Kevin Nealon, Nemr and Burning Bridget Cleary
On May 7, 7:30 p.m., the Musikfest Café is pleased to welcome Kevin Nealon. Best known for his nine years as a writer and cast member on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, Nealon created some of the show’s most memorable characters, including The Subliminal Man and Hans and Franz. He also stared in Weeds and teamed up with fellow SNL comedian Adam Sandler in films like The Wedding Singer and Happy Gilmore. This fall, he joins Matt LeBlanc on the new CBS sitcom Man with a Plan. Tickets for Nealon’s show are $35-$39 in advance and $39-$44 day of show.
Known as “Lebanon’s King of Comedy,” Nemr Abou Nassar brings his comedy routine to the Musikfest Café Feb. 26, 8 p.m. Nassar, who’s often billed as simply Nemr, performs for crowds all over the world including the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour and most recently the New York Comedy Festival. He also has seven full feature specials, the prime time television show A Standup Comedy Revolution and was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone Middle East. Tickets to his performance are $22-$40.
Returning to Bethlehem for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Musikfest Café March 17, 7:30 p.m., Burning Bridget Cleary is one of the hottest young acts on the Celtic and folk music circuits. Known for their captivating sound and engaging stage presence, the band’s music is featured on hundreds of radio programs worldwide, including syndicated programs Thistle and Shamrock, FolkScene, SingOut Radio and The Midnight Special.
Burning Bridget Cleary has earned a reputation for presenting high-spirited Celtic music at festivals and concerts, including a 2011 tour of Ireland. While there, the band had a unique opportunity to visit the rural County Tipperary cottage of their namesake, Bridget Cleary, who is remembered as “the last witch burned in Ireland”. Tickets are for the show are $12-$18 in advance and $15-$20 day of show.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Blues Brotherhood & Enter The Haggis
On March 7, 7:30 p.m., the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo bring the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions when they perform at the Musikfest Café. For more than 50 years, this dynamic choral group has garnered praise and accolades within the recording industry for its isicathamiya and mbube stylings, earning it four GRAMMY wins and more than 15 nominations. Recent albums by the group include 2015’s Music From Inala – A Zulu Ballet, Celebrating Our History 1973-1974 and 2014’s Always With Us, a tribute to Nellie Shabalala, wife of Ladysmith Black Mambazo leader and founder Joseph Shabalala. Tickets for the show are $35-$45.
A tribute to the Blues Brothers, who first graced the big screen in 1980, The Blues Brotherhood covers the best material from the original film, as well as other classic blues, funk and soul tunes in a style unique to the “Brotherhood.” Hold on to your hats (and shades, for that matter) as the boys capture the sound, energy and persona of Jake and Elwood Blues, the duo who propelled the fictional band into the phenomenon that still thrills audiences around the world. Tickets for the performance on Jan. 28, 8 p.m., are $20 in advance and $25 day of show.
On March 10, 8 p.m., Toronto-based Enter The Haggis will serve up its original and edgy blend of rock and Celtic music. For more than 20 years, this five-piece unit has been a favorite of the festival circuit, including shows at Bethlehem’s Celtic Classic, the Milwaukee Irish Festival and Dublin Irish Festival, among others. It has also performed on Live with Regis and Kelly and A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts. Tickets for the Enter The Haggis show are $20-$30.
Justin Hayward, The Box Tops
On Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m., the Musikfest Café welcomes Justin Hayward. Best known as the vocalist, lead guitarist and composer for The Moody Blues, Hayward has been performing for more than 50 years, helping to define the music of an era. During their career, The Moody Blues have sold 70 million albums while producing numerous classics including “Nights In White Satin,” “Ride My See Saw,” “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Question.” Hayward has also released several solo albums including “Songwriter,” “Night Flight,” “Moving Mountains” and 2013’s “Spirits of the Western Sky.” In 2005, he was presented with The Golden Note award from ASCAP, the top honor for a British writer, and in 2013 the Performing Rights Society in the United Kingdom awarded him his second Ivor Novello statue for Outstanding Achievement. Tickets for the concert are $65-$75.
On. Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m., The Box Tops take the stage at the Musikfest Café. A groundbreaking group from Memphis Tenn., this soul and pop band is best known for its hit songs “The Letter,” “Cry Like A Baby” and “Soul Deep.” In 1996, the original lineup reunited and performed worldwide until the tragic and untimely death of lead singer and guitarist Alex Chilton in 2010. After a five-year hiatus, founding members Bill Cunningham and Gary Talley teamed up to bring The Box Tops’ timeless music back to waiting audiences from coast to coast. Tickets are $24-$29.
Michael Ian Black, Tab Benoit & More
On Feb. 25, 8 p.m., the Musikfest Café welcomes actor, comedian and author Michael Ian Black. Black began his career with the sketch comedy troupe The State, which went on to have a successful run on MTV. He then co-created the television shows Viva Variety, Stella and Michael and Michael Have Issues. He’s also starred in Wet Hot American Summer, as well as the new Netflix television series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. Black currently appears on the Comedy Central series Another Period and The Jim Gaffigan Show on TV Land. He regularly tours the country as a stand-up comedian and has released two stand-up albums: I Am A Wonderful Man and Very Famous. Tickets are $35-$39.
On March 11, 7:30 p.m., Tab Benoit takes the stage at the Musikfest Café. A noted American blues guitarist, musician and singer, Benoit was named B.B. King Entertainer of the Year in 2007 and Best Contemporary Male Performer at the Blues Music Awards in 2007 and 2013. Medicine, Benoit’s latest release, is a collaboration with songwriter Anders Osborne. Tickets are $23-$28.
Additional announced shows are:
Kashmir: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Tribute – April 14, 7:30 p.m.
Carbon Leaf – April 20, 7:30 p.m.
The ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks is located at 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem. For more information on these and all ArtsQuest Center shows, visit www.steelstacks.org.