On Stage: Kingdom Come celebrates 30 years

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come is a band that has come and gone – and come and gone – and come again.

The veteran hard rock band formed in 1987 and broke up a few years later. The group reformed in 1990 and then disbanded in 2016. This year Kingdom Come came back to life again.

The band has gone through numerous personnel changes over the years. Currently, four of the original five members rae onboard for a tour that will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Kingdom Come’s self-titled debut album, which was released in 1987 on Polydor Records. The tour visits the area on October 18 for a show at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808www.st94.com).

Kingdom Come released its first single “Get It On,” which was a huge hit in 1988. The quintet featured guitarists Danny Stag and Rick Steier, bassist Johnny B. Frank, drummer James Kottak, and singer Lenny Wolf. All are back in the band now except Wolf, who has been replaced by vocalist Keith St. John.

“We’re doing a 20-show, six-week tour,” said Kottak, during a recent phone interview. “The whole object is to reconnect with fans and friends.”

Another major reason for the tour is to commemorate the success of the band and album.

“I always wanted to revisit our first album,” said Kottak. “We had a hot single with ‘Get It On’ and then our debut album shipped gold. Our next album ‘In Your Face’ also was a big hit. So, we’re focusing on both those albums on this tour.

“This tour has been years in the making. It’s hard to do. Around this time last year, things really started moving. Rick, John, Danny and me all wanted to do this.”

Wolf, who founded the band in 1987, was in a different zone. In 1993, Wolf returned to his native Germany to regroup. With a new, mostly German lineup, Kingdom Come remained active with several subsequent releases and tours in Europe. In August 2016, Wolf announced that he was putting an end to Kingdom Come.

“From 1990-2016, Kingdom Come was a different band,” said Kottak. “It was Lenny and a bunch of different guys. He always had a great band – but it wasn’t us.

“For this tour, I hit Lenny up so many times, but he just kept saying no. He said he was disillusioned with rock and roll. He announced his retirement a year-and-a-half ago. He’s enjoying his life so that’s a good thing.

“We needed a singer and the first guy I thought of was Keith St. John. He’s a great singer who formerly sang with Montrose and Lynch Mob. The pieces all fell together. We’re good friends.”

From 1996-2016, Kottak was the drummer for the German band Scorpions.

“About six years ago, I was facing a burnout,” said Kottak. “Scorpions is a never-ending machine. The farewell tour was supposed to end in 2012 but that changed. There was another album, another tour and they said – we’re not saying farewell. So, after 21 years, I left the band.

“But, rock and roll is the ultimate drug and here I am on the road with Kingdom Come. On this tour, 95 per cent of it is songs from the first album along with four or five songs from the second album – and some little surprises.”

Video link for Kingdom Come – https://youtu.be/2QN5zz8JgCU.

The show Sellersville Theater, which has Slik Helvetika as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29.50 and $45.

Mandy Barnett

The Sellersville Theater will present a show with a completely different vibe on October 21 when it hosts a matinee concert by Nashville-based singer Mandy Barnett.

Barnett is touring in support of “Strange Conversation,” her first new album in five years. It was released via Thirty Tigers on September 21st.  The album was recorded in Muscle Shoals and features a duet with John Hiatt.

The veteran singer’s previous album was “I Can’t Stop Loving You: The Songs of Don Gibson,” which came out in 2013. Barnett explained the long gap between albums.

“The music business is so weird these days,” said Barnett, during a phone interview last week from her home in Nashville. “I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to take my time and find a good producer.”

“Strange Conversation” is a progressive take on the postmodern American songbook. It’s her seventh album and features songs written or originally performed by artists such as Tom Waits, Neil Sedaka, Sonny & Cher, John Hiatt, and Ted Hawkins.

“I’m not really a songwriter,” said Barnett. “I’ve never bought into the idea of having to be a songwriter. I prefer the old concept of an A&R man and a producer.

“When looking for a producer, I had to find the right person,” said Barnett. “We have to be on the same page.”

The new album was produced by Marco Giovino for Thirty Tigers and Barnett’s own label Dame Productions. “Strange Conversation places the vocalist between obscure vintage pop and modern progressive songwriting.

“Marco and I had a good rapport,” said Barnett. “Marco has lived here in Nashville for a while. My bass player said that Marco was interested. I reached out and said – what’s your idea of a good song? He sent me about 30 songs – old blues, Americana, rockabilly – some things I knew and a lot I didn’t know. We probably spent a year going back-and-forth looking at songs.

“We went to Muscle Shoals to make the record. We wanted to be out of Nashville. We just wanted something different. Muscle Shoals was a good choice. So many great songs came from there. It was a wonderful experience. All the great music that happened there — it just seeps in.

“We had our core group of musicians and we had people from all over – a lot of different colors and flavors. There were a lot of genres – a little bit of folk, a little bit of pop. There were a lot of flavors – even on the same song.

“There is a girl group vibe, a lot of blues and some soul. I don’t think there is anything country about this album. I wanted to do something that would be appealing to a younger market. I knew I didn’t want to do something that was mainstream. I wanted something real authentic.

“The emotional aspect of songs has always been important to me. With this album, it was important for me to show some other attributes. I wanted to show that I can be a blues singer and that I can be a soul singer. I leaned away from what people expect from me.’

Video link for Mandy Barnett – https://youtu.be/ABcxb-NUc3o.

The show at the Sellersville Theater will start at 2 p.m. Tickets are $21.50 and $29.50

Other upcoming shows at the Sellersville Theater are Paula Cole on October 19, Sha Na Na on October 20, Emo Phillips on October 21, Iris DeMent on October 23, and Richie Furay on October 24.

Sarah Borges

When Sarah Borges hits the stage, she rocks out. If you listen, you can hear country, punk, blues and rock in her musical DNA, but it is the rock element that stands out the most. On October 19, Borges will share the bill with the Bottle Rockets at MilkBoy Philadelphia (1100 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 215- 925-6455, www.milkboyphilly.com).

Borges, who arrived on the national music scene in 2005 as the lead singer of the Broken Singles, has gone from frontwoman to solo act, to frontwoman again. On October 12, Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles released their sixth album – “Love’s Middle Name” — on Blue Corn Music.

For this tour, Borges is being backed by her producer Eric Ambel on guitar along with the rhythm section from the Bottle Rockets.

“We’ve done about four gigs so far,” said Borges, during a phone interview last week from a tour step in Northampton, Massachusetts.

“Eric, my producer, also produces the Bottle Rockets. He’s produced eight records for them. A little while ago, I was on a Sirius XM boat tour and so were the Bottle Rockets. We tried out collaborating and it worked.”

Borges, who is a resident of Taunton, Massachusetts, recorded “Love’s Middle Name” in Brooklyn.

Ambel is a highly-respected performer and producer whose credits include the Bottle Rockets and Steve Earle & the Dukes. He was the founding guitarist for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.

“We recorded it last year with Eric on guitar, my longtime bass player Binky and two different drummers,” said Borges. “And, I sang and played guitar. We made the album in multiple sessions at Cowboy Technical Service, which is Eric’s studio in Brooklyn. I’d make demos and then we’d go into the studio.

“There are two covers on the album and the rest are all originals. I wrote all the songs not long before we went to record them. I definitely work better when there is a deadline for writing. Usually, I come up with the music first. I try to think about what kind of songs that we didn’t do yet.

“Then, after the music is done, I’ll add the lyrics later. With the lyrics, I’m just telling a story about something that comes up in my head. There are definitely some creepy songs on this album – and some murder songs.”

One common denominator in Borges’ songs – they all rock hard.

“We love playing good, fast rock songs,” said Borges, who graduated from Emerson College with a degree in radio. “We keep evolving but we also keep playing some of the older songs.

“In the set list, there are three songs from ‘Silver City,’ which was my first album in 2005, and a few from ‘Diamonds in the Dark,’ which came out in 2007. With so many songs I’ve recorded, it’s hard putting together a set list.

“I’m doing something new on this tour. I made a set list and we’re playing it every night the same. We are playing a bunch of songs from ‘Love’s Middle Name.’

“This is just a relatively short tour. I’ll be back home in October and then I’ll be going on tour with the Broken Singles.”

Video link for Sarah Borges — https://youtu.be/1cL0p9sC3tA.

The show at MilkBoy Philadelphia, which also features the Bottle Rockets, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18.

Other upcoming shows at the venue are Driftwood on October 18, The Sea The Sea on October 20, Matthew Schuler on October 21, Shane Dodd on October 23, and Bella’s Bartok on October 24.

John Flynn

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295http://www.kennettflash.org) will host John Flynn on October 19, Johnny A. on October 20, and Open Mic with William Rose on October 21.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host Miz on October 20 and Phoenixville Area Acoustic Jam on October 21.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110http://chaplinslive.com) will host Honor, Emily Rose Graves and Darren Makins on October 20.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389www.ardmoremusic.com) will present Pimps of Joytime on October 18, “Echoes: The American Pink Floyd” on October 19, Keller Williams on October 20, Anderson East with special guest Savannah Conley on October 21 and Parsonsfield and Sawyer Fredericks on October 24.

Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547www.burlapandbean.com) will present

Matthew Perryman Jones with Molly Parden on October 18, Swearingen + Kelli and Brian Dunne on October 19, and Jutaun on October 20.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650www.keswicktheatre.com) presents The Music of Cream on October 18, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood  on October 19,Tower of Power on October 20 and The Read Live on October 21.

The Locks at Sona (4417 Main Street, Manayunk, 484- 273-0481, sonapub.com) will host Hezekiah Jones with special guest Matthew Rineer on October 19 and Matt Portella with special guest Katherine Rondeau on October 20.

Rrazz Room (6426 Lower York Road, New Hope, 888-596-1027, www.TheRrazzRoom.com) will host Fay Jacobs on October 19, Roque Wilson on October 20 and Carla Cooke on October 21.

The Candlelight Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302-475-2313www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) is offering area fans the opportunity to see a rarely-presented musical theater classic.

The dinner theater’s production of “Brigadoon” is running now through October 28. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings (doors 6 p.m./show, 8 p.m.) and Sunday afternoons (doors, 1 p.m./show, 3 p.m.). Tickets, which include dinner and show, are $63 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12).

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