Alt-Nation: Just Going to the Library

Providence Public Library – “From Pop to Punk: Highlights of 20th century Popular Music in Providence”

I’ve had the privilege to patronize some legendary joints like The Rat in Boston, CBGBs in New York City, The Roxy in LA, and of course The Living Room and Safari Lounge locally.  So it’s always a pleasure to check out another building with some history to it. The Providence Public Library has been very active hosting music events as part of their “Don’t Stop The Music” campaign, which includes a series of live music in the Library’s Grand Hall and the “From Pop to Punk: Highlights of 20th century Popular Music in Providence” exhibit. The exhibit traces the history of local popular music starting with turn of the century classical music and moving all the way up through modern day punk rock. It includes photographs, programs, instruments, composer notes, show posters, outfits from the ’70s disco sensation Tavares, recordings and even the script of the movie Purple Rain! Another reason to stop into the library is their series of live events. For the full list, go to, but some highlights include Beta Motel on May 22, Providence Rock and Roll Yard Sale with performances by Alec K. Redfearn and The Eyesores and others on June 13, and Roz & The Rice Cakes on June 19.

The Spot Underground on The Move

The Spot Underground recently moved around the corner to 180 Pine St inside The Colosseum nightclub, and has some great shows coming up like SIRSY, VulGarrity, and Young Pandas on May 22; Les Racquet, Full Tang, and Alec Huston Trio on May 23; and an early show from 6-10pm with performances by Pixels, The Planes, and Eric and the Nothing also on May 23.

The Independents

The kings of horror ska from Florence, South Carolina, return to get Memorial Day weekend started right! I first saw The Independents 19 years ago opening for the Ramones and after seeing them last year, they still bring it with a vengeance. The Independents have so many great tunes like “Succubus,” “Left For Dead,” and “Legion of Doom” with the latter being off last year’s excellent Into the Light album. More of a punk band playing ska than a traditional ska band, The Independents have played some of my favorite shows that I’ve ever attended. This show will be a doozy!

The Independents, Brunt of It, Black Cat Attack, and Honest John bring the thunder to Firehouse 13 on May 22.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club

Slim’s Cessna’s Auto Club has been around for 20 years, making it happen every show. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club are like The E Street Band of Americana music.  They take country, folk and rock ‘n’ roll and meld it together into some of the most powerful anthems ever written. Slim Cessna used to live in Cranston and had a side project called Blackstone Valley Sinners. Cessna’s time in RI is shown in several Auto Club tunes like “Cranston,” “Providence, New Jerusalem,” and the epic set closing anthem “He, Roger Williams.” These guys are simply one of the best bands in the world and it would be foolish to miss them. Get there early for the strong local support!

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, King Sickabilly, and The Red Pennys will rock the Columbus Theatre on May 27.

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