1960s acts to rock the house at Akron Civic Theatre

By Malcolm X Abram
Beacon Journal pop music writer

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Herman's Hermits singer Peter Noone on American Idol.

Nostalgia for simpler times never seems to wane. On Sunday afternoon, fans of the rock ’n’ roll music of the early 1960s — you know, before those dirty longhairs started singing about war and putting sitars on everything and making the music all “psychodelik” — can get a healthy dose of that sound with the latest 60s Rock-N-Remember package tour coming to the Akron Civic Theatre.

I could make a joke about how the 4 p.m. start time makes it a dinner show for many folks from that era, but they probably wouldn't appreciate it, so let’s just say it’ll be a fun way to spend an afternoon.

The music triggering the memories will be provided by longtime area favorite Peter Noone, aka Herman of Herman’s Hermits, who at the tender age of 15 was a global pop star on the strength of still fun and peppy tunes such as I’m Into Something Good; There’s a Kind of Hush; Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter; and I’m Henry VIII, I Am, one of the most earworm-worthy bubblegum-pop tunes ever recorded. (You’re humming it right now, aren’t you?)

Herman’s Hermits have sold more than 60 million records, and I talked to Noone shortly before one of his many appearances in Akron over the past several years and he was just as friendly, upbeat and happy to be performing for fans as his public persona has always suggested.

Also on the bill are Gary Puckett & the Union Gap featuring singer/songwriter/leader Gary Puckett, and, yes, given the high number of pretenders and imposters on the road that illegally and immorally assume the personas of old doo-wop and rock ’n’ roll groups, I feel it is necessary to state that the actual Gary Puckett is still fronting the group named for him.

Anyway, you know Puckett’s music. Six consecutive lightly orchestrated Top 5 pop singles featuring his smooth voice went gold including Young Girl; Woman, Woman; Lady Willpower; and Over You.

Last but not least is Dennis Tufano, aka the voice of the Buckinghams, one of the most popular selling groups of the Summer of Love. The group burned bright for only a year or so, but had a No. 1 single with Kind of a Drag and other hits such as Don’t You Care and a surprisingly funky vocal take on Joe Zawinul’s now jazz standard Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.

Congratulations, Winslow

Congratulations to Akron soul/pop/rock band Winslow on its wins at the Ohio Local Music Awards handed out Saturday night at Tiffany’s banquet center in Brookfield.

The band was up for seven awards including best new album for its latest Left of the Right Direction, best song for the soul-rockin’ Stand Up and best onstage presence. Winslow took home three awards: Danny Kolliner was named best bassist, Jesse Marquardt was hailed as best drummer and the group was named best headlining band.

With those accolades under their collective belt, Winslow members are forging ahead, writing new songs and getting ready for shows at the Brothers Lounge in Cleveland with Carlos Jones on Nov. 16 and at Jilly Music Room in Akron on Nov. 29.

Winslow, which has a label and a public relations team, is also “scouring the earth,” as lead singer Maurice Martin said, for a booking agent in the hopes of expanding its touring opportunities.

Benefit concert live stream

I grew up in the Bay Area and for many years I would read about Neil Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit concerts, which always featured eclectic, interesting lineups of Young’s buddies and hip and happening bands that were helping out the school, which educates children with “severe speech and physical impairments through the use of augmentative and alternative communication systems and assistive technology.”

Well, the Internet and corporate sponsors (Warner Bros. to be exact) will make the 27th annual Bridge School Benefit Concert available to the world through a live, free stream on YouTube of the two-day event being held this weekend at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif.

Among the acts you can watch on your laptop/smartphone/desktop/tablet/crystal ball in the comfort of your own home or the nearby coffee shop you’ve been writing your film script/Great American Novel/dissertation in are Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Queens of the Stone Age, Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, Jack Johnson, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Fun, Heart and Jenny Lewis.

If you miss the live stream, the whole shebang will be rebroadcast on the following Monday-Wednesday with Tom Waits’ Sunday night performance as a bonus. Point your chosen media device to www.youtube.com/bridgebenefitconcert and enjoy.

R&B hall of fame update

The R&B Music Hall of Fame, which inducted its inaugural class in Cleveland in August, including Akron’s own Ruby & the Romantics, is getting closer to finding a brick-and-mortar home.

Primary mastermind Lamont Robinson has drawn interest from several cities including Atlanta, Memphis and Cleveland. But after months of meetings with various city officials and gathering some letters of intent, Robinson said the two cities at the top of the list are Detroit and Akron.

He said his talks with local interested politicos went so well that they’ve already discussed a few possible sites including the old Goodyear building, which has its own theater. No “i’s” have been dotted or “t’s” crossed on any official documents, but Akron could one day be the R&B counterpart to that other building in Cleveland.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at mabram@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at www.ohio.com/blogs/sound-check, or follow him on Twitter @malcolmxabram.

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