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Musical Reasons to Brave the Cold...

January 24, 2014 - Jim Price
Again this weekend, the area music scene provides some good reasons to escape the four walls and battle cabin fever, as several noteworthy shows grace area stages.

Three rocking area band favorites will join forces to provide an exciting bill at Pellegrine’s on Friday night. Ganister, NailDriver and The Sitch will each provide their distinctive brands of hard-rocking music starting at 9:30 p.m. With the recent addition of guitarist Chris Silva, Ganister is again gaining momentum on area stages with their hard-edged blend of modern rock, hits and metal. Altoona’s NailDriver will likely debut more of the new metal-geared song material they have been working on lately, and The Sitch will present their mixture of new and classic rock, pop and original song favorites. Admission is $5.

Meanwhile, McGarvey’s (formerly Aldo’s) will present a four-band punk rock throwdown on Friday night, featuring State College punksters The Whatleys and The Company You Keep, Pottsville-based punk rockers Heroes & Hooligans, and Huntingdon County acoustic alternative/punk rockers Kevo Can’t Dance. The show begins at 10 p.m.

One of Altoona’s fastest-rising band names, This Albatross, graces the stage at the Belmar Hotel for the first time on Saturday night. This Albatross features the amazing vocal power and range of singer Autumn Shiffler (daughter of longtime Altoona vocalist Steve Shiffler, who fronted Not Them Guys and XL for many years), backed by former Chris Vipond & the Stanley Street Band guitarist Phil Wagner, former Neogumbo member Paul Johnson on guitars and keys, Chris Vipond bass man Mike Stanley, and drummer Les Beatty. Expect a high-powered mixture of rock and country favorites, including a few surprises along the way.

Speaking of Chris Vipond & the Stanley Street Band, they will be performing a special show at the State Theatre in State College on Saturday night. “Runnin’ Down a Dream” will feature a variety of Centre region bands and artists interpreting the music of Tom Petty in their own distinctive styles, while raising funds for Easter Seals of Central Pennsylvania and the State Theatre. Besides Chris Vipond & the Stanley Street Band, the concert will feature Grain, The Screaming Ducks, Erin Condo & the Hoofties, Hannah Bingman, The Nightcrawlers, Miss Melanie & the Valley Rats, Ted McCloskey & the Hi-Fi’s, Pure Cane Sugar and more. Tickets are sold out for the show, which begins at 7 p.m.

A benefit show will take place on Saturday evening to help out an area musician dealing with health issues. The benefit for area “one-man band” entertainer John Stiffler will take place at Morris’ Tavern in Sidman (near the Johnstown Flood Memorial site in St. Michael) starting at 8 p.m. Stiffler was diagnosed with a rare auto immune disease called Chronic Inflammatory Demylinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP), and now needs a cane and knee braces to get around. He was accepted for a stem cell transplant at a facility in Chicago, and is incurring large medical expenses. The benefit will feature performances by Stiffler and other musical friends.

And if your tastes run toward pop standards and polkas, you might choose to head to the Gallitzin Moose on Sunday afternoon to see the Mario Crocetti Trio perform starting at 2 p.m. Recently celebrating his 86th birthday, Crocetti is still going strong; and with accordion in hand, he’ll lead his trio (including his son, Mike, on drums this day) on a variety of big band and pop standards, polkas, classic country and more. Admission to this performance is free, and the public is welcome.

And for something to do on Thursday night, Altoona-based acoustic trio The Backyard Rockers celebrate their second anniversary as a band with a musical party at Pellegrine’s, starting at 9 p.m. The night will also be the group’s harmonica player, “Harmonica Dave” Baird’s birthday celebration. Complimentary food and snacks will be available, and various musical guests will be joining the group onstage through the course of the evening. Admission is free.

Support live music this weekend and upcoming week! And if you plan to celebrate heavily while doing so, please designate a driver or call a cab!

Here is a full listing for live music on area stages this weekend and the coming week:


Felix & the Hurricanes at the Blair County Convention Center, Altoona (Deer and Beer event, starts 6 p.m.)

Greg Burley at Belmar Hotel, Altoona (starts 6 p.m.)

The Whatleys, Kevo Can’t Dance, Heroes & Hooligans and The Company You Keep at McGarvey’s (formerly Aldo’s), Altoona

Ganister, The Sitch and NailDriver at Pellegrine’s, Altoona

The Boomers at the Heidelberg Club, Altoona (starts 9 p.m.)

Shallow Nine at Saxton Sportsmen’s Club, Saxton


The Boomers at Family Pizza, Altoona

Left For Dead at McGarvey’s (formerly Aldo’s), Altoona

This Albatross at Belmar Hotel, Altoona

Inside Out (former Kyx members) at Teriz Place, Altoona

Rich Edmundson at Molly Maguire’s, Altoona

Benefit for John Stiffler at Morris’ Tavern, Sidman; featuring John Stiffler and friends (starts 8 p.m.)

Dale and Ted at Park Avenue Pub, Patton

Punk Fiction at Slovak Citizens Club, Patton

Inside Out at Castle Pub, Ebensburg

Untyed at Spanky’s Tavern, Loretto

White Shadow at City Hotel, Northern Cambria

Shallow Nine at Glenn’s Place, Claysburg

Locked and Loaded at Schellsburg VFW. Schellsburg

Backlash at Mount Union VFW, Mount Union

Felix & the Hurricanes at Williamsburg American Legion, Williamsburg

Emberstitch at Huntingdon Moose, Huntingdon


Mario Crocetti Trio at Gallitzin Moose, Gallitzin (starts 2 p.m.)


Felix & the Hurricanes at Shaw’s Bar, Altoona


Open Mic/Jam Night at Pellegrine’s, Altoona


Steve Summerhill at Jethro’s, Altoona (starts 7 p.m.)

Backyard Rockers at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (starts 9 p.m.)

(More shows may be added to this list as information becomes available. Feel free to check back.)

To report additional shows or corrections to this listing, email information to

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Blog Photos

Matt Watson of NailDriver, during a November performance at Aldo's (now McGarvey's). NailDriver will play as part of a triple-bill with The Sitch and Ganister at Pellegrine's on Friday night.