Artist Profile- Tumbleweed Company

Artist Profile- Tumbleweed Company

    We’re going to try and make you dance. Don’t fight it.  ~Jeff Adamczyk

Tumbleweed Company is a rootsy band from Boston that I am pleased to introduce you Utica Music and Arts Festival go-ers to!

Welcome these fine looking kids to town, won't you?

Pleasantly blending folk, true rock and roll, blues, and roots country styles, this band should appeal to a wide variety of fans, including lovers of the jam.  There is some crunchy funk going on to treat your brain, too.  Think Honky Chateau and you’re close.  Each instrument, of which there are several, is solidly played and interwoven seemingly egolessly into songs along side vocals taken with the same approach.  Nothing, even the guitar solos, are screaming at your ear, and they don’t need to scream to catch your attention.  The melodies tempt and tease and round out into a smile on your face in no time.  Particularly, this band is made up of Ryan Toll (Vocals, Guitar), Jeff Adamczyk (Vocals, Mandolin, Piano, Organ), Derek Toa (Guitar), Will Cafaro (Bass), Jayme Tardiff (Drums), and Dana Osterling (Vocals, Cello).  The vocal harmonies achieved in Tumbleweed Company’s songs are nothing short of impressive.  Though different in style, I am reminded of fellow festival artist, My Pet Dragon.  Allow me to reassure you that you will get your dance on to this band.  Your feet will start taping right around that point that the smile takes you over and I encourage you, as Jeff said above, to give right in.

Oh, just take a look for yourself, it’s fun!

This will be great at the Electric Company!

Dana Osterling grew up in Fairport, New York, and we have her to thank for knowing what is up with Utica and encouraging the band to submit.  They’d like to extend their travel to Utica on a regular basis if you’d like to have them, so make sure to check out what you are being offered.  They’re looking forward to catching the Ryan Montbleu set and meeting the band, which gives me a good opportunity to drop a little knowledge that is little known to the public.  Most of the RM band is strongly rumored to be showing up for an epic jam at the Nail Creek Pub after their set!  But more on that later.  This is about why you’re going to like the Tumbleweed Company so much.

The last show the Tumbleweed Company rocked was a house party in Western Mass that sounds like it has a UMAF type vibe, “amazing food, and really good company.”  (Jeff)

I think you’ll enjoy their company!  You can nab their CD and t-shirts at the show to keep them close to your heart as you are missing their soulful sounds.

Get out to the Electric Company on Saturday from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. to catch them.  Check out the Greens Festival area while you are at it and get some greens on.

Take a second and check out the band on the web:

Tumbleweed Company Official
Tumbleweed Company on Facebook
Tumbleweed Company on Twitter

Tumbleweed Company on Myspace

Tumbleweed Company on Reverbnation

Get your tickets to the full weekend of events, including the Tumbleweed Company with just a couple of clicks!



Price Chopper Presents the 2011 Utica Greens Festival!

Price Chopper Presents the 2011 Utica Greens Festival!

If you’ve attended the Utica Music and Arts Festival in years past or are into the Facebook frenzy of promotion happening 24/7, then you’ve heard mention of this Utica Greens Festival.  I’d like to light that situation up for a moment because this year is going to be really big for Greens Fest!  Saturday, September 17th from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. you can wander your hungry and ware purchasing selves to Varick Street and head for the tent!  Price Chopper Grocery Stores are a presenting sponsor, and we are grateful to again be working with them on this project.

Carmel corn!

For starters, this part of the festival is your family friendly fun.  Kitty Glitter will be romping around the place making general fun wherever she lands.  You can learn more about that here in a separate post.  There is a stage with live music and for $10.00 you can purchase a ticket to sample many of the unique and delicious culinary items that are local to Utica.  Area restaurants will have the infamous Utica Greens dish available, which the Greens Fest is obviously named after.  It’s a good bet you will see things like Tomato Pie and Chicken Riggies, pusties and half moon cookies, Italian pastries in general like you only dream about.  Utica Coffee Roasters will be vending!  Much love to those people and their great coffee and message!  I know Fratello’s Pizzeria and Orapello’s Wood Fired Pizza is coming.  So is Mentolarro’s Cafe.  You will get to try out SmokeyNotes Foods if you haven’t already.  Click that link, Matt is a great friend of Varick Street and the musical community and the food is fantastic!  The Candy Corner will be representing their fine assortment of sweet treats to round out your palate.

Ree Love and Kimberly Chiro Howard Preston of the CNY Derby

Vendors will be around with nonedible items also.  Meyda Tiffany will have a booth of their exceptional work.  Chester’s Flower Shop will have a table, Loosen Up Massage Thereapy will help you release all of the lactic acid you built up in your muscles from the dancing Thursday and Friday nights, and Ramon Aiello will have space to showcase the truly amazing photography he does with and Fetish By Design Photography.  You’ve already seen some of Ray’s great work on this blog.  He’s one of the people behind the scenes keeping this festival running along smoothly, so show some love.  Other area artists will be peppered around as well, including MMB Inspiration Jewelry.

I’m not even close to done.  This year, as I said, things are huge.  Some of the best news is that the Roller Derby is coming! I’m quoting from the event page here “CNYRD will be on Varick St. hosting a special exhibition bout with two special teams created to show off the finer points of Utica. The Mean Greens will face off against the Chick Riggies to show off some awesome derby skills along with music, games and giveaways.”  The Mean Greens v. The Chick Riggies? Perfection!  Keep an eye here for more on that.  I will be speaking with some of the derby gang in no time flat.

Gotta double this up to get you as many chicks in skates as possible!

These two photos of derby are also by Ray-

We don’t think you’ve had enough fun even then, so we’re having a Zumba party! From the Zumba Street Bash event page:  “[organizers worked to] introduce ZUMBA and its dynamic music as part of this ANNUAL UMAF EVENT and dancing ZUMBA with reckless abandon on the Streets of Utica is going to be a blast.  Led by Kerry Daly, Lisa Lallier Murphy, Jeannie Borgia-Wolcott, the UTICA ZUMBA CREW from the SPOT – 1712 Whitesboro St. Utica – Sue and Travverse Crawford, Teoka Muhammad, and ELizabeth Zagorica.”

I told Kitty Glitter to pin that tail on extra tightly!

Come down to Greens Fest to get your daytime fun on!  Many more vendors to be announced in the coming weeks!  If you would like to be one (vend, friends!), please follow any of the Greens Festival links to for more information or contact me directly.   Your admission is free if you have one of the weekend passes and if you don’t, you can pay your $10.00 admission when you hit the gate at Varick Street.

Full list of vendors at Greens Fest:

Loosen Up Massage Therapy
SmokeyNote Foods
Mr. McGills
Kitty Glitter
Casey’s Deli
Pampered Chef
Skinography Ink
Candy Corner
Chester’s Flower Shop
National Brain Injury Foundation (NBIF)
Orapello’s Wood Fired Pizza
CNY Roller Derby
Meyda Lighting
Hand Candy Mittens
Utica Coffee Roasting Company
Healing Intentions
Gelston Castle Estate
Leaf Loaf & Ladle
Roma Sausage & Deli
Paesano’s Pizzeria
Flat Iron Pizza
Spy Ninja Designs
American Red Cross
Strangers Helping Strangers
Saranac Soda Booth
Radisson Hotel
New York Sash
Myoura’s Taste of Cambodia
Blub Blub Hookah Hub
Zeina’s Cafe
Romp and Stomp by D & S
Hotel Utica
O’Donnels Pub & Grill
Star Bakery
Steven Swan Humane Society


Artist Profile- Scott Danger Bravo

Artist Profile- Scott Danger Bravo

Scott “Danger” Bravo from Syracuse, NY would like you to think he is “a drunk that plays a little guitar,” but I am here to tell you that the talent is no joke.  This will be his third consecutive year with the UMAF and it caught his attention as a good way to dive into the CNY music scene.  He’s been through the area a few times at venues in the Mohawk Valley in the meanwhile, gathering steam.  I’m confident that anyone who catches one of his performances will walk away impressed.

Drinking in a restroom is economy of motion.

Some extremely beautiful acoustic guitar pours out of the soul and fingers of Scott Bravo.  He ranges from classical to jazz to funk to rock and frankly reminds me of Lindsay Buckingham’s style a good bit of the time, so there is some bluegrass in there also.  He is an artist creating, weaving textiles of sound, layer upon layer.  The instrumental songs he crafts are so interesting to the ear that the lack of a vocal is entirely inconsequential.  It would probably ruin it, and that’s a crazy thing to hear a singer tell you.  This music will free your mind and send it dancing.

Things that keep him coming back?  “The booze.  Great bars and great local beer…[the] Saranac Brewery, the Nail Creek Pub, and Hotel Utica are always fun.”  And the fans and friends he has made aren’t bad.  “NY’ers are generally friendly.”  A favorite memory from last year for Scott is “getting plowed with other musicians at Saranac Brewery.”  We can’t have him imbibing alone, now can we?

Ironically, his next show is at The Tramontane Cafe, which is a fantastic venue that serves not a drop of alcohol.  This will be a great show, and I highly encourage you to check both it and The Tram out.  Go to that place hungry, people.  The food!

Here is a clip of him at a past Tram performance, playing New York Smile:

Beautiful song!

Scott will be coming prepared to the festival this year with t-shirts and download cards with links to digital music.  If his music moves you, tell him so.

2010 UMAF at the Green Onion Pub, photo by Walter Romero (feature photo also by W. Romero)

Venue and time slots for Scott’s performances fest weekend will be forthcoming with enthusiasm.  My hunch is that he’ll be in the GOP again this year, but time will tell.  Anticipation is a turn on, so they say.

Meantime, check him out online:
Scott Bravo on Reverbnation

Buy some tickets to this festival, please!


Artist Profile- The Darling Vendetta

Artist Profile- The Darling Vendetta

“If The Queens of the Stone Age got together with Kings X and went to The Viper Room to see David Bowie, The Darling Vendetta would be the opening act.  It’s straight forward free range rock, with no extra filler or artificial by-products, and influenced by times when rock music was more concerned with the feeling, rather than the slickness of looks and production.”  Chris Cooley, The Darling Vendetta

First of all, that is freaking awesome!  Free range rock!

What can I say about The Darling Vendetta?  History in the regional music scene runs deep here.  Christian Lewandowski was the flutist and vocalist in the group Love Scene Clear which I am sure many, many people recall very fondly, myself included.  Influential sounds!  Dave Sned is an award winning acoustic singer/songwriter as well a drum instructor, and Chris Cooley has played guitar on the scene in bands for years and when he isn’t doing that, he’s behind a board mixing their sound.  Everybody who knows anybody knows the DV crew and with solid reason.  The band arose from some lose jamming that evolved into a gig opportunity over the Halloween season of 2009.  From there, things snowballed and the response was intense.  “Utica is a small enough town that most of the musicians know, or know of each other.  It makes for some interesting camaraderies and most of the musicians are truly supportive of each other.”

“We are definitely looking forward to the opportunity to showcase our music for a wider range of people that wouldn’t normally be out seeing bands.  Besides, we have to show all these other bands from out of town that these Utica boys can rock it too, don’t we?”  Yes, Chris, you do!  I do too!  Today, Utica, tomorrow the world!  Chris also told me he thinks the UMAF is an important event for Utica because it showcases original music that is happening here and steps away from the cover band scene that we all know is always alive and well in just about any city in the country you find yourself in.  We’ve got some solid cover bands, for sure, but to have original musicians be able to create and work near to the place they call home is a truly beautiful thing.  Something to be nurtured.

The Darling Vendetta have an appearance coming up at ARCStock, an outdoor event put on by the ARC in Wampsville and they’re excited to be able to be a part of an organization that is helping people.  I like to let you know when the music’s got a heart, what can I say?

The Darling Vendetta has a 5 song EP that will be available for purchase at their show at a friendly discount to you, music experiencer.  If you can’t wait, it’s also available on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.

Take a moment and check this out, live from The Electric Company.

I want you to keep an eye on the Friday night schedule at Sickenberger Lane because The Darling Vendetta are going to rock it, and details are forthcoming about exactly when.

The Darling Vendetta on Facebook

Buy your UMAF weekend pass for the shows!


Artist Profile- Brass Knuckle Intercourse

Artist Profile- Brass Knuckle Intercourse

Brass Knuckle Intercourse is an all star conglomeration of all things hard and heavy.  It is a twisted romp of theatrics delivered like a punch to the nose that has been thrashing Utica, NY and the surroundings for years now.  They rise in the evenings from the Electric Company and they will bust you up proper at the Utica Music and Arts Festival.  I am suggesting you get ready and get in there.  Original music, hard, fast, and relentless.  Something that sets BKI apart from the usual hard and heavy pack is that they dabble in some hip hop tinged hardcore right along with their metal and punk sounds.  It’s a well rounded soundtrack for a night with your closest crazed maniacs.  Toss in a costume or two, and we’re off!

Halloween show at the Electric Company 2010. I was in there, and it ROCKED!

The cast and crew of this gang are none other than St. Onge on lead vocals, Matt “Romper Stomper” Ossowski on lead guitar, production, and videography, the illustrious Mr. Zee on the bass and back up vocals, and Lenny Milano, Jr. on the kit.  You can expect to hear those names a lot while you are in town and chasing the links will give you some idea of the many talents of these folks.

Videography, you say?  Oh yeah.  I invite you to browse around the youtube for a multitude of videos and short films (Halloween promo for the show pictured above is a must!), but for now, check this.  Self described Utica Street Rock- full volume.

That’s your Hotel Utica, people.  Multimedia grassroots cross promotion in action.  Mr. Lewandowski from The Darling Vendetta guest spot.  You can see them at the festival also!  What a coincidence.

It’s worth saying that the members of the band are heavily involved in the community…most of them are up to their elbows in the festival in one way or another, either planning and organizing it, playing in it, photographing it, and most certainly promoting it.  These crazy costumed people are very invested in the space in which they spend their time.  The band itself plays a good number of charity shows also.  Heavy with heart from the roots up!  East Utica represent!

BKI’s CD, Cradle to the Grave, is in progress and with any luck it will be available for purchase festival weekend!

We’re lucky to have Brass Knuckle Intercourse!  Get in Sickenburger Lane  on Thursday, September 15th and get some!   “We are bringing in some special guests to come jam/rap (hint hint) with us. ”  That is the word on the street and to me, that smells like Belikos.  Anything could happen, people, this is Utica.  It’s like Vegas, just colder.


what they said!

BKI in cyberland:
BKI on Facebook
BKI on Reverbnation

Buy some tickets!


Artist Profile- The Moho Collective

Artist Profile- The Moho Collective

The Moho Collective could be described simply as a three person instrumental fusion group.  That would be kind of a weak description, but fairly accurate.  At least, it would be if these three things in the band were human beings.  I, however, have my doubts about this, and that has to be mentioned right off the bat.  These beings are not people.  They were clearly constructed by some musical mad scientist in a basement somewhere purely to bend your mind out of joint and improve the overall flow of your life energy.  Utica loves this band.  Rochester loves this band.  They just wrapped an east coast tour, and I’d venture to guess every stop they made, people loved this band.

All theatrics aside, because Moho needs none of them, this is extremely thoughtful music.  It’s instrumental, so I am not saying the lyrics are thoughtful, but that the musicians are thinking the entire time they are playing.  It’s heady.  There are only three of them, and live, they will play something like 15 instruments for you.  Often more than one per person at a time.  They’ll switch it up in the middle of a song.  No, not just the tempo, the instruments they’re playing.  Kurt Johnson, the guitarist, plays a lap steel, several styles of guitars one of which is a slide, and an assortment of pedals and amp heads that’s impressive.  Justin Rister primarily plays the bass, switching between an electric and a giant upright, but also is known to shake and rattle whatever is around to contribute.  Ryan Barclay, the drummer, plays the drums, some sort of gong, controls whatever samples may be being used, and the didgeridoo.  I watched him change out cymbals on his kit while he was keeping time on the high hat.  You see what I’m saying?  Why would I lie to you?

The sound is one part shred, one part blues, a dash of meditation and chi clearing (oh, that sounding bell!), and a little chakra alignment.  It’s progressive, shamanistic trance inducing auxiliary percussion laden free jazz madness.  Just when you’re sure the floating sounds are carrying you away, Moho grounds you with a stomp of one of Johnson’s pedals and a screaming blues rift.  It’s nasty!  Every member of this band is very percussive minded.  Did I say it wasn’t normal?

So there’s all that.  Then, they sweeten the deal by  being extremely hard working and unpretentious musicians and the cherry on top is that they truly love Utica.  I know this, because they talk about it almost as much as I do.  Ok, perhaps not quite.  But last year after the fest, they penned a blog of crazy love to the 315 and the Saranac Brewery that included a vignette about the brewery tour and the beers produced.  After rocking the Green Onion Pub their first year with the fest, The Moho boys have been back every opportunity they get playing a few well loved venues.  We had them at Mardi Gras Utica (which is where they first blew my mind), they’ve been at The Other Side and Cafe Domenico, and I’m fairly sure they’ve done their tour of most of the Varick Street venues as well by now.  If not, start booking them!  Uptown is all over it and is showing you up!

Check out a little promo slice from the CD Release show in Utica 4/29/11:

AND, you can get a pint glass with their name on it!  I know, cause there is one on my desk this very moment as I write this (if only there was something *in* it).  I  had the pleasure of some mid-day meditation of the Moho persuasion at the Hochstein at High Falls lunch time concert series last week.  Please and thank you! Come get your ish!  Bring some cash!  They take cards, too.  Nobody is screwing around here, they need to put some gas in that van; they’ve got a lot of places to go!  They’ll have the self titled disc with them and more fun random merch than you can stuff into your cargo pockets and purses.

Catch the Moho fever this time around or do not complain to me later that you don’t know what I’m talking about.  And I”ll hear you, you know I will.  Full venue and time details coming soon.

Think links!

Moho on MySpace
The Moho Collective Blog and Videos
The Moho Collective on You Tube
Moho on Reverb Nation
Moho on Pure Volume
The Moho Collective Official Website

If you want to book this band, and I know that you do, you can get in touch with Greg Jackson of SbN Studios -he can be reached at


Artist Profile- Belikos

Artist Profile- Belikos

Begin to fan the burgeoning flames of excitement, festival goers.  Belikos from New York City is heading back upstate to their 4th year at the UMAF!  Fresh off a live recording at The Electric Company on July 8th, the band is as excited as the fans to exchange some massive energy inside the EC.  They are headlining both Friday and Saturday with shows at 12:00 midnight and it will be a packed house on both occasions!

The fest’s relationship with this band  is one of my favorite Cinderella Stories in our history because it’s a great illustration of what the whole thing is about.  Since their first year with us, Belikos and Utica were a match and they return frequently to partake of both the show scene and the local culture as well.   As I understand it, they are on life contract with our festival, per Zee, illustrious owner of the Electric Company.  “Obviously we love the EC, it’s our home away from home and Zee is like our crazy uncle…Love Voss’, Nail Creek (I mean, where else can you get a side of Utica Club with dinner!), the brewery, and the list goes on and on…we just love Utica!” -Keith Reed (bass).   Belikos is family returning to visit you, and a talented family it is!

I expect you to be familiar with this band, but if you’re not, I’ll attempt to bring you up to speed.  Belikos is (excerpt from their fb page, in their words): Shane Maux – vocals, fancy footwork; Aaron Orr – vocals, acrobatics;Keith Reed – Bass, fabulous hair; Ethan Hampton – Guitar, vocals, assless chaps; Justin Hampton – Drums, stoic stone face.

How’s it sound?  You’ve got some very high energy, talented word smith spitting and a bounce in the groove you’d expect from a hip hop fusion group of high caliber, but where Belikos takes an interesting turn is what this happens over.  The music behind the mix of singing and rapping often meshes moments of psychedelic funk with the barely restrained energy of the power pop punk that forefronted the movement…all in the same 5 or 6 minutes and without a stutter.  The live band is kicking at all times.  Incubus meets Kravitz meets Linkin Park and the Chili Peppers.  Uncanned awesomeness bursting down your eardrums.  Call security.

Wild times in store to kick Fall off right!  And, they expect to have copies of the live CD available for purchase by then!  I know I will be picking one of those pieces of history up and bringing it home with me for posterity.

Do not miss the shows Friday and Saturday night at 12:00 midnight at The Electric Company!  Get on up!

Another great photo by Ray!

Get ’em on the web:

Belikos on Facebook

Belikos Official