Tuned In by Ken Maiuri (1/11/19)

  • Kid Biff Melissa McClung photo

  • Weakened Friends 

  • OroborO

  • Stacy Dillard

  • Morgan Minsk Nicole Baas Photography

  • Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters

Published: 1/11/2019 10:39:13 AM

Our area has a history of good-natured “battle of the bands” competitions that spotlight newer local groups (like the Happy Valley Showdown, a memorable winter tradition back in 2008-2012).  

The current way to catch multiple new acts is Mark Sherry’s Valley Music Showcase, which begins its fourth season at New City Brewery in Easthampton, tonight, Friday, January 11, at 8 p.m.

The “mini music festival” takes place every other month, and for its season premiere, the five bands who’ll play original material and slug it out for prizes are Kid Biff, indie rockers from Easthampton; Jake Kulak and the Lowdown, bluesy pop from Glastonbury, CT and points north; Keepers of the Vibe, jammy funk and hip hop from Hartford; From Logan to Lima, alt-rock from Palmer; and Wild Bill and the Flying Sparks, country/Americana from Northampton. The winner will headline the next Showcase event and return to battle again in the final round.

Each band will play a 20-minute set and compete for gift certificates from local sponsoring businesses. The eventual grand prizes include 30 hours of studio time at Northfire Studios in Amherst, 10 hours at Rotary Records recording studio in West Springfield, custom website design and a photo shoot with Cider House Media in Easthampton, recording a music video at Greenfield Community TV, a 12-hour music marketing consulting package, and more.

Fighting Giants, western MA rockers who won last year’s grand prize, will open and close the night.

The judges for this edition are Warren Amerman (Rotary Records), Chris Goudreau (Valley Advocate/Daily Hampshire Gazette), Leah Rantz (Lazer 99.3 FM) and VMS producer Mark Sherry.

Weakened Friends (“indie noise junk band from Boston and Portland, ME”) headline a bill that also includes locals DUMP HIM and Jake Mckelvie & the Countertops at The Parlor Room in Northampton on Friday, January 11, at 7 p.m.



Valley “experimental art rock weirdos” OroborO celebrate their new release “D Y A D” with a show at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Friday, January 11, at 10 p.m. Snowhaus is the opener.



 “Be ready to dance, be ready to cry” — it’s country night at The Root Cellar in Greenfield, featuring a double-bill of Wild Leek River and The Old Fashioneds, on Saturday, January 12, at 8 p.m.



Mystics Anonymous (in a duo lineup of frontman/vocalist/guitarist Jeff Steblea and guitarist Steve Koziol) are the featured guests at this week’s open mic (hosted as always by Matt Silberstein) at the cozy bar The 413 in Easthampton on Monday, January 14, at 7 p.m. It’s the first live show in almost a year for Mystics Anonymous, who’ll start off the night with a 45-minute set, and then the mic officially becomes open — so arrive early, sign up, and sing/play. (Or just hang out and enjoy the local talent.) It’s a free show, but you must be at least 21 to attend.

Lexi Weege hosts the monthly Underground Songwriters Club at the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Tuesday, January 15, at 7 p.m.




Saxophonist Stacy Dillard (at right)is the featured soloist at the Northampton Jazz Workshop at City Sports Grille inside Spare Time Northampton on Tuesday, January 15, at 7:30 p.m. The Open Jazz Jam follows at 8:30 p.m.



Indie folk/soul vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Morgan Minsk (at left) is the star of this week’s Wednesday Tunes Series at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Wednesday, January 16, at 7 p.m. Free, but tips are accepted.



Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters (bottom left) bring their Americana/alt-country tunes to The Parlor Room on Thursday at 7 p.m. Monica Rizzio starts off the night.

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