On Stage: Jesse Terry performs in the round in Berwyn

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Jesse Terry

Veteran singer/songwriter Jesse Terry has performed many memorable shows in this area, including sold-out shows at Burlap and Bean and World Café Live. He also played in Chester County at The Spotlight Concert Series a few years ago and now is making a return appearance.

On July 20, The Spotlight Concert Series at Trinity Presbyterian Church (640 Berwyn Avenue, Berwyn, http://spotlight.trinityberwyn.com) is presenting “On The Road and In The Round” featuring Amy Fairchild, Jesse Terry, and Michael Logen.

“I played this series once before,” said Terry, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from Greenwich, Connecticut. “It’s a beautiful space with gorgeous stained glass.

“This event has great energy – and great musicians joining us. Amy will be joined by Thomas Juliano on guitar and mandolin. We will also have Tom Hampton on pedal steel, mandolin and just about any stringed instrument there is, and Tommy Geddes, who is the perfect drummer for singer/songwriters.

“We’re playing in the round and I know there will be some collaborations. I’ve known Michael since 2004 and we’ve toured together overseas and in the states.”

Terry will be treating fans to a preview of some songs from his upcoming EP release “Kivalina.”

“The EP is about climate change,” said Terry. “It’s about a village that is going underwater in Alaska.

“It’s a duo EP with me and Alex Wong. We recorded the EP at Alex’s studio in Nashville.”

In Northwest Alaska, the Inupiaq whaling community of Kivalina, home to around 470 people, is facing imminent relocation.

Located 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 1,000 miles northwest of Anchorage, the remote Alaskan village of Kivalina is literally melting under the weight of climate change.

The barrier island has been disappearing under water over the last decade, as the warming ocean causes sea levels to rise and powerful storm surges to eat away at the beach. The US Army Corps of Engineers has said Kivalina will no longer be habitable within 10 years.

The future for residents is uncertain. President Barack Obama recommended a budget of $400 million to relocate Alaskan villages like Kivalina in 2016, but Congress has not approved it.

“Kivalina is 400 villagers living on a little strip of land,” said Terry. “They’ve been hunting whales for generations. Now, their village is eroding because the ice is melting. They’ve become the first climate change refugees in America.”

There are no roads to Kivalina, and within 10 years, there could be no coming or going at all. The barrier island is at risk of severe flooding and erosion caused by climate change.

The village sits on a slip of permanently frozen earth off the coast of Alaska — flanked by a lagoon on one side and the Arctic Ocean on the other. Sea walls made up of rocks and sandbags protect the villagers from pummeling waves.

Much of the food comes from whatever they kill — caribou, seal, fish, and beluga whales. Hunting the bowhead whale — a 60-ton animal whose meat, skin, and blubber can feed a village for more than two months — provides one of the most cherished traditions.

But the people of Kivalina haven’t caught a bowhead whale in over 21 years. The sea ice is melting earlier and earlier in the season, which makes it unsafe for villagers to traverse.

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as anywhere else on the planet, according to a 2014 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report. With wildlife habitats disappearing under water, villagers struggle to put food on the table.

Extended families of up to 17 members crowd into the island’s 85 single-family homes. The circumstances create a close-knit community that teaches cooperation and vigilance. Those values are essential when residents face some of the harshest conditions on Earth.

But the village’s days on the edge of the Arctic Ocean are numbered. In 2015, President Obama became the first sitting US president to visit a community north of the Arctic Circle, during a tour of Alaska’s Northwest Arctic Borough. With a new administration in the White House, the future of Kivalina is uncertain.

“I was in Nashville with Alex,” said Terry. “He read a story about Kivalina and was moved by it.

“The EP we made is not political. We just wanted to write about the facts and the emotion. It’s a really hard story to tell.

“Still, I’m excited to write about it. The songs are told from the story of a fictitious couple combined with villagers’ interviews.”

Terry is an internationally touring, award-winning singer-songwriter whose intimacy with audiences, sincerity, and approachability has solidified him as a favorite at festivals and live venues nationwide.  He has five full-length albums – “The Runner,” “Empty Seat on A Plane,” “Stay Here With Me” and the recently-released “Stargazer” and “Natural” LPs.

Video link for Jesse Terry — https://youtu.be/LPZIGWESwPY.

The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7 p.m.  There is no charge for admission, but a free-will offering of $20 per person is recommended.

Cloak

When the music gets underway on the evening of July 20 at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia,http://undergroundarts.org), it will be hot and heavy – really heavy. The venue is hosting a metal triple bill featuring Cloak, Khemmis and Moros.

Back in April, Cloak, which features Scott Taysom, Vocals/Guitar; Sean Bruneau, Drums; Max Brigham, Guitar; and Billy Robinson, Bass, was on the bill of the Decibel Beer & Metal Prefest 2019 along with Integrity, Full of Hell, and Devil Master.

“Philly was our first show on this tour,” said Taysom, during a recent phone interview. “We did 16 shows in 17 days. The Philly show on that tour was our first time to ever play in Philadelphia.”

It didn’t take long for Cloak to line up a return trip to Philly.

“This tour with Khemmis starts on July 11,” said Taysom, during the conversation in early July. “We’re always rehearsing. Right now, we’re specifically getting ready for this tour – getting our set together.”

Cloak is still touring in support of its debut album “To Venomous Depths” as well as its new EP – “2 Hits From Hell EP” – which was just released on March 29.

“To Venomous Depths” is an amalgamation of Nordic black metal with catchy hooks and melodic rock. The quartet’s bold and blackened metal teems with dark energy. “To Venomous Depths” is a testament to the genre’s primal power and magic.

“We started the band in 2013 and then went on hiatus,” said Taysom. “In 2015, we got back together with a solid plan. We wanted to do something different from what was out there. We wanted a vibe you could take seriously – something with a rock bottom.

“The metal scene was so oversaturated. I went back to the bands I listened to a long time ago. It’s got to be special. Anyone can sit in their room and make a record with GarageBand.”

Cloak’s music seems to have metal as its main ingredient with flavorings of classic Southern Rock.

“A lot of people have said the Southern Rock thing,” said Taysom. “I think I can sort of hear it. But it wasn’t a conscious move. But, something in southern soil is very haunting with a sinister presence. You can feel it at night.

“I don’t associate us with what is called ‘Southern Metal.’ Our roots are in black metal sound.  It’s not a genre. It’s about a presence I’m looking for. I still love classic heavy metal like Iron Maiden and Wasp.”

“To Venomous Depths” offers a strong glimpse at what the band is looking for.

“We recorded it at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 at Aria Studio in Atlanta,” said Taysom. “The songs were all ready before we went in the studio.

“We were very well prepared and organized. We did a lot of demos before we were ready to record. It took about three months in the studio, Then, it came out later in 2017. It takes a while to get recording together.

“We’re almost done making the next album. Two more vocal tracks to finish up and the second album will be all done. We had a lot of time to work on the writing.

“The new album will have nine songs. I wrote most of it, but everyone puts in their input. We were inspired as songwriters and it’s a lot darker.

“It’s a total step up. It’s more compact. It punches harder. We wanted to focus on improving the sound. It definitely sounds different. It’s more to the point. And, it’s more powerful.”

Video link for Cloak – https://youtu.be/nGWcifLk9mQ.

The show at Underground Arts will start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15.

The next two shows at MilkBoy Philadelphia (1100 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 215- 925-6455, www.milkboyphilly.com) will feature a bit of geographical diversity.

The Good Mess

On July 20, the venue will feature an album release show by the veteran Philadelphia band The Good Mess. The bill will also feature Philadelphia-based Peace & the City Grease, and Good Look, Sigourney, a band from South Jersey.

On July 22, MilkBoy Philly will present a twin-bill featuring Charley Crockett from San Benito, Texas, and Esther Rose, a Michigan native who has lived in New Orleans for the last decade.

Urban Dictionary describes “good mess” as “when one person is always going about their life in a jovial manner….but in a good way, making everyone around them in a good mood and being positive.”

Using that definition, The Good Mess, which was conceived and born in Chester County, has chosen a band name that fits. When the guys from The Good Mess play, they put everyone around them in a good mood.

Inspired by the rock/grunge scene of the 1990s, the Philadelphia-based band was formed in 2014 by vocalist/guitarist Tim Mellor, bassist Mario LaForgia, drummer Mike Skierski and guitarist Josh Rovinsky.

The roots of this band go back further – to 2007 when Mellor, LaForgia and Rovinsky were students at West Chester University and played music at local open mics.

“Josh, Mario and I met when we were in a fraternity at WCU – Sigma Phi Epsilon,” said Mellor, during a recent phone interview from his home in Pennsauken, New Jersey. “Mario and I were psychology majors at West Chester.

“I started writing with Mario in 2007. We had side projects when we were in college. After I graduated, my wife and I lived in South Philly and we saw Mario a lot.”

After going their separate ways post-graduation, Mellor and LaForgia formed the band The Suits in 2012.  With some lyrical help from Zack Wiese and the addition of Skierski on drums, the band steadily built a large repertoire of original music. Two years later, the band changed its name The Good Mess and started playing shows.

“Mike is my wife’s cousin’s husband,” said Mellor. “He’s been around the scene for over 20 years. We knew Josh from college and got him in as our second guitar.”

Rovinsky, who joined the band soon after seeing the group play its second show, solidified the line-up.

“We’ve released have two six-song EPs,” said Mellor. “We recorded them in Conshohocken. We made both EPs with Will Yip at Studio 4, Phil Nicolo’s studio.”

In early 2015, The Good Mess recorded its first EP “Smoke Like Ghosts” at the famous Studio 4 in Conshohocken, and officially released the EP that September.  Two big gigs for The Good Mess in 2015 were Legendary Dobbs Rock-Con and the fourth annual Liberty Music Fest.

In March 2016, the band made its live radio debut on 104.5 and was named WMMR’s “Local Artist of the Month” for April 2016.  In August 2017, The Good Mess released its sophomore EP, “New History.”

On July 19, the band released its self-titled debut album on Thirsty Records.

“For the new album, we wanted to work more interactively with the producer,” said Mellor. “We cut the album with Ted Bunch at Turtle Studio in South Philly. We started tracking in June 2018 and worked on it on and off for four-to-five months. We’ve been tightening it up ever since.

“The album’s sound is grunge era – Soundgarden, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots. There’s a lot of guitar and loud drums and the bass lines are a little slick. It’s like grunge/alternative.”

Video link for The Good Mess — https://youtu.be/eaCT2me6uLQ.

The show at MilkBoy, which has Peace & the City Grease, and Good Look, Sigourney as the opening acts, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Esther Rose

Esther Rose will be treating fans to “first listens” for songs from her soon-to-be released album when she shares the bill with Charley Crockett at MilkBoy Philadelphia (1100 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 215- 925-6455, www.milkboyphilly.com) on July 22. Her sophomore album, “You Made It This Far,” will be released on August 23 on Father/Daughter Records.

“This album is the most personal record I’ve made,” said Rose, during a phone interview Friday morning from a tour stop in Asheville, North Carolina.

“It’s about me and my life – my childhood and my teenage years. It’s a step into my life’s experiences.”

“You Made It This Far,” which was recorded live to tape at Mashed Potato Studios in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, was engineered by Sam Doores, Adam Keil & Bill Howard, mixed by Adam Keil and mastered by Dan Weston. All the songs were written and arranged by Rose.
“I cut the album at the same space I used for ‘This Time Last Night,’ which was my first album in 2017. Mashed Potato is a great studio – all analog. With the new album, I did it all live to a two-track tape machine. I finished it around this time last year.”

Laid-back yet deliberate, her delivery here marries old-school country and rural folk with a plainspoken philosophy that’s thoroughly modern, and the end result is a record that’s as joyful as it is restless, one that weaves fiddle and lap steel around profound revelations, late night conversations, and all the moments in between.

According to Rose, “There’s this theme of radical acceptance running through the whole album. I didn’t realize it until after I’d finished writing the songs, but they all came from this place of trying to understand and truly accept myself and others in our most vulnerable moments of confusion or despair.”

Having lived in New Orleans for the last 10 years, Rose first got on the radar with the release of “This Time Last Night.”

Rose also provided some backing vocals on Jack White’s “Boarding House Reach.”

According to Rose, “Recording with Jack was a really great fit because he likes everything to be a little messy and a little improvised and a little raw. That’s exactly how I like to work, too.”

Rose’s interest in music goes back a long time to when she was growing up in Columbiaville, Michigan.

“My family was really into music,” said Rose. “There was a piano in the house and my mom played guitar. I had two sisters and we spent a lot of time singing three-part harmonies. Music was just a part of our activity. It was always something I enjoyed.

“Songwriting came in lately. It’s fun to explore. I had written compositions but mostly on a whim. I did maybe one a year.

“Five years ago, when I was 28, I learned how to play guitar for the first time. I discovered that I had a lot of songs waiting to be written. With my journal and my poems, I always considered myself to be a writer. It was a natural progression to take them to songs.”

The transition was relatively easy for the talented singer.

According to Rose, “Something switched inside of me and I began to feel this vast, unlimited potential that made me question everything and wonder what was possible. I devoted every spare minute to figuring out the guitar, and I loved the sense of discovery that came with learning how to play all these songs I’d written through the years.”

There was another reason she brought the guitar into play.

“I started studying guitar because I wanted to be not dependent on another guitar player,” said Rose. “I needed autonomy. I had always written songs on piano. With guitar, it was about taking ownership of my own ideas.”

Many of those ideas come to life on her new album.

“I’ve released a bunch of singles from the album and one more will come out next week,” said Rose. “I’ve already released ‘Handyman,’ ‘Only Loving You,’ and ‘Don’t Blame it on the Moon.’ The new single will be ‘Sex and Magic.’ Then, the album will come out on August 23.

Video link for Esther Rose — https://youtu.be/sDaG5ontXJ8.

The show at MilkBoy Philly, which also features Charley Crockett, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Other upcoming shows at the venue in downtown55 Philadelphia are Bones UK on July 23 and Joe Marcinek Band and Dot Gov on July 24.

Dallon Weekes

I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME is a strangely stylized and unusually long name for a music project by one guy.

“Officially” abbreviated as iDKHOW, the project is the musical brainchild of Dallon Weekes. On July 21, Weekes brings iDKHOW to the area for a show at XFINITY Live Philadelphia (1100 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, https://www.xfinitylive.com/entertainment).

Weekes is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. He is best known as a member of Panic! at the Disco from 2009-2017 — performing in the band as a bassist, keyboardist, backing vocalist, and songwriter.

Now, his energies are focused on I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME.

I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME is as Day-Glo nostalgic and optimistically futurist as “Back to the Future,” the comedy/sci-fi movie classic in which the name was born. Doc Brown utters the famous line just before telling Marty McFly to “run for it.”

“I’m pretty constantly out on tour,” said Weekes, during a phone interview Friday afternoon from a tour stop in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. “I’m out now as the opener for Silversun Pickups and we have a few shows left. Then, we get some headline shows.”

I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME’s music is from a time when fashions were loud, melodies were infectious and iconoclastic pop trailblazers broke through commercially without compromising artistically.

iDKHOW channels the legendary spirits of ’60s garage, ’70s glam, ’80s New Wave, and the early days of Britpop.

As bassist/backing vocalist for Panic! At The Disco from 2009-2017, Weekes co-wrote Panic’s massive hits “This is Gospel” and “Girls/Girls/Boys,” and is credited on nearly all of the songs from Panic! At The Disco’s platinum album, “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!”

“I started demo-ing out some song ideas when I was still touring as a member of Panic! at the Disco,” said Weekes. “I brought Ryan (Seaman) in on drums. We played some shows using this name while doing everything on the records in secret.

“I wanted to see how the songs would do with a live audience. We never used our real names. If people saw us play and tried to reveal our identities, our policy was to just deny everything.

“I left Panic! at the Disco right around the same time. I couldn’t keep doing both. I had been in Panic! at the Disco for a long time and it came to be an environment I didn’t want to be in anymore.

“I wanted to be more creative. iDKHOW is a solo project but everything I’m creating is with a band in mind – with more instruments than I can play.”

I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME released two singles in 2017 (“Modern Day Cain” and “Choke”), three singles in 2018 (“Nobody Likes The Opening Band,” “Do It All The Time,” “Bleed Magic”) and one single in 2019 (“Choke — Acoustic”).

Everything from 2018 and 2019 has been released on Fearless Records as well as an EP in 2018 titled “1981 Extended Play.” Weekes also released more than a dozen records from 2003-2012 with his previous band, The Brobecks.

Right now, Weekes has iDKHOW on the road as a two-piece with Seaman backing him on drums and percussion.

“For now, it’s the two of us plus a backing tape we use,” said Weekes, a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah. “In the future, we might add more musicians.

“In the live show, we’re playing old songs, a cover and a few old Brobecks songs. This new project will always be haunted by the ghost of the Brobecks.”

An album by I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME is on the horizon.

“We’ve been waiting for the green light to record the album,” said Weeks. “The songs are all written, and the demos are done. One problem is that we’re on the road so much.”

Video link for I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v64-DpcLEvI.

The show at Xfinity Live, which is part of the venue’s annual Summer Fest Live event, will start at 2 p.m. Ticket prices start at $35.

Many comedians head out on tours of stand-up comedy clubs ready to take the stage each night with a relatively set routine. If you see them in Baltimore on a Tuesday and in New York the following Wednesday, you’re going to see and hear basically the same show.

John Poveromo

With John Poveromo, who will headline a show at Punch Line Philly (33 East Laurel Street, Philadelphia, 215-606-6555, http://www.punchlinephilly.com) on July 21, every show is different. The comedian is likely to change his set on the spot based on the crowd and whatever is on his mind.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Toms River, Poveromo gravitated toward humor ever since he was a youngster.

“I didn’t hang out in the music scene,” said Poveromo, during a phone interview Friday afternoon from Sherman Oaks, California.

“I was much more interested in stand-up. For me, humor was a way to cope with stuff. I saw grownups coping with things with humor. I remember when I was about five and my parents were watching a video of Richard Jeni’s ‘Crazy from the Heat’ and they were laughing like crazy.

“I also really liked Robin Williams from his TV shows like ‘Mork & Mindy’ and that was another gateway to comedy for me. Then, I got into Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser and Ellen and found out they all started with stand-up. And, I liked stand-ups because they told it like it was.”

Poveromo’s knack for being funny became evident during his high school days.

“I ended up getting named ‘Class Comedian’ out of 500 kids at Toms River East High School,” said Poveromo. “My sense of humor was always about cracking jokes.

“I went to college after I graduated high school at Brookdale Community College. I didn’t want to go to college, but I had to do it because if you didn’t go to college, you were a failure.

“I left school after a year and took a stand-up course in New York. That was back in 2005. My first time on stage was at Carolines On Broadway – no pressure, right?”

Carolines on Broadway is a venue for stand-up comedy located in Times Square in New York City on Broadway between 49th and 50th Street. It is one of the most established, famous, and recognized stand-up comedy clubs in the United States.

“I was taking a risk,” said Poveromo. “I wasn’t going up with ‘five minutes of comedy that worked’ attitude. I thought – you just go on with whatever when you get onstage.

“In the beginning, I’d go up with a couple ideas. I just do my own material – whatever I wanted talk about – because I’m naturally funny.”

Since childhood, Poveromo has enjoyed making strangers laugh. He has written comedy for shows on HBO and VH1, as well as his own book, “Drawings From a Nobody,” which features his comic-strip style drawings of scenes from everyday life.

Poveromo’s perfect blend of self-deprecation and optimism makes him a dynamic and unpredictable performer who is both engaging and fun to watch as he struggles to make sense of himself and the world around him.

He can be heard on Sirius XM Radio, has been featured at the Jersey City Comedy Festival and The New York Underground Comedy Festival, and has appeared on Comcast On Demand’s “Young Comedians Showcase.”

Poveromo also has written for a variety of shows, including ESPN’s Sports Nation, Current TV’s Viewpoint with John Fugelsang, Joy Behar’s Say Anything on HLN, The Independents, and CNN Newsroom, as well as Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld, Hannity, and VH1’s “Best Of” series.

“My live shows are really loose,” said Poveromo. “Spontaneity is important. Playing with the audience is also a big part of my show.

“I talk about anything that goes on in life. My favorite topics are society and how people react in social situations. Human behavior is really interesting to me.”

Video link for John Poveromo – https://www.facebook.com/ComediansOnTheLoose/videos/2135113526749144/.

The show at Punch Line on July 21 will start at 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from $22-$27.

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