‘Dork rock’ to ring out in Smyrna with Hot Breakfast!

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Matt Casarino and Jill Knapp make up the duo of Hot Breakfast!, coming to the Smyrna Opera House Nov. 7 for a double bill with The Joe Trainor Trio. (Submitted photo/Joe Del Tufo)

With a mix of quirky, funny and yes, also serious, songs, Wilmington-based Hot Breakfast! is redefining musical genres.

The self-professed acoustic “dork rock” duo will join forces with upstate’s Joe Trainor Trio for a night of music Nov. 7 at the Smyrna Opera House.

Lead singer Jill Knapp and guitarist Matt Casarino formed Hot Breakfast! in 2009 after years of working together on different projects.

Meeting in late 2002 at an audition for a community theater production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Ms. Knapp was cast as Mary Magdalene, and Mr. Casarino played Annas, one of the priests.

Playing together for the first time in 2003 at the cast party, the two realized they had musical chemistry.

“Matt had a solo career before Hot Breakfast! and I’m on his albums. He and I would do occasional gigs but then we figured we had such a good time together, we decided to try it full-time,” said Ms. Knapp.

Hot Breakfast! has two albums with a third to be released next month.

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The first, in 2012, was a self-produced, self-titled EP that took the prize for Best EP at the seventh annual Homey Awards, sponsored by Wilmington radio station WSTW-FM.

In 2013, Hot Breakfast! released its first full-length CD, “39 Summers,” featuring 12 original songs, some as a duo and others with a full band.

The new album is called “The Big Reveal.”

The “dork rock” vibe runs throughout all three with quirky songs such as “Hole in Your Pants” and “The Garden of Bad Metaphors,” lending the band comparisons to alternative groups such as Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants.

“Barenaked Ladies is a good comparison, especially their older stuff, since they have their serious stuff but then some funny songs, too,” Ms. Knapp said.

The two say the whole “dork rock” thing just came about due to the lack of knowing what to really call their music.

“Much of it is in the way we perform a lot of the music and the overly dramatic way we do some covers,” said Mr. Casarino of the duo’s live performances of such songs as Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” or Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

“My originals can be funny or dorky. And it’s all stuff that we weren’t really hearing too much of on the radio so Jill came up with ‘dork rock’ and it’s kind of stuck.”

“There are dorks out there who have tried to find a musical home,” continued Ms. Knapp.

“Ten or 15 years ago, they were the kids who were beaten up in the lunch room who were secretly plotting to take over the world.”

Much of their music is filled with clever wordplay, which makes their show at the Smyrna Opera House, where they have an audience’s full attention, an ideal fit.

“We’ll play a show at the World Cafe Live (theater), whether it’s in Wilmington or Philadelphia, and if we’re on the bill with other bands and the audience is on their phones, for whatever reason, when we step on stage, they will put their phones away and listen.” said Ms. Knapp.

“I don’t know if it’s anything we do specifically. If I did, I would bottle it and sell it. We’re thrilled with that. We think the audience is rewarded if they really pay attention. We want people to be entertained and appreciate the musicianship.”

“We both have a theatrical background and we do work really hard on that end of things,” said Mr. Casarino.

The new album “The Big Reveal” has a fuller sound than the first two, Mr. Casarino said, with the two getting a chance to play other instruments as well.

“It’s bigger in scope,” he said. “When we record, we think we are a crazy rock ‘n’ roll band with a full orchestra behind us when really we are just this acoustic duo. I think on this one we tried to capture the sounds in our head. There are songs of all genres -some funny, some not.”

The album’s release party is set for Nov. 14, at a place, in keeping with the album’s title, that has yet to be revealed. Visit the band’s website, www-hot-breakfast.com, for details on that.

The two, along with Mr. Trainor, are no strangers to Downstate audiences in recent months, as the three have been a part of a Pink Floyd tribute show at Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts last month and a Billy Joel show at the Smyrna Opera House in July.

Hot Breakfast! will open next month’s show in Smyrna with the Joe Trainor Trio playing the second half and the two bands joining forces at the end.

The two credit Mr. Trainor for giving them a helping hand.

“Joe’s been really good to us,” Mr. Casarino said.

“We’ve played live with him many times and we’re always grateful for the opportunity. We can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for us”

Along with Mr. Trainor on keyboard, the piano rock-driven trio also includes Kevin Niemi on bass and Jeff Dement on drums.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $16 general admission, $14 SOH members, senior citizens and military and $8 for children younger than 12.

They can be obtained by calling 653-4236, visiting www.smyrnaoperahouse.org or stopping by the box office at 7 W. South St.

Art show on tap

Staying at the Smyrna Opera House, the facility’s 20th Annual Art Show features around 100 works of art from more than 20 local and regional artists.

An opening reception is set from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 6 with complimentary refreshments in The Dickinson Room and Gallery on the third floor.

The artwork will be displayed through Dec. 14 for attendees to view and purchase.

Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Other viewing hours can be arranged by appointment.

‘An Evening with Poe’

Lest we not forget, this is Halloween weekend. Here are a few events to get in the spirit, starting off with The Kent County Theatre Guild’s “An Evening with Poe” featuring 13 actors doing dramatic readings of some of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous, and some lesser known, poems and stories.

The one-weekend fundraiser for the theater is set for 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $10 and can be reserved by visiting www.kctg.org or calling 674-3569.

The guild’s Patchwork Playhouse is at 140 E. Roosevelt Ave., Dover.

‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Take a jump to the left over to The Schwartz Center for the Arts as the theater celebrates the 40th anniversary of cult classic “Rocky Horror Picture Show” with a 10 p.m. showing Saturday.

The musical-horror film starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick has become a late-night staple at theaters worldwide.

Props are included in the $16 ticket price. Costumes are encouraged but children are not. The film is rated R.

Tickets can be obtained by visiting www.schwartzcenter.com, calling 678-5152 or stopping by the box office at 226 S. State St., Dover.

‘Trial of Tell-Tale Heart’

Charles Webster, accused of murdering his landlord, dismembering the man’s body and burying it under the floorboards until Webster is tormented by the victim’s still-beating heart — will be brought to justice in the play “The Trial of the Tell-Tale Heart” Saturday night at The Old State House, 25 The Green in Dover.

Suggested for visitors ages 12 and up, the interactive play, in which audience members may serve as members of the jury, will be performed at 5 and 8 p.m. on Saturday.

The play is part of a double-feature that will also include a theatrical adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s story, “The Raven.”

Admission is free and Halloween costumes are welcome. For additional information, call 302-744-5054.

‘Dark Dover’ tonight

During the First State Heritage Park’s “Dark Dover” program, visitors will witness firsthand the chilling true stories of gruesome murders and whippings, and encounter characters whose legends have left their sinister imprint on The Green in Dover.

Moonlight tours will commence tonight at 7 and again at 8:30.

Admission is $10 per person. Pre-registration is required and spaces are limited. Call 302-739-9194 to reserve your spot. Tours will meet at the John Bell House on The Green.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is Bradley Cooper in the kitchen comedy-drama “Burnt,” Sandra Bullock in the political comedy-drama “Our Brand is Crisis” and an inside look at the controversial CBS report on George W. Bush’s military record “Truth,” with Robert Redford as Dan Rather.

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the animated “Inside Out” and the remake of the comedy “Vacation” with Ed Helms.

To share news of your entertainment group, event or venue, contact Craig Horleman at 741-8224 or chorl@newszap.com.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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