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Idol Kings Return To Riverfront Music Fest July 19

The Idol Kings played at the Riverfront Music Festival last summer, to a crowd that was reported to be a record for the concert festival, with estimates of more than 4,000 in attendance.

It's no wonder the Journey cover band is excited to return to Glastonbury for a second straight year.

"We had a great time last year,"said Mark Wanko, the group's bassist and founder. "The crowd was so supportive and we had great weather. We're looking forward to another one."

Since last year's show, there has been one minor change with the Idol Kings. Wanko's son, Ryan, the band's original guitar player has returned to the group, after taking time for paternity leave.

"The harmonies are a lot better now, because he sings, too," Wanko said.

Otherwise, audiences can expect the same from the Idol Kings – nearly note-for-note covers of the music of Journey, featuring Mike Crow, the band's lead singer who resembles Journey's Steve Perry, and can sing just as high or higher. Last year, Crow proved his chops by hitting the last "Nooooo…" in the song Separate Ways, but singing it an octave higher than Perry does.

The band, based in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania has played together for six years. The Idol Kings typically play between 50 and 60 shows per year, and have a very busy summer.

"Last week, we were in Philadelphia, and had a crowd of about 5,000 there," he said. "After we go to Glastonbury, we go right out to Cape Cod."

The Idol Kings also perform covers of Tom Petty and John Mellencamp, with Wanko dressed as those artists. Sometimes, people believe the actual performers dropped in on an Idol Kings show, which means the band is accomplishing its goal, to Wanko's delight.

"I just love that," Wanko said. "What I really like is, at the end of a show, after we take our wigs off and we come out, nobody knows who we are."

While successful as a cover band, the Idol Kings have just finished writing an album of its own songs, and plans to record it by next year, and perhaps play a few live next summer.

"It's all original stuff, but it sounds like Journey, so it's kind of interesting," Wanko said.

The Riverfront Music Festival is presented by the Connecticut River Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Glastonbury Parks and Recreation Department.

The concert will take place at 7 p.m. on July 19, and will cancel in the event of lightning. For parking and other information, visit www.crvchamber.org.

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