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Material girl.

I keep going past the corner of Eighth and Chew streets in Allentown every morning. And I keep seeing the ever-changing parade of Latino music performers featured there, showcased on posters on the wall of a neighborhood grocery.

(I wrote about this earlier this year in a post that you might want to go read, just ’cause it’s better than this one.)

I’d mentioned in the first post that the artists featured on the concert posters always seem to be male.

Well, a bold trailblazer has broken the pattern:


She’s called La Materialista, which seems curious, as she does not have a whole lot of material covering her ista.

I said in my prior post that I like to imagine the individual performers’ styles just from looking at their pictures, and the same goes for La Materialista.

Do you think she sings about nothing but gold-digging, or does she slip a few heartfelt ballads into the party-and-bling rotation?

Is she unashamedly all about the good times, or does she have a well-hidden (by what I’m not sure) heart of gold?

And what about Chimbala? Is he an equal partner onstage — portraying the sugar daddy, perhaps — or does he just stand in the back and work the turntables? (He gets top billing without having to burst out of his clothes, so he must do something fantastic.)

Are they someday going to end up in a relationship reminiscent of the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me?,” with Chimbala insisting he made La Materialista a star, and La Materialista insisting she would have made it without him?

If I wanted to go to Allentown’s Maingate nightclub on Oct. 3, I suppose I could find out most of this stuff for real.

But it is more fun to fill in the blanks myself.

Because even a poster that leaves little to the imagination can get my creative juices flowing.


Did I hear you say that there must be a catch?

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I’ve added something new to the list of Things I Know I Shouldn’t Want To Do But Might Anyway:

Badfinger is coming to town.

The band playing a free show in Bethlehem on Aug. 23 is really Badfinger in name only.

The original band’s main singers and songwriters, Pete Ham and Tom Evans, are long dead. The original fourth member, drummer Mike Gibbins, is more recently passed.

Whatever amalgamation currently calls itself Badfinger features only one original digit — rhythm guitarist and singer Joey Molland.

(I believe Molland is at far right of this photo. It should probably be illegal to advertise a 2014 band with a picture of its 1969 members, especially when most of them are dead. But it isn’t.)

So why do I want to go?

Well, because it’s free.

And because the original Badfinger was a wonderful pop band — they were scouted and signed by the Beatles for good reason — and hearing their songs played live by someone who knows how to play them should be at least a small pleasure.

And because I’m sorta curious about what sort of aging pop geeks (and how many) will come out of the woodwork on a hot August night to see a ghost band that last hit the Top 40 in 1972.

And because … well, who wouldn’t want to tell their grandkids they’d seen Badfinger?

And, lastly, because even if Molland and Co. blow chunks all over the stage, it won’t erase the original band’s legacy of great power pop songs.

Like this one:

Squeezing out sparks.

Forgot to mention: I bought a ticket Friday to see Graham Parker and the Rumour on April 5.

They’ll be playing the Musikfest Cafe, a small club-like venue that’s part of the same rehabilitated former Bethlehem Steel complex where I saw Shonen Knife last summer.

This one’s a bit of a flyer for me. I have three of Parker’s albums from the 1970s, like them quite a bit, and imagine I could easily get to like the guy’s entire career if I got to know it.

But, I’ve still never taken the step to really get to know it.

Maybe this show will motivate me to do that.

In the meantime, here are a couple of choice clips that capture Parker’s brand of snarling soul-influenced pop-rock.

Live on “Fridays,” circa 1980-81, singing a song I often sing to myself on my way to work:

And here’s the New Wave-y first track from the “Squeezing Out Sparks” LP:

Encore Performances: No cover charge.

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This ran on my old blog in July 2010.


“Friday, July 31: A triple bill of Coyo Poyo, Rest Stop Coffee and Bruce Ragg and the Leaky Carports at North Star Bar…”

I do not patronize live music, but I am grateful for its existence.

“… HP Sauce with Inverse, Reverse and Perverse at the Keswick Theatre …”

Especially when one of my local college stations airs its concert calendar, which happens every day when I’m driving home from work.

“… Underage Delta Queen throws a CD release party at the Garfield Hotel …”

Part of what I love is the repetition.
Recitations that repeat daily, yet differ slightly, have a hypnotic effect.
That’s proven by the widespread public love that the British public shows the BBC’s daily Shipping Forecast, which has an audience of faithful listeners with no connection whatsoever to the maritime trade.

“… Gents’ Bog and the Assprints at the Trocadero …”

Another part of it is the music. This particular station uses a catchy instrumental, somewhere between funk and skronk, as the backdrop for its concert listings; I’ve always wondered what it is.

“… the Vervorelles and Expo ’67 at the Broadway Grille & Pub…”

But I think I enjoy it most because I like the thought of all these bands out there plugging away every night.

Not for the fame or the money — one imagines that most of them are resigned to never getting past the club level.
But just for the pleasure of going out and making their sound to other human beings … carving out something creative and distinctive.

“… Mookie’s Lunchbox with Six String Dharma at the Zoellner Arts Center …”

The knowledge that humans have been pounding on electric guitars and drum kits for 60 years, and there’s precious little truly new under the sun, doesn’t bother these folks.
Maybe tonight they’ll find some musical combination no one else has discovered.
It’s like the lottery: You don’t win if you don’t play.

“… a special under-21 show with Bad Ballet and All Malt Krew at Wildflower Cafe …”

There’s also something cool about each week’s lineup of bands because you know a bunch of ’em — especially those playing the smaller local venues — won’t be around in six months.
Listening to each week’s countdown is like going to the public market to see what’s in season.
The things you find in May probably won’t be there in November, and vice versa … so go forth and reap the harvest now.

” … Tyrone Sacco Superstar and We Won Once play Johnny Brenda’s …”

Or maybe I’m just insanely jealous deep inside that these people go out and play rock star and I don’t.
That’s possible, I suppose.

At any rate, I love my local concert listings. They’re a badge of independent radio and a beacon of do-it-yourselfness.
Perhaps, since I am neither truly independent or DIY, they serve as a passport of sorts into that world, for a brief golden lull in the existence of a rapidly aging salaryman.