Riverfront Music Series Acts Announced

The bands for the Riverfront Music Series have been announced by the CT River Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The free concerts will take on Wednesdays in July (July 5, 12, 19 and 26), starting at 7 p.m.

Returning to the Glastonbury stage to kick off the series is Shaded Soul Band, which has played in Glastonbury several times over the years.

Shaded Soul Band, lead by founder Renee Prescott, consists of a talented group of musicians that have shared the stage with Gladys Knight, The 4 Tops, Sister Sledge, The Platters, The Stylistics, The Four Seasons, The Chiffons, Three Dog Night, The Marshal Tucker Band, Shirley Murdock, Jerry Butler, Cuba Gooding, Sr., Jagged Edge, Slave, Shi, Millie Jackson, H-Town, SOS Band, Mario, and Howie Mandel just to name a few.

Shaded Soul Band received the 2016 Hartford Magazine Reader's Choice award in the Best Band category, the 2017 WeddingWire Couples' Choice Award, and the 2017 The Knot Best of Weddings Award.

Melaena, a 6-piece cover band based out of Norwich, will take the stage on July 12. Melaena's sole mission is to execute music that "makes you want to dance," according to the band's website. Melaena has been built on a foundation of musicianship, showmanship, and professionalism - mixed with raw talent.

For more than 30 years, the "Melaena Party" has been performing songs from every decade, from Top 40 to Motown to classic rock. Music that hits home is perhaps what has kept it ranked as one of the top cover and wedding bands in the area.

Last summer, The Idol Kings played to a record crowd at the Riverfront Music Festival. By popular demand, the Journey/Tom Petty/John Mellencamp cover band will be returning this July 19, again focusing primarily on the hits of Journey.

Founding member Mark Wanko said the band typically does between 50 and 60 shows per year and enjoys giving a high-energy performance.

"We move around quite a bit," he said. "We enjoy it. That's the main thing. We consider ourselves more of a traveling theatre show. That, at least, gives us a good excuse to wear the wigs."

Lead singer Michael Crow (who kind of resembles Steve Perry) is said to be a dead ringer in the sound-alike department, but he might actually be better.

"The guy is amazing," Wanko said. "He's absolutely phenomenal. He nails it. On one of the songs, one of the really high notes that Steve Perry hits, Mike actually goes an octave above that - just to show off."

Closing out the series on July 26 is ETA, another high-energy band that has been playing together for 18 years.

ETA varies from five to 15 pieces, and plays covers of everyone from Bruno Mars to Lady Gaga to Daft Punk.

According to the band's website, "ETA's versatility and musicianship enables us to authentically perform music ranging from 40s swing to today's Top 40 contemporary hits. Our songlist is extensive and is updated weekly."

At each concert, there will be a variety of food trucks. Picnicking is strongly encouraged. The concerts will be held at the Welles Street Riverfront Park, on the lawn behind the Riverfront Community Center. Free parking and shuttle service will be available at 180 and 200 Glastonbury Boulevard, which is adjacent to Somerset Square. This event is BYOB and family (and pet) friendly.

For more information, visit www.crvchamber.org.

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