NEPA Scene Staff

Cabinet takes annual holiday show to main stage of Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Dec. 23

Cabinet takes annual holiday show to main stage of Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Dec. 23
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From a press release:

Following their current 10-year anniversary tour with Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, local jam-grass band Cabinet will return to the F.M. Kirby Center for their annual holiday show on Friday, Dec. 23 at 8 p.m. This year, the band will make its debut on the Kirby Center main stage for one performance only, featuring very special guest Holly Bowling.

This will mark the third year and the fifth performance in what has become a highly-anticipated annual holiday event at the historic theater in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Tickets, which are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the show, plus fees, go on sale this Friday, Nov. 4 at 10 a.m. and will be available through the Kirby Center box office (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre), online at, and by phone at 570-826-1100. A Kirby Member pre-sale begins Thursday, Nov. 3 at 10 a.m.

A limited number of “CabFam” ticket upgrades will also be made available through the band’s general store at

Cabinet is a band with roots firmly planted in the Appalachian tradition. They wear their influences like badges, honoring the canon of roots, bluegrass, country, and folk, weaving these sounds into a patchwork Americana quilt. But this music isn’t romanticizing or rehashing the past. Cabinet makes its mark on today. The steady aim of their harmonies soar straight onto target each time, the soaring vocals giving voice to the story of each song. Their music takes the long way home, treating its listeners like passengers on a ride through scenic back roads. Their live shows are inclusive, celebratory, and community-building. Members Pappy Biondo (banjo, vocals), J.P. Biondo (mandolin, vocals), Mickey Coviello (acoustic guitar, vocals), Dylan Skursky (electric bass, double bass), Todd Kopec (fiddle, vocals), Jami Novak (drums, percussion), and newly added Josh Karis (drums, percussion) all live and love music and aren’t afraid to show it.

Formed in 2006 in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the band brings together players from various musical and personal backgrounds. Some of the members were barely old enough to drink legally, but their thirst for older music was unquenchable. Whether its rustic “American Beauty”-era Grateful Dead or old-timey bluegrass, Cabinet has digested it all. But that is not to say that Cabinet recreates older styles. No, this is music that might have its roots in the past, but it is current and vibrant, with a sense of celebrating the now.

Some of the best parties are the ones that weren’t even supposed to occur. Two or three friends lazily enjoy each other’s company, and then another two or three join the impromptu festivities. Jokes are cracked, drinks are guzzled and, the next thing you know, it’s 3 a.m.

“Celebration,” Cabinet’s third studio release and seventh overall, is that kind of get-together. Initially intended to be a straight bluegrass record, the album instead emerged as the band’s most diverse release yet, which is no small statement when you consider the various genres the band has touched upon in the studio and on the stage to date. What’s remarkable, though, is that the tunes, which span the band’s eight-plus years of existence, showcase that diversity while retaining a distinct, cohesive common thread that the band deftly weaves from track to track. It barely needs to be noted at this stage in the game that the individual musicians’ playing prowess is at a high level, but what makes this a true album rather than a loose collection of unrelated songs is not those acclaimed Cabinet instrumental chops, but its time-honored writing abilities, which are in top form here. Scenes and moods are evoked, established and subtly revisited, sometimes via timeless lyrics and sometimes with just the simple turn of a musical phrase or accent.

Holly Bowling is a classically-trained pianist who uses her technique to reinterpret the songs of jam band luminaries such as Phish and the Grateful Dead. Bowling’s live performances infuse new with old, tradition with surreal, and create a concert experience like nothing else in the music world.

Read a full review and see photos from last year’s holiday show here.

Photo by Jesse Faatz Photography