Lewiston-Clarkston Valley summers are punctuated by two big concerts on opposite sides of the Snake River, Rockin’ on the River in Clarkston and Hot August Nights in Lewiston.While Hot August Nights has dug deep into the classic rock vein, Rockin’ on the River mines the music of the 90s. This year is little different. Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver will play Rockin’ on the River July 21. Hot August Nights is advertising its concert with the music of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) but the question that always gets asked first when a classic rock band reappears decades later is, who is left?
The English band Electric Light Orchestra formed in 1971 and found huge success with American arena audiences with classical-tinged rock hits like 1975’s “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” and 1976’s “Evil Woman.” There were many members but guitarist and songwriter Jeff Lynne and drummer Bev Bevan were the group’s backbone. Lynne went on to become a member of the Traveling Wilburys. However, that’s not who is coming to Lewiston.
The headliner band scheduled to play Hot August Nights Saturday, Aug. 25 is named the Orchestra and it’s a blend of former members of ELO and members of the Electric Light Orchestra II, a group formed in 1991 by ELO drummer Bev Bevan. After Bevan retired in 1999 the group renamed itself the Orchestra and continues the larger-than-life symphonic rock sound ELO was known for.
The Orchestra does boast members from ELO’s beginnings. Violinist Mik Kaminski joined ELO in 1973 and became renowned for his command of the instrument in live performances. Louis Clark was behind the ELO’s string arrangements during their most prosperous years, 1974-1986. As an arranger he’s worked with Ozzy Osbourne and Roy Orbison and scored orchestral arrangements of music by Abba, the Beatles, and Queen. Members Eric Troyer, Phil Bates, Gordon Townsend were all members of ELO II. Glen Burtnik was added to the Orchestra after ELO vocalist and guitarist Kelly Groucutt died in 2009 of a heart attack.
Opening Hot August Nights on Friday, Aug. 24 is the southern hard rock band Saving Abel. In a twist this isn’t classic rock but a band from the new century.
Saving Abel’s 2008 eponymous debut record spawned the platinum single “Addicted,” “Drowning (Face Down)” and “18 Days.” Their second album, “Miss America,” topped the Hard Rock chart and gave radio the songs “Stupid Girl (Only in Hollywood)” and “The Sex is Good.” Foot stomps, mandolins, jaw harps, banjos and empty water jugs can all be heard on their most recent album, this year’s “Bringing Down the Giant.” The band hails from the small town of Corinth, Mississippi and takes pride in a hillbilly approach to rock.
Tickets for Hot August Nights will go on sale later this summer.
Scott Weiland is the lead singer of the ‘90s Grammy Award winning grunge band Stone Temple Pilots. He also made big headlines with the group Velvet Revolver, formed with Duff McKagan, Slash, Matt Sorum and Dave Kushner. Weiland has established himself as a soloist. His song “Breathe” is on the soundtrack of this spring’s film release of “The Avengers.” He’s known for his versatile style in look and sound. In 2011 he documented his struggles with heroin and childhood sexual abuse in the autobiography “Not Dead & Not For Sale.” In September he and his Stone Temple Pilots bandmates will launch a tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album, “Core.”
Pre-sale tickets for his Rockin’ on the River show will go on sale from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, June 15 at Century 21 Price Right, 920 Main St, Lewiston. They are $20. Only cash will be accepted. The concert is July 21 at Gateway Golf Center in Clarkston.