Alt-Nation: The Sinister Sounds of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and beyond…

An Evening with Lol Tolhurst, Founding Member of The Cure

I’ve been a fan of The Cure for almost 30 years and don’t recall anything remotely related to them ever happening in Providence. That is part of what makes this a special night as co-founder Lol Tolhurst comes to town to promote his new book, Cured: A Tale of Two Imaginary Boys, which chronicles his time in the band as well as his lifelong friendship with Robert Smith who he has known since they were 5 years old. Tolhurst played drums and keyboards on such staples as Boys Don’t Cry, The Head on the Door, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, and Disintegration, among others, before leaving the band in 1989. For this event, Tolhurst will do a meet and greet where one can get a signed copy of Cured: A Tale of Two Imaginary Boys and you can ask him all those burning questions like why do Cure songs go from manically depressing to manically giddy, what Robert Smith’s preferred brand of lipstick is, and why Tolhurst left the band when they finally attained mass commercial success. In addition to the book signing, there will be dancing as Tolhurst and John O’Leary hit the decks to spin some new wave goth salsa for the soul. Advance tickets are going fast, so don’t snooze and lose.

Midday Records and Alchemy present an evening with Lol Tolhurst, founding member of The Cure, which will go down at Dusk on February 18.

Sha Na Na

Watching Sha Na Na’s television show as a kid was one of the first things that got me into rock ‘n’ roll. While I can’t say I’ve followed anything they’ve done since, other than maybe part of an episode that was on a Ramones DVD, I’ve always respected that ’50s greaser throwback shtick. Sha Na Na did not invent nostalgia, but for the past four decades they have made a career out of celebrating it. From Grease to Woodstock, Sha Na Na has been there. This is a night to put on the black leather jacket, slick back the hair and cut loose to the sounds of the ’50s.

 Sha Na Na a Rock & Roll Celebration comes to the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich on February 18.

John Doe

Co-founder of the legendary ’70s Los Angeles punk band X, John Doe comes to Newport to get his troubadour thing on. Whether it is performing with X or solo, Doe has always been a voice of reason amidst the chaos of the world.  Doe’s voice is arguably needed now more than any other time in his career given the polarizing times. I caught Doe solo several years ago at the old Jake’s, and he is one of those transcendental performers who just takes you places. I bought everything off his merch table, which, judging by my CD collection, amounted to thee albums. I’m sure he has more now. It isn’t X, rather more stripped raw blood and guts. It isn’t really all that far from later day X material like “See How We Are” and “4th of July” in reality. As an added bonus, also on this bill is Lenny Lashley of Darkbuster fame and Aquidneck Island legend Bob Kendall in what promises to be a night that will make memories for a lifetime.

John Doe, Lenny Lashley, and Bob Kendall, Sammy Kay will rock the Café at the Parlor in Newport on February 24.

Blue Oyster Cult

I saw Blue Oyster Cult was coming and was first suspicious in a “is this like when The Temptations tour with their grandkids’ next door neighbor performing as the band” way. But I was pleasantly surprised as they do have two members — singer Eric Bloom and guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser — who have logged 45 years in the band. Blue Oyster Cult is one of those weird bands that I’ve come to appreciate more as the years go on. They are kind of like the B movie version of a ’70s hard rock band. They never totally sold out into the horror aspect, like an Alice Cooper, but they still have a hit like “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” One minute they come off as an alternative Grand Funk Railroad and the next minute they are doing an arguably fiercer and faster version of “Kick Out the Jams” than the MC5. A Blue Oyster Cult compilation can jump from the infectious but neutered ’80s rock “Dancin’ in the Ruins” to the sledgehammer thunder of “This Ain’t the Summer of Love.” “Burnin’ for You” is also like the perfect song. I am literally counting down the days to this show.

Blue Oyster Cult rock the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket on February 24.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

My introduction to the music of Buffy Sainte-Marie was my roommate in college blasting her record. Not knowing anything about her at the time, the vocals were what really stood out. Sainte-Marie’s voice would be haunting one moment on “Codeine” and resilient the next on “Universal Soldier.” It was folk music that could punch you in the gut and act as a call to arms. At the time, I was listening to a lot of Donovan, who covered her, so that also gave her extra street cred. Sainte-Marie was blacklisted from radio by two Presidents and J. Edgar Hoover, yet appeared on Sesame Street. The latter she initially turned down before changing her mind to represent Native Americans. This is another show that should be one for the ages. Make sure to get there in time for The Huntress and Holder of Hands who open the show.

Buffy Sainte-Marie and The Huntress and Holder of Hands will play the Columbus Theatre on February 25.

Neutrinos – Surf Cult EP Release Show

Straight out of Attleboro come Neutrinos with a new EP, Surf Cult, that is ready to drop. Neutrinos are like the perfect surf punk soundtrack to a pizza party. I listened to a track from Surf Cult and it sounded like The Queers on acid. In addition to Neutrinos, this show has the garage psych-surf enthusiasts Atlantic Thrills and Harvey Garbage for what promises to be a rock ‘n’ roll melee.

Neutrinos, Atlantic Thrills, and Harvey Garbage will join forces to rock Dusk on February 25.

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