On Stage: Youth is served at Flash Music Challenge

Eight local bands to battle at Kennett venue, Sat. & Sun.

By Denny DyroffCorrespondent, The Times


The Floats are among eight local bands taking part in the “The Summer Music Challenge — Battle of the Bands” at The Flash in Kennett this weekend.

Many of the area’s music venues are taking a little break over the Independence Day holiday but not The Flash.

The Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, www.kennettflash.org) is going full tilt on July 5 and 6 with “The Summer Music Challenge — Battle of the Bands.” Eight bands will be vying for the title. Three from the preliminary round on June 5 will advance to the finals on July 6.

On Saturday, the doors will open at 4:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door or on line at a cost of $8. There will be limited seating and all seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. There will also be standing room.

Each band gets to play a 15-minute set with the goal of impressing the judges and audience enough to get an invitation to the next round. Music will start at 5 p.m. with .

Lower the Standard will perform at 5:30 p.m. followed by The Absolute Sky (6 p.m.), The Dream Catchers (6:45 p.m.), The Floats (7:15 p.m.), Vinyl Artifacts (7:45 p.m.), The Young (8:15 p.m.), Skugg (8:45 p.m.) and Three for Five (9:15 p.m.) There will 30-minute intermissions at 6:15 and 8 p.m.


Matt and Marissa are among the eight bands competing this weekend at The Flash in Kennett Square.

On July 6, the doors will open at 1:30 p.m. and the music will start at 2 p.m. with each band performing a 30-minute set. At the conclusion of the three acts’ performances, the grand winner will be announced.

The various bands feature many young musicians from all around Chester County but the school with the most musicians in the event is Kennett High. Skugg and Three for Five have a number of Kennett students and grads, including Bryan Moriarity who is a member of both bands.

“Skugg is Liam Warren on guitars and vocals, Miles Wistar on drums and me on bass,” said Moriarity, a Kennett grad who is heading to Penn State in the fall. “We had been jamming together but were in different bands. About three months ago, we started making our own music.

“Liam came up with the name Skugg. It has no real meaning. But, we do have a unique sound. We’re influenced by funk and by bands like Cream and Queen. You could say that we play heavy punk rock.”

1979693_634717146607493_8264529498113601358_nIn Three for Five, Moriarity plays trombone along with Jeff Hauptschein. The band’s huge line-up also features Jason Kim on bass, Sanjay Yeleswarm on trumpet,  Jake Zeneszk on guitar, Jack Weber on drums, Matt Madonna on vocals and Toni Adetayo, P.J. O’Sullivan and Joey Kitching on saxophones.

“Three for Five has been together a little over a year and we’ve played a lot of shows already,” said Kim, a Kennett grad who now attends Northeastern University. “We have a lot of instruments and a ska sound. But, I wouldn’t really consider us as a ska band. It’s more punk with horns.”

The Floats are a family affair with a pair of brothers — Matt Subers (guitar, backup vocals) and Chris Subers (drums) — and a cousin Sean Grahn (bass). Rounding out the quarter is lead vocalist Aubrey DeMedio.

The family vibe came naturally for the Subers. Their mother Robin Saddic Subers and their aunt Kim Saddic Makki had a family vibe going when they were top-flight athletes at West Chester Henderson a few years back.

“Me and my brother started playing together about five years ago and Sean joined us a year later,” said Matt Subers, who will be a senior at Bishop Shanahan in the fall.

“We were doing an open mic at Chaplin’s in Spring City about three years ago. Aubrey was doing karaoke that night so she joined us. She started out as a guest singer and now she’s our lead singer.

“We play a bunch of styles from classic rock to modern pop. Our main influences are the Red Hot Chili Pepppers, the Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, Evanesence, the Black Keys and Rush. One of our recent shows was at the St. Joseph’s Carnival in Downingtown a few weeks ago.”

Matt & Marissa hail from Denver. But, it’s but not the Denver in the Rocky Mountains — it’s the Denver just outside Reading. The acoustic duo features Marissa Cutts on vocals, rhythm guitar and ukulele and Matt Anderson on lead guitar and occasional vocals.

They joined together musically in December 2012 and began playing cover versions of rock classics. Matt & Marissa’s list of influences includes the Beatles, Amy Winehouse, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, John Mayer and Dawes.

With the Dream Catchers, if you do an internet search for a band with that name, you’ll find an Australian trio that plays Celtic folk, an acoustic pop band from Iceland and a retro band from Romania. You won’t find the trio known as the Dream Catchers that will be at The Flash this weekend.

This version of the Dream Catchers is a trio of  young musicians from southern Chester County — Ryan Dowdall on guitar and lead vocals, his brother Kevin Dowdall on drums and Ben Berdulay on bass.

“I just graduated from Avon Grove,” said Ryan Dowdall. “My brother still goes to Avon Grove and Ben is from Oxford. We’ve been together for a little while now.  Recently, we won another battle of the bands and got some studio time. So, we’ll go for an EP soon.

“Our band is a total ’70’s band. The music we love is all from the 1970s. Aerosmith, Tom Petty and the Black Crowes are big influences. With my guitar influence, it’s Jeff Beck. My brother is a natural drummer and John Bonham is his favorite drummer.”

Lower the Standard is another band featuring students from Kennett High and Unionville High — Jack Duncan on guitar and vocals, Shawn O’Donnell on guitar and vocals, Steven Stewart on bass and Alec Weaver on drums.

“We started in December last year,” said O’Donnell. “Jack went to my school (Unionville) so I knew him from there. Steven played drums in another band and Alec had the same music teacher as me.

“We’ve played 15 gigs since we started — Newark, West Chester and some Philly shows. I’d describe our music as indie-pop-punk. Bands we like a lot are Say Anything, Blink 182, Brand New Day and Modern Baseball.”

The Absolute Sky is a musical project by Branden Bauer.  According to Bauer, he writes the songs and The Absolute Sky is “a rotating cast of amazing musicians and friends of mine.”

The Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter-guitarist recently released The Absolute Sky’s debut album “Forever, Just Like This.”

The Flash will also present a show on Sunday night — an ‘Open Mic” night featuring Sam Kwietniak. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the music is slated to start at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 and there is a $4 BYOB charge.

On July 9, The Flash will host “Teen Night” — a summer dance party and concert featuring DJ J. Gillie and Kevin McCove, two of the area’s top young hip hop/R & B artists. Showtime is7 p.m. and tickets are $16 in advance and $20 day of show.

July 9 is also the date of another area show — a show with an unusual format that will be held at Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547,www.burlapandbean.com).


Micha Boyett and Catherine Prewitt are the co-headliners for unique words and music performance, July 9 at Burlap & Bean in Newtown.

Micha Boyett and Catherine Prewitt are the co-headliners for the free show that lists a starting time of 7 p.m.

“We’re calling it ‘A night of Music and Words,’” said Boyett, during a phone interview this week. “It’s a combination of a concert and a book reading, which is pretty unusual. I’m excited to be a part of it.

“Catherine will come on first and play a few songs. Then, I’ll come onstage. I’ll probably reads a chapter from my book ‘Found’ — maybe one about my struggle with faith — and then have a Q&A session. After that, Catherine will come back and play more songs.”

The full title of Boyett’s new book is “Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer.”

Boyett lived in Devon for a number of years — close to Conestoga High, her husband Chris Hohorst’s alma mater.

“I got a degree in English at Hardin-Simmons and then a MFA in poetry at Syracuse University,” said Boyett. “While I was in Syracuse, I got involved with Young Life which is a Christian ministry that works with kids. When I finished my masters’ degree, I wanted to write and to keep working with high school students.

“We moved to Philly when my husband got a job there. That’s when my book started. It’s about the struggle of having spiritual life along with motherhood. It’s a memoir about trying to rediscover prayer — what it means to have a spiritual life when you have no time.

“I had my first child in Philly. As a mother, I was staying at home full-time. It was really hard to know who I was. It was hard to make sense of it. I wanted to make that mundane time into something useful. I wanted to learn how to live a more contemplative life.”

Boyett completed the book once she moved from the East Coast to San Francisco. “Found” came out in April of this year.

“Writing about motherhood has given me a new perspective — a new platform,” said Boyett.

Prewitt, a Philadelphia-based folk singer and songwriter, also creates works that have her Christian faith in their DNA — and also was a writing major in college.

“I started writing in college when I was majoring in creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania,” said Prewitt, during a phone interview earlier this week. ‘Most of my work in music grew out of writing. I’m always going to be a writer. I’m taking poetry classes right now.

“When I graduated from college in 2009, I started taking songwriting more seriously. I did a year-long fellowship focused on Christian theology at the Trinity Forum Academy on Maryland’s on the Eastern Shore. I was also writing songs and studying music theory.

“I moved back to Philadelphia with all new songs. I began playing shows last summer and throughout the fall. I was playing the Tin Angel, World Café Live and The Fire. Most of the time, I play solo — just me and my guitar. Every now and then, I’ll play with a pianist and a cellist.”

Prewitt recently released a five-song EP titled “Chanticleer, Certain Hope.”

The title is taken from Chanticleer, an estate with a awesome garden in Wayne that is open to the public.

“I wrote a lot of the songs on the EP there at Chanticleer,” said Prewitt. “My influences include Sufjan Stevens, Paul Simon and Patty Griffin. But, I don’t really think of myself as a songwriter. I’m a poet and a vocalist who makes music.”

Also on July 9, the World Café Live at the Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 302- 994-1400, www.queen.worldcafelive.com) will present a concert by Marshall Crenshaw and the Bottle Rockets at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Crenshaw, who performed at the Flash back in May, tours solo most of the time but now and then performs shows with a full band.

“I play shows occasionally with the band the Bottle Rockets,” said Crenshaw, during a recent phone interview from his home in upstate New York. “More often, it’s just me by myself.”

Crenshaw, who has established a reputation as a talented singer-songwriter, rarely tours and only does a handful of live dates each year.  His latest endeavor is a subscription-only service that addresses the recent changes in the music business by cutting out the middle man (the record company) and distributing new recordings directly to fans.

On July 3, the Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will once again host Splintered Sunlight. The show by the popular area Grateful Dead tribute band will start at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.


On Sunday, 10 of the world’s top competitive drum and bugle corps will be appearing at PPL Park (in Chester for the “Drum Corps: An American Tradition.”

On July 6, 10 of the world’s top competitive drum and bugle corps will be appearing at PPL Park (1 Stadium Drive, Chester) for the “Drum Corps: An American Tradition” event. This is the region’s first appearance by these groups which hail from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina and Massachusetts.

“Drum Corps: An American Tradition” begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 forValue Reserved, $35 for Reserved, $55 for Premium Reserved and $85 for exclusive VIP seating. Tickets are available online at www.yea.org/tickets and at the box office the day of the event. For more information, call (877) 512-TUBA.

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