NEPA Scene Staff

Blue Öyster Cult and Apocalypse Blues Revue rock Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Nov. 4

Blue Öyster Cult and Apocalypse Blues Revue rock Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Nov. 4
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From a press release:

For over four decades, Blue Öyster Cult has been thrilling fans of intelligent hard rock worldwide with powerful albums loaded with classic songs. Now they’re coming to perform those songs at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Friday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m.

The Apocalypse Blues Revue, featuring Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin and guitarist Tony Rombola, will open the show.

Tickets, which are $29 for reserved seats or $34 for the pit, are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Penn’s Peak box office (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe), and Roadies Restaurant and Bar (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe). Penn’s Peak box office and Roadies Restaurant ticket sales are walk-up only; no phone orders.

Based in Long Island, New York, Blue Öyster Cult is revered within the hard rock and heavy metal scene for its pioneering work. The band occupies a unique place in rock history because it’s one of very few hard rock/heavy metal bands to earn both genuine mainstream critical acclaim as well as commercial success.

The band is often cited as a major influence by acts like Metallica, and BÖC was listed in VH1’s countdown of the greatest hard rock bands of all time.

Upon the release of BÖC’s self-titled debut album in 1972, the band was praised for its catchy, yet heavy music and lyrics that could be provocative, terrifying, funny, or ambiguous, often all in the same song. BÖC’s canon includes three stone-cold classic songs that will waft through the cosmos long after the sun has burned out – the truly haunting “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” from 1976’s “Agents of Fortune,” the pummeling “Godzilla” from 1977’s “Spectres,” and the hypnotically melodic “Burnin’ for You” from 1981’s “Fire of Unknown Origin.” Other notable BÖC songs include “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll,” “Then Came the Last Days of May,” “I Love the Night,” “In Thee,” “Veteran of the Psychic Wars,” “Dominance and Submission,” “Astronomy,” “Black Blade,” and “Shooting Shark.”

The intense creative vision of BÖC’s original core duo of vocalist/lead guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Eric Bloom are complemented by Richie Castellano on guitar and keyboards and the longtime rhythm section of bass guitarist Kasim Sulton and drummer Jules Radino.

“We realized we’re a ‘classic rock’ band. That’s what we are, that’s what we do best, that’s what we know. The band members are proud of BÖC’s classic sound, and pleased the band is creating vibrant work for disenfranchised music lovers who don’t like the homogenized, prefabricated pop or sound-alike, formulaic rap-metal, which monopolizes the radio airwaves and bestseller charts,” the band stated.

BÖC has always maintained a relentless touring schedule that brings new songs and classics to original fans and, as Bloom puts it, “teenagers with green hair.”

As the legend goes, Robert Johnson infamously started his career by meeting the devil at the crossroads. By the same token, you could say The Apocalypse Blues Revue began playing at the end of the world. Co-founded by Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin and guitarist Tony Rombola and featuring vocalist Ray “Rafer John” Cerbone and bassist Brian Carpenter, the quartet honors blues traditions while etching their stamp on the genre in blood.

“As far as blues goes, The Apocalypse Blues Revue is a little heavier, a little darker, and has some punk rock attitude in the lyrics,” affirms Larkin. “We wanted to make something deep that will provoke thought. It had to be evil, though. We’re not trying to make it happy. It’s called blues for a reason! It was also an opportunity to show the world what a phenomenal guitar player Tony is.”

Larkin witnessed Rombola’s knack for the style firsthand, while writing together for Godsmack’s 2010 offering “The Oracle.” Burnt out on metal and hard rock, the pair would loosely jam without boundaries. During one impromptu session in their Southwest Florida rehearsal spot, the drummer laid down a slow, simmering groove and another side of the guitar player reared its head.

“I couldn’t believe it,” smiles Larkin. “I didn’t even know he was into blues or could play the way he does. My reaction was immediate. We had to officially start a blues band.”

“There’s always been some blues in my playing,” adds Rombola. “It came from classic rock like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC. Then, I got into guys like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Gales. We decided to mix it up, merging traditional blues and heavier elements.”

In between breaks from their rigorous Godsmack touring schedule, the duo amassed countless ideas and decided to begin creating songs. Impressed by his Jim Morrison-esque baritone, they welcomed Cerbone – who Larkin appropriately met at a biker bar – into the fold. 2013 saw Carpenter join after the drummer judged a local radio contest he won. With the lineup locked and a slew of shows under their collective belt, the boys cut a demo of “The Devil in Me.” It landed in the hands of Mascot Records, who offered them a deal immediately during late 2015.

In February 2016, The Apocalypse Blues Revue entered The Vibe Recording Studio and cut their self-titled debut in just nine days. Mixed by Dave Fortman, the music conjures up swampy soul colored by gusts of rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly over the course of 12 tracks.

Rombola and Larkin’s creative union grows stronger by the gig. It traces back to 2001 when Larkin joined Godsmack. Selling 20 million records worldwide and garnering four Grammy Award nominations, the juggernaut remains a hard rock institution. In 2007, Rombola and Larkin would also co-found rock outfit Another Animal together. However, The Apocalypse Blues Revue holds a special place in both of their hearts.

“I want people to walk away with our songs stuck in their heads,” Larkin leaves off. “The music speaks for itself on this record.”

“It’s back to basics,” concludes Rombola. “I wanted to be able to go to a gig with no production – just an amp, a pedal board, and a guitar – and play.”