2017-07-12 / Front Page

Astoria Band Fest 2017

BY WALLY STYLUS

The Unknowns.

Photos Peter Olsen The Unknowns. Photos Peter Olsen Amid grilled kielbasa and Czech beer, the Astoria Band The Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden stage.
Photo Erick BenitezThe Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden stage. Photo Erick BenitezFest continued its success in presenting local neighborhood talent to its audience. In its third installment in the last five years, Erick Benitez has enlarged interest in the festival and the event attracted hundreds of music fans to the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden on Saturday, July 1. The Bohemian Hall (29-19 24th Avenue) is a true Queens gem that boasts a large outdoor beer garden and featured a whisky-tasting during the event.

A broad assortment of acts for this year’s Band Fest MC’ed by the comedian Peter Rancel, Babe Patrol.

 Babe Patrol. offered musical variety for everyone, with seven live bands, and no cover charge. Soulshine, an electric and acoustic guitar duo, kicked off the fest with a strong set of country rock covers that featured strong lead vocals and excellent harmonies. The blues rock group Dirt River followed, displaying some effective slide and lead guitar work in their original songs. Up next was Babe Patrol, a visually appealing group with raw punk and alt-rock sensibilities. The strong lead vocals from the dynamic female front person and solid backup harmonies really pulled together their set. The Unknowns followed, featuring the well-known veteran musician from Astoria, Dirt River.
Dirt River. John Marino, on drums. The band delivered tight renditions of classic rock covers by artists that included Tangerine.

Tangerine. Jimi Hendrix, Allman Brothers and Cream. It began to rain during Zoe Over Zero’s set, but it didn’t hamper the fun. The group played a good mix of cerebral originals and cover songs, led by acoustic guitar. The group featured another Astoria music veteran, Phil DiFranco, nicknamed “the hardest working musician in Astoria.” Erick, the architect of the Band Fest, played with his band from 20 years ago named S.O.C. They played a tight mix of 1970s and 1990s covers and featured female backup singers called the E-Rock girls on two songs. The headlining act was Tangerine, fronted by the talented lead singer Cathy Lynn, who is another local favorite. They delivered a set of polished Led Zeppelin covers and carried the festival to a close.
Next year’s event is already being planned, and the Band Fest is set to return to Bohemian Hall in 2018.

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