On Stage: Ladybug Festival comes to Wilmington

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

It’s time once again for the Ladybug Festival (Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, https://theladybugfestival.com) – a free two-day festival held on Market Street in downtown Wilmington.

The eighth annual all-female festival will feature more than 60 musical acts on approximately 20 stages on July 18 and 19.

Main Stage performers for July 18 are Lefty The Greatest, Joy Ike SIRSY, Jessica Latshaw, and Ladybug Festival Band, and Ladybug Festival Band.

Some of the other top-flight acts slated to perform on Thursday night are Angela Sheik, Victoria Watts, Katie Barbato, Lisa Jeannette, Stacy Gable, Aubrey Haddard, Gabby Z, Melanie Brulée, and Hot Breakfast.

The festival’s main day is July 19 with the major headline acts set to play on the Crown Stage at The Queen. The line-up for the concert at The Queen features Nalani & Sarina, Big Fat Meanies, Hoochi Koochi, Thrillchaser and Braxton Hicks.

Several nationally acclaimed acts will be headlining other venues on Friday such as Phoebe Legere at Christina Cultural Arts Center, Sweet Leda at Stitch House Brewery, Ginger Coyle at Loma Coffee, Danielia Cotton at DCAD Lobby and Katherine Rondeau at Starbucks on Market.

Nalani & Sarina

Nalani & Sarina have been building a huge fan base in the Mid-Atlantic region for the last five years. The duo has performed at a variety of venues around the area — including Kennett Flash, the Eagleview Concert Series in Exton, World Café Live at the Queen, and the Ladybug Festival. The highly talented twins, who are in their early 20s, have already established themselves as top-flight vocalists, songwriters, and multi-instrumentalists.

They have self-released several well-crafted albums and singles prior to taking it to another level with their latest album called “The Circle.”

“We started our own label – Telepathy Records/Kobalt — and signed a distribution deal with AWAL,” said Nalani. “They’re a good company for independents because they let you keep your rights and you keep control. AWAL is part of Kobalt, which is a label servicing company that handles publishing, licensing and a ton of services.”

The sisters graduated from high school with honors but never looked to continuing their education on in college.

“We graduated early from Hunterdon Central High a few years ago and we’ve been doing music ever since,” said Nalani.

With roots based in rhythm-and-blues, soul, rock and especially funk, the sisters create vocal harmonies that only twins can make.

“We’re identical twins,” said Sarina. “We both started playing classical piano when were six and then studied operatic vocals when we were in sixth grade.

“Classical music and opera provided good basics for us. Our mom was a folkie, so we listened to a lot of folk music when we were young — great songwriters like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. And, we’ve listened to a lot of classic rock.

“We always have the funk. It’s impossible for us to keep the funk out. We’ve always had funk in our blood. We play shows with just the two of us, it always sounds more singer-songwriter. When we do shows with our band, it gets funkier.

Video link for Nalani & Sarina – https://youtu.be/77tnYL-htDc.

Phoebe Legere

Phoebe Legere is a talented singer, songwriter, instrumentalist — a multi-talented artist who is like no other.

The descriptive word “unique” is often misused – frequently as an unsubstantiated hyperbole. When used to describe Legere, it is “spot on” – and still a little inadequate.

Legere, who has released close to 20 albums, plays seven instruments including one she invented to help physically challenged children play music — the Sneakers of Samothrace.

Phoebe Legere is a Juilliard-trained composer in addition to being an internationally recognized visual artist. She offers small collectible paintings after each performance. Each original artwork has a CD embedded within it.

Her most recent album “Heart of Love” is a hymn to life on the American Highway – and a Top 20 Americana album.

“The musical genre is folk/Americana,” said Legere, during a phone interview from upstate Pennsylvania.

“I play guitar, Native American flute, piano and accordion. It was released on February 14, 2017 and immediately went Top 20 on the roots charts. It’s all originals – except for my cover of ‘Jambalaya.’”

Legere’s music is a blend of Americana, Cajun, New Orleans jazz, country, folk and blues. She is an award-winning accordion player, virtuoso piano player, a rural folk blues guitar stylist, and an award-winning songwriter.

A standard-bearer of the Acadian-Cajun renaissance, Legere is descended from one of the original Acadian families in North America.

Her album “Acadian Moon,” which was released in 2015, received strong radio play in Canada. “Heart of Love” is faring even better – on both sides of the Canadian-American border.

“A DJ friend of mine gave me a list of every Americana station in America – and a list of college stations,” said Legere, who has performed at prestigious venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and at the Congrés Mondial Acadien.

Legere, whose debut album “Trust Me” was released by Epic Records in 1986, has a long and diverse artistic resume. She has appeared on National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, ABC, NBC, PBS and Charlie Rose. She also received the prestigious Acker Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2014. In 2015, she appeared in HBO’s documentary “It’s Me Hilary.”

While still in her teens, Legere was signed Epic Records as a songwriter. She opened for David Bowie on his National Tour in 1991 and led a number of influential New York bands, including Monad, 4 Nurses of the Apocalypse and her nine-piece swing-punk outfit Swingalicious.

After the radio success of her 1989 album “Marilyn Monroe” (Island Records), and her appearance in numerous underground films, Legere shifted her focus to avant-garde classical music and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her work with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.

Legere, who has had six of her original plays with music produced in New York City, did not enter the world of entertainment unprepared.

She graduated from Vassar College, studied composition at the Juilliard School. She also studied piano at the New England Conservatory, and film scoring, orchestration and jazz arranging at the NYU Graduate School of Music Composition.

Legere studied composition with John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet, Morton Subotnick, Wayne Oquin and Dinu Gezzo. She also studied jazz arranging with Ira Newborn and Rick Shemaria.

“I got involved in very avant-garde music more than 15 years ago,” said Legere, a versatile artist who created a 15-person, rideable giant Eagle sculpture that runs on alternative energy (learn more about The Shamancycle at Shamancyle.com).

“I did an epic poem with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra – singing the poem and improvising the music.”

In another of her many projects, Legere is the executive director of her own nonprofit organization — The Foundation for New American Art.

The Foundation for New American Art is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that fosters art and music education programs geared to underserved communities.

The goal is to educate, nurture and strengthen the artistic and musical spirit of the children of low-income communities, as well as provide support for after-school programs.

She visits schools, military bases, libraries with encouraging workshops — most notably her “Songwriting from The Heart.” Proceeds from Legere’s lectures and public performances will go to The Foundation for New American Art.

“I am dedicated to nurturing the visionary artists of the future,” said Legere. “Art and Music are not extra-curricular. Art and Music are integral to the harmonious development of the human heart and soul.”

Video link for Phoebe Legere – https://www.facebook.com/phoebelegeremusic/videos/10156201180756466/.

Most of the time, the Candlelight Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) is just what its name implies. It is a theater that specializes in high-quality plays with talented casts – a dinner theater with a sumptuous buffet.

Brad Trackman

But, one night each month, it becomes something entirely different. It becomes the Candlelight Comedy Club.

This month’s Comedy Club night is scheduled for July 18 with veteran comedian Brad Trackman as the headline act.

Trackman is a national touring comedian who has been featured as a stand up on CBS’s “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” “Comics Unleashed” with Byron Allen, “Star Search” with Arsenio Hall, AXS TV’s “Gotham Comedy Live,” NBC’s “Later,” and MTV’s “The Buried Life.

He has also been featured “New Joke City” with Robert Klein, NBC’s “Friday Night” and numerous appearances on Comedy Central.

Trackman also had his own commercial campaign on Spike TV where he played the fictitious Presidential Candidate Biff Wolanski.

Trackman grew up in Medford, New Jersey and relocated to New York City. After graduating from New Jersey’s Shawnee High School, he moved to Manhattan to study theatre.

“I went to the American Academy of Performing Arts in Manhattan,” said Trackman, during a phone interview Monday evening from his home in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.

There’s a saying that you can take the boy out of New Jersey but you can’t take New Jersey out of the boy. With Trackman, you couldn’t even keep the boy out of New Jersey.

“I was living in New York City before I got married,” said Trackman. “I lived 15-16 years in the city doing stand-up. Then, with a wife, a kid and two dogs, I moved back to Burlington County. We have a house here and it’s a nice location – close to New York, Atlantic City and Philadelphia.

“Back when I finished my studies at the American Academy of Performing Arts, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I graduated with a degree in theater and it was worthless.

“I was selling shoes at Bergdorf-Goodman, I was dating a girl who was a cheerleader at the University of Delaware for four years. She insisted that I stop selling shoes and pursue something creative.”

Theater may not have been the right path for Trackman, but stand-up comedy was.

“I took a stand-up comedy class with Stephen Rosenfield,” said Trackman. “It’s strange. He never even went on a stage but he’s a great writer and I learned a lot.”

Stephen Rosenfield is the Director of the American Comedy Institute. He coaches and directs performers ranging from beginners to Emmy and Tony Award-winning and Oscar-nominated star talent.

The accomplishments of Stephen Rosenfield’s students include starring roles in movies, network and premium cable television series, commercials, Broadway and off-Broadway productions, and hosting their own radio programs.

Trackman started his career in New York City and was a regular at The Comedy Cellar, Gotham, The Comic Strip Live, Carolines on Broadway and Stand Up NY. He also has been a regular in Atlantic City at the Borgata Casino and Las Vegas at Brad Garrett’s comedy club in the MGM casino.

Trackman has also opened for such legendary comedians as Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, Dana Carvey and Weird Al Yankovic.  One of his most impressive appearances was headlining “The Radio Shack Net Together Concert” in Times Square. He was on a Jumbotron which was also simulcast in San Francisco on a Jumbotron there.

“My agent said that they picked me for the Net Together show because I was squeaky clean,” said Trackman. “I’ve gotten a lot of work because I can work clean – squeaky clean. I’ve performed at churches, christenings and synagogues.

“A lot of my comedy us autobiographical stuff. I have a relatable universal connect with my audience. I talk about my wife, having a kid…real-life observational stuff. It’s worked for me because I’ve been working full-time as a comic for 23 years.

“I don’t try to be topical. I like to write stuff for my act that will last for a while rather than something that lasts for a few months or a few weeks.”

Trackman has two comedy albums of him headlining The D.C. Improv which were produced by XM Sirius comedy programmer Joel Haas. Both are critically acclaimed and available on iTunes.

Most recently, he became a published author with a major book deal with Post Hill Press/Simon & Schuster.  He wrote the biography of shock jock Anthony Cumia who was part of the legendary radio show Opie and Anthony.  The book, entitled Permanently Suspended, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

“I just finished writing my first book,” said Trackman. “Now, I’ve just started writing my first novel which maybe will eventually become a screenplay. That’s how it happens a lot of times – novels become screenplays.”

Video link for Brad Trackman — https://youtu.be/hvxgGevA8Sk.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the show at the Candlelight Comedy Club, which has Joe Pollizzotti as the opener and Shari Franklin as the emcee. Tickets are $30.

Pepper, Iration and Common Kings are three of many California-based bands that share the common influences of rock, reggae, punk and reggae rock. However, a small number of these bands have another unique bond that links them – roots based in South Pacific Islands.

All of the members of Common Kings have Polynesian roots — Samoa, Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga and Hawaii. Pepper and Iration have a closer bond with all band members being natives of the Hawaiian Islands.

Iration and Pepper will share the bill on July 18, when Fillmore Philadelphia (1100 Canal Street, Philadelphia, 215-309-0150, www.thefillmorephilly.com) hosts “Iration Live From Paradise! Summer Tour with Pepper.” The 43-date outing, featuring special guests Pepper, Fortunate Youth and Katastro, marks the group’s largest tour to date since its formation nearly 15 years ago.

The shows feature a mix of hits and rarities off


’s six studio albums, including their most recent self-titled release from 2018 (Three Prong Records). The line-up of the Hawaiian-bred, California-based band includes Micah Pueschel (lead vocals/guitar), Adam Taylor (bass), Joe Dickens (drums), Cayson Peterson (keyboards), Micah Brown (guitar/vocals) plus touring member Drake Peterson (trumpet).

“We released the self-titled album last year,” said Pueschel, during a recent phone interview from a tour stop in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

“We cut a new single in April or March – just before we left for the first leg of the tour. We wrote it last year right after we put out the album. We started writing right away after the album was done.

“We’re approaching eight or nine songs for the next album – half are done, and half are still in progress. We have kind of a different sound on the new songs. We want to keep growing. ‘Chill Out’ has a jazzy and funky feel. It’s a lot of fun for me.”

“Chill Out,” the new single which Iration released on its own Three Prong Records, is a melodic rock track about self-love and acceptance.

According to Pueschel, “Chill Out’ is a song about feeling comfortable in your own skin. So many people today are out there trying to be something that they aren’t, and we wanted to make a song that tells people that it’s okay to be you. It’s okay to be different. As long as you accept yourself, you can always get through it.”

Iration is a reggae-style band formed by six friends who grew up together in Hawaii, the home of traditional slack key guitar music and highly commercialized hula songs.

Even though the members if Iration attended the same high school in Waimea, Hawaii, they did not come together to form a band until they were all attending college in California.

What started out as a hobby grew into a band. Iration, whose sound draws direct inspiration from roots reggae bands like Culture and Black Uhuru, is out on tour with several like-minded, reggae-influenced alt-rock bands.

Iration, which performed in Chester County six years ago at the now-defunct club The Note in West Chester, plays roots music even though the roots are not on their home island.

“We all are familiar with Hawaii’s great music,” said Pueschel. “If you grew up in Hawaii, you’ve listened to Gabby Pahinui, Koala Beamer and Cyril Pahinui.

“That’s the sound you grew up with. You hear slack key (music) all the time. We go back to Hawaii a few times a year.”

When Pueschel composes songs for Iration, he taps into a variety of influernces.

“I do most of the song writing,” said Pueschel. “When I’m writing, most of the time, I’ll start with a guitar and strum around until I find something I like. I’ll go from there and sing gibberish in places where lyrics should be. Other times, I’ll get a phrase that I put on my iPhone.”

Iration has branched out beyond the world of domestic reggae.

“I think our sound has definitely come around to a broader spectrum of sound — less reggae,” said Pueschel. “It’s a wider range of music but still has the elements of reggae. We’ve always been a band that listens to everything. We like good songs. We’re not genre purists.

“Our music and this type of tour is made for summer. We go back a long way with Pepper. They took us on our first national tour in 2008 so it’s come full circle. We’ve had a long relationship.”

Pepper is a Southern California-based band from Kona and is comprised of Kaleo Wassman (Vocals, Guitar), Bret Bollinger (Bass, Vocals), and Yesod “Yee” Williams (Drums, Vocals). For 20 years, the trio has travelled around the world performing to sold out crowds. Garnering critical acclaim and amassing a dedicated fan base along the way. And “Warning” is just the beginning with so much more to come.

Recerntly, Pepper released its eighth studio album – “Local Motion” — via the band’s LAW Records. Bringing the vibe back to their reggae rock roots, the new album is stacked with hot collaborations.

“Local Motion” pays tribute to the many days and weeks the three friends spend on the road touring, and the relationships forged both with their fans and the music community alike.

“We cut ‘Local Motion’ in the last half of 2018,” said Williams, during a recent phone interview from his home in California’s South Bay area.

Recorded at Great Stone Studios, Sea Major Seven, and the band’s own studio, Kona Town Recording, “Local Motion” featured a more collaborative approach to production compared to previous releases.  These collaborations included long-time friends Stick Figure, E.N. Young, and Micah Brown of Iration.

“There was a lot of back-and-forth with producers,” said Williams. “We wanted to hear what different producers would do with the songs. We had four different producers pick songs they were emotionally gravitating toward. We wanted to keep them passionately involved.

“We recorded ‘Neighborhood’ and ‘Truth’ with Noah Krohn. We cut ‘Warning’ and ‘Carnaval’ at a studio in Oakland. Dave from Dirty Heads (David Foral) produced ‘Brand New Day.’ Wayne Lothian did ‘Sugar’ with us and Jeff Nisen worked on ‘We The People.’

Kaleo and Bret usually start a song with an idea on acoustic guitar and then we build the song. This time, we sent them straight to the producer.

“We’ve been a band for a long time, and we’ve gotten set in our ways. Making this album was a different process. It was all over the place – in a good way.”

Williams and his mates knew that it was a good idea to move out of their comfort zone.

According to Williams, “Working with the community on this album it led us to places musically we never would have gone on our own. You get set in your ways inevitably, muscle memory etc, so right away we were at a different starting point than normal, out of our comfort zone ready to grow, so the process of “Local Motion” was very different, and the end result sounds like us condensed down to our purest form, for lack of a better term. All the fluff stripped away so it really is an illuminated version of our essence which just feels and sounds right.”

Williams explained the album’s vibe.

“It was weird,” said Williams. “It’s a throwback but also a progression. The reggae vibe has always been in our music, so we wanted to go in that direction. Our fans always stay with us. We call our fans ‘Pepper Ohana.’”

Ohana is an idea in Hawaiian culture. The word “Ohana” means family in the Hawaiian language, but in a much wider sense, to include not only one’s closer relatives, but also one’s cousins, in-laws, friends, race, and other neighbours.

Video link for Iration — https://youtu.be/6KlAXLAPiU0?list=PLksQvtgGE_PN3Par1XIm6lXCnnF2uz_KJ.

Video link for Pepper – https://youtu.be/mev_z2Ipxes.

The show at The Fillmore, which features Iration, Pepper, Fortunate Youth, and Katastro, will start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30.

More music with California punk rock in its DNA will be featured upstairs in the same building on July 18.

It’s summer 2019 and together PANGEA

together PANGEA

is out on the road again. The veteran garage rock band is touring in support of its two new EPs – “Non Stop Paranoia” and “Dispassionate.”

The tour will bring the trio — William Keegan, guitar, vocals; Danny Bengston, bass; Erik Jimenez, drums — to the area for a show on July 18 at The Foundry at Fillmore Philadelphia (1100 Canal Street, Philadelphia, 215-309-0150, www.thefillmorephilly.com).

“We recorded these two EPs and a live acoustic EP in February last year,” said Bengston, during a phone interview last week as the tour van headed across Nebraska. from Houston to New Orleans. “We recorded at Balboa Recordings.

“The songs happened over the course of six months to a year. We just had a batch of nine or 10 songs. We didn’t know what it would turn into – an LP or some EPs.

“Our recording company was asking us to do acoustic versions of older songs. We did them in about a day and then started working on the EP songs. We did the bass and drums live and then worked on the overdubs.”

“Non Stop Paranoia” features five tracks with lyrics that reflect anxiety and paranoia in the age of misinformation. “Dispassionate” is meant to soothe those anxieties with self-reflection and reminders of what we love and cherish.

According to the band, “‘Dispassionate’ is the moon and ‘Non Stop Paranoia’ is the sun. These new songs are kind of the opposite of the last batch. They are calmer and self-reflective, and the style is influenced by the 50’s and 60’s revival that happened

in the 80’s.”

Bengston explained the process.

“As soon as the songs started coming together and we got the first mixes, we realized these were two different types of songs,” said Bengston. “The first five were keyboard songs and were more aggressive. The second five were more mellow.

“With the ‘Dispassionate’ songs, I just wanted to play around with more electronic sounds for a while – sort of like Devo. That was an excuse to experiment with sounds. Lyrically, there is a lot of stuff about the age of misinformation and fake news.

“The songs in the second batch were more stripped and straightforward. Once we decided on making two separate EPs, we worked hard on making each one sound distinct. Then, we started doing whatever we could to make them cohesive.
Pangea has had two constant members ever since its formation in Southern California in 2005.

“It’s always been William and I,” said Bengston. “We’ve been playing together since we’ve been teenagers and we’ve had drummers drop in-and-out. We all grew up in Santa Clarita and the band incubated at an art studio at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts in Valencia).”

Video link for together PANGEA – https://youtu.be/KOfcfmqsPTw.

The show, which has Tijuana Panthers w/ Ultra Q as openers, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17.

Another upcoming show at Fillmore Philadelphia is Carly Rae Jepsen on July 20. Other upcoming shows at The Foundry are Miss May I on July 19, The Marias on July 21, Summer Salt on July 23, and New Hope Club on July 24.

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Nikki Hill with Elastic Blur on July 18, Browntown Funk Dance Party on July 19, JACKETS IN JULY with James Manjo on July 20, Open Mic with guest host Michael Hahn on July 21, and Vassal/Jac Conner/Madeleine Anderson on July 23.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host Chris Rattie & the New Rebels with The Quixote Project on July 19 and “ETC Theater Company Presents: Phunny in Phoenixville, A Night of Stand-Up” on July 20.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) hosts Tuesday Night Project on July 19 and

Florida Wayne Band, Wake Up John, and Olivia Swenson on July 20.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present Steal Your Peach on July 19 and Marah on July 20.

The Keswick Theatre (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) presents

Little Steven And The Disciples of Soul on July 20.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) will host Terry McBride with Michael Braunfeld on July 19, Live At The Fillmore (Allman Brothers Band Tribute) on July 20, Scot Sax & Suzie Brown on July 21, “Abstract Anatomy: Circus” on July 22, and Ali Awan with Kirby Sybert & Petite Sketches on July 24.

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