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Alt-Nation: Profile of The Silks and Events You Can’t Miss

I wanted to start this column addressing the recent passing of Lou Reed.  I remember reading about The Velvet Underground as a band “that almost nobody bought their records but everyone that did started a band.”  As a person that perpetually starts fake bands that never go anywhere, this seemed like something to check out.  This was in the early 1990’s, 20 plus years after their demise and The Velvet Underground still sounded avant garde.  If one tried to explaining their greatness to someone that they got this 7 minute song called “Heroin” that uses only two chords or a three chord song called “Sister Ray” that’s 17 minutes you’d sound bat shit crazy.  This is exactly what their music was, crazy.  Crazy brilliant capturing the seedy underbelly of New York and Andy’s Warhol’s Factory scene.  They inspired Bowie just as they were the most prominent inspiration to The Strokes 30 years later.  Lou Reed’s genius is weaving his stories over a simple beat forever changed music.  Sure some of his solo records sucked but some of them were great.  Lou seemed like he was so ornery that I doubt he cared what anyone thought anyways.  RIP Lou, nobody else besides maybe Iggy Pop can claim credit for laying the seeds of glam, punk, and alternative rock in general.

The Silks – The Last American Band

It seems pretentious for a band to christen itself as “The Last American Band” as The Silks do in their debut album.  That isn’t true.  There are always plenty of great bands out there but in these days of reality television bullshit like American Idol, most are left to scrap out of the public’s spotlight.  The real question of any band is do they bring it?  The Silks caught a huge buzz via management connections that had Paul Westerberg of The Replacements produce their debut and contribute lead vocals on a Stones cover on the B-Side of their debut single.  Does that make them great, of course not.  What does make The Silks great is their music and their electric live performances that get people bumping and grinding on the dance floor.  Nobody dances to local bands, well… unless it’s The Silks.


Oddly enough in terms of style, the record The Last American Band reminds me a little of is Exile on Main Street in terms of the collection of blues, country, and rockers.  The Stones of course are British but they know to how to rip off American music like a boss.  There is a misconception that The Silks are an Americana band which couldn’t be further from the truth.  They are an American band that plays different forms of American music.  You want blues – The Silks have “Trouble” which sounds so authentic that I thought for two years they were covering an old standard.  You want rockers, The Silks answer with my favorite, “Mountain Man,” where singer/guitarist Tyler James Kelly sings about trapping rabbits to make new shoes and the need to “get away from the man, I know you won’t understand, I guess that’s why they call me the mountain man.”  I did witness someone once ask Kelly how the prospecting was going because of his hat.  He didn’t like it at the time but maybe he’s coming to terms with it.  One thing that can’t be denied is Kelly is an absolute beast on guitar and one Hell of a songwriter.  His shredding on tunes like “All in The Family” make the song.  He makes tunes like “Mud Money” and “Down at The Heel” into early 70’s Stones like romps without the need for another guitar player.  “Try All You Want” reminds me of the bluesy folk of Exile’s “Casino Boogie.”  The Silks are certainly no Stones rip off as “Learning How to Let Go” channels the 70’s rock of The Band.  “Big Talkin’” comes across like a Buddy Guy blues romp with the stellar rhythm section of Jonas Parmelee on bass and Matthew Donnelly on drums locked in on the groove.  The presence of Paul Westerberg, who contributes some backing vocals and guitar, as a producer helps only in giving the recordings a raw straight from the Delta integrity but The Silks are the stars of the show.  With The Last American Band, The Silks succeed in both creating a powerful testament to and writing their own chapter of American music.

The Silks are anxious to hit the road but they have one problem, they need to scrape up the funds to afford a vehicle to travel in.  Things didn’t get any easier for the band when Parmelee’s car caught on fire and was totaled en route to a show over the summer.  The scene of which is photographed on the CD for The Last American Band.  A sign of the resiliency of The Silks, they still played the gig.  The band has started a kickstarter campaign titled “Save The Silks” to try and raise funds to purchase a van where one can get autographed merchandise and even have the band play your party!  The information is available online at   In addition The Silk will be having their official CD Release party for The Last American Band at Fete on November 29th.  Don’t miss out when they play out locally because the talent is there for the band to move on where you may not have the opportunity to see them so often.

The Silks celebrate the CD release of The Last American Band with a pair of shows at Fete with Toy Soldiers and Atlantic Thrills on November 29th.  On November 30th The Silks will play along with Detroit Rebellion and Smith & Weeden.

Revival! 2013 Featuring The Felice Brothers, The Low Anthem and more!

It’s time once again for the Revival! Benefit for the Columbus Theatre.  Proceeds will go to make ongoing needed renovations to the Columbus Theatre.  It is really amazing how the Columbus Theatre has emerged out of what seemed like an eternal dormancy to a central venue on the local music scene.  For Revival!, the folks at the Columbus Theatre have put together a great night of music headlined by indie rockers The Felice Brothers.  Local stalwarts are represented to with The Low Anthem and Roz Raskin and The Rice Cakes.  Both the upstairs and downstairs main theatre will be in use.  This will be a great night of music that is not to be missed!

Revival! 2013 featuring The Felice Brothers, The Low Anthem, Anais Mitchell, Roz Raskin and The Rice Cakes and more TBA return to The Columbus Theatre in Providence on November 13th. 

Senior Discount – This Is Not The End CD/DVD

Senior Discount have had a rough couple of years that have seen the band setback by singer/guitarist Chuck Staton’s back surgery and the incarceration of a former member.  Bad luck can only  keep an ambitious band down so long as Senior Discount is poised to roar back with a big show opening for Badfish on the big stage at Lupo’s and This Is Not The End CD/DVD release.  I’ve heard a few tracks of This is Not The End including the lead single “Cindy” and can report that Senior Discount are still a pop-punk band.  The sound on the whole sounds a little more mature which reflects the changes the band has gone through.  The DVD documents Staton and co-hosts Brad’s first live podcast at AS220 a few months ago.  This will no doubt be a collector’s item for fans of their weekly podcasts that can be heard  One can also purchase tickets for the show and be eligible to purchase the double disc set for a bargain $5 deal!

Senior Discount’s CD/DVD release show for This is Not The End will happen at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on November 27th opening for Badfish.

The Mahones

Fans of The Pogues and Dropkick Murphys should check out The Mahones when they come to town for what promises to be one Hell of a party.  The Mahones formed on St. Patrick’s Day in 1990 and somehow beat the odds to be still rocking 23 years and 11 albums later.  The Pogues are the starting point for any description which isn’t really a surprise since they take their name from the other half of the phrase Pogue Mahone.  They were formed in Canada but have a more authentic Irish punk sound than the watered down American version of someone like the Dropkicks.  Local legends Neutral Nation lead the undercard which also include Scrapes that feature ex-members of legendary Boston punks Gang Green.

The Mahones, Neutral Nation, The Pubcrawlers, Scrapes (ex-members of Gang Green) and Riki Rocksteady are at Fete on November 22nd.

The 1st Annual Pop Memorial Rock Show

The local music community sustained a devastating loss with the sudden passing in September of Chris “Pop” Popoloski.  Pop was mainstay in the community for known for honest cut tell it like it is opinions and his big heart.   Pop has worked for years as a soundman in the city including most recently at the Providence Performing Arts Center, and in that time he has mentored and touched many in the local community.  To celebrate the life, there will be a great rock ‘n’ roll show that features more than a few blasts from the past including a Holy Cow reunion!

The 1st Annual Pop Memorial Rock Show featuring sets by The Bastards, Neutral Nation, Holy Cow, and Bad Ass goes down at Fete on November 30th.

Odds & Sods

The Cannibal Ramblers, The Lincoln Tunnel, and The Farmers Union Players are at The ROI in Providence 8th.  Reel Big Fish, Five Iron Frenzy, Beautiful Bodies, Beebs & Her Money Makers and Short Handed Goal are at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on November 8th.  Mark Cutler is finishing up a new record and you can catch a preview of the new jams at The Parlour on November 9th.  Bernie Worrell Orchestra, The Broadcast, and Nexus are at The Spot on November 9th.  The McGunks and Barroom Heroes will rock the Manchester 65 on November 10th.  Plus it’s a chance to hit up one more barbecue before the snow hits!  H20, Reason To Fight, Test of Time, Lowlife will ring in some Monday night hardcore on November 11th.  WBRU’s annual Birthday Bash this year will span 3 epic nights at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel.  Night one The delayed return of The Neighborhood and Little Daylight on November 12th.  Tickets from The Neighborhood’s postponed October show at The Met Café will be honored.  Night two features Young The Giant, Dale Ernhardt Jr Jr, The Colourist and reigning Rock Hunt Champs Torn Shorts on November 13th.  Night three features sets by Grouplove, The Mowgli’s and IAMDYNAMITE on November 14th.  Haunt The House, VaVaBlume, and Skinny Millionaire, and Castle rock AS220 on November 14th.  Gringo Star, Ski Lodge, and The Atlantic Thrills bring the rock and the roll to Fete on November 14th.  Manchester Orchestra, The Front Bottoms, and O’Brother are at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on November 15th.  Jesus Christ Superstar (the rock concert) hits Manchester 65 in West Warwick on November 16th.  Suicide Girls return to town for the first time in awhile for what is being billed as a night of Blackheart Burlesque at Fete on November 23rd.  Zach Deputy is at The Spot on November 23rd.  The Mighty Good Boys are putting out a new disc and are celebrating with a party at AS220 on November 27th.  This stacked bill also features sets by The Sugar Honey Iced Tea, Junior Beat, and Dan Dodd.  Apathy returns to the Met Café on November 27th.  Viral Sound returns to The Spot on November 29th.  The Pietasters skank it up at Manchester 65 on November 30th.  The Schemers and Peter Parcek are at The Met Café on November 30th.  Bombino and The Last Good Tooth hit The Columbus Theatre on December 2nd.  Finally a show I’m extra stoked for is The Hives who come to Lupo’s on December 5th.

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