The Large Flowerheads performed a Halloween
show on Friday, Oct. 30, at Fearless Fire Company,
Photo by M. David Snyder
By M. DAVID SNYDER
Special to Lehigh Valley Source
Allentown, Pa. -- How does a crowd of 250 dancing souls get their 1960s groove on? With an awesome show
by The Large Flowerheads at a Halloween bash on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, at Fearless Fire Company, Allentown.
Founded in the 1990s, the Lehigh Valley-based band has reunited, doing strictly cover tunes from 1960 to 1969. The Large Flowerheads are Maureen (“Mo”) Jerant on drums and guitar, Greg Geist on guitar and drums, Billy Trexler on lead guitar, and Dave (“Dano”) D’Amelio on keyboards, bass, and guitar.
I’ve seen the Flowerheads many times, and their fan roster continues to grow. Compared to other venues where
the band has played, the fire company’s Starlight Ballroom provided plenty of room for grooving. Tables near the
dance floor were reserved for groups of at least 10. Although I arrived alone and didn’t have a reserved seat, my table
was within view of the band.
A few people started to get restless because the show started 30 minutes late. But all were quelled by the opening number--the appropriately spooky-fun theme from “The Munsters” TV show blending into ? [Question Mark] and The Mysterians’ “96 Tears” as sung by Geist.
Next was “Quinn the Eskimo [The Mighty Quinn],” a song written by Bob Dylan and popularized by Manfred Mann.
Jerant’s muffled vocal microphone made it hard to hear what she was singing, let alone saying. My table mates made note
of the problem, and the band took it under consideration for the second set. Geist growled in a passionate take on Tom Jones’
“Delilah,” perhaps as a nod to his wife, who had dealt with a bout of swine flu the previous week.
Trexler took over vocal duties on The Rolling Stones’ “Mother’s Little Helper,” and the sound levels grew hard on the ears. A few audience members plugged their ears with fingers, but the mood was far from down. As Trexler sang the line, “What a drag it is getting old,” a man in the audience shouted, “”Like hell it is--it just keeps getting better!”
Then the groove bounced back to Geist rocking The Youngbloods’ “Get Together” and segueing into The Soul Survivors’ “Expressway to Your Heart.”
It’s impressive when band members can flawlessly play various instruments, as Jerant and Geist did when they switched places, him moving to drums and her to guitar. Jerant then sang a medley of Dusty Springfield tunes, including “I Only Want to be With You” and “Son of a Preacher Man.”
The gig moved back into Halloween-theme territory with Bobby (“Boris”) Pickett’s classic “Monster Mash” and Trexler shredding on guitar. Jerant announced that the gig was being recorded for a future CD, enticing the crowd to go crazy. When D’Amelio’s wife, Linda, took the stage as a go-go dancer, Jerant told the crowd that they were welcome to dance on stage but that the singing should be left to the band.
A guy dressed as the old dancing dude from the Great Adventure amusement park TV ads broke into an impressive dance, and
Geist slammed into The Buckinghams’ “Kind of a Drag.”
The vocals changed over to D’Amelio for a riveting version of The Doors’ “Light My Fire,” and Trexler’s fingers were possessed by Jimi Hendrix on a rocking take on “Fire.” Set one ended with Jerant singing Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” and Geist doing a medley of tunes by The Animals, including “Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood,” to which the crowd sang along.
At 9:50 p.m., the band had played for 90 minutes and took a short break. A few older audience members headed home for the night, but the crowd didn’t seem to thin. By the time set two began, the microphone and sound mix were perfect.
A couple was dancing onstage, when the pair’s female jumped off, glanced my way, pushed her guy to the side, and made me her dance partner for the next four songs. It’s not that often that I experience these types of moments, so I went with it, stumble foot and all. She was a bit more than tipsy and, at times, wanted to dance intimately. I obliged tastefully, hoping that her guy wasn’t planning to knock my block off. As he never cut in, I began to figure that they were simply friends.
A bit past 11 p.m., the set was coming to an end with Jerant singing Dusty Springfield’s “Spooky” and segueing into Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.” The crowd refused to let up, and the band kicked into an encore with Geist singing Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” the tune’s chorus becoming a group sing-along. At song’s end, I let out a loud “Yeah, The Large Flowerheads Rock!” in the hope that my outburst will serve to close out the live recording.
I recommend that everyone take a groovy trip back to the ’60s with The Large Flowerheads. To learn more about the band and view the schedule of upcoming gigs, visit www.TheLargeFlowerheads.com.
M. David Snyder is a multimedia artist in Allentown.
Maureen ("Mo") Jerant
Fans groove to 1960s cover tunes by The Large Flowerheads.