MADSOCIAL: Electrifying entertainment: Winter Warm-up concert set for Nov. 22 in Berea | MadSocial

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Musical Madison Countians will have a chance to swing into the frosty season on an electric beat thanks to the Winter Warm-up Concert set for Nov. 22 at the Spotlight Playhouse.

A product of Electric Berea, an organization founded by local musician Jeff Richey, will highlight plugged-in bands from Madison and surrounding areas.

“We are doing this because of a perception that there is a bit of an imbalance of some of the genres that are available for people to hear in live music situations and also as a response to the fact that Berea is especially venue challenged,” said Richey, noting the city is void of any full time, dedicated music performance spaces.

The buzz word for the night will be variety, as the three featured bands all bring a little something different to the evening.

Anything But Sue, whose members call Berea, Lexington and Somerset home, is a bohemian Americana band with a sound grounded in classic blues and country, according to Richey.

“There is a poetic quality to their presentation,” he continued. “It’s kind of like if Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Doors were somehow mixed together and with a strong female vocalist out front.”

Progressive rock and video game band Death Mountain will provide atmosphere instrumental music for the night utilizing drums, electric guitar, keyboard and a tapping instruments. Video game enthusiasts will likely recognize favorites from classics such as Donkey Kong or the Legend of Zelda, from which the band derived their name.

“There is all this music that is integrated into video games, and people play the games so much they start picking up the songs,” Richey explained. “It’s much the same way that movies became a vehicle for popular music.”

The night will end with Manitoba Rock N Rolla, based out of Richmond, which is a hard-driving classic band whose sound has a desert rock vibe.

“That rounds out the bill,” Richey said. “Hopefully something for everybody…We hope people will vote with their feet and show up.”

Electric Berea

“On any given night, between Berea and Richmond, there is a 60-80% chance that the acts playing (at various locations) are going to be someone with an acoustic guitar or a banjo or one other person,” Richey said. “And that music is fantastic, this isn’t about demonizing one type of music and elevating others, it’s about rounding out the genres of music that are available (locally for people to enjoy).”

Adding to his statement that Berea lacks venues for live performances, Richey said there are private and public solutions. Private companies might think about investing time, money and square footage in their establishments to cater to live music. Several downtown buildings could also be renovated and turned into dedicated space. Additionally, if alcohol sales were more freely availably, Richey said it might help to generate more music-friendly spaces since, currently, Berea’s adult beverages may only be purchased at restaurants and at special historic locations.

“Live music tends to work better in a coffeehouse or bar-type venue where people can sip on their drink and listen to the music,” Richey said.

One public solution Richey noted is the planned permanent structure for the Berea Farmers Market that could also be utilized for outdoor performance space.

Richey hopes that Madison County residents find themselves showing up to support local music and venues throughout the year, because these people are their neighbors.

“It’s neighborly to pay attention to what the people next door are doing,” he said. “If we are serous about belonging to a community then we need to show up to each other’s stuff, whether that is the plays we are in, the children’s games or the bands’ shows.”

Listening to local music can also help preserve the culture of music, Richey said, noting that music made with drum machines and samplers are on the rise and fewer people are playing music in the rock genre based around a guitar and keyboard.

“That era pretty much ended in the mid 90s,” he said. “The last gasp of that was grunge. When bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana disappeared from the charts, that was pretty much the end of that kind of stuff except for local musicians…I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to hear teenagers play rock and roll, metal or ska that requires band instrumentation because it’s one more little sign that the light hasn’t gone completely out.”

Concert

The Electric Berea Winter Warm-up will be Friday, Nov. 22 from 8-11 p.m. at the Spotlight Playhouse, 214 Richmond Road North, Berea.

Throughout the night food can be obtained through IP & J Cuban Food who will be vending throughout the night and serving up classic ethnic fair of rice, beans, roasted pork, yucca and plantains. The free event is sponsored by Richmond Beer House, Berea College, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and Berea Tourism.

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