Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Renata Rio forms band for Down the Line 17

News from Snakehandler Church, Casket Sharp, Sweetwater All Stars, Neon Straightjackets, Withered Veins, Namen Namen

Renata Rio & The Proper Meds will play the music of Jefferson Airplane on Feb. 25 during Down the Line 17 at Embassy Theatre.

Nick Braun

Whatzup Features Writer

Published January 11, 2023

Singer Renata Rio, member of the acoustic duo Basketcase and the newly formed disco outfit Hustle54, has assembled a few local musicians for the upcoming Down the Line 17 on Feb. 25 at Embassy Theatre. 

With Rio on lead vocals, Renata Rio & The Proper Meds includes her Basketcase partner Chris Liechty on guitar, Andy Pauquette on guitar/keyboard, Maurice Turner on bass, and Scott Schwan on drums. 

You probably recognize most of those names since they have all played music in Fort Wayne for decades. 

Now they will join forces to tackle the music of Jefferson Airplane at the Down the Line, which celebrates Woodstock this year. 

Even though the band was put together strictly for Down the Line, they are open to more shows. 

For now, Rio’s focus is on Hustle54 which also features Turner, Pauquette, and Schwan. In any event, it will be exciting to see what Renato Rio & The Proper Meds cook up that evening. 

Snakehandler release second EP

Local Southern punk outfit Snakehandler Church closed out 2022 with their second EP of the year, Electric Baptism

This fine four-track piece was recorded by Dan Kinnaley of Chipped Tooth Audio and mastered by Paul Bennett Audio. It even has some trippy cover art thanks to Chris Leaman, which will be used when they combine both of their EPs (Electric Baptism and Cheap Heat) for a physical full-length release in the upcoming months. 

When asked about upcoming shows to support the effort, frontman Pete Dio said, “Nothing right now. Gonna focus on traveling this spring, and there are already talks about doing separate runs with a couple top-notch bands. So be on the lookout.” 

They do however have a local show on the books, Feb. 10 at Carl’s Tavern in New Haven alongside Squirrel Cage and The Holy Nothing

Until then, be sure and check out Electric Baptism on all the major streaming platforms.

Stream new Casket Sharp EP

Alternative, R&B, and soul act Casket Sharp are back at it with a new EP titled Harpy on a High Wire, available on all digital formats. 

The EP was recorded, mixed, and produced by Jason Davis at Off the Cuff Studios and mastered by Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room. 

The band also released a music video for their first single, “Call Me Baby,” filmed at The Shady Nook on Parnell Avenue. You can view it on the band’s Facebook page. 

As of press time, Casket Sharp have no shows booked, but do plan on returning to the studio this spring. 

All Stars add new drummer

Local R&B favorites The Sweetwater All Stars have announced Andrew Glasmacher will take over drum duties for the band. 

Glasmacher, who also drums for Good Night Gracie, recently moved to Fort Wayne from Salt Lake City. 

“We lived in the West all our lives, so we were ready to try something new,” Glasmacher said about the move from Utah. “We came to Fort Wayne and fell in love with the city. There are a lot of great restaurants, a vibrant music and arts scene, tons of diversity, and great people.” 

Glasmacher wasted no time making friends in town and putting those drum skills to work. 

“I immediately felt a connection to The Sweetwater All Stars the first time I saw them perform,” he said. “I love their energy! I grew up listening to and performing classic R&B, and their setlist is familiar and fun. I am thrilled to be performing with such a talented group of musicians and can’t wait to hit the stage!”

You can catch his first show with The Sweetwater All Stars when they open for the legendary Commodores on Jan. 14 at The Clyde Theatre. 

Celebrate Withered Veins’ album

Garage rockers Withered Veins have announced a release party for their highly anticipated effort, Advanced Decay

The fun will take place Saturday, Feb. 18, at O’Sullivans Italian Pub with special guests To Breathe Again and The Kickbacks. Music begins at 10 p.m. and won’t cost you a dime to get in. 

In regards to the album, it was recorded at Kerosec Productions and features 12 tracks including “Take You Home,” “Hide,” and “Demon.” As of now, there are no plans for physical copies, but it will be available on your favorite streaming platform beginning Feb. 18. 

New Straightjackets coming in April

Northwest Ohio outfit Neon Straightjackets will be releasing their new album, Ex-Girlfriends & Ecstasy, on April 15. 

With a title like that, these guys must have some interesting stories to tell. 

In honor of the release, they are throwing a release party that day at Groamy’s CDs and Tapes in Lima, Ohio. 

It just happens April 15 is also National Record Store Day, so you can be sure Groamy’s will be hopping that day. If anything, you will be able to hear the new numbers live and get your hands on a copy to take with you. The album will also hit all the major streaming platforms that day. 

To get you by until then, you can stream the first single “$#!7CANNED” now. 

In addition, Neon Straightjackets have a tour planned to support the release that kicks off April 1 at Studio B in Fort Wayne and will have them traveling to such cities as Columbus, Ohio; Muncie; Toledo, Ohio; and Athens, Ohio. 

Nab Namen Namen’s live cassette

Alternative quartet Namen Namen have come out swinging in 2023 with a tour and cassette release. 

The nine-date winter tour began Dec. 29 at The Brass Rail and wrapped up in Kalamazoo on Jan. 7. Folks that attended the shows got first dibs on their new cassette release, Live at the Bug House: Tour Tape ’22-’23

If you have a cassette player, then this is certainly something you will want to add to your collection. It was recorded by Erik Nervous at their Bug House performance on Dec. 18. If you are lucky, the band may still have some copies left, so hit them up. 

Looking forward to an eventful year from these cats.

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