On Stage: Late album release doesn’t deter Tinkerbelles

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By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times


There is a really diverse line-up of bands performing in Philadelphia on September 1 – from the powerful metal music of England’s Venom, Inc. to the southern rock/psych sounds of North Carolina’s The Freeway Revival to the noise-pop offerings of the Illinois band Tinkerbelles.

Tinkerbelles were supposed to be out on tour to support the release of their debut LP “Confetti at the Bottom” – an album that was scheduled to be released on August 22 on Tee Pee Speak Records.

The new, but delayed, Tinkerbelles album.

Unfortunately, it never happened – the album release, that is. Fortunately, Tinkerbelles — Adam Mohundro (bass/vocals) and Christian Dawson (drums/vocals) – decided to go ahead with the tour – a tour that touches down on September 1 at Ortlieb’s (847 North Third Street, Philadelphia, 267- 324-3348, www.ticketfly.com).

“The album got pushed back until the 12th of September,” said Muhundro, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re still at home in Chicago. We head to Columbus (Ohio) tomorrow. We’ll be out for 13 days.”

“Confetti at the Bottom” is far from an ordinary album.

“It’s coming out initially as a limited-edition vinyl LP,” said Dawson.

“The album looks like splattered birthday cake splattered vinyl. It also has a scratch-and-sniff center label – a cigarette-scented label that smells like the lounge where parents sat around smoking during their kids’ bowling birthday parties.

“That smell of stale smoke rising up to the ceiling is a relic of Americana. We’re making a run of 500 vinyl albums and when they’re gone, they’re gone. After that, the album will only be available on Spotify.”

While the album’s packaging may be bizarre, the music on it is even more “out there.”

Some of the featured songs are “Ashtrays at Graceland,” “29 Palms (Dairy Queen to Vegas),” “Spit on My Grace” and, a title that sounds like a song title by the late, great Captain Beefheart — “Cannibal Tokyo Rainbow.”

Actually, Tinkerbelles’ music at times sounds like Captain Beefheart – as well as other avant-garde and avant-garage bands such as Pere Ubu and early Velvet Underground.

Fittingly, the duo was named after the self-destructive Andy Warhol superstar Tinkerbelle.

The adventuresome pair emerged on the Chicago indie rock scene in 2014 after the breakup of Gypsyblood — a band which featured both Tinkerbelles.

“We started recording the album about two years ago and finished it up this year,” said Mohundro. “We recorded it at a lot of locales – like a town square in Sienna, Italy. You can even hear the bells in the background.

“I also do location soundtracks for TV and films. One of our new songs has the sound of a woman screaming that was done on the set of ‘Empire’ when she sees a cat hanging. You can hear the director calling – action.”

The album has more inherent strangeness.

“Most recordings are done at 440Hz,” said Dawson. “We did the record at 432 Hz which is supposed to be the dive-off point down the rabbit hole.”

An internet search will result in a lot of written pieces about the tuning A=432 Hz and its alleged healing properties. Supposedly, the 432 Hz tuning is tuned to the vibrations of nature itself while the 440 Hz tuning was something introduced by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of propaganda.

“In a way, we also borrowed from The Residents because we have a very theatrical show,” said Mohundro. “One of the main points was to create shows that are memorable. We use our own rig. We don’t use the sound systems at venues we play.

“The first year we played, we only did shows on full moons and then realized that it didn’t amount to many shows. The next year, we did a bunch of benefits.
“The third year, we played 40 shows in 10 days in eight states – which is a world record. This year, all our Chicago shows are sponsored with sponsors like Ponderosa and Radio Shack.

“On this tour, we’re playing songs from ‘Confetti at the Bottom,’ songs from our EP ‘Fine Asses,” and some cover songs – some strange cover songs.”

Video link for Tinkerbelles –https://youtu.be/WkMrKo4OYjs.

The show at Ortlieb’s, which also features Shaky Deville and U.S. Lawns, will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Venon, Inc.

Venom, Inc. is a metal band from Newcastle upon Tyne that is known for unleashing a powerful sound. On September 1, hard-hitting trio will headline a show at The Voltage Lounge (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 215- 964-9602, www.voltagelounge.com).

The band, which features former original Venom members Jeff “Mantas” Dunn (guitar) and Anthony “Abaddon” Bray (drums) along with former Venom Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan (bass, vocals), released its debut album “Avé” on August 11 via Nuclear Blast.

Venom still exists as a metal band from Newcastle with just one original member from the group’s inception in 1979. Not surprisingly, Venom, Inc. does a much better job at representing the long-time metal act’s signature sound.

Venom, Inc. came into existence in 2015 – without any previous planning.

“The whole thing was an accident,” said Dolan, during a phone interview Wednesday evening from a studio in Philadelphia as the band engaged in rehearsals for its exhaustive 29-city “Blood Stained Earth Tour” that starts on September 1 in Philly.

Dunn and Dolan also have their own band M:PIRE OF EVIL — having taken the name from the celebrated Venom album of the same name.

“A promoter asked us if we’d do a special performance and get Abbadon to play with us,” said Dolan. “That started it.”

Venom, Inc. came into existence on April 24, 2015 at the annual Keep It True Festival in Lauda-Königshofen, Germany. Mantas and Dolan were focused on M:PIRE OF EVIL.

An offer to play Keep It True was accompanied by a request to have Abaddon — who would be in attendance — to join the band during the set to perform some Venom classics as a treat for the fans. Mantas and Abaddon hadn’t spoken in almost two decades, leaving Dolan to try and make the epic reunion a reality.

According to Dolan, “I called Abaddon about it and he said ‘yes.’ I asked Mantas and he said ‘f*** off.’ The one thing he said was that Abaddon’s style isn’t M:PIRE OF EVIL’s style, so how could it possibly work?

“I pointed out that if we played the old Venom songs we’d be playing to Abaddon’s style anyway, as they were meant to be played — noisy and loud and dirty.

“It was something that was meant to be done in fun, and eventually Mantas agreed to it. We played our set, finished off with ‘Countess Bathory’, and everyone went nuts. We went off stage, came back on with Abaddon and played four or five Venom songs under the Venom, Inc. name and the place went crazy.”
Within days, Dolan received numerous show offers for Venom, Inc. from booking agents from Asia, Europe and South America who had seen the live footage online.

“We just wanted to go and have some fun,” said Dolan. “It just didn’t work that way. Things happened and, all of a sudden, we were making an album for Nuclear Blast Records.”

Abbadon said, “I was pretty surprised at the way things have gone. A friend contacted Tony and said – if Abbadon shows up, would you do a couple songs. I was cool with it. We did five songs and the crowd loved it.

“I thought we’d just have a drink and go our way. Then, Tony’s phone rang off the hook. It feels the same. It feels like we did in 1986. The soul and heart is still there. You can’t fake it. We just do it from the heart.”

Dolan said, “We’re still not planning – we’re just doing. It’s about the music and the fans. You make music, release it and take it to the fans. We play everywhere – one fan or a million fans, it’s all important. To meet all these fans has been incredible.”

Video link for Venom, Inc. – https://youtu.be/HKBb24JaLXM.

The all-ages show at the Voltage Lounge, which also features Goatwhore, Toxic Holocaust and The Convalescence, will start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.

The Freeway Revival

The Freeway Revival, which has its roots in the South, plays American rock music – not to be confused with Americana music.

The five-piece band from Asheville, North Carolina has musical influences ranging from the Allman Brothers and Little Feat to The Band, Led Zeppelin, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan.

This weekend, The Freeway Revival will be in the area for a pair of concerts – on September 1 at the Grape Room (105 Grape Street, Philadelphia, 215- 930-0321, http://graperoommusic.com) and September 2 atJohn and Peter’s (96 South Main Street, New Hope, www.johnandpeters.com) on September 2.

Dedicated song crafting has always been the cornerstone of The Freeway Revival, a quintet featuring Adam Clayton, keyboards and vocals (sorry U2 fans – not that Adam Clayton); Jonathan Clayton, guitar, pedal steel, vocals; Tim Husk, guitar, cello, vocals; Kenny Crowley, bass, vocals; and Cartwright Brandon, drums.

“We’re based in Asheville,” said Crowley, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from his home in the Carolina mountains.

“We met through mutual friends. I moved to Asheville from San Francisco two summers ago. The two brothers are from Culpepper, Virginia and the other two guys are from North Carolina.

“I moved back here to be closer to my family – and it’s a great music town. I’m glad I’m here.

“The way we came together was all very serendipitous. My roommate had played some music with the brothers and recommended me.

“I went to their house and we sang some songs – Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash. It was seamless. So, we decided to hang out and put a band together.”

It didn’t take long for the band to think about doing some recording.

“We’d been playing together for about six months and we decided to record an EP,” said Crowley. “We went to a studio barn in Durham, North Carolina to make the EP. It was a self-titled, self-produced EP with five songs.

“After it was released, we were able to start booking a lot more gigs and building up a regional reputation. The next step was making a full-length.”

The result was the quintet’s debut album “Revolution Road.”

“We tracked the album in January 2017,” said Crowley. “We had the songs all written. Some were pretty fresh and new. We were still feeling them out. So, it was cool that the recording process was spread out over time. It came out really great.”

The Freeway Revival uses its lyrics as a window into the life of a traveling band on the current American landscape.

“We definitely like to road-test songs,” said Crowley. “Our next LP will have even more road-testing.

“We all write – sometimes solo and sometimes together. Everyone writes his own stuff and brings it to the bans. ‘Revolution Road’ was the first time we actually sat down and wrote together which was a pretty cool experience. Four of us write and the drummer contributes.”

Video link for The Freeway Revival – https://youtu.be/EDfRhFoHGI0.

The show at the Grape Room on September 1, which also features Christian O’Connor Band along with Calla Bere & The Attitude, will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5. The show at John and Peter’s on September 2, which also features Calla Bere & The Attitude, will start at 9 p.m. Admission is free.

Eilen Jewell

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will host The Big Wang Theory: A W.A.S.P. Odyssey on August 31 and Eilen Jewell on September 1.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host

“Open Mic Night” with Greg Sover on August 31. Sover will also be back headlining his own show on September 15.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will host Chestnut Grove on September 1 and 2.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present Perpetual Groove, G-Nome Project, Eat Your Beats, Tweener Sets by Ben Silver on September 2 and Phish Dick’s Colorado: Live Stream Party on September 3.

Valley Forge Casino (1160 First Avenue, King of Prussia, 610-354-8118, www.vfcasino.com) will present Comedy Club with Matt Bergman on September 1.

World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com) will have Nuf Said and Kuf Knotz on August 31; Havana Nights: A Celebration of Cuban Music & Food with music by Conjunto Philadelphia on September 1; Steve Cal Quartet and Mike Kennedy on September 2; Shinyribs and Brian Dunne on September 3; Andrew Duhon on September 5; and The Triple T’s on September 6.

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