Keep on Moving: Shakin’ the Leaves from the Trees: Venture from your house for these shows

I tried to model this year’s Fall Guide column after a Ramones concert — no frills, just kill. Check out five new releases to pregame with high grade tequila on page XX, and there is also a Spotify playlist called “Motif Keep On Moving Fall 2019” to get you ready for the rock!  Much as I’d like to expound, have 437 shows to get through, so got to vamos!

5 Albums to Shake The Leaves from the Trees

Jesse Malin — Sunset Kids (Wicked Cool Records): This New York troubadour teamed up with Lucinda Williams for possibly the album of the year? I don’t know, the album only just came out, but it sounds pretty dope.

The Hold Steady — Thrashing Thru The Passion (French Kiss Records): After two lackluster albums followed by better Craig Finn (singer) solo albums, I thought The Hold Steady were relegated to nostalgic act status. Apparently the key to the band is the keyboardist with the funny mustache, Franz Nicolay, because with him back in the fold, all of sudden The Hold Steady are back to being the greatest Cheap-Trick-meets-barroom band on the planet.

123 Astronaut — Self-Titled: I heard originally this was coming out in September, but I can’t find an official release date. I’d ask, but it is, like, 4 in the morning. The lead single, “The Great Unknown,” is a beast, and the rest of the album isn’t too shabby.

Pixies – Beneath The Eyrie: Some people say it’s not the Pixies without Kim Deal and it is their right to be wrong. The lead single, “Graveyard Hill,” got me excited and following the “It’s a Pixies Podcast” on the making of the album has got me stoked for the rest.

Sleater-Kinney — The Center Won’t Hold (Mom+Pop Records): The Center Won’t Hold has by far the most interesting backstory of a record since Chinese Democracy. The record was announced as produced by St. Vincent.  Band starts doing press and announces tour, and then drummer quits saying she hates the album. I’d be interested to hear what other Sleater-Kinney fans think if you want to drop a line. It isn’t terrible (despite what the drummer on the record says), but it has been St. Vincent-ized and a long way from Call The Doctor or Dig Me Out. Get well, Janet.


Post-punks Ceremony are back with a new album In The Spirit World.   Ceremony remind me of Gang of Four meets new wave rave at the shittiest 7-11 known to man.

Ceremony, Choir Boy and Glitter bring the thunder to The Met Cafe on September 6.

Vinnie Earnshaw Memorial

I didn’t know Vinnie, but it’s obvious by the talent assembling in his honor that he was a great guy. A particular favorite on this bill is Heidi Nirk Band who did a whale of a set a few months back at Nick-A-Nee’s. Shine on, Vinnie. 

Vinnie Earnshaw Memorial concert featuring The BickerSins, Heidi Nirk Band, Bob Angell All Star Jam featuring Duke Robillard, Gary Cummings and Pat “The Harp” Halpin, Tim Taylor, Jack Moore, and more brings the blues to The Met Cafe on September 8.  

Rhode Island Music & Arts Festival featuring The Felice Brothers

I’m just stoked to hear live music is coming back to India Point Park where so many WBRU concerts took place and more recently, the J. Geils Band.  Felice Brothers are bonus with their cool-kid-indie-rock-meets-The-Kinks vibe.

Rhode Island Music & Arts Festival featuring The Felice Brothers, Kung Fu, Bumpin Uglies, Adam Ezra Group, West End Blend, SixFoxWhiskey, Colby James and The Ramblers, Phil Adams Group, Aubrey Haddard, Mease, and Rival Roots will invade and conquer India Point Park in PVD on September 14. The flyer doesn’t give a start time, but I’m guessing around noon with the 47 bands on the bill.

Los Lobos

It’s tough to think about Los Lobos without mentioning their one hit covering “La Bamba” from the movie of the same name. That said, it might be the worst thing Los Lobos has ever done. They have consistently made gritty but great rootsy rock ‘n’ roll for the past 30 years.

Los Lobos are at the Greenwich Odeum in East East Greenwich on September 15 with Ian O’Neil and Dennis Ryan from Deer Tick featuring Chris Ryan from … Deer Tick.  

The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson

My first national interview was with Kim Wilson from The Fabulous Thunderbirds. I’d include a link but at that time, circa 2005, the Motif viewed the internet as a fad, kind of like a pet rock. Wilson expounded on the rich South County history of blues musicians that I knew nothing about. The man knows his stuff and he doesn’t head out unless he has the best of the best musicians. I guess he has to; those guys have to be “Tuff Enough” to replace Jimmie Vaughn.

The Fabulous Thunderbirds bring the blues to The Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River on September 19.  

Southern Culture On The Skids

They are kind of like the country version of Nashville Pussy as far as chicken shit bingo grooves.

Southern Culture on the Skids and The Split Squad bring the hoedown to The Met Cafe on September 20.

Unnatural Acts Festival

This is the coolest festival I’ve stumbled across for the fall hands down. It’s got reggae, something described as Dwight Yoakum meets Buddy Holly, a legendary punk band in The Proletariat, a side project from Downtown Boys in La Neve, and one of my new favorite bands in the post-punk, WIRE LINES. Oh, and Julie Rhodes; she’s worth the price of admission alone.

Unnatural Acts, featuring Ward Hayden & The Outliers, The Proletariat, Errol Strength and Conscious Reggae Band, Ken Clark Organ Trio, Julie Rhodes, La Neve, Christopher Johnson and WIRE LINES, are at The Narrows Center For The Arts in Fall River on September 21.  


At first I thought my growing love of reggae was the sign of midlife crisis after years of making fun of the bros and their Bob Marley. Maybe it is, but man — SoulShot is so good that it is okay.

Soulshot will bring the rasta smooth vibes to Askew in PVD on September 21.

Back Bay Brew and Steve Smith and The Nakeds

This is one of the most important causes out there because I’ve dealt with depression and it sucks. Maybe we can just be there for each other. As an added bonus, any day that ends with a y is a great day to catch Steve Smith and The Nakeds.

Jammin’ To Save Lives, A Concert To Prevent Suicide Prevention featuring Back Bay Brew and Steve Smith and The Nakeds hits The Met Cafe on September 22.  


The Candlebox tune “You” is definitely one of my ’90s guilty pleasures because it speaks to my fighting underdog mantra. I didn’t get into journalism to convince people Candlebox is cool, but I could see their mammoth Meatloaf-like choruses being a hoot!

Candlebox and Rubikon are at The Strand Theatre in PVD on September 25.


Luna has a tune “Anesthesia” that I loved back in the day.  If you think about it, they kind of translated The Jesus and Mary Chain Darklands era into Pavement. Luna will be performing their album Bewitched in its entirety.

Luna are at the Greenwich Odeum on October 2.

Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads Tribute)

It seems like I’m under contractual obligation to include Stop Making Sense into every guide. Just go, it’s a party and I’ve never seen anyone having less than the time of their life. After all, Talking Heads are one of the rare reunions that has never happened.

Stop Making Sense brings the dance party to The Met Cafe on October 4.

The Wailers

Bob Marley’s legendary backing band returns to bring good vibes that we need more and more in these trying times. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Survival, The Wailers will be performing the album in its entirety plus a second set of nothing but hits, bitch.

The Wailers bring the rasta grooves to the Greenwich Odeum on October 6.

The Probers

The Probers return for their first performance in more than 30 years. I’m told they were a hoot at WBRU Rock Hunts of yesteryear.

The Probers return to rock The Met Cafe on October 6.

Cowboy Junkies 

Cowboy Junkies hit it big with a cover of “Sweet Jane” in the ’90s that was nowhere near as good as the original. That said, they put their own spin on it and have continued making entrancing indie folk since.

Cowboy Junkies will be at The Narrows Center For The Arts in Fall River on October 10.

Trombone Shorty and The Orleans Avenue

This is the party. While a little more jam band than traditional New Orleans, Trombone Shorty and company always bring it. I just hope they don’t tear the roof off the Z because I have a friend who works there.  

Trombone Shorty and The Orleans Avenue bring the dance party to the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford on October 11.

The Agents

Rhode Island ska legends The Agents are throwing a Halloween shindig and it is sure to be one for the books. If you want to see how the third wave of ska is done right, check out The Agents.

The Agents hold their Halloween Bash at Askew on October 18.

Mark Mulcahy

Mark Mulcahy is a legend in these parts for the jangly pop of Miracle Legion in the early ’90s. Later he created Polaris, which somehow became the house band for a Nickelodeon show. In between, Mulcahy has released his own solo albums collaborating with everyone from members of R.E.M. to Radiohead and Pixies. His stuff is awesome.

Mark Mulcahy will be at The Columbus Theatre on October 19.

The Founders

I debated including a show by Roomful of Blues, but then I saw this special show featuring five original members of Roomful and suddenly the Roomful show didn’t seem that urgent. Think about it: five original members of Roomful — like they haven’t been able to say that for the last 30 years. I want to see The Founders.

The Founders bring the blues to The Met Cafe on October 19.

Titus Andronicus 

Titus Andronicus are one of those indie guitar swing bands that somehow channels The Kinks and Queen. It’s tough to make sense of in words, but it is powerful as hell. It is kind of like ’70s Elton John having a wardrobe malfunction and deciding to go rogue. Great stories, great tunes and Titus Andronicus absolutely kills live.

Titus Andronicus and Mal Blum are at AS220 on October 22.  

Richard Lloyd

A co-founder of Television should be enough to make you buy this ticket, but Richard Lloyd has done so much more. My favorite post-Television project he was in is the Rocket from the Tombs reunion. Lloyd played town last year at POP, and I heard he was great. I couldn’t go because of life, but I did try to interview him via email. I sent him a few questions that I thought were clever, two days go by and he replies with, “I don’t even know how to answer these questions, can you please just call me.”  Respect, Mr. Lloyd, and I will go to this rodeo and hopefully see one of the most influential guitarists in punk, post-punk and the aftermath.

Richard Lloyd rocks The Met Cafe on October 24.

The Benjis

I’m a fan of the The Benjis and there really isn’t a band like them in town.  They aren’t some super inaccessible band. They write great tunes, but just carve out their own sonic landscape. Kali Ma and the Garland of Arms are having their record release, so this show is going to be one giant hootenanny.

The Benjis and Kali Ma and the Garland of Arms are at the News Cafe on Pawtucket on October 26.

Misfits Halloween Extravaganza Part 5!

All I know about this show is local musicians are going to be covering the Misfits … on Halloween … wish I knew where I could get an advance ticket.  

Misfits Halloween Extravaganza Part 5 goes down at the News Cafe on October 31.

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