The Secret Delights of the Adelphia’s Three Band Thursday and Why I Give a Damn After All!

Michael Iafrate

The nice thing about the Adelphia Music Hall’s “Three Band Thursday” (3BT) is that one is never quite sure what they are going to discover. The three dollar cover charge for the end of month event is nice as well. Plus the early start time allows for music aficionados to enjoy a few hours of music on a work night, and maybe just discover a new favorite band along the way.

As expected, most of the time, conscious effort must be given in preparing a weekend show for the performer’s proper musical genre fit, but on the last Thursday of each month that formula can be intriguingly tossed out the window. February’s 3BT was certainly no exception as the Adelphia stage transformed from acoustic songwriter cleverness to modern energy.

The evening opened with three solo acoustic songwriters performing “in the round.” For those unfamiliar with “in the round,” the concept involves the performers seated in a semi-circle onstage and each of them singing one song at a time, taking turns through the lineup. It allows for a fresher presentation of a musical genre which could otherwise run the risk of becoming repetitious.

Former Parkersburg native and current Wheeling resident Michael Iafrate was first in line. Iafrate also performs in Michael Iafrate and the Priesthood, which is currently working on a new album. But on 3BT Iafrate hit the stage in solo form to perform six original songs and one cover.

 “Three of the originals will be on the upcoming Michael Iafrate & the Priesthood album which is tentatively called “Christian Burial”: (the songs were) Horse Birth, No Home, and Come and Die. An acoustic version of Horse Birth appears on my most recent digital EP release “No Matter How Deep the Darkness He Descends Deeper Still,” Iafrate said. Another one from the set, Song of Songs, appears on their first release, 2005’s “O Happy Marriage.”

Of course every original artist has a topic to their songs, some based on fiction and others which are a little more familiar with reality. Maybe the end result is the joy from presenting an original work of music. “I have been kind of excited about “Horse Birth” because it’s the first murder ballad I’ve written and I’m pretty pleased with some of the lines in that song,” Iafrate said. Iafrate also enjoys performing many of his other compositions, which visits the twists and turns of his theological background.

But most every artist explores the work of other artists, both to learn and admire. “I played one cover, Be Here to Love Me by Townes Van Zandt who I’m obsessed with lately,” Iafrate admits.

As for upcoming live shows, Iafrate says that he is spending more time focusing on finishing the recording of their new album. But there are also tunes to be enjoyed while you wait by visiting

Parkersburg’s Mike Equality Lutz occupied the number two spot of the “in the round” rotation. Lutz entertained the crowd with six original songs which included Emotional Warfare, How Long, Distance, Preacher Blues, Gods Existence and Ladybug/River of Alcohol.

Mike Equality Lutz

“Some of it was written with a full band in mind,” Lutz said, but as with most songwriters some of his songs were just plainly written to be performed solo. Some may recognize Lutz from his former band Mike Lutz and the Assistance, which was essentially his songs but with a band. Most recently Lutz has been performing with a new group, Nemean Lion. The band named from a creature of Greek mythology rocked the Adelphia Music Hall in February, and provides Lutz with a more collaborative songwriting environment.

What has been the topical focus for Lutz’s songwriting thus far? “My message has always been one of love and heartbreak…but this has changed with the songs I’m yet to debut. I’m moving into more of a social cause/political field of thought,” Lutz said.

Rounding out the trio for the acoustic presentation was John Radcliff of Parkersburg. Music fans will probably recognize the Charleston, WV native from some his previous area musical endeavors both solo and in bands, plus his dashing hair style is also a dead giveaway that John is in the house. Radcliff used the opportunity to debut some new material as well as play a couple songs from his latest CD “Naked Souls.”

“I played two songs from the CD, Naked Souls and My Plastic Lover. The rest of the songs were all written in the last month,” Radcliff said. The brand spankin’ new numbers included Myths and Marbles, Give It Away, Just Right, Book of Blessings andMuse.

John Radcliff

Interestingly, Radcliff has made his news songs a bit of a songwriting experiment by videotaping his performances to not only use as a reference for future recording sessions, but also as a means to gauge the evolution of his songs throughout the creative/songwriting process. But as for final destination of the songs, “The new songs are definitely written for a band sound,” Radcliff said. Hence one can expect even further evolution.

The process will also have a deeper meaning for Radcliff who admits “my first CD was so incredibly self-centered; I want this one to be different.” But this does not denote selfishness from Radcliff but more of a focused effort to address his respective feelings while be able to grow both personally and musically.

“These songs are more about a hopefulness for the future,” Radcliff said. But he adds that he is also finding it hard to not be myself. But one must remember that sometimes the things which we feel are in need of attention may be the same things which make one interesting … whether it is sharing one’s personal achievement or an unguarded fall to the ground.

Of course, Three Band Thursday wouldn’t be complete without a band itself, even if it is in the interesting form of a power duo. 

From a scientific viewpoint, radicals have been known to play an important role in combustion, atmospheric chemistry, polymerization, biochemistry, plasma chemistry and other chemical processes. The Damn Radicals have followed a “less is more” formula and the resulting reaction is near art, while retaining a by-product of un-abandoned energetic mystery. In recent years the “less is more” concept has broken new ground in the live music arena and for good reason in this age of droning loops, samples and computer overdubs.

The Damn Radicals

Consisting of singer/guitarist Luke Schindler and drummer/percussionist Anthony Azzi, The Damn Radicals deconstruct modern music to its purest form. That’s right … a Gibson played through a Fender along with percussive firepower from a set of silver sparkle Ludwigs along with some vocals to tell the whole truth.  Think White Stripes … Black Keys … all of which makes for pretty damn good company.

Azzi and Schindler both attend Marietta College at present and drew a small but faithful gathering of student aged fans for their set. As for their other fellow students, these guys are worth having to stay up an hour later to finish the next day’s assignment. 

The duo powered their way through a set of originals to the delight of the crowd. But it wasn’t all crash and distortion as Schindler went acoustic for a few songs as Azzi added fitting percussion. Damn those Radicals utilized the old sonic switch-a-roo before finishing the set with a crowd pleasing fuzzy kick in the ass.

With a recent release entitled “Faking Friction” to support, with any luck we’ll be seeing a lot more of these Damn Radicals, no matter what the scientific consequences may be!



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