Mike D’s Top 5 Can’t Miss Shows of March
1. Sunday, March 4: O Say Can You Sing?; 11am to 3pm; Free; All ages; The Warwick Mall. There’s something for everyone at the Warwick Mall, and on this occasion, we have local singers auditioning to sing the national anthem at this season’s upcoming Pawtucket Red Sox games. With Fergie’s recent “alternative” rendition of the song, the anthem is a hot topic around the water coolers. Gamblers almost never remember their wins, but they never forget their bad beats. We as a society don’t often remember great renditions, but we never forget the terrible ones. Fergie, Rosanne, and my personal favorite, R. Kelly (Youtube search it for all of its glorious hand clapping), stay with society through the annals of time. So be careful where you take your rendition of the the anthem; I am thinking about going with dry erase score board. What time does the bar in Buffalo Wild Wings open?
2. Saturday, March 10: Murder By Death; 8pm; Free show; 21+ only; Wolf Den Bar at Mohegan Sun. Road trip! It’s been a minute since Murder By Death have floated around the southern New England way. If you aren’t familiar with the band, I would describe their sound as indie orchestral Americana macabre. I don’t think I can name another band that fits into that genre, so it’s a small party. If you haven’t heard them before, I recommend starting with their 2006 record In Bocca Al Lupo. The band is tremendous live, and definitely worthy of checking out, and in this case it’s free! See you at the craps table.
3. Wednesday, March 14: Crazytown; 6:30pm doors; $12 advance / $15 day of; All ages; Alchemy, 71 Richmond St, PVD. Crazytown playing Providence in 2018 — what a time to be alive. Will they show up, and what will be left of them? It’s a fair question; last year they were scheduled to play in Attleboro and only half the band showed up. It’s been quite a journey, from being a band that sold 1.5 million copies of their debut in 2000 to half showing up to Attleboro. I saw they were playing SXSW last year, and was so surprised they were still at it I had to check it out. I laughed, I cried … on second thought I am pretty sure I only laughed. I love Alchemy, worst case scenario is they don’t show up and I spend $5 on video games.
4. Saturday, March 24: BODEGA BOYS Live Ft. DESUS NICE & THE KID MERO; 7pm doors / 8pm show; $28; All ages; The Strand Ballroom & Theatre, 79 Washington St, PVD. Television programming is “No New Friends” for me. I have my stories, and I am not really pursuing new ones. I would rather read. There is one exception; however, and it’s Viceland’s “Desus & Mero.” The show is irreverent, starkly honest and drop-dead hilarious. They roast the news and popular videos in a way most millennials want to hear it: matter of fact and no holds barred. No topic is too taboo or trivial. Will it be stand-up or just roasting of each other and everyone in the room? I am not sure, but I will be there with bells on.
5. Saturday, March 31: Kool Keith; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $18 advance / $20 day of; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. Kool Keith is not only my favorite rapper of all time, but also maybe my favorite musical visionary. He was there in hip-hop’s infancy, being a founding member of the Ultramagnetic MCs in the Bronx in the early ’80s. And in the ’90s, when hip-hop was taking itself way too seriously in clothing and subject matter, Kool Keith was a breath of fresh air by pushing the boundaries. He brought the flashy and savvy personas Black Elvis, Dr. Dooom and the critically acclaimed Dr. Octagon. There may never be a man as esoteric in hip-hop as Keith ever again. I once caught him in South Boston, and the opening acts were metal band Cave In and a sex show, including whips and women hanging upside down from the ceiling. With Keith, it’s always both unexpected and a spectacle.
Also check out: Mar 1 — Lucero @ The Met; Mar 1 — Jeezy, Tee Grizzley @ The Strand; Mar 3 — Jonathan Richman @ The Met; Mar 3 — Soja, Nahko @ The Strand; Mar 4 — Motionless In White, Every Time I Die; Mar 7 — CupcakKe; Mar 9 — Godspeed You Black Emperor @Colubmus Theatre; Mar 17 — Miguel @ The Strand; Mar 17 — Minibeast; Mar 23 — Circa Survive @ The Strand; Mar 24 — Lux Lives @ Pop; Mar 30 — Mallett Brothers Band @ The Ocean Mist; Mar 30 — Providence Tattoo & Music Fest with Hatebreed @ Fete; Mar 31 — Bleachers, Charly Bills @ The Strand
Mike D’s Top 5 Can’t Miss Shows of February
1. Thursday, Feb 8: Twin Foxes (CD Release), Weak Teeth, Darklands, Fine; 9pm; $6; All ages; AS220, 115 Empire St, PVD. Providence’s Twin Foxes are celebrating the release of their first album, Sleeping on the Attic Floor. I am kind of surprised that this is the first LP; the guitar-driven indie rock act has been kicking ass in Providence for a while, but I guess its been all EPs and splits so far. Two of the songs are up on their bandcamp already; you should check them out. It’s a strong Providence line-up, should be a great night. You might also want to bring a sleeping bag; a keytar playing bear is playing the club the next night.
2. Friday, Feb 9: Keytar Bear, Timecop Beach Party, Triangle Forest, Ruune; 9pm; $8; All ages; AS220, 115 Empire St, PVD. Timecop Beach reunion, cool. Triangle Forest, always great. Ruune, I’m not familiar, but intrigued by the double u. BOSTON’S PREMIER KEYTAR-PLAYING BEAR?????!!!!!!!!! WELL NOW YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION! First off, if this is the premier Boston keytar-playing bear, does that mean there are other Boston area keytar-playing bears? What’s his name? Is he nice? What other hobbies does he have? I NEED ANSWERS!
3. Thursday, Feb 15: Wiki, Tmose, Lando Tuesday, Delta / Chronic E, Hate Street Dialogue; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $12 advance / $15 day of; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. NYC rapper Wiki is poised to break out in 2018. He started in the NYC underground group Ratking, and started making waves releasing solo material and making high-profile appearances with big acts such as Run The Jewels. In 2017 he released No Mountains In Manhattan on XL Records, an artist-friendly label that only releases a few albums each year, but has been the home to huge artists such as Vampire Weekend, Radiohead and recently one of my other new favorites, King Krule. Make sure you get there early, as my moles tell me there is going to be a very big unannounced special guest (Spoiler alert: I booked it with Spocka Summa and I know who it is).
4. Saturday, Feb 24: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $30 advance / $35 day of; All ages. The Strand Ballroom & Theatre, 79 Washington St, PVD. Party of the year happens in February and it isn’t Patriots-related. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue might be as close to a New Orleans party as I will get this year, and what better month than a couple weeks after Fat Tuesday? Trombone Shorty has been at this since birth; at 4 years old he performed on stage with Bo Didley at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. There are now several New Orleans Brass Bands leaving home to tour the country, none of them are as fun as Trombone Shorty. Get there early and wear some light clothing cause the dancing is going to make the club hot.
5. Saturday, Feb 24: The Low Anthem; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $17 advance / $20 day of; All ages; Columbus Theatre, Broadway, PVD. The Low Anthem are back, and bringing with them a new album, The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depths Of The Sea that is out the day before on Joyful Noise Recordings. There isn’t any new material released as of press time, but there is a Youtube teaser that is only 30 seconds long but sweet none the less. A little birdie told me that NPR (I was drinking with said birdie, I might be wrong) will be streaming the record a couple weeks before the Feb 23 release date, so keep watch for that too.
Also worth noting: Feb 3 — Sisqo & Dru Hill @ The Strand; Feb 8 (& every Thursday in Feb) The Z-Boys residency @ Newport Blues Cafe; Feb 10 — The Mallett Brothers @ The Ocean Mist; Feb 17 — Matt Bellassai @ The Strand; Feb 18 — PVRIS @ The Strand; Feb 18 — Murphy’s Law / The Pourmen / Reason To Fight @ Alchemy; Feb 22 — Declan McKenna @ The Strand; Feb 22 — Portugal. The Man (sold out) @ The Strand; Feb 23 — Tigers Jaw @ The Met; March 1 — Lucero @ The Met; March 3 — Jonathan Richman @ The Met; March 3 — Soja @ The Strand; March 3 — Wyclef Jean @ Fete
Mike D’s Top 5 Can’t Miss Shows of January
1. Friday, January 19: Michael Ian Black; 7pm doors / 8pm show; $35 / $39; All ages; Greenwich Odeum, 59 Main St, East Greenwich. I don’t think there has ever been a show that felt more like it was made specifically for me than “The State” did when I was a teenager. “The State” was a skit show that aired for about two years on MTV in the mid ’90s. The jokes and content were esoteric, contained a touch of pop culture, were frequently rude and took risks that no other comedy shows were taking yet. Michael Ian Black was one of the break-out stars from this series. You likely know him from more recent TV series such as “Stella,” “Ed” or “The Bachelor” spoof “Burning Love” or the zillion movies he’s been in such as “Wet Hot American Summer” or “This Is 40.” He has been very active, writing, directing and making stand-up appearances. This should be a great night out of comedy and satire.
2. Saturday, January 20: The Mallett Brothers, Back Rhodes, The Shakes; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $10 advance / $10 day of; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. It’s been a while since The Mallett Brothers have graced The Met. The band has the strange quality of reminding me of both summer and winter. Their sound is a warm combination of southern country and California psych hippie fuzz, but the bands is also very Maine in attitude and appearance. They cut their teeth playing around New England and now RI (frequently at The Ocean Mist, The Nickerbocker (in Westerly) and The Met). They also are making a name for themselves out of New England, constantly touring the country. RI country rockers Back Rhodes and up-and-coming blues rock band The Shakes open up the bill.
3. Saturday, January 27: Hey Nineteen (Tribute To Steely Dan); 8pm doors / 8:30pm show; $20; 21+ only; The Ocean Mist, 895 Matunuck Rd, Wakefield. RI’s own Hey Nineteen are an 11-piece group tribute to Steely Dan. I caught their recent show at The Met and was very impressed. The band was great, lots of people were dancing and I forgot how many Steely Dan songs I knew. South County in the winter is quiet, but pretty. And the Ocean Mist rules; you won’t find more beautiful surroundings outside a bar in New England. And make sure to grab dinner at the Matunuck Oyster Bar, the best food in the state south of Providence.
4. Wednesday, January 31: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Night Beats; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $26 advance / $29 day of; 18+ only; Royale Boston, 279 Tremont St, Boston, Mass. I am currently reading the turn-of-the-century sorta New York Centric memoir Meet Me In The Bathroom, which tells the tales of New York musicians such as The Strokes, Interpol, The Rapture and LCD
Soundsystem, as well as The White Stripes, Kings Of Leon, The Killers and many others. It reminds me of all the shows I went to during that time. I saw The Strokes in early 2001 before their first album was out at TT And The Bears in Cambridge, Mass, but what really stood out that night was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. They had a stoned-out T Rex sound that was super exciting and loud. BRMC have been involved in several shows that were memorable for me. When they played the Green Room in Providence back in 2003 or 2004; when the were in the middle of a bill in 2006 at Lupo’s with Kings Of Leon and Manchester Orchestra. BRMC might not have been the biggest band then, nor the biggest of those bands now, but they are still at it and killing it. Worth the trip to Boston for sure.
5. Monday, February 5: Brockhampton; 7pm doors / 8pm show; $ (varying, I think its sold out); All ages; House Of Blues Boston, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston, Mass. California hip-hop collective Brockhampton is about to blow up. They were formed in San Marcos, Texas, in 2015 by leader Kevin Abstract. The group had a prolific 2017; they released three albums and most (if not all?) songs have ambitious music videos. Their content isn’t abrasive or shocking like last the Cali hip-hop collective Odd Future, but more along the lines of Kanye (who they name check) and even Pharcyde. That bridge can be connected as they have discussed music videos and often credit for the vision Spike Jonze, who directed iconic ’90s hip-hop acts such as Pharcyde and the Beastie Boys. Check them out on YouTube to see the vision with the tracks, and try to catch this show if you can.
Also worth noting: Jan 11 — The Messthetics (ex mems. Fugazi) / Minibeast / Snow Plows @ Machine With Magnets; Jan 12 — Neutral Nation @ Greenwich Odeum; Jan 12 — Rebelution @ The Strand; Jan 13 — Eric & The Nothing / Tall Teenagers / Cherry Pit @ The Parlour; Jan 14 –Neko Case @ Columbus Theatre; Jan 20 — Royal Street / Toad & The Stooligans @ Alchemy; Jan 21 — Collie Buddz @ The Met; Jan 25 — Snail Mail @ Great Scott (Boston); Jan 26 — Apathy @ The Met; Jan 26 — Fabulous & Jadakiss @ The Strand; Jan 28 — Scott Bradlee Postmodern Jukebox @ The Vets; Feb 1 — The Morgana Phase / Karis Owen @ Alchemy; Feb 2 — Jason Isbell @ The Vets
Mike D’s Top 5 Can’t Miss Shows of November
1. Saturday, November 4: Mister Heavenly, Anna Burch, Eric and the Nothing; 7pm doors / 7:30pm show (early show, goes til 10:30); $15; All ages; Alchemy, 71 Richmond St, PVD.
Indie rock super group Mister Heavenly finally comes to Providence! The band is composed of frontmen from Man Man (Honus Honus) & Islands / The Unicorns (Nicholas Thornburn) as well as the drummer of Cold War Kids (Joe Plummer). Their new album Boxing the Moonlight has an upbeat eclectic feel to it. Providence’s Eric and the Nothing fit perfectly on this bill, and if you haven’t seen them yet, make sure to get there early for one of the town’s best bands. Detroit native Anna Burch describes her style as bummer pop. “Doom-Wop,” “Bummer Pop” and “Nothing” making for one hell of a night!
2. Wednesday, November 8: Joyce Manor, Wavves, Culture Abuse; Paradise, Commonwealth Ave, Boston, Mass.
I have said before and I’ll say it again, I love Wavves. There are a lot of bands in the post-grunge genre, none of them quite get it right like Wavves do with the perfect amount of punk, fuzz and drunk and/or stoned bombast with really good song writing. And they are having as good a time as they seem to be. They once told me a story about how they decided to release the last record on their own label, but before doing so, looked up the top 10 restaurants in their hometown of LA, and got the record label to pay the tab at eight of them. Savvy. Get there early for Culture Abuse, who are one of my favorite new bands. They recently put out the teaser single, “So Busted” for their upcoming Epitaph Records debut.
3. Thursday, November 9: KRS-One, Camden Murphy with Z Boys, Freddie Black, Lord Gremithy, Kee Words, DJ Nook & DJ Jackie Treehorn; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $15 advance / $20 day of; 21+; Newport Blues Café, 286 Thames St, Newport.
KRS One is one of the biggest voices of all time in hip-hop. His message is large, covering many social injustice issues and inequality. The man himself and his volume is large; if you have seen him before you know that the man is a juggernaut who’s going to tell you everything that lingers in his mind with a megaphone of vocals to let you know. There are a few Newport locals on the bill. Camden Murphy is performing with local rockers Z Boys. And if it’s good in Newport and there’s a DJ, there will be my dude DJ Nook. Glad to see this show happening at Newport Blues Café.
4. Saturday, November 11: The Worried, Supernatural II, Benny Sizzler, Tall Teenagers; 8pm; $(doesn’t say, I would guess 8 or 10); 21+ only; Dusk, 301 Harris Ave, PVD.
If it’s a weekend night and you have nothing to do, Dusk is the place to go with consistently strong local rock, punk and metal shows. This show is the best of the local punk and roll that Providence has to offer. Providence punk veterans The Worried headline, with newcomers Supernatural II and Newport’s punk and rollers Benny Sizzler. Indie garage all stars Tall Teenagers round out the bill.
5. Friday, November 24: An Acoustic Evening with Deer Tick; 8pm doors / 8:30pm show; $36.50 / $26.50; All ages; The Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, PVD.
Saturday, November 25: An Electric Evening With Deer Tick (Night 1); 8pm doors / 8:30pm show (sold out); $26.50; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, PVD.
Sunday, November 26: An Evening With Deer Tick (Night 2); 7:30pm doors / 8pm show; $26.50; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket.
Deer Tick are back with their first album (or actually albums) in four years. The band has always sorta’ been a few bands in one. They have a love for folk singer/songwriter culture, but also are a killer bar rock band that wants to act up and rock the fuck out. The two new albums try to isolate those inner desires and succeed in doing so. The first album, Volume 1, is an acoustic folk roots affair while the second album, Volume 2, releases their bar rocking garage leanings. It was a great idea; by isolating the two sounds, they were able to focus, and both records sound better and more cohesive than ever. The first night at the Columbus will focus on the first album and the band’s past acoustic material; the second night at The Met will focus on Volume 2 and the band’s electric past catalog. The third night stays at The Met and will be a mix. There are still tickets as of print for nights 1 and 3, but you need to get them soon if you are trying to get there.
Also worth noting:
Nov 8: Rodrigo Y Gabriela @ The Strand;
Nov 8: Citizen Cope @The Met;
Nov 9: Lady Gaga @ Mohegan Sun;
Nov 10: Obnox @ Columbus Theatre;
Nov 10: The Proletariat / Black Beach @ The Narrows Center;
Nov 11: P.O.S @ AS220;
Nov 11: Chief Keef @ The Strand;
Nov 12: Kindling / Twin Foxes / Boring @ News Café;
Nov 15: Mark Mulcahey, Bird & Horse @ The Met;
Nov 16: This Will Destroy You @ The Met;
Nov 18: Squeeze @ The Strand;
Nov 18: Ron Gallo @ Fête;
Nov 18: Mark Cutler / Michael Graham @ Dusk;
Nov 22: Daddie Long Legs @ The Met;
Dec 1: The Mallett Brothers @ Ocean Mist;
Dec 2: Onleyville Sound System @ Parlour
Mike D’s Top 5 Can’t Miss Shows of October
- Monday, October 9: The 10th Annual Pronk Fest; 2 to 9pm; Free; All ages and kid-friendly; South Water St, PVD. As the leaves turn to die and the sweaters get broken out, we are upon the final big outdoor happening of the year. Pronk is turning 10 this year, and has at least 22 bands / performers out and about Providence celebrating. Some of the performers are familiar to us, such as Providence acts Big Nazo, Extraordinary Rendition Band, and the What Cheer? Brigade. As the event has grown over the years, so has the distance from which these acts travel, such as Seattle’s Filthy FemCorps and Damas de Ferro, who are traveling all the way from Brazil. Check out their website (providencehonkfest.org ) for updates on who and where and when, and also to read their manifesto.
- Wednesday, October 11: Beach Fossils, Snail Mail, Raener; 8pm doors/9pm show; $15; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. There are so many good indie rock shows in Providence this month and this is one of the best. Beach Fossils released their third studio album, Somersault, earlier this year. The record is great; my favorite track from the record is “Tangerine,” which is a blissful shoegaze, but pop gem. Snail Mail were one of the breakout bands for me this year at SXSW. The band (along with other bands such as Sheer Mag and PVD’s own Downtown Boys) were the focus of a New York Times article about how the new wave of up and coming (and achieving) rock acts are female dominated. Another wise writer called that this March (motifri.com/sxsw2017). Check out the bands single “Thinning;” it will then live in your head for a few weeks. LA’s Raener open the bill.
- Monday, October 16: Davey Moore turns 40; 8pm to 1am; Free!; All ages?; Alchemy, 73 Richmond St, PVD. What’s unique about Davey Moore, the owner of Alchemy, is that he truly cares about the local music scene more than the bottom line of his business. He wants to give everyone, from the bands to the supporters who come to see them, the best experience possible and the opportunity to go forward. For several years, he has been running The Midday Social event. The event is a showcase of a couple of local bands and includes panels of local workers in various aspects of the music business. It gives the opportunity for all to mix and get to know each other. He is a great component of the RI music scene, and what else is unique about Davey is he’s fucking old. So come celebrate his birthday, and come check out the venue if you haven’t been yet. It’s the old Jerky’s space, above the old Club Hell, next to the old Spikes.
- Wednesday, October 18: Phoenix, The Lemon Twigs; 7pm doors/ 8pm show; $38.50 GA / $42.50 Reserved Mezzanine; All ages; Strand Ballroom & Theatre; 79 Washington St, PVD. Finally, Phoenix has come to Rhode Island. The band has been around for over 20 years, but has not played in town yet. The band is best known for the hits such as “1901” and “ Lisztomania” off their 4th album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. The band released their 6th record, Ti Amo, which moves away from their classic French pop sound, as they tried to focus on Latin roots and Italian disco. This show is the best of the upcoming shows at the newly renovated Strand Ballroom & Theatre (formerly Lupo’s). With the new sound system and killer new lights, this is the perfect spot for Phoenix. The Lemon Twigs won the 2017 Grulke Award, a prize given for best developing US act at SXSW yearly (last year was Anderson Paak). Their psychedelic jams are heavily balanced of the Beatles, but in a good way, such as Super Furry Animals. Get there early to make sure to check them out, too!
- Saturday, October 21: Queens Of The Stone Age, Royal Blood; 7:30pm; $?; All ages; Agganis Arena, Boston. Queens Of The Stone Age are my favorite band of the last 20 years, and they never disappoint. I personally prefer the band when they groove as to when they jab. Their first single of their seventh album, Villains, was the track “The Way You Used To Do.” Like their old hit “Little Sister,” it falls under the jab category to me and still hasn’t grown on me. But their follow-up single, “The Evil Has Landed,” falls into that classic sooner riff zone that I love. I was afraid that I wouldn’t like the new record after hearing the first single and knowing that pop producer Mark Ronson (Bruno Mars, Adele) could have pushed them fully in that direction, but the record is pretty diverse and very good. Live, they are unstoppable. I think I have seen them more than 15 times at this point and hope to catch both the Boston and Portland shows. UK loud as hell duo Royal Blood open.
Also worth noting: Oct 5 — Black Uhuru / Soul Shot / DJ Mike Potatoes @ Parlor Newport; Oct 6 — MadeinTYO @ The Met; Oct 7 — Route.44 / Torn Shorts @ The Parlour; Oct 8 — Scurvy Dog Mega Show; Oct 10 — Modest Mouse / Metz @ The Strand; Oct 12 — Bash & Pop / Tall Teenagers / Gymshorts; Oct 13 — The Feelies @ The Met; Oct 13 — Ministry / Death Grips @ The Palladium (Worcester); Oct 17 — Ian Fitzgerald @ The Black Sheep; Oct 20 — Wolf Parade @ Royale (Boston); Oct 20 — Hairspray Queen @ Aurora; Oct 21 — World Inferno Friendship Society / Cactus Attack / McGunks @ The Met; Oct 22 — Guns N Roses TD Bank North (Boston); Oct 27 — 311 / The Pilfers @ The Strand; Oct 29 — Lil Peep @ The Met; Oct 31 — Highly Suspect @ Fete; Oct 31 — The Viennagram @ Shelter Arcade
Mike D’s Top 5 Can’t Miss Shows of September
1. Sunday, September 10: Roky Erickson’s Psychedelic Ice Cream Social; 4 to 7pm; $15; All ages; POP, 219 W Park St, PVD. If you were like me, you were cursing the sky back in February 2014 when Roky and the Black Angels were canceled due to a couple inches of snow and a parking ban. It has been over three years, and the time for healing is finally upon us. Roky Erickson is a psych rock icon and doesn’t tour very often. He was in one of the very first psych bands, Austin’s The 13th Floor Elevators. Their debut single “You’re Gonna Miss Me” is outstanding in how it is still beautiful, unique and at the same time jarring 51 years later — a rare occasion of the pioneer setting the genre’s ceiling. This show will be Roky performing with his current band, The Hounds of Bakerville, and portions of the proceeds go to his neighbors, in Texas and Louisiana, who need relief from the unfortunate and powerful Hurricane Harvey. This is also the perfect pregame for the Descendents show. And if you haven’t been inside POP, southern New England’s best oddities shop hands down, then make sure to arrive early to poke around through great pieces of pop culture art from the last century.
2. Sunday, September 10: Descendents, Night Birds, Berri Txarrak; 7:30pm doors / 8:30pm show; $30 advance / $35 day of; All ages; The Strand Ballroom & Theatre, 79 Washington St, PVD. Descendents are back in Rhode Island for the first time in close to (or maybe actually little more than) 20 years and are the first rock show to kick off the newly renovated (and renamed) The Strand Ballroom & Theatre. The Strand was the original name of the space where Lupo’s and The Roxy were sharing, so its makes sense that after significant renovations to make it more of a theater, it goes back to its theater name. The last time they were in town, the Descendents played at Lupo’s (version 2) with The Bouncing Souls and Swinging Utters, a show that was so much damn fun that I will never forget it. I saw them again a couple of years ago, and while time marches on the velocity of those punk classics remain timeless. Get there early to check out the new changes and opening acts Night Birds ( on Fat Wreck Chords and from NJ) and Berri Txarrak ( from the Basque Country?).
3. Saturday, September 23: Ocean State Oyster Festival 2017; 1-7pm; $25 advance / $30 day of (children under 12 free); All ages; 243 S Water St, PVD. While this isn’t a traditional concert or show, there will be live music and I am also slightly addicted to our area’s delicious and briny oysters. There is a popular saying, “Pizza is like sex, even when bad, it’s good.” I don’t agree with that, but I get why you could make a strong argument. Oysters, on the other hand, are not all created equal. If you have traveled (or gotten stuck with cheap Blue Point oysters locally) and tried oysters from outside of New England, you have likely had a mixed bag experience. I don’t bother taking the risk anymore (unless they are free I guess) and stay true to the local oysters. I go back and forth between whether I like East Beach Blondes or Matunucks better, but I look forward to trying whatever I can get my hands on here at this festival. Newport’s multi-genre juggernauts Z-Boys headline the live groups, which also includes in the line up Jesus Andujar, Grupo Sazon and The Whenzdays. Also Red Dawn, Unkle Thirsty, and Providence mod music empressario Ty Jesso will be spinning records. The best local oysters combined with some of the best local craft beers and cocktails should make for the last great summer outdoor event. The event is rain or shine, if rain, consider regrouping at one of my favorite bars The Wild Colonial, which is a hop and a jump away.
4. Wednesday, September 27: Dinosaur Jr., Easy Action; $27 advance / $30 day of; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. Bless Dinosaur Jr. They are one of the few bands that have reunited, stay together and continue to make new music I want to actually listen to. Most of the revisited ’90s indie rock icons reunions are nothing more than going through familiar motions, and new music serves best as coasters, but not Dinosaur Jr. The 2012 release “I Bet on Sky” is right up there with their late ’80s / early ’90s classics for me, and their most recent “Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not” is also a fantastic record. Dino is playing their entire 1987 album, You’re Living All Over Me, at Riot Fest in Chicago a few weeks before, so I would expect to hear a heavy helping of that. Also I would expect an ungodly amount of volume; bring ear plugs.
5. Friday, September 29: Brian Wilson presents “Pet Sounds”; 8pm; $79 and up; All ages; Zeiterion, 684 Purchase St, New Bedford, Mass. Road trip! Did you forget to leave Providence this summer? Did you not go see The Beach Boys play in East Providence perhaps with Uncle Jesse because you wanted something more pure? Have you ever been to New Bedford? Solve many of these conundrums and more with a trip 45 minutes east. Hell, if its warm you could potentially combine this with a trip to Horseneck beach. And if you want the true experience, find marijuana (I think its legal in Mass? Or maybe that’s not til next year and its only decriminalized?), park downtown, inhale, find No Problemo (tell them A Wilhelm Scream sent you), get loaded at Pour Farm Tavern (tell them Raindance sent you), inhale, find Zeiterion and watch “Pet Sounds” fully enlightened. Bliss.
Also worth checking out :
Sep 7: The Shakes (Album Release) @Dusk
Sep 9: of Montreal @ The Met
Sep 12: Cold War Kids @ The Strand
Sep 12 Ne Hi / The Tapestries @ AS220
Sep 13: Bastille @ The Strand
Sep 14: Never Shout Never @ The Met
Sep 15: Bim Skala Bim / The Agents / Copacetics @ The Met
Sep 16: An Albatross / What Cheer Brigade / Hairspray Queen @ The Met
Sep 17: Arcade Fire @ TD Band Garden(Boston)
Sep 19: Matthew Sweet @ Narrows Center
Sep 22: George Clinton @ The Strand
Sep 23: The Spits @ Alchemy
Sep 23: Dave East @ The Strand
Sep 23: Quicksand @ The Paradise (Boston)
Sep 29: The Silks @ The Met
Mike D’s Top 5 Can’t Miss Shows of August
Mike D’s Top Five Can’t Miss Shows of June
1. June 1 – 4: PVD Fest; PVD; pvdfest.com for specific details. PVD Fest is back. Thursday starts with a conference, and leads to a dance party at The Steel Yard. Friday has film screenings, Latin music, Oakland’s arial dance act BANDALOOP and Providence spoken word activist Christopher Johnson. Saturday is the day when PVD lives all over downtown with tons of musical showcases. There will be stuff everywhere from Roger Williams National Memorial Park (the one near the first Harry’s) to Empire Street. AS220 on Empire has the most interesting of the showcases when Armageddon Shop presents stoner doom metal act Pallbearer, a long overdue return from hiatus from Providence’s Lolita Black, and ’70s metal riffin’ revivalists Demolition Boys. The showcase is free and cut off when at capacity, so get there early! On Sunday, the party moves to the West End for a day-long series of events at the Armory on Cranston St. Lots of other bars around town will have outdoor events and bands on the weekend. The Rosendale has blues and rollers The Silks Friday night outside and next to Lupo’s, for example. Regardless of what you decide to do, make sure you leave plenty of extra time on Saturday to walk around and catch stuff you don’t expect to see.
2. Saturday, June 3: Boo City, Natural Element; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $10; All ages; Alchemy, 71 Richmond St, PVD. Looking for a party that’s not outside in the madness? Maybe the best dance party downtown on June 3 is at Alchemy. Long-time PVD act Boo City are the Warwick Mall of the Providence music scene; they have something for everyone. They feature two strong and different vocalists, Moon Bain and Tai Awolaju, and an all-star band behind them that walk around funk, soul, reggae and wherever the fuck else they feel like. Boo City is always a great time. Sharing the bill are Natural Element, Providence reggae fused by way of hip-hop, jazz and funk. Alchemy is a great spot to catch live music. Davey Moore and his crew are doing a great job of supporting the local music scene.
4. Friday, June 9: Twin Peaks, Ron Gallo, GYMSHORTS; 7pm doors / 8pm show; $15 advance / $17 day of; All ages; Fete Lounge, 103 Dike St, PVD. I caught Chicago’s Twin Peaks not too long ago with Wavves, and was definitely impressed with their live performance. They live on the more psychedelic/power pop end of the recent garage revival spectrum. Ron Gallo also sorta finds his band’s music in the end turn of the ’60s MC5 loving punk and psych timeframe. Ron has been to Providence a couple of times with his old Philly band Toy Soldiers, and is currently based out of Nashville. And it’s a Providence homecoming for his drummer Dylan Sevey (nice guy, internet lightning rod). While being stoned might be right for the last two bands, I don’t recommend it because Providence’s garage thrashers GYMSHORTS might push you into a panic attack. Check out their track “You Olneyville Once,” which might be the best song title of 2016, or perhaps ever.
5. Saturday, June 24: Johnny Gates & The Runaway Saints, Troy Ramey, Emily Correia; 7:30pm doors / 8:30pm show; $12 advance / $14 day of; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket. It’s been a long venture for Johnny Gates & The Runaway Saints, and this year has been a big jump. The band started off over a decade ago as The Invite. After years of making inroads here opening for many national acts at the Living Room and Lupo’s, the band (with a push from a major label) left the small state for the bigger confines of the Nashville music scene. While they loved it there and made tons of friends and inroads working with other musicians and songwriters, it still wasn’t a perfect fit. They soon left for Los Angeles, a better-suited house of their brand of indie radio rock, but a very difficult place to make it. After a year or so of trying to make ends meet, members Jaime Jarbeau and Matt Scanlon ended up moving back to Nashville and RI, but Johnny stayed out in LA. Then came a lightning bolt: Johnny found his way onto “The Voice” where he was adopted or whatever they call it by Gwen Stefani and made some serious noise on the show. Johnny comes off as super talented and humble and the nicest guy in the room, which I can assure you is genuine. The guys have been working hard forever, and deserve all the acclaim they get. This show will be a great welcome home for the guys after a year of making some serious noise abroad.
Also worth noting: June 1 — Russ @ Lupo’s; June 5 — Warpaint @ Fete; June 7 — Foster The People @ Lupo’s; June 8 — Southern Culture On The Skids, Thee Itchies; June 9 — Vanna (final area appearance) @ The Met; June 9 — Roots Of Creation, The Skatalites @ The Ocean Mist; June 9 — Tiny Diamond (CD release), Kid Mountain, The Quahogs @ Aurora; June 10 — The Worried, Party Pigs, Pyramid @ The Parlour; June 16 — Royal Street (CD release) @ Fete; June 17 — AFI @ Lupo’s; June 22 — JOHNNYSWIM @ The Met; June 22 — Leiko, Hallelujah The Hills, John Faraone @ The News Cafe; June 22 — Kurt Vile @ Columbus Theatre; June 23 — Rise Of The Valkyries 2; June 23 — Sizzla @ Lupo’s / Roxy; June 24 — Downtown Sundown Series w / Jodie Treloar Sampson, Andy Pratt, Steve Donovan, Cardboard Ox @ Roger Williams National Memorial; June 28 — Weak Teeth (last show?); June 29 — Aimee Mann @ Columbus Theatre
Mike D’s Top 5
1. Saturday, May 20: 2017 Hope Street Spring Block Party featuring Chachi and the International Players, The Curtis Mayflower, Eric & The Nothing, The Horse-Eyed Men, The Quahogs, Tall Teenagers; Noon to 6pm; Free; All Ages. Summer is almost here and this is one of the first great yearly outdoor parties. The Hope Street Spring Block party showcases great local bands and shuts down the streets so you can stroll around and check out local artists and vendors and drink while doing so. It’s a great event and last year I got to cross off a bucket list item, annoying people while wearing the Narragansett Can costume. Whatever time you show up, you will get to catch a great local band. Chachi and the International players are closing the day party.
2. Saturday, May 20: The Upper Crust; 7pm doors; $13; All ages; Pop, 219 W Park St, PVD. Pop recently relocated to Providence and now has a performance / art gallery to boot. Boston Elizabethan era bullies The Upper Crust are back in town and if you like riffs and snooty banter, you are in luck. The show is also a celebration of paintings and drawings of Dan Gosch. Make sure to take a stroll through the store, it’s packed with all sorts of amazing stuff. Hopefully you don’t purchase anything I am saving for.
3. Thursday, May 25: Future Islands, Zack Mexico; 8pm doors /9pm show; $18 advance / $20 day of; All ages; Lupo’s, 79 Washington St, PVD. Indie synthrockers Baltimore’s Future Islands are coming to PVD supporting their critically acclaimed 5th record The Far Field. I am new to the bandwagon on Future Islands, but I have been listening to the new record pretty much non-stop. I recommend starting with the second single off the record Cave and never looking back. North Carolina lounge indie minimalists Zack Mexico open up the bill.
4. Friday, May 26 to Sunday, May 28: Boston Calling; Gates open at 2:30 Friday / Noon Sat & Sun; $99 per day / $269 3-day pass; All ages; Harvard Athletic Complex, Allston, Mass. Boston Calling is back and has moved to a new and bigger location, and with the bigger capacity comes bigger bands. Breakout rapper Chance The Rapper (Grammys / Kit Kat commercials), Mumford & Sons (the band people who buy CDs in book stores like), and Tool (the band that kid wore the shirt of everyday in high school) are the headliners. There are some bands from the past like Weezer, Wolf Parade, Buffalo Tom and Piebald(!!!), but the strength of the line-up is the up-and-coming acts. Chicago indie rock but sorta ’70s revivalists Whitney, Canadian punks Pup, and garage / yacht rock enthusiast Mac DeMarco are my favorite of the crop, but there are plenty and this is the best line-up Boston Calling has had yet. And Run The Jewels!!!!
5. Saturday, May 27th: Scurvy Dog Parking Lot Mega Show; Free!; 21+ only (children are welcome if they aren’t the worst); 1718 Westminister St, PVD. Now that spring just started finally in the middle of May, the outdoor goings are coming up in PVD almost every weekend. The best part of the long weekend holidays in town is that it means you are getting a Scurvy Dog Parking Lot Show. This upcoming one is anchored by the Providence punk and/or rock and or rollers from town you would expect and hope to see such as OG noise terrors Onleyville Sound System, veteran rock punks The Worried, Pawtucket rockers Swan Point, Kitchen sink UHF spinoffs The Viennagrams, and Providence punks The Paraplegics (who have been at it from my estimations forever). There are a couple of out-of-towners such as NJ’s Nervous Triggers & NYC’s Nuclear Santa Claust. But the highlight of the night has to be late ’70s Boston Punks Unnatural Axe returning to town. Find the Facebook event page for updates of set times as it gets closer.
Also worth checking out: May 17: Jon Snodgrass & Lenny Lashley @ The Met; May 17: Wavves @ Brighton Music Hall; May 19: Zero Holds, Karis Owen @ News Cafe; May 19: The Morgana Phase, Forest Fires @ AS220; May 25: Future Islands @ Lupo’s; May 28: Coat Of Arms, That’ll Learn Ya @ The Met