On Stage: Sip and Savor at The Flash

Bill Rose, the ‘other” Knopfler and Los Lobos warm up November

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times


The Serafin String Quartet will perform Sip and Savor with the Serafins, Nov. 5 at The Flash in Kennett Square.

Something out of the ordinary will be taking place next week at Kennett Square’s favorite music venue.

The Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) is known mostly for presenting rock bands and folk acts. On November 5, the venue is going in a completely different direction.

Billed as “Sip and Savor with the Serafins,” the evening’s event features the Serafin String Quartet presenting a collage concert titled “Nordic Journey.”  The Serafin String Quartet includes Kate Ransom and Lisa Vaupel (violins), Esme Allen-Creighton (viola) and Lawrence Stomberg (cello).

“We do between 30 and 40 concerts a year,” said Allen-Creighton, during a phone interview Tuesday evening. “Lately, we’ve been doing a lot more interactive concerts which include poetry and verbal interaction with the audience. That’s what we’re doing at The Flash.

“It will be music, poetry and drama combined based on the works of Edvard Grieg. He’s a Norwegian composer who wrote the ‘Peer Gynt Suite.’ He was friends with Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.

“Grieg wrote music for this play by Ibsen (‘Peer Gynt’) and the very next year, he wrote the string quartet that we’re playing in this show. We’re using sections of poetry from ‘Peer Gynt’ and weaving them in with the music. We’ll pick apart pieces of the music which invoke a certain image. Sometime, we’ll loop those and read poetry over the top.

“It’s our interpretation of the piece — verbal and literary as well as musical. Grieg was very passionate with his music — very nationalistic and definitely over the top. His work was very evocative in a cinematic way with lots of imagery — picture painting that happens in the music.

“It’s interesting because the piece itself is very psychological. It’s a man in search of himself and the obstacles are more inward than outward. Some of the material ages over the course of the piece. The music mirrors the coming of the realization of Peer Gynt.”

Tickets for the show are $15 in advance and $18 day of show. On October 31, The Flash will host The Rose Project with Jonathan Gibson opening and the show on November 1 will feature the Nik Everett Band and opening act dain.


Bill Rose and the Rose Project hits The Flash, Oct. 31.

The Rose Project is the latest musical endeavor by Bill Rose, a Kennett Square resident and world traveler.

“I just came back from living two years in Nicaragua,” said Rose, during a phone interview Monday. “I was down there setting up a business — building a medical facility and hiring locals to staff the clinic. I was also bringing down medical mission teams from the United States to do outreach projects.

“It’s up-and-running now and I left Nicaragua in August. I have a masters’ degree in international development. Earlier, I was studying in Uganda. Coming back here, I was still involved.

“I’ve been working with projects including the Chester County Intermediate Unit for after-school programs for kids. Another is the Garage Community and Youth Center in Kennett Square which provides guidance and support for area youth.”

Rose also put together a band once he got back to Chester County.

“The music has been around for awhile,” said Rose, who was born and raised in Johnstown. “When I was 23, I was working in the corporate world in L.A. but I always had a passion for music. I moved back to Pittsburgh and had a band called Somerhill.

“When the band broke up, I moved to the Philly area. My fiancé then — who is now my wife — was an undergrad at West Chester University studying social work. We live in Kennett Square now. I love the small town feel. And, the town initially embraced my music. When The Flash opened in 2008, I was one of the first acts to play there.

“I started out playing solo — all the songs I collected from travelling abroad in Germany and Venezuela. I put the songs to guitar, met folks and formed a band. The group we have now is so much fun — so positive.”

The Rose Project features Al Hahn on bass, Dave Walker on lead guitar, Steve Kogut on drums and Rose on acoustic guitar, electric guitar and vocals.

“Al and I had played together before I went to Nicaragua,” said Rose. “This group has been together since the end of August. Our first gig was at this year’s Mushroom Festival.

“We started doing work in the studio with the new group. Al studied music at Berklee and he has a full studio at his house in Landenburg. It’s a fun group. It’s really cool to have a band with a family feel.”

Back in 1965, there was a regional hit song by the Philadelphia soul band the Volcanos called “Storm Warning”.

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Powerful vocalist Storm Large blows into the World Cafe at The Queen in Wilmington, Oct. 30.

That tune would be an appropriate song to play in the area near the World Café Live at the Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 302- 994-1400, www.queen.worldcafelive.com) on the evening of October 30. It would alert music fans that there is a large storm on its way — Storm Large.

The Queen is hosting a concert by Storm Large (which is her real name), one of the most powerful and inventive singers around. Large is a singer, a songwriter, an actress and an author. She has released eight albums in the last nine years.

She was one of the top contestants on the TV show “Rock Star: Supernova” in 2006. And, she is one of the vocalists in the popular band Pink Martini. Large is now on the road with her own band touring in support of her new album “Le Bonheur.”

“I still perform with Pink Martini but lately I’ve been mostly touring with my band,” said Large, during a phone interview Monday afternoon. “A few years ago, China Forbes (Pink Martini’s main vocalist) had polyps on her throat and had to stop singing for a month.

“Thomas Lauderdale (Pink Martini’s leader) asked me to fill in. I didn’t want to do it but he kept pushing me. So, finally I agreed. I had four days to learn 10 songs in five languages for four shows at the Kennedy Center. I was terrified. I ended up touring with them for the entire year.

“I actually started my solo career 23 years ago. I had a pretty good career before ‘Rock Star: Supernova.’ I was already a theatrical cabaret performer but the TV show changed everything. The show was all rock and people thought Storm is a rocker. But, fans I got from that show are not disappointed with my current show. I still do some rock.”

Her album “Le Bonheur” is about as diverse as an album can be.

It includes songs by Rodgers and Hart (“The Lady Is a Tramp”), Black Sabbath (“N.I.B.”), Cole Porter (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “It’s All Right With Me”), the Righteous Brothers (“Unchained Melody”), Tom Waits (“Saving All My Love For You”), Jacques Brel (“Ne me quitte pas”), the Von Trapps (“Stand Up For Me”), Randy Newman (“I Think It’s Going To Rain Today”) and Lou Reed (“Satellite of Love”).

“It’s all different flavors of love songs,” said Large. “I grew up with punk rock. Then, Public Enemy happened and I included that. Then, there was influence by Metallica. I’ve had a lot of different influences. ‘Satellite of Love’ stands out to me for Lou Reed who was known as a hipster, heroin addict and cynic. This song was a celebration of sweet exuberance — Lou’s lone hopeful song.

“I put Jacques Brel’s song in later. ‘It’s All Right With Me’ came even later because I wanted to add some standards. ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ came quite a while back. That was the foundation for my treatment of the classics. To me, classics aren’t sacred ground.”

“My live shows are all over the place too. I play music and I talk about the music and other things. I usually do a two-hour set and there is more music than talking.”

Tickets for Storm Large’s show are $15.


David Knopfler, formerly of Dire Straits, and younger brother of Mark, performs at the Sellersville Theater, Nov. 2.

Other acts slated for the next week at the Queen are the Big Jangle Halloween Show and Billy Penn Burger on October 31, David Knopfler on November 1 and Hoots and Hellmouth on November 5.

Knopfler, who will also play the Sellersville Theatre on November 2, is a British musician who has been playing guitar since his pre-teen days. Later, he gained international stardom as one of the guitarists — along with his older brother Mark Knopfler — in the English band Dire Straits.

“I was born in Glasgow and then our family moved to Newcastle-on-Tyne,” said Knopfler, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “Later, I gravitated to London to join my brother Mark, who was four years older.

“He was a lecturer in London and I was in southeast London working as a social worker. We formed the band and when it was time to give up our day jobs, I was the first to go. Mark was the last one. He was dragged to the altar. We were gung-ho. He was older and had more sense.”

But, the decision to pursue a career in rock music proved to be a judicious one for the Knopfler brothers. Dire Straits became one of the most commercially successful bands in the world and sold more than 120 million albums. The band won a slew of music awards including four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards.

David Knopfler left Dire Straits in 1980 and began his solo career. His first release on his own was an album in 1983 titled “Release.” It included a number of songs co-written by Knopfler and his friend Harry Bogdanovs.

“Harry and I started writing together in 1983 and we’re still working together,” said Knopfler. “I’m happy with the way my solo career has gone. It’s nice. I think I’m getting better as I go. A lot of guys go out and re-circulate their hits. Lots of artists are content to just recycle things.

“I’ve carried on making solo albums and continued making new music. I sell my concerts on the fact that I’m making new music. It’s a little harder but it works for me. I’ve got absolute freedom and 14 or 15 albums behind me. I’m loving it.

“And, when I’m playing solo, I have even more freedom. I don’t have to worry about sticking with band arrangements. I can even change things in the middle of a song. I do perform sometimes with a four-piece and I’ll play acoustic and electric guitar. When I’m solo, it’s only on acoustic guitar.”

Knopfler’s three most recent albums were a live album from Germany in 2013, an acoustic album with Bogdanovs in 2011 and an anthology album in 2009. The two LPs prior to that were “Songs for the Siren” in 2006 and “Ship of Dreams” in 2004.

“The album in 2013 was an off-the-deck mix of a live show,” said Knopfler. “That album was only put out so that we’d have something to sell on tour. My last real proper albums were ‘Songs for the Siren’ and ‘Ship of Dreams.’

“I have a lot of songs built up for the next album — over 100, maybe 200. I’m thinking about doing a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to make it. If I do that, I might have a new album out by next spring. It would be a songwriter’s album — whatever each song requires.

“My live shows now are a mix of unrecorded songs — two or three non-album tracks — along with songs from older albums. The main thing is that it stays fresh. I don’t like to play it safe.”

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Glitch Mob brings its electronic dance music to the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Oct. 31.

Another music act that never plays it safe is the Glitch Mob. The trio’s music might even veer in a whole new direction in the middle of a song while it’s being played live. On October 31, the L.A.-based group brings its unique blend of EDM (electronic dance music) and rock to the Electric Factory (427 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 215-627-1332, www.electricfactory.info).

The Glitch Mob, which includes Justin Boreta, Ed Ma and Joshua Maye,  has its own style that incorporates the best of a variety of genres including EDM, industrial, rock, bass, hip-hop, trap and even psychedelic.

“We’ll play big EDM festivals but we also have played Austin City Limits,” said Boreta, during a phone interview Wednesday evening. “We’re happy that we can be at a place where we can combine both rock and EDM.”

According to the group’s press release — “A physical representation of the music named ‘The Blade’ joins The Glitch Mob on stage as custom-built technology allows the band to trigger samples in real-time and play them like live riffs, infusing their electronic music performance with the energy and drama of a live rock show.”

“The Blade is like a living, breathing organism — a live stage performance that’s designed to play what we want with our music,” said Boreta. “To make it, we collaborated with Martin Phillips of Bionic League. He’s the Michael Jordan of stage design. Martin is the one who is responsible for the Daft Punk Pyramid (a famous set-piece covered in lights and video screen).

“Getting to collaborate with him was a dream come true. We now have the drama of a live rock show while still being totally electronic. We hit drums and we head bang but it’s pure electronic sound — all with electronic triggers.

“The physical structure of the Blade stays the same but we make updates every day. We have a guy who is our backline operator who manages the Blade. He can even edit the software while we’re playing. Everything is custom-built and starts with Ableton (a software music sequencer and digital audio workstation).

“We did this out of necessity. In the early days before EDM exploded in the States, we were DJ’ing individually with laptops. We got together as a DJ trio. We wanted to write our own music and perform it onstage but there wasn’t anything out there to do what we wanted to do.

“There are glitches at times with the Blade. We even have an audio redundancy switch in case there are problems with the main program. It’s risky — but it’s worth it. Everything we use now is custom-made. We travel with a 53-foot semi packed to the brim. The Blade is physically very large — and we bring a big sound system.”

The Glitch Mob’s “Halloween Show” at the Electric Factory starts at 9 p.m. with opening acts The M Machine and Chrome Sparks. Tickets are $33.95.

los lobos 2

Los Lobos brings an acoustic, traditional set to the Kimmel Center, Nov. 2.

Los Lobos have been treating fans to their distinct blend of American rock and Mexican folkloric music for 40 years and are still going strong. On November 2, they return to the area for a show at the Kimmel Center (Broad and Spruce streets, Philadelphia, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org). The concert, which is part of the Kimmel Center’s New Philly ¡En Vivo! Concert Series, will begin at 2 p.m.

Los Lobos’ current tour is a celebration of the band’s 40th anniversary and of the 25th anniversary of the group’s groundbreaking “La Pistola y El Corazon” album. The all-acoustic performance focuses primarily on songs from “La Pistola y El Corazon” and also features new works from their latest album release “Disconnected in New York City.”

The group, which features David Hidalgo, Louie Pérez, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano, and Steve Berlin, has released 20 albums and contributed to countless soundtracks. “La Pistola y El Corazon” was the band’s album just prior to its huge spike in popularity with its recording of the title track from the film “La Bamba.

When the group first started, it used the name Los Lobos del Este (de Los Angeles), which meant “The Wolves of the East (of Los Angeles).” After awhile, the name was shortened to Los Lobos (“The Wolves”).

Los Lobos play music in a variety of styles including folk, rock, R&B and Tex-Mex along with traditional Mexican music such as cumbia and norteños. The Mexican flavors will be on display at this weekend’s show.

“It’s kind of amazing that we’ve been around for 40 years already,” said Berlin, during a phone interview Tuesday evening.

When asked what the reason was for the band’s longevity, Berlin replied, “Not thinking about how long it’s been.

“We get along pretty well. We like the music we make. And, no-one has unfulfilled musical aspirations. We can do what we want outside the band and we’ve all had different side projects.”

Another reason could be the band’s diversity and adaptability.

“This tour, we’re doing something different,” said Berlin, who grew up in nearby Abington and is the only band member not from East L.A. and not of Mexican descent. “We’re doing an acoustic tour and playing folkloric music. Something like this clears the mind.

“It’s all in Spanish. There are no amps on stage and no electric instruments. It’s pretty hardcore. It just seemed like it was time to do this because it’s our 40th anniversary tour. We’re doing about 80 per cent of ‘La Pistola.” A lot of the songs are from ’73-’79 when the band was doing a lot of Mexican music.

“We’re also playing ‘Mariachi Suite,’ which we recorded for the film ‘Desperado.” People ask for some of the norteño which we do every night — but it’s different. It’s hard not to like this — unless you don’t like folkloric. A lot of it is just the original four guys doing it the way they used to.

“This is a five-week tour which is about as long as we like to go out. We did quite a lot of touring behind our last album ‘Disconnected in New York City.’ It was a lot of fun. It’s nice to get onstage and not have your ears hurt.”

There is good news for fans wanting a new album of original material.

“We going to go into the studio in late January,” said Berlin, the band’s sax player. “The idea is to get something out for next summer. It is challenging to come up with new material. We’ve had so many albums that it’s now hard to come up with something that isn’t similar to what we’ve done before. And, we’re our harshest critics.”

Tickets for the Los Lobos concert are $45 and $55.

Another group that plays music with a family feel is the Cabin Dogs — especially because the two main members are brothers. The band had its origin as the Kwait Brothers Band and featured Rob and Rich Kwait.

On November 1, the Cabin Dogs will perform at Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547, www.burlapandbean.com). Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $10.

“It started back around 1998,” said Rob Kwait, during a phone interview Wednesday evening. “We were living in different cities at the time. I was in Ithaca, New York and he was in Philly. There was a lot of driving back and forth. The mix of the two environments and all the music in between was a source of inspiration.

“We got together and compared notes and realized that we could write good songs together. I moved back to Philly and we started playing together. Then, we rented a house in Lake Placid, bought a four-track recorder and recorded about 20 demos. That got us rolling.”

The Kwait Brothers Band released its second album “Outland Disco” in 2002.

“That was when we started playing a lot of live gigs at clubs all around the Philadelphia area,” said Kwait. “We were a little more bluegrass in the beginning because I had taken up banjo. Then, we combined it with a country disco element and made a groovy, danceable album.

“In 2004, we got a slot at the Newport Folk Festival as the Kwait Brothers Band and then played there again in 2006 as Cabin Dogs. There was no change in personnel between the Kwait Brothers Band and Cabin Dogs.

“The name change coincided with the ‘Electric Cabin’ album in 2006. That album had a big Woodstock element to it. We wrote a lot of songs in the Woodstock area and recorded it up there. Our most recent album is ‘Midnight Trail’ and we did most of that one in our home studio.

“With every record, we came out with a little more of our own sound while keeping the elements of our previous records. We developed our signature sound. It draws on American music from the early ’70s — country blues and American songbook. It’s a timeless sound.”

Other shows this week at Burlap & Bean will be Darlingside and Tall Heights on October 30 and Vilebred and Future Thieves on October 31.

Many musicians talk about how music brings about joy. For singer/songwriter Lily Mae, her music was brought about by joy — J.O.Y. (Jenny Owen Youngs).

Lily Mae, who has a show on November 5 at the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, philly.worldcafelive.com), credits her career as a performer to her exposure to the music of Jenny Owen Youngs, a singer-songwriter from North Jersey whose debut album was released in 2005.

“Both my parents are musicians so I’ve been around music my whole life,” said Lily Mae, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from her home in central Bucks County. “My mom — Cathy Block — is a guitarist, music teacher and songwriter. My dad — Tony Oppenheim — is a professional bass player.

“When I was 15, I found Jenny Owen Youngs. As much as I had been around music, I wasn’t aware of the whole singer-songwriter thing. Prior to that, I was obsessed with musical theater. I listened to soundtracks all the time — soundtracks and Joni Mitchell.

“Joni Mitchell has always been a big influence. My mom plays guitar and she played a lot of Joni Mitchell’s music at home. But, finding the music of Jenny Owen Youngs changed my life. Her music is so amazing. I reached out to her and she’s been very supportive. I’ve even opened for her at some of her shows.”

Lily Mae graduated from Solebury School and then opted to pursue a career in music rather than attend college.

“I started playing professionally when I was 16,” said Lily Mae. “I learned guitar and played Jenny Owen Youngs songs. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to go to London and record with Steve Brown, who was the producer of Laura Mvula’s latest album.

“We did a few tracks so that we had something to shop around. I was in London for a week in May and turned 18 there. I’ll be going back over soon to record some more tracks. I released an EP earlier that I made when I was 16. It was recorded at my dad’s home studio.

“I’m writing all the time. I use voice apps on my phone. Sometimes, a verse comes first or it could be a melody. Songs come to me in a lot of different ways. When I make the album, it will be with a full band. The most important thing is to write a song that can be played solo. A band adds colors. It’s going to be fun.”

Lily Mae will open for Dry the River. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are priced at $15.

Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will present Scary Carays and the Skeets on October 31 and then host Nicole Zell’s “CD Release Party” on November 1.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will have a “Music-Magic-Comedy Night” on October 30 with Lucas Simmons, Captain Swirly and Steal Your Face.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) presents Splintered Sunlight on October 30, Scythian and Bare Knuckle Boxers on October 31 and “Beatles’ Albums Live featuring Broadway performers from ‘Rain,’ ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Beatlemania!’ on November 1.

Melodies Café (2 East Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore, 610-645-5269, www.melodiescafe.com) will showcase Cardigan Terrace on October 31 and Lili Anel on November 1.

The Grand Opera House (818 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-652-5577, www.thegrandwilmington.org) hosts Darlingside and Tall Heights on October 31,

The National Acrobats of The People’s Republic of China on November  2 (3 p.m.), Cecile McLorin-Salvant on November 2 (8 p.m.) and Mavis Staples on November 5.

The schedule for the Keswick Theatre (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) includes former Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower on October 30, The Capitol Steps on October 31 (8 p.m.) and November 1 (3 p.m.) and “Off Air with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross” on November 1 (8 p.m.).

The line-up for the Sellersville Theatre (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) includes the James Hunter Six on October 30, Steve Forbert on October 31, “Who’s Bad — the Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute” on November 1, David Knopfler on November 2, Adrian Legg & Peppino D’Agostino on November 4 and Acoustic Alchemy on November 5.

Tellus360 (24 East King Street, Lancaster, 717- 393-1660, http://tellus360.myshopify.com) will host its “Twisted Halloween Party” on October 31 and present Declan O’Rourke on November 5.

The Chameleon Club (223 North Water Street, Lancaster, 717-299-9684, http://www.chameleonclub.net) will have Captured! By Robots on October 31, Love and Theft on November 1, Why? On November 2 and Nick Thomas on November 5.

This is the last weekend for theater fans to catch performances of three top-flight stage musicals.

“Newsies The Musical” is running until November 2 at the Academy of Music (Broad and Locust streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333, kimmelcenter.org/broadway). The high-energy production is a Disney Theatrical Productions stage musical based on the 1992 film “Newsies.” Tickets for the show start at $25.

Known for its spectacular music and dance, “Newsies” won Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Score (Alan Menken) and Best Choreography (Christopher Gatelli). It broke seven theatre house records during its Broadway run at the Nederlander Theatre and was the highest-grossing show from the 2011-12 Broadway season.

 “The Addams Family” is running now through November 2 at the Media Theatre (104 East State Street, Media, 610-891-0100, www.mediatheatre.org. Tickets for the show are $42 for adults, $35 for seniors and $25 for children. Evening performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturdays. Matinees are at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

“Fiddler on the Roof,” which is one of the all-time favorite American musicals, is running now through November 2 at the Candlelight Theater (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.nctstage.org). Tickets, which include a tasty buffet dinner, are $59 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12).

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