It was freakin’ cold outside Saturday night, January 15th which brought the party inside to witness Sixteen Penny heat up the Celtic Fox stage, on day one of Jam4Dan, the two-day music fest that celebrates the life of  Topeka musician, businessman, and educator Dan Falley.

Now in its fourth year, becoming the perennial winter event for Topeka area musicians to gather and show off their skills, Jam4Dan showcases our cities vast wealth of musical talent in the space of two days. For a mere 5 dolla cover that allows you to attend both Saturday and Sunday; you’ll witness a veritable smorgasbord of musical genres, while contributing to a great cause, which is what Jam4Dan is all about.

For those who remember, it was last year at this same event the Topeka band Sixteen Penny made their live debut, and you’d think that with three of the original members remaining, not much would change from last years performance . . . but you’d be wrong, because it was clear as soon as the newly revamped sextet unleashed the opening riffs of Gary Glitters timeless classic Rock and Roll Pt. 2, these guys were the same band that performed last year in name only. This year’s model had definitely been upgraded, streamlined, and improved, with the addition of some new members, and this time through, the attitude was tougher, the intensity was heightened, and the songs, well the songs just keep getting better.

Dave Holland-Tommy Williams-Jeff Dechand

Crowd favorites like Move On, Down, Clone, and Anthem, have almost taken on a whole new identity with the addition of new members, Jeff, Dave and Tommy.

Undeniably, the return of the totally wicked Tommy Williams to handle the bottom end, allowing bassist Dave Holland, who was recruited in the fall, to move over to guitar; gives Sixteen Penny an edge that is unparalleled in Topeka’s sparse original music scene.  The twin guitar intro to my personal favorite, Dead to Me, gave the already impressive song another dimension giving me goose bumps totally unrelated to the weather outside.

Jeff Dechand

With Jeff Dechand, handling percussion duties since last spring, Sixteen Penny has, as far as I’m concerned, one of the best drummers, T-town has to offer.

Brad Renner

Chris Locke

Keyboard wizard, Brad Renner is simply amazing as he deftly manipulates pedals, switches, buttons, buzzers and bells, all the while contributing background vocals; and Chris Locke continues to be the definition of showmanship,  jumping offstage, mid- song, and running amuck, much to the delight of the Jam4Dan crowd.

Justin Langham

And of course, there’s Jason, Justin Langham on vocals and attitude. Looking every bit the front man he is, with painted fingernails and tats running up his neck and down his arms, Langham takes command of the stage, both audibly and visually. In Sixteen Penny, Justin has, without a doubt, found the perfect vehicle to showcase his patently honest, witty, tender, and at times, filthy lyrics.

With this year’s Jam4Dan performance, Sixteen Penny has set the bar even higher for themselves and the Topeka music scene. With every performance over the last year, Sixteen Penny have grown leaps and bounds, demonstrating time and again, that the trophy they received at last summer’s Local Music Awards, for “Best Original Band,” was not given in vain.

#2 in a series of performance reviews which began with Nucklehead Jones New Years Eve Bosco appearance. Look for reviews in the coming days of Invictus, Beans & Cornbread, and Cover Bands Gone Wild winners,  Meltdown.

[January 2011 | Robin Cremer | band photos provided by Jam4Dan]

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