To Do List

Categories:      Events    Music    Community
Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 at 5:30 PM
To Do List by Alex Bieler

Brothers Past

Inspiration comes from all sorts of places. For musicians, a major contributor to the song crafter’s creative mind lies in the sounds of musicians past. While past musicians like John Lennon and Duane Allman motivate many musicians, a band can cull plenty of new ideas from its own members.

“At this point we have been doing this for almost 12 years, so a lot of the inspiration comes from each other,” says Brothers Past keyboardist and vocalist Tom McKee. McKee and his bandmates will make their first appearance in Erie when they play at the crooked i with opener Smackdab at 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2.

Brothers Past, which McKee describes as “a rock band that plays electronic music,” has been earning the attention of music fans for over a decade even gracing the main stage at Bonnaroo Music Festival back in 2006. In that time, the foursome of McKee, Tom Hamilton, Clay Parnell, and Rick Lowenburg has been wowing crowds with their toe-tapping tunes.

“It’s very much about the transfer of energy,” McKee says “We do our thing on stage and put an enormous amount of energy out into the audience and they feed off it and give it right back. The goal has always sort of been to weave the songs together in a way that makes you feel like you’re seeing a DJ performance without sacrificing the energy of a great live rock ‘n’ roll performance.”

Through the years, Brothers Past has evolved through both its live shows and studio recordings. Alternating between different styles, such as dub and house music, the foursome creates a shifting style of indie electronica.  Earlier this year, the Philadelphia-based band even released “Everything Must Go 0111,” a double album of cuts from over the past decade.

While Brothers Past may have been around for a while, that doesn’t mean that the group is slowing down creatively.

“I love our band as much as I ever have,” McKee says. “The touring schedule is definitely a little lighter these days, and we all have a few more commitments than we did in our 20s, but the music we are making is as fresh and interesting as it’s ever been in my opinion. If it wasn’t, we just wouldn’t be doing this.”

Even a decade later, the members of Brothers Past is more than happy to provide their electro-rock dance rhythms for music fans, whether they be at Bonnaroo or State Street. It shouldn’t take a flash of inspiration to make sure you head down to the crooked i for this show.

Erie Signature Chefs Auction

Family dinner is a big part of growing up. Fond memories of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and chats about how everyone’s day went pepper the periphery of my youth. To put it bluntly, food is a big player in many people’s formative years – mine included.

Of course, before we could even remember these interactions, we were chowing down on pureed carrots and mother’s milk, the beginning of a life of consumption. However, not all babies are picture-perfect images of health, with complications from being born prematurely or birth defects affecting many newborns. That’s why March of Dimes is here to help.

“Last year, over 4 million babies were born, and March of Dimes affected every single one of them,” says Benjamin Chaffee, Division Director for March of Dimes in Northwest Pennsylvania. “Through pushing for the newborn testing, every state now mandates a minimum of 29 different disorders to be tested. March of Dimes really pioneered the regionalization of the neo-natal intensive care unit so that they’re readily accessible across the country and not just in certain pockets.”

In order to continue to help these children enjoy family dinners of their own, March of Dimes is holding the 19th Annual Erie Signature Chefs Auction at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5 at the Bayfront Convention Center. Appropriately, a combination of 19 different local restaurants and wineries will donate not only time and food for the event, each one will also have a different package up for auction at the event, ranging from a dinner for six in their restaurant to a 10-course meal.

“We really want to feature that local flavor,” Chaffee says. “It’s a great event, it’s growing, and it’s a lot of fun. [We wanted] to add a fall event that we could use as a fundraiser and include some of the local community, include some of the local restaurants, which people love to support.”

With the proceeds going to benefit March of Dimes and chefs from local restaurants like La Bella, Three B Saloon, and Bertrand’s Bistro cooking up a storm in the Convention Center, and depending on how the auction goes, potentially in your kitchen, the Chefs Auction marks a chance to support both family and food.

Tickets for the event run at $85 for one person or $850 for a table, all of which goes to March of Dimes to aid babies everywhere. Those interested in attending can call 833.4941 or go to the March of Dimes website to reserve tickets.

How often will you get a chance to not only have another great family dinner, but also to help another family be able to have one in the future? The Chefs Auction is your chance to help cook up something special.

Alex Bieler can be contacted at

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