Alt-Nation: Your Guide to an Alt Summer

Bettye LeVette

A few years ago I was in Ogie’s when this song came on that was a burst of old school ’60s soul, almost like a female version of Otis Redding. That was my introduction to Bettye LeVette. She isn’t really strictly a soul artist as she has done rock and R&B as well. Her latest record, Things Have Changed, is a collection of Bob Dylan covers that features guests like Keith Richards and Trombone Shorty. Levette may do other people’s songs but she makes them uniquely her own.

Bettye LeVette will be at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River on Jun 7

The Head And The Heart

The Head and The Heart take a break from their tour with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats to do a one-off show in East Providence’s newest venue-by-the-water in Bold Point Park. The Head And The Heart’s latest release, Signs of Life in 2016, spurned the hit single “All We Ever Knew.” Indie-folk meets breezy ’70s pop at its finest — check out The Head And The Heart under the stars!

The Head And The Heart are at Bold Point Park in East Providence on Jun 8

Street Dogs

Little known fact: I actually booked the Street Dogs’ first show in Providence at the old Green Room. I always preferred the Street Dogs to the Dropkick Murphys because they seem less cliché. The reason for the comparison is that Street Dogs vocalist Mike McColgan was the original singer of the Dropkicks. Street Dogs have a new album, Stand for Something or Die for Nothing, coming out later on this month. It will no doubt rip with punk rock abandon. Get there early for Darkbuster!

Street Dogs, Darkbuster, and The Barstool Preachers will rock Fete on Jun 8


Despite what you hear from the Supersuckers, they are no longer the greatest band. They are pretty much an outlaw country band that maybe once or twice kicks it up a gear to their past glory. I’m including this show for those special moments because when they stop bitching and rock they are still pretty damn good.

Supersuckers, Speedealer, and Salem Wolves will rock Alchemy on Jun 13

The Pourmen

The Pourmen headline this local show which features a nifty mix of bands. The Pourmen released a cool record last year called Rise & Shine. Rise & Shine veered from the Pogues-like roots of “Day Drinking” to the pub-punk of “I Got Nothing.” It is good vibrant music that is best experienced live!

The Pourmen, Grace Versus Gravity, and The Shakes will rock The Met Café on Jun 14

Micah Schnabel

Two Cow Garage co-front man Micah Schnabel is a special performer who can make the room come alive and create a special connection with a crowd. Schnabel is equally dynamic whether fronting Two Cow Garage or performing solo acoustically. Schnabel is a great storyteller through song and a treat to catch every time he comes through town.

Micah Schnabel and Kris Hansen will play Askew in PVD on Jun 15

Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly

It seems weird to think that both the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly have been around for 20 years but I’m not going to question the math. It says it on the internet, so it must be true. Both bands bring that kind of working class Irish dude rock sound with big sing-a-long choruses. Nothing really wrong with that, it just is what it is.

Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly will bring the rock to Bold Point Park in East Providence on Jun 16

Reverend Horton Heat

The psychobilly speedball of Reverend Horton Heat just keeps rolling. It’s been a few years since the Reverend has graced PVD with his presence. Reverend Horton Heat was a part of one of the best shows I’ve ever seen — in this same building — when he opened for The Cramps at Club Babyhead. This is essentially a rockabilly show but the Reverend does it well.

Reverend Horton Heat, Big Sandy, and Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones will be at Alchemy on Jun 20

Bill Janovitz

Best known as the front man for Buffalo Tom, Bill Janovitz has been one of the most respected performers in indie rock for the last 30 plus years. I caught him last fall opening for Ted Leo and he was as engaging as ever. Mike Gent is another vet best known for fronting The Figgs. This is a unique opportunity to hear two songwriters strip their work down.

Bill Janovitz and Mike Gent play the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich on Jun 30


Jets Can’t Land, 123 Astronaut, The Lincoln Tunnel

This show is just a local indie rock love-in. Jets Can’t Land are like a burning fire of guitar noise floating in psychedelic smoke rings. 123 Astronaut are the band in town that I haven’t seen that I most look forward to seeing. They released an EP called The Friction that is the real deal, from the White Stripe-like thud of “Cheyenne” to the Bowie-like feel of “Stars.” The Lincoln Tunnel’s latest album, Phone This One In was one of last year’s best. I’m not familiar with the listed headliner, Gumption & Glory, so that’s why there isn’t really anything to say.

Gumption & Glory, Jets Can’t Land, 123 Astronaut, The Lincoln Tunnel are at Dusk on Jun 30

The Roots

The house band for “The Tonight Show” has carved one of the most eclectic catalogues in hip hop with classic albums like Undun, Illadelph Halflife, and Things Fall Apart. The Roots’ live performance fuses jazz, R&B, and hip hop. The records are great but live is where it is at if you want to experience The Roots.

The Roots are at Bold Point Park in East Providence on Jul 1

Nova One

I heard a track recently from Roz Raskin’s post Rice Cakes adventure, Nova One, and just started digging it the more I listened to it. The track is called “Your Girl” and it’s an ethereal, dreamy piece with a cool reverb-y guitar in the mix. I think there is an album coming down the pike but you can catch her live in the meantime.

Nova One, Anjimile, and Lookers will be at the Columbus Theatre on Jul 6

Joe Jackson

It’s always a treat when artists that I remember listening to on Casey Kasem’s Top 40 countdown growing up come to town. Looking back, Joe Jackson’s tunes were both infectious and very inventive due to his vocal range. I’m stoked to hear him sing the hits “Steppin’ Out” and my favorite, “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” But who the hell wouldn’t be?

Joe Jackson comes to The Strand Ballroom & Theatre on Jul 9


Electric Six

Detroit’s kings of dance rock return for what is usually the party of the summer! Some of these other shows are good but there is only one Electric Six show a year in PVD. Electric Six, for those who haven’t read any of my previous 47 columns describing them, are like a cross of the music of the Talking Heads with the lyrics of a Captain Beefheart. This is must-see TV.

Electric Six, Northeast Traffic, herMajesty, and VulGarrity will rock Alchemy on Jul 19

Swamp Stomp 11

Swamp Stomp is a BYO-everything event from beverages to food to whatever turns you on while you enjoy what promises to a hot day of rock ‘n’ roll at a beautiful property situated in the swampy backwoods of West Kingston, RI. Grounds open at 1:30pm on the day of, with music beginning at 2:30 and continuing until 9pm or so. This year Swamp Stomp expands to five bands, headlined by Marah. It always makes for a great day filled with killer music. Suggested donation to attend Swamp Stomp 11 is $45. Information about Swamp Stomp can be obtained by contacting Roots Hoot House Concerts at or at 401-965-0833.

Swamp Stomp 11 featuring performances by Marah, Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls, Kevin Gordon & band, Paul Burch and band, and The Linemen happens Saturday, Jul 21 in West Kingston, R.I. near the entrance to The Great Swamp. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets: — Facebook:

Chris Robinson Brotherhood

I read a funny article about the ever feuding Robinson brothers where Chris criticized his brother for forming a Black Crowes cover band with other former members, and then formed his own Black Crowes cover band. It is also notable that he calls his band Brotherhood and he doesn’t talk to his own brother. That aside, I’d go see a band fronted by the former Black Crowes singer. I actually caught them years ago and it was the classic rock hippie jams that one would expect. It would be nice if he threw in a Crowes song or two but he probably won’t because that is reserved for his cover band.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood will be jammin’ at FMH in PVD on Jul 24

Deer Tick

I’m going to just proclaim the 9-day stretch from Jul 21 thru 29 as Deer Tick week in Rhode Island. Deer Tick will be doing at least 5 shows in that span. It has been a busy year that has seen them release two records (Volume 1 & 2) and tour all over the country and Europe. I’m forecasting 5 nights of electrifying rock ‘n’ roll!

Deer Tick’s road to Newport starts at The Knickerbocker in Westerly on Jul 21 with Ravi Shavi. Deer Tick and Ravi Shavi will rock the Ocean Mist in Matunuck on Jul 23. Deer Tick will return for their annual post-Newport Folk Fest shows at the Newport Blues Café from Jul 27 through 29


The English Beat

It seems like every few months The English Beat is coming through RI but that said, this is definitely your last chance to catch them in the summer of 2018. These 2nd wave ska kings still get the party with hits like “Save it for Later” and “Mirror in the Bathroom.” The very handsome gentlemen in the Westminster Yacht Club will kick off the party, smoothly.

The English Beat and Westminster Yacht Club will have the dance floor poppin’ at the Ocean Mist on Aug 10

John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band

File this under weird facts: I own both Eddie & The Cruiser movies and have the soundtrack for the first one on vinyl but I’ve never seen John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band. Of course, for those lagging in their familiarity with 80’s soundtracks, Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band did the soundtrack for both movies and had a hit with “On the Dark Side” which, to the best of my knowledge, had nothing to do with Star Wars. The title of “The Rhode Island Bruce Springsteen,” as the king of roadhouse rock, is pretty much a tug of war between Cafferty and Steve Smith. Meanwhile I’m just hoping to make this show and you should too!

John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band rock the Ocean Mist on Aug 11


Dave Mason and Steve Cropper: Rock & Soul Revue

This is an intriguing bill with two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. Dave Mason is most famous for co-founding Traffic and for his numerous session works. Steve Cropper is known for being the guitarist in Booker T & the MGS, who were the house band for Stax Records. Cropper was the guitarist on all the great Otis Redding records. I imagine this night involves playing songs from throughout their careers. When one has had careers like theirs, it makes for a great night!

Dave Mason and Steve Cropper will be cooking up something special at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River on Aug 21


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