Mr. Slides Birthday Party rocks with Time Traveller, Dark Side of the Moon, The Michael Weber Show and Ball & Chain!

Mr. Slides Birthday Party

It’s not often The Rust Belt Chronicles gets invited to a private party. Photographer, John C. Benson (AKA… “Mr. Slides”) throws his annual birthday party featuring some of the best tribute bands from NE Ohio! The event was hosted at The Kent Stage in Kent, Ohio. The musical line-up was fortified with Time Traveller (North America’s #1 Moody Blues tribute), Dark Side of The Moon (Pink Floyd tribute), Ball & Chain (The Ultimate Janis Joplin Experience) and The Michael Weber Show. The end of the evening was scheduled to included an All-Star Jam.

The lobby of The Kent Stage was decked-out with food consisting of pizza, cupcakes, and assorted munchies.  The bar was open serving refreshments to the invitees. Inside the lobby, acoustic performances were presented throughout the night. The persona of “Mr. Slides” was seen celebrating with friends in his Howard Stern like-wig and courting a blow-up, love doll throughout the festivities! As with most scheduled shows, the event ran over the allotted time, however; the courteous Kent Stage management allowed the party to finish by midnight.

I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside of John Benson in the photo pit in the past and he’s photographed for The Rust Belt Chronicles when we’ve needed assistance. John is a true professional photographer and one of the best in NEO! I want to thank him for his invitation to his belated birthday party and for his kindness throughout the evening!

*Review in order of band appearance. All bands performed shortened sets.

Dark Side of The Moon

Dark Side of the Moon hit the stage opening the event. I’ve never experienced the band live and was excited to hear the repertoire of progressive rock tunes. Although the band was scaled-down excluding all of their usual props, Dark Side of The Moon was a pleasure to hear as they captivated the audience with their clarity of some of the most epic songs ever written and recorded by Pink Floyd.

The band opened with “Comfortably Numb” and the authentic sound of the ballad was delivered with an hauntingly, crisp tone. The band had the crowd singing along and smiling as DSOTM took us through the romp of majestic splendor! “Time”, “The Great Gig In The Sky” and “Money” were startling with Ray Beeble providing the infusion of keyboard sounds boldly. The vocals of Trevor Mallernee were prevalently strong as back-up vocalist, Alexa Porkony with band members shined throughout the entire set as they provided harmonies with beautiful brevity!

Dark Side of The Moon Photo Gallery.

Dark Side of The Moon is loaded with talented musicians. Guitarist, Joey Amato provided clean detail of chord progressions, solos and accompaniments. Additional guitarist, Jeff Tucker injected searing guitar solos and accompaniments with bassist, John Klusti and drummer, Jeff Klemm; who were benevolent in fluctuating the rhythm and bottom-end together tightly.

“Lust” was another high-point of their show with its superb chaos musically intertwined. “Another Brick In The Wall” was presented effectively, once again inspiring the fans to sing-along. “Wish You Were Here” was a moving experience as Dark Side of The Moon transported our thought and memories. The progressive-rock tribute band took us on a final jaunt with the tune, “Run”.

Don’t miss Dark Side of The Moon in concert near you!

The Michael Weber Show

Having never heard The Michael Weber Show, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Within a few minutes after hearing the 19 year-old guitarist, I was blown away. The raw energy, shredding blues-based style of music astonished the fans  as well. I had no idea that he’s appeared  onstage and performed with The Counting Crows when he was only nine and twelve years old.

It’s truly mind-boggling to watch Michael Weber as the young man dazzled with his unique staccato fingerings and speed. His ability to reach into his soul and emulate the spectacular “Hendrix” guitar poses and tricks is fun and spot-on. The band provided an astute musician experience as they operated like a team of blues busters!  Michael Weber reminded me of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page meets Brian May.  Whether it was their interpretation of covers or their original music, the Michael Weber Show were quite splendid!

– Jim Carver/The Rust Belt Chronicles

The Michael Weber Show Photo Gallery.

The Michael Weber Show also has a keyboardist at some gigs as they perform tunes by Deep Purple too! Being a lover of all things Purple, I am looking forward to catching this ensemble soon! With a setlist covering Jimi Hendrix and some serious hard and heavy Blues tunes, the band is clearly produces a lot of smoke. With several original recordings featured the future looks quite bright for this young gifted guitarist and his minstrels!

  Catch The Michael Weber Show on tour! You will be amazed by this brilliant young guitarist and his incredible band.

Time Traveller

Time Traveller is North America’s #1 Moody Blues tribute band for good reason. These seasoned band members have an impeccable sound formulated to perfection! Without their normal staging props and lighting missing (due to time constraints), this band marvels on their musical interpretation of The Moody Blues!

The show began with an impromptu version of The Beatles, “Birthday” dedicated to John Benson. The notorious romp through the tune was fun and energetic. Last summer, Time Traveller performed on a tribute band concert bill in Colorado, which also featured guitarist, Denny Laine (formerly of Paul McCartney and Wings) which vocalist, George Yunis gave a nice mention too.

The band began their regular set with the keyboards of Jeff Costick initiating the introduction of “The Voice”. The moving lead vocals provided by Jeff Johnson with the blended accompaniments of the band projected the subtle feel of the original recording. “Tuesday Afternoon” was a melodic romp through a timeless masterpiece. The keyboards resonated above the band as Jeff Johnson sang as if he were Justin Hayword.

The symphonic sound of majestic splendor was prevalent as were the tempo changes and epic movements! “Go Now” took us back to 1964 with its arranged background vocals of George Yunis as the band excelled through the tune like gang-busters!

“Your Wildest Dreams” was a journey through a cosmic keyboard intro, that set the tone for the lovely tune! The chorus was fantastic with the backing vocals and musical mix delivering a flowing and poignant statement. “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” featured the lead vocals of George Yunis as the beautiful song was performed brilliantly.  The keyboards carried over-top the band as bassist, Gary Simmons smiled and navigated on the bass guitar.

Drummer, Marti Zlocki was in the groove as he drove the band with a variety of percussion effects. Classically-trained guitarist, John Kastelic rocked with his pleasant rhythm progressions as George and flutist, vocalist, keyboardist, Julie Firestone shared their vibrant fun onstage.

“Forever Autumn” with its keyboard and flute beginning was a tasteful moving experience through the accession of musical wonderment! “The Story In Your Eyes” flowed effortlessly as it struck a chord in the fans hearts. This band is so tight, it’s as if they are their own orchestra!

As drummer, Marti Zlocki provided the drum attack soon to be joined by guitarist, Jon Kastelic unleashing a fury of chords; it was clear we were about to hear; “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock and Band)”. Kastelic was incredible. The musicians tempo, togetherness and huge sound was magnificent. Julie and George shook tambourines and danced throughout the song.

“Nights In White Satin” is one of the most beautiful love songs ever recorded. The magnitude of the song performed by Time Traveller is worth the price of admission alone.  The grandeur of musical waves were perfect!  Flutist, Julie Firestone was phenomenal as she fluttered her instrument throughout the venue!  It’s easy to see why Time Traveller has been booked in theaters across the USA.  Their message is clear with passion, pride and love!

The astounding prog-rockers ended the set with “Questions”. The tune was presented with a vigorous strumming of John Kastelic’s guitar. The clean vocals of Jeff Johnson were abundant as the tempo and structure differed. The beautiful tune transgressed us into one somehow.  The finale was moving and monumental!

As always, it was a joy to hear Time Traveller!

Time Traveller Photo Gallery.

Ball & Chain

Ball & Chain is the first Janis Joplin tribute band I’ve ever heard. The band is definitely a treat for fans of the 1960’s, legendary music icon. Lead vocalist, Geri Ciacchi gave me shivers down the spine as she tapped into the persona and look of Joplin! Her passion for Joplin was quite evident throughout the performance as she belted-out the famous songs that reminded us of the Vietnam War and the turbulence of the hippie culture during the late 1960’s.

The band provided the feel of the original music as they rocked and socked their way through the setlist. Armed with a steady bevy of classic rock flavored with awe-inspiring vocals this group set the tone immediately. Featuring tunes such as “Piece Of My Heart”(performed brilliantly), “Ball and Chain”, “Summertime” and “Kosmic Blues”, this band created a cosmic emotion celebrating the music of Janis Joplin! Geri Ciacchi gave us her heart and soul as she eyed the fans above her sunglasses and microphone stands laced with scarves galore. “Me and Bobby McGee” was a masterful journey. Ball & Chain doesn’t disappoint if you’re a fan of Janis Joplin or a lover of soul and blues!

-Jim Carver/ The Rust Belt Chronicles

Ball & Chain Photo Gallery.

The group ended the set with a accapella version of “Mercedes Benz” as the the band tore-down their equipment. Geri Ciacchi had the crowd dancing and singing along as she displayed her heart and soul with passion and grit!

All-Star Jam

The All-Star Jam ended the evening of festivities as many of the musicians who had performed throughout the night returned to the stage.  Sometimes un-rehearsed jams can turn into a nightmare and you never know what expect, but overall this adventure was a delightful experience.

Opening with a cover of ZZ Top’s “La Grange” livened-up the theater. The atmosphere was loud and brash with a version of Led Zeppelin’s, “Rock N’ Roll” charging like ions on steroids. The stage interaction between Geri Ciacchi of Ball & Chain and George Yunis of Time Traveller was fun to watch as they traded-off vocal lines throughout the verses and exchanged glances. “Mr. Slides” appeared onstage during the jam session with his doll putting the emphasis on a fun evening of musical celebration!




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Jim Carver About Jim Carver

Jim Carver is the President of The Rust Belt Chronicles.

In 2004, Jim graduated from North Central State College with a degree in Business Information Technology. Jim developed "Rock Lines" news report online in 2010.After a trial-run of The Rust Belt Chronicles in April of 2013, Jim decided to make his dream a reality in 2014 by re-launching The Rust Belt Chronicles.

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