Farewell to Aurora
And the slow, depressing march toward progress continues… Motif has already reported on the upcoming closing of Aurora in downtown Providence to make room for redevelopment. And with WBRU being sold off to the non-heathens, the past few months haven’t been incredible for the music scene here.
It’s a shame when anywhere that encourages artistic expression shutters its doors, but it’s especially sad in that Aurora featured way more than just music. The calendar lists variety shows, theater, electronic, salsa music and gay goth night. They had no issues mixing it up and giving a chance to whatever interesting-sounding programming came along, and how could you not respect that?
Having said all that, I can’t claim to have gone there more than three or four times, and now feel guilty for checking out none of the things I just listed. There’s still time to say your goodbyes, as Aurora has a full schedule through the end of October; it includes bills with macabre folk/alt rock outfit Vudu Sister, punk favorites Gym Shorts and a Halloween Cover Show. And there are still two more chances to check out the Salsa Con Soul.
Check out the Aurora calendar at auroraprovidence.com/calendar
The Silks and Sarah Borges at The Met
If you’ve paid any attention to Alt-Nation in the last handful of years, you probably know about the Silks (see Marc Clarkin’s previous column). There’s no need to waste your valuable time, so I’ll leave it by saying that they’re an exceptional blues-rock band featuring RI’s finest guitarist, and they put on a killer live show.
I also recommend the show’s opener, Sarah Borges. She’s a Taunton, Mass, native specializing in a catchy brand of alt-country/blues. I saw her with her band The Broken Singles a few times with my mom at the Narrows during my high school years, and was always really impressed. Her catalog includes excellent slow songs and honky tonk bar blues, but she has some twangy, just-upbeat-enough rock numbers that are 10/10s as far as I’m concerned. Check out “Daniel Lee,” “The Day We Met” and “Stop and Think it Over.”
Although all Borges’ albums are worth a listen, the best release to-date is probably 2007’s Diamonds in the Dark, her first album with the Broken Singles. Looking back to reviews for Diamonds, it seems like there was some buzz surrounding the band at the time. Unfortunately, after one more album, the band split in 2011 and Borges embarked on a solo career. It’s a shame she never managed to fully break out, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of first-rate songwriting.
If you have to miss this show, the same bill (but with Borges headlining) is coming to the Narrows Center in Fall River on Saturday, November 25.
The Silks and Sarah Borges at The Met happens on Fri, Sep 28 at 9pm. [Friday is the 29th]
Motif often features music festivals that allow drinking, but how about a drinking festival that features music? The German American Cultural Society of Rhode Island in Pawtucket is presenting their annual Oktoberfest celebration featuring live Bavarian music, dancing, food, traditional dress and, most importantly, huge steins of beer for, like, four bucks.
Last year, I discovered this gem smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood down the street from my house. The basement bar, called the Rathskeller, is regularly open on Friday nights only, and a great time is had by all. I’m about as German as sashimi, but I’ve come to really enjoy this place.
Music is a great way to experience a culture, so check out Oktoberfest performances from:
Bavarian Brothers Band
A talented duo bringing the authentic Bavarian music. Roger Botelho handles accordion and vocals and Bruce Botelho is the brass man. According to the bros themselves, their specialties include authentic Bavarian folk songs, audience participation, yodeling, cowbell and something called the alp horn.
Their only known video is of the band playing a set (yodeling and all) at the bottom of a working ski slope, joined by a gentleman literally playing a pair of skis as percussion. The GACSRI website has assured us that they will indeed be joined by the guy playing the skis. If none of that sounds appealing, I don’t know what else to tell you.
SGTV Alpenblumen Schuhplattlers
I’m not sure what the first word means, but suffice to say that it’s a dance crew with Schuhplattler (shoe-slapping) moves that will knock your lederhosen right off.
Playing sets Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, as well as backing up the Schuhplattlers, Alpenblumen Musikanten specializes in lively folk music with lots of cowbell.
The GACSRI is located at 78 Carter Ave in Pawtucket, and Oktoberfest takes place on Sat, Sep 30 (1 – 11pm) and Sun, Oct 1 (Noon to 5pm).
For more: gacsri.org/oktoberfest-2016
I’ll end by giving a shout-out to the best bar in PVD, Nick-A-Nee’s, where people of all ages gather to drink Old Milwaukee, saddle up to the bar and take in some high-quality live music. The Jewelry District gem offers free music almost every night of the week! Regular slots include jazz on Thursdays and the Bluegrass Throwdown every Wednesday.
Nick’s’ music schedule (posted on their Facebook) is definitely worth checking out for specifics, but open-minded folks can just roll up and expect to hear talented people doing their thing.
Some upcoming Nick-a-nee’s shows to note:
Friday 9/22 – Mark Cutler & the Men of Great Courage – Rhode Island legend with expertly crafted rock songs.
Saturday 9/23 – Julie Rhodes – Chill blues/soul anchored by Rhodes’ pristine vocals. She’s been making a name for herself lately, so catch her here while the ticket is still free. She’s joined by The Quahogs.
Saturday 9/30 – Cannibal Ramblers – Heavy delta blues/freak out music from the brain of RISD professor Mark Milloff.
Nick-A-Nee’s is located at 75 South St in Providence. Most shows start at 9 or 9:30pm.