Brews, and BBQ, for a toe-tapping benefit for the Taubman Museum of Art. After five days of heavy rain in our region, the weather cooperated, and on Saturday the sun came out, the humidity dropped, and Fall was upon us. What better way to celebrate the weather change than a retreat to the mountains of Rockbridge County to eat delicious BBQ and listen to hot blues?

The food on hand was delicious, provided by Blue Ridge Catering and paired perfectly with cold Deschutes beers, and wines from the local Jump Mountain Vineyard. The music for the festivities was generously donated by two local blues bands, Smokestack Lightnin’ Blues Band and the JoJo Stockton Band. Smokestack Lightnin’ kicked the night off, playing a combination of originals and blues standards as the crowd began to arrive. The band was nestled at the back of a small central building that allowed for the sound to project out over the dining area, but also permitted guests to get up inside to dance. Smokestack Lightnin’ played for two hours, and near the end, Kerry Hurley, local bluesman and host of 101.5FM’s Sunday show “Blues with a Feeling”, joined the band to perform the blues standard “Goin’ Down” (video below), and then kicked it up a notch with a swampy version of Slim Harpo’s classic “I’m a King Bee.”