July 30, 2017
The Fun in the Summer Sun Tour, which has also been deemed Rockin’ Road Trip Tour, touched down at the Paramount in Huntington on the last, balmy Sunday night in July, bringing fans energetic sets from Fuel, Alien Ant Farm, Marcy Playground and Dishwalla. The perfect combination of favorite artists who made their mark on the music scene in the 90s showcased that the music stood up to time and fans were eager to reconnect to many of their favorite bands.
Kicking off the night was a rousing set from Dishwalla, from Santa Barbara, California. Formed in 1993, the only remaining original member of the band is Rodney Browning Cravens on lead guitar, though the other members have rotated in and out of the band for varying lengths of time. Culling their unusual name from a Hindi term for a person providing satellite TV to a neighborhood, the band reportedly discovered the term in a magazine article and it stuck. With Scot Alexander on bass, George Pendergast on drums, Justin Fox aptly handling vocals and Jim Wood on keyboards, the band launched into “Juniper Road” followed by “Mazelike Gardens” and “Once in a While” before addressing the crowd and asking, “How you doing, Long Island? The first two songs were off our new record called Juniper Road.” The crowd responded loudly to the next song, their iconic hit “Counting Blue Cars” as well as their last song, “Moisture.”
After a brief intermission that allowed for the switching of gear, Minneapolis’ Marcy Playground took the stage. The trio is comprised of two original members, John Wozniak on lead vocals and guitar and Dylan Keefe on bass. Shlomi Lavie handles drums and has been with the band since 2009. Their unusual moniker came from the Marcy Open grade school, an alternative school that Wozniak attended. The alt rock band that arrived on the scene in the late 1990s, was met with an enthusiastic crowd who responded when Wozniak told the crowd “We like this place (the Paramount)! This is where we met Dee Snider!” Fan favorite songs included “Poppies,” “Devil Woman,” “Saint Joe on the School Bus,” “Wave Motion Gun” and their most popular song “Sex & Candy.”
As the night wore on, the venue’s general admission area in front of the stage grew with the addition of more excited fans. With an early start time of 6PM to accommodate the long list of talented bands, the palpable anticipation seemed to increase each time the stage lights dimmed in anticipation of the next set.
Alien Ant Farm was formed in the mid-1990s in Riverside, California by Dryden Mitchell on vocals, Terry Corso on guitars, Mike Cosgrove on drums and Tye Zamora on bass. The only current member who isn’t part of the original lineup is Tim Peugh, who has been on the bass with the band since 2014. Their unusual name was the brainchild of Corso, who pondered aliens and the earth, saying it was his daydream about the planet being seeded by entities from other dimensions. Fans jammed to “Courage,” “Forgive and Forget” and “What I Feel is Mine.” “Does anybody remember when MTV played videos,” front man Mitchell asked the crowd. “Did anyone see the Alien Ant Farm video where we crash the B.E.T. awards?” and the band slammed into a high energy version of “These Days.”
Mitchell continued addressing the audience before the next song. “This is my Mom’s favorite song in the whole world. This is a nod to Linkin Park. Chester sang it with us a few times and I'm sure he sang it better than I did. If it is ok with you guys, I want to dedicate this song to my mom and Chester Bennington” and the band continued with a powerful performance of “Attitude.” The last song of their set is their best known song, an amazing cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.”
The lead up to the headlining act was electric, the momentum paved by the three previous robust sets. When Fuel hit the stage at 9:15, the crowd was ready, especially when lead singer and only original member Brett Scallions proclaimed, “Man, I love this venue! It’s the best venue in the entire world!” Fuel formed in Tennessee in the early 1990s, but Scallions’ recognizable voice has not changed in the past two plus decades, though the lineup has morphed often. Scallions even took a brief hiatus from the band from 2006-2010. Fuel is now made up of Scallions, Jason Womack on guitar, Phil Buckman on bass and Shannon Boone on drums. This tight band showed off their chops effortlessly, especially on songs like “Jesus on a Gun,” “Empty Spaces,” “ Headache,” and “Bad Day.” Covers included Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle” and Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” which were well selected to showcase the band’s talents and Scallions’ vocals. Highlights included “Bad Day” and “Sunburn” as well as “Shimmer” and “Hemorrhage (In My Hands).”
Suitably named The Fun in the Summer Sun Tour, this jam packed night of fantastic performances left fans satisfied as they headed to the merchandise stand and flowed out into the warm evening, heads full of song.
Additional Article Contributions: Mike Perciaccante
All Photos: Christine Connallon