IDOL Finalist Casey Abrams & More Set for Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks Summer Concert Series
Chart-toppers The Smithereens, renowned blues guitarist Coco Montoya, American Idol finalist Casey Abrams, classic '60s rock act Vanilla Fudge, and Texas-based rockers Green River Ordinance highlight the 50-plus free performances during the 2014 Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks Summer Concert Series presented by Highmark Blue Shield. The series kicks off May 16-17 with a preview weekend featuring indie rockers Our Griffins and Americana act Beaucoup Revue and concludes Sept. 13 with a dance party with Brother Joscephus & the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra, along with the BC Combo.
The Levitt Pavilion Summer Concert Series officially gets underway Memorial Day weekend with four dynamic nights of music including a May 24 show by The Smithereens. Formed in 1980, this New Jersey-based group is known for hits such as "Too Much Passion," "Blood and Roses" and the chart toppers "Only a Memory" and "A Girl Like You." Also taking the stage during the weekend are Dr. K's Motown Revue May 23; Green River Ordinance, whose hits include "Come On" and "On Your Own," on May 25; and rising indie rock act NEULORE May 26.
On June 12, SteelStacks will come alive with a wealth of sounds from around the globe when the critically acclaimed Playing For Change takes the stage. This group, which dedicates itself to promoting positive social change through the universal language of music, features musicians from nine countries on four continents. This summer, the ensemble is visiting all six Levitt Pavilions throughout the nation as part of a 2014 Levitt National Tour, supported in part through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
As summer heats up, so do the concerts at the Levitt Pavilion. On July 11, American Idol finalist Casey Abrams will bring his unique sound to SteelStacks. After finishing sixth on American Idol in 2011, Abrams took part in the national American Idol LIVE! tour and also made appearances on several national TV shows. In 2012, he released his debut album, Casey Abrams, which featured the charting singles "Get Out" and "Simple Life."
On Aug. 28, the Levitt Pavilion will come alive with the sounds of the blues when Coco Montoya takes the stage. Named "the hottest southpaw in the blues" by Guitar One Magazine, Montoya performed in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers for a decade before launching a solo career that ended up with him being named the Blues Foundation's Best New Blues Artist during the 1996 Blues Music Awards. Other blues acts appearing throughout the summer include local blues legend Craig Thatcher and his band July 12, acclaimed steel ensemble The Lee Boys July 25, GRAMMY-nominated guitarist and songwriter Tab Benoit Aug. 21 and the popular Eric Steckel Band on Labor Day, Sept. 1.
Fans of The Cowsills will have the opportunity to see the legendary group perform its hits Aug. 30. Formed by brothers Bill, Bob, Barry and John Cowsill, the Cowsills recorded several hits in the '60s including "Hair," "Indian Lake" and "The Rain, The Park & Other Things." The group was also the inspiration for the television show "The Partridge Family."
Other highlights of the 2014 summer season include a performance by Jim Weider's Project Percolator, featuring former Band lead guitarist Jim Weider, on July 6; chart-topping Cuban Son group Conjunto Chappottin, on its first U.S. tour, July 10; and Vanilla Fudge, known for classics like "Keep Me Hanging On," on Sept. 12. Several dynamic tribute acts will also take the stage throughout the summer including Eagles tribute Desert Highway May 30, The Who tribute The Wholigans June 14; and Beginnings, which will serve up Chicago's biggest hits on Sept. 6. And on Patriot Day, Sept. 11, the Levitt Pavilion audience will be treated to a very special performance by The American Hitmen.
Formed in the midst of battle in Fallujah, Iraq, during Operation Phantom Fury in 2004, the American Hitmen came together when brothers Dan and Tim Cord began jamming for their fellow Marines in the smoke pit, after long days of missions, incoming mortars and firefights, using the sounds of their acoustic guitars in hopes of lifting everyone's spirits. The group, which is comprised of U.S. Servicemen, has since appeared on Season 8 of America's Got Talent and today tours the country, sharing its roots-based rock sound with audiences from coast to coast.
"This year's Levitt Pavilion summer concert lineup is one of our most diverse ever, with an amazing array of artists set to perform from May through September. Whether you love the sounds of Americana, blues and world music, or you enjoy classic artists like Vanilla Fudge and The Smithereens, you'll find it at SteelStacks this summer," says Mary Stubbmann, Chair of Friends of the Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, the nonprofit that operates Levitt Pavilion. "We thank the national Levitt Pavilions, City of Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority and our many partners and volunteers who have come together to help make this free music series possible."
Part of the Levitt Pavilions network of free outdoor music venues, Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks is made possible through the support of the Mortimer Levitt Foundation and numerous community-focused partners. The venue, located at 789 E. First St., Bethlehem, is operated by Friends of Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, a nonprofit whose mission is to build community through music by presenting 50 high-quality, free concerts and performances for the region. Guests are invited to bring their blankets and lawn chairs, relax on the Levitt Pavilion lawn and enjoy great, free music under the stars all summer long. A variety of food and beverages is also available for purchase at the Levitt's Mack Truck Cafe, with proceeds going to support the free summer concert series.
"By supporting the Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks Summer Concert Series, Highmark is proud to help bring a diverse selection of free musical entertainment to Lehigh Valley residents," says Highmark Blue Shield Director of Community Affairs Susan Hubley. "This is a great way for us to partner with a creative local organization to enhance the quality of life in a community that we serve."
Partners helping to make the free programming at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks possible include Highmark Blue Shield, Mack Trucks, OneMain Financial, QNB, Kevitch & Chung Aesthetic Surgery Associates, Chaar, Embassy Bank, Moravian College Comenius Center and Miller-Keystone Memorial Blood Center, as well as media partners 99.9 The Hawk, Service Electric Cable TV & Communications and The Word FM.