Smyrna at Night ready for Lovebettie

The Pittsburgh-based “swagger rock” band Lovebettie will be one of the headliners for the third annual Smyrna at Night festival June 10. Lovebettie will play the Smyrna Opera House, one of 10 venues in use that night. (Submitted photo)

The Pittsburgh-based “swagger rock” band Lovebettie will be one of the headliners for the third annual Smyrna at Night festival June 10. Lovebettie will play the Smyrna Opera House, one of 10 venues in use that night. (Submitted photo)

While it won’t be an official homecoming for Lovebettie at Smyrna at Night next weekend, it will be pretty darn close.

This will be the fourth time in two years that the Pittsburgh-based rock quartet has played in the Kent County town — and they and the Smyrna Opera House crowd couldn’t be happier.

The band headlined the first Smyrna at Night in 2014 and came back to play twice at the opera house in 2015. Each time they were met with a packed house and an enthusiastic crowd.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copy“Sometimes that happens. I’m not sure if there’s something in the water or what,” said Lovebettie lead singer and pianist Alexandra Naples with a chuckle earlier this week.

“It really feels like home when we’re there.”

After that first Smyrna at Night appearance, town manager David Hugg and his wife Jaci became huge fans of the band and helped sponsor their appearance at the Smyrna Opera House in March of last year.

“We hadn’t even met them and after the show they said we were more than welcome to spend the night at their place,” Ms. Naples said.

“They became like family I didn’t even know I had. We talk to them all of the time now. It’s great.”

Named a “band to watch” in 2013 by Rolling Stone, Lovebettie is one of four headliners for the June 10 townwide music festival, which will feature 28 bands on 10 different stages.

The free, family-friendly event will feature food trucks, outdoor games, craft vendors, beer and spirits, restaurant specials and more.

SMYRNA AT NIGHT LINEUP MAIN STAGE 5:15-6 p.m. — Justin McNatt Band 6:30-7:15 p.m. — The Quixote Project 7:45-8:45 p.m. — Wylder 9:15-10:15 p.m. — lower case blues SMYRNA OPERA HOUSE 5:15-6:15 p.m. — Jahiti 6:45-7:45 p.m. — Barrelhouse Blues 8:15 p.m.-9:15 p.m. — Lovebettie ODDFELLOW’S CAFE 6-6:45 p.m. — Hoochi Coochi 7-8 p.m. — Keith Kenny 8:15-9:15 p.m. — Nalani & Sarina SMYRNA MUSIC GARDEN 6-7 p.m. — The Susquehanna Floods 7:30-8:30 p.m. — TreeWalker DRUNK’N BAKER 6-7 p.m. — Nate McCormick 7:30-8:30 p.m. — David Wilson SHERIDAN’S IRISH PUB (Upstairs and Downstairs) 5:30-6:30 p.m. — Tyler Greene 5:30-6:30 p.m. — The Honey Badgers 7:30-8:30 p.m. — Danielle & Jennifer 8-9 p.m. — McKinley Short DUCK CREEK INN 5:15-6:15 p.m. — Surreal Nation 5:45-6;45 p.m. — Nik Everett 7-8 p.m. — Alvin Clayton Pope 7:15-8:15 p.m. — Single Origin PAINTED STAVE DISTILLING (Indoor and Outdoor) 5:15-6:15 p.m. — WaveRadio 6:15-7:15 p.m. —Bryan Russo 7-8 p.m. — Ruckus (featuring Casey Coleman) 8-9 p.m. — Kenny Ferrier BLUE EARL BREWERY 7-10 p.m. — Rolling Thunder Blues Review 19 W. COMMERCE ST. 7, 8 and 9 p.m. — Big Ric Rising

SMYRNA AT NIGHT LINEUP
MAIN STAGE
5:15-6 p.m. — Justin McNatt Band
6:30-7:15 p.m. — The Quixote Project
7:45-8:45 p.m. — Wylder
9:15-10:15 p.m. — lower case blues
SMYRNA OPERA HOUSE
5:15-6:15 p.m. — Jahiti
6:45-7:45 p.m. — Barrelhouse Blues
8:15 p.m.-9:15 p.m. — Lovebettie
ODDFELLOW’S CAFE
6-6:45 p.m. — Hoochi Coochi
7-8 p.m. — Keith Kenny
8:15-9:15 p.m. — Nalani & Sarina
SMYRNA MUSIC GARDEN
6-7 p.m. — The Susquehanna Floods
7:30-8:30 p.m. — TreeWalker
DRUNK’N BAKER
6-7 p.m. — Nate McCormick
7:30-8:30 p.m. — David Wilson
SHERIDAN’S IRISH PUB (Upstairs and Downstairs)
5:30-6:30 p.m. — Tyler Greene
5:30-6:30 p.m. — The Honey Badgers
7:30-8:30 p.m. — Danielle & Jennifer
8-9 p.m. — McKinley Short
DUCK CREEK INN
5:15-6:15 p.m. — Surreal Nation
5:45-6;45 p.m. — Nik Everett
7-8 p.m. — Alvin Clayton Pope
7:15-8:15 p.m. — Single Origin
PAINTED STAVE DISTILLING (Indoor and Outdoor)
5:15-6:15 p.m. — WaveRadio
6:15-7:15 p.m. —Bryan Russo
7-8 p.m. — Ruckus (featuring Casey Coleman)
8-9 p.m. — Kenny Ferrier
BLUE EARL BREWERY
7-10 p.m. — Rolling Thunder Blues Review
19 W. COMMERCE ST.
7, 8 and 9 p.m. — Big Ric Rising

Beside Lovebettie, headliners include Sussex County’s own lower case blues, Washington indie-folk band Wylder and New Jersey pop-rock sister duo Nalani and Sarina.

In its third year, the number of bands is double the amount of the previous two festivals.

“We got a little carried away this year,” joked Jeremy Hebbel of Gable Music Ventures, organizer of Smyrna at Night.

Lovebettie will be the final of three acts at the Smyrna Opera House, on 7 W. South St., that night, starting a one-hour set at 8:15.

A band that has toured relentlessly for the past six years, Lovebettie started about 10 years ago when Ms. Naples was watching guitarist C.T. Fields in a Pittsburgh area bar where he was performing.

“I was studying art at the time. He was playing a song and I was singing along. He stopped playing and I said ‘Oh I’m sorry I like that song.’ He said ‘No, you’re good. You can really sing. I said ‘No, I can’t.’ ” she recalled.

“He convinced me that I could and we started playing and writing songs together.”

Along with the two founders of the band, Lovebettie also includes bass player Nick Quinn and drummer Larry Shotter.

Their influences are varied — everything from Ella Fitzgerald to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Muse to Aretha Franklin.

Critics have compared Lovebettie to Pat Benatar fronting Stone Temple Pilots with one likening Ms. Naples to former 10,000 Maniacs lead singer Natalie Merchant.

“We all have our own style and I think we blend together well. We’re all inspired by so many people,” Ms. Naples said.

“Growing up, the music that got me going was Motown. My grandparents were into the Rat Pack sound so I can remember listening to those singers in the living room as well.

“C.T. likes grunge. Larry is into progressive stuff like Dream Theater and Rush. Nick is all over the map. He likes Primus a lot but I’ve heard him listening to Jackson Browne too.”

The combination of all of those influences ends up with what they call “swagger rock,” a term members coined to avoid having to say they were rock, pop and soulful.

One song can be incredibly high-energy driving rock while the next can turn into an introspective ballad.

“People have said ‘That’s what I like about your band. I never get bored. Nothing sounds exactly like the song that came before it,’” Ms. Naples said.

“I think that makes it much more enjoyable for the crowd. We tried to write straight rock songs for a while but it became kind of contrived. I think our most successful songs have been what needed to come out of us at the time.”

Lovebettie played to an enthusiastic Smyrna Opera House crowd twice last year. (Submitted photo)

Lovebettie played to an enthusiastic Smyrna Opera House crowd twice last year. (Submitted photo)

With a schedule that has taken them to music festivals such as Rocklahoma last weekend and opening for major national acts across the country, the band has had a little time to produce a recent album.

Their latest song “Sleep” came out in March. That will be on the new album, whenever they find time to record it.

“We’ve been so busy traveling that we haven’t been able to get into the studio as much as we would like. We’ve been sort of doing it in pieces. We need to take time to bang something out this winter and come out with it in the spring,” Ms. Naples said.

If you miss next Friday’s show, fear not. Delaware fans will have a few more chances to catch Lovebettie in the coming months at Dewey Beach’s Bottle & Cork.

The band will open for The Clarks June 30 and Fuel on July 11. Late September, they will return for the Dewey Beach Music Conference.

They will also play a full band show at Marydel’s Harvest Ridge Winery the very next day after Smyrna at Night on June 11 with doors opening at 7 p.m.

But for now, they are looking forward to coming “home” to the Smyrna Opera House.

“The place is great. I love how the opera house has become the centerpiece for the town. We’re looking to have a blast,” Ms. Naples said.

Along with the Smryna Opera House, venues for Smyrna at Night this year are the main stage on Market Street Plaza, Oddfellow’s Cafe, Smyrna Music Garden, Drunk’N Baker, Sheridan’s Irish Pub, Duck Creek Inn, Painted Stave Distilling, Blue Earl Brewery and a stage at 19 W. Commerce St.

The festival gets underway at 5 p.m. with the lower case blues expected to wind up the night on the main stage from 9:15 to 10:15.

Harvest Ridge rocks

As mentioned, Lovebettie will be at Marydel’s Harvest Ridge on June 11. Their show is part of a summer Taste the Rebellion series with Rebel Seed Cidery.

Wylder kicked it off on May 14. Delaware’s Barrelhouse Blues Band, another Smyrna at Night act, will play July 9 with Washington-area trio Higher Education closing it out Aug. 13.

Doors open at 7 p.m. for all shows. Tickets are $10. Food trucks, fire pits and hard cider will be available. You must be 21 years of age or older to enter.

Harvest Ridge is at 447 Westville Road in Marydel.

‘Sinatra 2 Soul’

Before Smyrna at Night moves in, the town becomes Vegas for one evening as Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Elvis and more appear on stage when Dagsboro native Bryan Clark performs “Sinatra 2 Soul,” a concert to benefit the Smyrna Opera House tonight at 7:30.

As we told you last week, guests will relive a Las Vegas evening of hits by legendary artists while enjoying a full bar.

Tickets, at $20, can be purchased at smyrnaoperahouse.org or at the box office at 7 W. South St.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 3D,” the romantic drama “Me Before You” and the Andy Samberg music comedy “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the animated “Zootopia” and “Anomalisa” and “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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