News Column

Live guitarist says two downtown Allentown buildings on track, new music coming

June 6, 2014

By John J. Moser, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)



June 06--A 10-story fiber optics center and House of Blues-style music venue proposed for downtown Allentown both are on track and moving forward, one of the principal partners in the company behind the buildings said Thursday.

But the big news that Chad Taylor, who also plays guitar in the multi-platinum rock band Live, announced to the Pennsylvania Presenters Spring Arts Conference at SteelStacks in Bethlehem may have been that his York-based group this fall will release its first full album of new material in more than eight years.

It also would be the group's first album without founding front man Ed Kowalczyk, who left the band in 2009. Taylor even played what he said was the "global, world" premiere of "Sirens Calling," what will be the group's first single in five years.

Taylor, a founding member of Live who now lives in Lancaster, was keynote speaker at the three-day conference, which was attended by about 100 entertainment professionals who manage venues throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. It concludes Friday.

His speech made fleeting references to both Allentown projects, as he talked about how elements of music -- tuning, timing, texture and tone -- apply to most endeavors in life, including the presenters' efforts to reach their audiences.

In a brief interview after his presentation, Taylor said his York-based Think Loud Development is moving forward with an office project, revealed in May 2013, that would house some of the corporate operations of United Fiber and Data, a technology firm building an alternative fiber optic transmission route linking New York City and Maryland.

Officials said it would be built in 2015 behind the Alvin H. Butz Corporate Center at 840 Hamilton St.

Taylor said he was legally prohibited from revealing details about the project's status, but said, "All the horses are on the track and running in the right direction."

Regarding the proposed music venue, Taylor said Think Loud Development is looking for final design plans, "investigating management" to run the venue "and, ultimately, looking forward to partnering with the Butz family" on the project.

In January, Think Loud Development said it is working with Allentown construction management firm Alvin H. Butz Inc. on a six-story tower anchored by a House of Blues-style rock music club on the Farr parking lot site next to PPL Plaza in downtown Allentown.

Officials said the venue near Eighth and Hamilton streets, also to be built in 2015, would cost at least $36 million and include a music stage, flexible seating capacity, a restaurant and office space on four upper floors.

Both projects are in Allentown'sNeighborhood Improvement Zone, which lets developers tap most state and local tax revenues generated by the building to pay for construction.

But Taylor seemed more excited about the new album, which he said is targeted for an October release. It would be the first full album of new material from Live since 2006's "Songs from Black Mountain." The group released a live album, "Live at the Paradiso -- Amsterdam," with two new songs, in 2008.

Taylor said a world tour by Live would follow the album's release. In 2012, Chris Shinn became Live's singer, replacing Kowalczyk, who now performs solo.

To close his presentation at the conference, Taylor played a video of Live's new song and performed live lead guitar over it. It sounded like classic Live, with even Shinn's voice sounding like Kowalczyk's.

john.moser@mcall.com

Twitter @johnjmoser

610-820-6722

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(c)2014 The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

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Source: Morning Call (Allentown, PA)


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