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AMG/WC National A & R Record Label Showcase
Don Hill’s
Tuesday November 15, 2005

Written by Dan Tulino
Photographed by Krisztina Fazeka

PJ Sharamitaro of Lost Parade

Walking into Don Hill’s music club on Tuesday, November 15th, I walked into a world created by Alpha Music Group and Well Connected Management and their brainchild, The AMG/WC National A & R Record Label Showcase. I was immediately greeted by smiling faces, eager musicians and the most bad-ass red leather booths I have seen in all my years of gig-chasing. I was instantly transported into a sixties music venue.

PJ Sharamitaro of Lost Parade

I immediately grabbed two cold Buds and found my seat near the stage, ready to listen to the fifteen hot artists and bands. The showcase featured some of the most talked-about artists/bands from many genres, including Rock, Pop, Jazz, Latin and Urban. Some of the industry’s top dogs in attendance included reps from Koch Entertainment, Universal Records, Atlantic Records, Sony/Jive/BMG, and G-Unit.

Don Hill’s, across Greenwich St. from one of New York’s oldest establishments - The Ear Inn, has an honest blend of Crash Mansion style mixed with the CBGB ambiance. Before I could even guzzle down my first brew, I was approached by the hospitable reps from AMG and also by the most hyped band of the night, Lost Parade. The only way to describe Lost Parade’s sound is the way the band’s Jeff Faulkner described his group to me during our interview, “We are great rock with balls!”

Blue Fire’s Josh “Pix”and GUS "Bigman" Ward

Before Lost Parade took to the stage, the packed crowd (who had been treated to free food throughout the show), was supportive of the three opening lack-luster acts. Then it was Lost Parade’s turn and they certainly made the most of their fifteen minutes time slot. Listening to them blaze through their tracks, “Echoes” and “The Meaning of Us,” was like listening to Three Doors Down or Radiohead. Although they are presently unsigned, Lost Parade is a band to watch and certainly one to listen to.

Blue Fire’s Josh “Pix”and GUS "Bigman" Ward

As the night continued, it became clear to me that most of the acts would not get record contracts tonight or any other night in the future. Yet two bands after Lost Parade did grab me by the throat and did not let go. The first was a band called Blue Fire. I swear it was like watching a young Dave Mustaine resurrect the original Metallica line-up. Lead guitarist/vocalist Joshua “Pix” Karickhoff, born April 1991, and his cousin bassist/vocalist Gustauve “Bigman” Ward, born December 1988, endangered the ears and minds of every audience member throughout their fifteen minutes. They displayed some of the most technically-advanced musicianship I had ever heard. Watching Blue Fire perform was almost frightening, knowing they will one day be playing to sold-out stadiums; they were that good.

Yo Flaco

The other band that left a resonating effect was the un-expecting Yo Flaco, an eight-piece hip-hop/jazz/pop group armed with bass, drums, keyboards, a full horn section and dueling vocals. Yo Flaco brought back to life the meaning of live dance rock with the kind of performance that has previously landed them in the finals at the American Music Awards. As talented as they are enigmatic, one could walk past them and assume they are the latest boy band based on looks alone. Yet once they hit the stage, Yo Flaco delivered in a way that only kept me questioning how they remain an unsigned band.

With endless unworthy pop stars flooding the airwaves, Don Hill’s along with A lpha M usic G roup and Well Connected Management are proving that there is a place for originality and integrity in the music industry. This showcase was proof positive and November 15th was a night I was proud to say I was a New Yorker.

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