On Stage: Shadows of Knight moves beyond Gloria

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

The Shadows of Knight are one of those bands that most people know. They may not recognize the band’s name but they’re very familiar with the band’s greatest hit.

In 1966, the Chicago-based quintet formed by Jimy Sohns and friends had a Top 10 with their version of “Gloria,” a song originally recorded by the U.K. band Them.

Sohns has kept the Shadows of Knight going since the band’s formation in the mid-1960s – with many different incarnations.

He will bring the latest incarnation of the band to the area on May 25 for a show at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com).

The band was formed in 1964, originally as The Shadows. They became The Shadows of Knight in 1965 featuring Jim Sohns, Warren Rogers, Wayne Pursell, Tom Schiffour, and Norm Gotsch. Right as they were hitting it big, Pursell and Gotsch left the band.

“We were in high school when it started,” said Sohns, during a phone interview Wednesday evening from a tour stop in Cleveland, Ohio.

“We started messing around – playing songs by the Stones, the Yardbirds and the Animals. We were also playing songs by blues acts such as Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. You can hear it all in our early albums.

“It helped that Chicago had one of the first teen clubs – The Cellar. In 1965 sand 1966, the record was out and we played there every Friday and Saturday night.

“It was my idea to do ‘Gloria,’ a song Van Morrison wrote and sang when he was in Them. We learned the song, put an extra chord in and made it more rhythmic.

“Them had already broken up when we did the song and Van had moved on to a solo career. It worked out well for both of us. We had the hit and he had the royalties.”

The Shadows of Knight were starting to tour more and become more popular around the states.

“The original band was only together 17 months,” said Sohns. “I actually fired all the original guys – and they didn’t really care. They weren’t committed to doing what it took to make a bad a success.”

Right around this time, the Shadows of Knight recorded their two most well-known albums — “Gloria” and “Backdoor Men.”

After 37 years of no new albums, the Shadows of Knight released “A Knight to Remember” in 2006. More recently, the Shadows of Knight released an album titled “Live and Dirty.’

“The album spans 1974-2004 and features three different sets of musicians,” said Sohns. “It’s out now. I just picked up the CDs the other day and we’ll have them for sale at the shows.

“It’s a real good representation. It has five or six older songs and some new stuff – including the song ‘Red -Blooded American Boy.’ And, we do a cover of ‘Hush’ by Deep Purple.”

Video link for the Shadows of Knight –https://youtu.be/W0U2b4SoDqw.

The show at Sellersville, which has the Peace Creeps as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $21.50 and $29.50.

On May 26, there will be shows at most of the regular venues around the Delaware Valley. And, there will also be shows at venues unfamiliar to most area music fans.

The Chairman Dances

The Chairman Dances is an unusual Philadelphia band that will be performing on May 26 at an unusual Philadelphia venue — World Café Live at the Cira Green Beer Garden (1129 South 30th Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com). The venue is located on top of a parking garage.

The Chairman Dances lists its band roster as — Dan C., Dan F., Ben, Kevin, and Eric; also, Ashley when she’s stateside and Luke when he’s not in Mississippi.

“This show is at an outside beer garden on a skyscraper at Cira Green,” said The Chairman Dances founder/leader/vocalist Eric Krewson during a phone interview Monday evening from his Philly home.

The band will be focusing on songs from its most recent album “Time Without Measure,” which was released in October on Black Rd Records.

“We did the album last March in two weeks,” said Krewson. “I wrote over the course of a year and brought the songs to the band. I write a song and use ProTools to record the bare bones demos myself.

“Occasionally, I’ll have fun and add a few things. I write most of the songs away from instruments. I write melodies and lyrics first.

“My songwriting varies. It could be a story first…or a lyric…or a melody – or all of the above. Usually, I have the idea for the scenario of a song – but not all the time.”

The album depicts the lives of 10 (mostly) activists who demanded progress and, in return, were demonized by the powers that be.

These activists — each of whom has a song devoted to them, with their name serving as the song title — include Fannie Lou Hamer (a black civil rights leader reviled by southern Democrats), Dorothy Day (a Catholic anarchist), and a group of religious protesters dubbed the “Catonsville 9” (who, during the Vietnam War, broke into a government selective service building and burned draft files).

“I wrote for about a year and had a lot of material that I eventually whittled down,” said Krewson, who was a music student as an undergrad at Drexel University and a grad student at Temple University.

“A lot of the songs were about people – many of whom were activists. I just wrote straight-away – what comes naturally. There were songs that I wanted to write for people. After a while, I realized I was writing biographies.

“It was a fun project that involved a lot of research. Another attribute I was looking into specifically were religious voices that weren’t given much recognition – progressive Christians.”

Video link for The Chairman Dances — https://youtu.be/a7w-0Q1lT0Y.

The show at the World Café Live will run from 5-9 p.m. Tickets are free. The Cira Green Beer Garden event will start every week with a limited release keg tapped at 5 p.m. and feature eight different beers, ciders, eclectic wines and a limited release cocktail creation.

Joey Agresta

On May 26, the Sound Hole (43rd Street and Osage Avenue, Philadelphia, https://www.facebook.com/SoundHolePhilly) will host a show featuring Joey Agresta, a musician from North Jersey who now lives in Burlington, Vermont.

If you don’t recognize Joey Agresta’s name, you might know him by his name in previous projects such as Joey Pizza Slice, Son of Salami, or Salami Junior.

Agresta just released his latest album, “Let’s Not Talk About Music” on May 12 via Wharf Cat Records. The first single from the LP is titled “I Feel Like Shit And I Want To Die.”

“I recorded the album over the course of three years – 2013-2016,” said Agresta, during a phone interview last week from his home in the scenic Vermont lakeside town.

“It seems like a long time – but it’s not. It’s all home-recorded. I was playing all the parts – although the girls from Palberta sang on one track. And, I did all the mixing.

“No computers were used on this album. The majority of the recording was done on the Akia MG-614 (1/8″ cassette 4 track) and MG-1214 (1/2″ cassette 12 track). I find the tape on eBay. I like to use weird equipment.

“Actually, I love it. For this album, I just recorded a bunch of songs and threw them in a bucket. Over time, these 12 tracks emerged as the right ones.”

Agresta has a history of recording bizarre songs on erase headless, multi-layering, portable tape recorders under various, food themed pseudonyms (Joey Pizza Slice, Son of Salami, Salami Junior).

He also has numerous releases on the venerable Night People and Feeding Tube labels as well as countless self-released and custom, one-off cassettes.

“I’ve recorded three full-lengths,” said Agresta. “This new album is a little more personal – and more earnest. It’s also more sonically mature.

“Lyrically, it deals with themes of sadness and love. The world is going through a dark time so that also helped shape some of the songs.”

Video link for Joey Agresta – https://youtu.be/2Bybu9HKsGg?list=PLD7y0Grq-_SFmECpQHl0FV47HuisfCLe0.

The show at the Sound Hole will start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10.


With its important role in the dairy industry, Wisconsin might seem like the home for a band called Milk.

But, Milk, which will play a show on May 26 at Power Tower (Ninth Street between Indiana Avenue and Clearfield Street, Philadelphia, www.facebook.com/powertower), has no relation to the state known for its “Cheese Heads.”

Milk is a band with its roots in Boston, Massachusetts. On June 2, Milk will release its new album “Horsetown Threshold” on Midnight Werewolf Records.

Milk was born when Matt Brady (vocals, guitar) and Sam Taber (keys, vocals) started playing together in 2012.

“The band has been together for six years,” said Brady, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from a tour stop in Windsor, Ontario.

After a few incarnations and three EP releases (“Hubba Hubba,” “Et In Arcadia,” “Contact”), the band added H.L. Weatherby (drums) and Brian Engles (bass, vocals) to fill out the line-up.

“I went to Boston University with Sam and Brian,” said Brady. “We’d just play together – a lot of times after hours in a classroom at the College of Arts and Science Building.

“Soon, we wrote enough songs that we started playing out – and turned it into a band. We started as a trio with a drummer and then added a bassist.

“Our first record was ‘Hubba Hubba’ in 2012. Our early music was similar to now. But, lately we’ve been paying more attention to detail and songwriting.

“I always want to do something different. I get bored playing the same style. As I got older, I became more interested in melody.”
According to Brady, Milk plays music best described as “New England Gothic.”

“We started working on ‘Horsetown Threshold’ last summer,” said Brady. “We recorded it in Cape Cod, I have a little studio set up in Chatham.

“We did it all ourselves – except for one song that was dome at The Record Company in Boston. By doing it ourselves, we had no financial or time restraints. We set up show and recorded it in three weeks.

“Usually, I’ll come in with an idea that’s finished to some degree and then we’ll workshop it. The song ‘Too High to Drive’ was a collaboration between me and Sam.”

Fans will get to hear the new songs on May 26 – and take the songs home with them.

“Our live show is mainly the new album,” said Brady. “We do play one song from ‘Hubba Hubba’ – ‘Restless Deep Sea Blues. We’re also playing some songs that haven’t even been recorded yet.

“The album is scheduled to be released on June 2. But, we’ve already gotten copies of the album so we’re selling them at our shows now.”

Video link for Milk – https://youtu.be/8w0getzzAYA.

The show at Power Tower will start at 9 p.m.

Fire In The Radio

Another Philly band will be performing a hometown show on May 26 – getting the gig in before the mass exodus…the Memorial Day Weekend in Philly “down the shore/to the Poconos” exodus.

Fire in the Radio will have a CD release party at Boot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com) – a show to celebrate its new disc “New Air.”

Fire in the Radio — Adam Caldwell (Drums), Richard Carbone (Guitar, Vocals), Jonathan Miller (Guitar, Vocals), Ed Olsen (Bass) — released its sophomore album “New Air” on May 5 via Wednesday Records. The album is the follow-up to their 2015 acclaimed record “Telemetry.”

“The new album was recorded last May at Gradwell House Studios in Haddon Heights, New Jersey,” said Carbone, during a phone interview Monday afternoon as the band was en route from Quebec City to Boston.

“It was written in the 18 months leading to that point. Immediately after we finished touring in support of ‘Telemetry,’ we started writing for the next one.

“We figured out how we wanted to sound. Everything was well-planned and calculated. We had seven songs that captured that time period.”

“New Air” features the band propelling its signature brand of indie-punk in a fresh direction — incorporating elements of new wave, grunge, and shoegaze drone into tightly crafted pop songs.

“This album is darker than our first album,” said Carbone. “The darkness is a response to the time – the election process – where we’ve been and where we’re going. Once we started in that direction, things came easily.”

The show at Boot & Saddle will close out the band’s two-week tour of the Northeast and Quebec.

“None of the songs from ‘New Air’ were played live until this tour,” said Carbone. “Now, we’re playing all the songs from ‘New Air’ and some from ‘Telemetry.’ It depends on the vibe of the crowd.”

Video link for Fire in the Radio – https://youtu.be/-SuoZ4UrUG4.

The show at Boot and Saddle, which has Digger and Crossed Keys as the opening acts, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Eva Sheppard

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Eva Sheppard (of Old Ezra), Brandon Mesen, and Nate Talley on May 26; and Poetry Isn’t Dead on May 27.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will host Dismal, Polyheist, Dear Lucid, Disenhume and K9 on May 27.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will have Macy Gray

with special guest Aaron Parnell Brown on May 25 and Splintered Sunlight with special guest The Quixote Project on May 27.

Academy of Music (Broad and Locust streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333, www.kimmelcenter.org) will host “Motown the Musical” from May 30-June 11.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) presents Crack the Sky on May 26, The Everly Brothers Experience featuring The Zmed Brothers on May 27, Philadelphia Funk Authority on May 28 and Ana Popovic and The Greg Sover Band on May 30.

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