Keep On Moving — Newport Folk and Other Fun Stuff

Newport Folk Festival

The last weekend in July means the return of the legendary Newport Folk Festival as it takes over the city for a weekend of music under the sun. Since its inception, the Newport Folk Festival has expanded to include a broader base of music. Hell, in recent years I’ve caught everything from twang punk to heavy metal at the festival. This has angered some purists, but it doesn’t affect the show’s popularity — the festival sells out before the lineup is announced. For the 2018 lineup, the acts I’m excited for on Friday include Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Fantastic Negrito, and Rachel & Vilray. Isabell is a repeat performer who kind of reminds me of Springsteen if he was from Nashville instead of New Jersey. Fantastic Negrito is the brainchild of Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz who puts his own spin on the blues with R&B and moody guitar. Check out Fantastic Negrito’s new album, Please Don’t Be Dead, as it is one of this year’s best. Rachel & Vilray is a side project for Lake Street Dive vocalist Rachel Price that features her steamy vocals in a stripped-down setting. On Saturday, I’m excited to catch Jenny Lewis, Low Cut Connie and Courtney Barnett. Whether solo or with her band Rilo Kiley, Lewis created an impressive batch of off-kilter indie rock. I’ve gotten into Low Cut Connie fairly recently. They’re like the indie rock of someone like The Strokes meets the barroom hero rock ‘n’ roll in the vein of Southside Johnny. Low Cut Connie has a new album out called Dirty Pictures (Part 2) that is worth checking out. I usually stay away from naming headliners, but who isn’t excited for Courtney Barnett? Everybody I talk to mentions her, so I’m including her just because she is too powerful to ignore.  On Sunday, some of the acts I’ll be a dancing and a prancing to include the reggae of the legendary Toots and The Maytals, the New Orleans jazz of The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and the power grunge pop of Jen Cloher.

Newport Folk Festival returns to Fort Adams in Newport from Jul 27 through Jul 29.

Electric Six

Electric Six week in Providence is one of my favorite weeks of the year! Detroit’s kings of dance rock are like a cross between the music of Talking Heads with the maniacal lyrics of a Captain Beefheart.  Electric Six will be releasing a new album (as they do almost every year) titled The Bride of the Devil, which no doubt promises to be another dose of infectiously subversive rock ‘n’ roll.

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

Old Crow Medicine Show

Old Crow Medicine Show comes to town in support of their latest album, Volunteer. On Volunteer, Old Crow Medicine Show incorporate an electric guitar sound for the first time since 2004 when Dave Rawlings put his Tele stamp on the band’s classic tune, “Wagon Wheel.” Live, the Old Crow Medicine Show mostly sticks to the fiddle-driven Americana pickings that have made them a favorite at festivals all over the world.

Old Crow Medicine Show and Ghost of Paul Revere will be at The Strand Ballroom & Theatre on Jul 20.

Bim Skala Bim

There is no better time than the summer to skank it up, and few are better at that than Boston ska legends Bim Skala Bim. Brunt of It brings a little rock to the equation at one of the best places to catch a band in Newport.

Bim Skala Bim, Brunt of It, and Indestructibles are at the Parlor Newport on Jul 20.

The Autumn Defense with Special Guest Johnny Irion

The Autumn Defense is a side project of Wilco’s John Stirratt and Pat Sansone. They have released five albums; the latest is 2014’s Filth. The Autumn Defense is a little more 1960s throwback rock ‘n’ roll than say, Wilco, and I’ve heard they’re great live. This show at POP is an excellent chance to see Stirratt and Sansone in a much more intimate setting than one gets to experience Wilco in.

The Autumn Defense with Johnny Irion will be at POP, 219 W Park St, in Providence on Jul 20. Advance tickets can be purchased at

The Magpie Salute

It seems weird that both the Robinson brothers from the Black Crowes are playing RI separately in a span of five days. As far as Black Crowe members, the Magpie Salute wins. In addition to guitarist Rich Robinson, it features guitarist Marc Ford and bassist Sven Pipien from the Crowes. The Magpie Salute have released one album of original music (Live) and do plenty of Crowes anthems at their shows.

The Magpie Salute will rock the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich on Jul 20.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood

Chris Robinson Brotherhood generally omits Crowes tunes from their sets in favor of their own material. I respect that, but wish he’d thrown in even an obscure Crowes tune like “I Ain’t Hiding” or “Sometimes Salvation.” 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 opening for the The J. Geils Band, and it was the classic rock hippie jams that stretch out a bit more than the Crowes.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood are at FMH in PVD on Jul 24.

Peter Lloyd

Peter Lloyd, also known as the Love Messenger, brings his annual summer tour to PVD for a stop at The Parlour this July. Long considered one of the most dynamic performers in reggae, Lloyd is a must see for lovers of reggae. Reggae-fusion artist Stephanie Hava opens the show.

Peter Lloyd and Stephanie Hava bring the rasta vibes to The Parlour in PVD on Jul 26

Powerman 5000

In a show billed as The Summer Ball 2! Indoor Beach Party, Powerman 5000 headline what promises to be a loud night at the indoor kiddie pool. I remember hanging out at The Rat in Boston in the ’90s when Powerman 5000 were all the rage and just beginning to blow up out of Boston into the national arena. Lead singer Spider One is the brother of Rob Zombie, and Powerman 5000 mines similar territory as far being a metal band that incorporates punk, electronics and classic rock.

The Summer Ball 2! Featuring performances by Powerman 5000, Vyces, Carpathia and more comes to FMH in Providence on Jul 26. 

Sean Chambers Band

Sean Chambers Band latest release, Trouble & Whiskey (American Showplace Music), is a full barrow of roadhouse gin. Sean Chambers Band can belt it out of the park when it comes to amplified traditional Chicago-styled blues. The tunes on Trouble & Whiskey encapsulate the title and bring it to life one guitar solo at a time.

Sean Chambers Band will belt out the blues at Chan’s in Woonsocket on Aug 3.

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