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Back To Life, Back To Reality: Clubs are booking? Shut up and take my money!

As social distancing restrictions ease up, concert announcements for national acts have started to trickle in, just really not here. Outside of Tiffany in June and Electric Six in July, I can’t find anything in terms of summer concerts with national acts in Rhode Island or southern New England that I’d want to attend. Some might contend that with those two acts, you don’t need anything else, to which I say, “Touche.” In Massachusetts shows have been going on sale pretty steadily, and I did get a bit loco in the initial wave of announcements. The first week I secured tickets to Tommy Stinson, Bob Mould, Guided By Voices and Wilco. I don’t even like Wilco. 

Till that purchase, I didn’t think the pandemic had much of an effect on me. Local music has been going strong for a couple of weeks in venues like Askew and Dusk in Providence. The Parlour is now joining them in allowing a limited capacity seated crowd. Right now all shows are pretty much on weekends but I’d look for that to expand as things evolve. I also noticed the Greenwich Odeum and the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River also are starting to have events with a limited capacity.  

The Return of the Newport Festivals

The cancellation of the Newport Folk and Newport Jazz festivals last year just made summer feel incomplete.  Certainly that could be said about a lot of things in 2020, but thankfully both festivals will be returning this summer!  Normally in our Summer Guide I’d rip through a few acts performing at each festival to check out, but as of this writing, not a single act has been announced. This hasn’t stopped the Newport Folk Festival from being completely sold out per usual. Right now both festivals are operating under the assumption that they will be at 50% capacity.  The Newport Folk Festival, for the first time in its storied history, will be a six-day event with two separate three-day passes (July 23 thru the 25th and July 26 thru the 28th) for maximum inclusiveness. The Newport Jazz Festival will kick off July 30 and run through August 1. Even though the Folk Festival is sold out, they have partnered with Lyte to do a fan-to-fan ticket exchange to counteract scalping. There will no doubt be plenty of ticket movement with two different sets of three-days passes and no info available yet on who is playing what day, so check out newportfolk.org for more info.  

Newport Folk Fest will run from July 23 – 28 at Fort Adams State Park in Newport. Newport Jazz Festival will run from July 30 – August 1 at Fort Adams State Park.  

Summer Jams

These are 11 of my all-time favorite jams to crank in the summer. I stayed away from the Beach Boys and The Lovin’ Spoonful (even though that stuff is great) because everybody already knows it.  

The Undertones, “Here Comes The Summer”

Palmdale, “Here Comes The Summer” (completely different song than The Undertones)

Helen Love, “Long Hot Summer” (both parts one and two!)

The Hold Steady, “Constructive Summer”

The Go-Go’s, “Vacation”

Jesse Malin, “Black Hair Girl”

Cracker, “Big Dipper”

Queens of the Stone Age, “I Sat By The Ocean”

Elvis Costello, “The Other Side of Summer”

Neutral Nation, “bad music beach”

Superchunk, “Learned to Surf”

Upcoming Shows:

Mark Cutler and the Men of Great Courage.

The Men of Great Courage is Mark Cutler’s more roots-based Americana-style vehicle for music. Cutler has livestreamed solo performances throughout the pandemic on Facebook, but it’s great to hear that he’ll be back on stage in front of an audience where he belongs.

Mark Cutler and the Men of Great Courage will busk out the jams for a limited capacity at The Narrows Center For The Arts in Fall River on June 4. The event will also be livestreamed; check out The Narrows pages for more information.

Pony Boy and Hope Anchor

Pony Boy has a wide palette that draws from everything from The Stooges to The Beatles. Hope Anchor packs a post-punk punch with goth highlights around the edge. This show will rock like a Nor’easter!  

Pony Boy and Hope Anchor rock at Askew on June 11.  

Tiffany

I’m kind of amazed that someone who started out as a teenager covering “I Think We’re Alone Now” in malls 34 years ago still has a career for nothing else. Power to Tiffany, gotta respect the hustle. It is also great that the Greenwich Odeum is back hosting live music.

Tiffany will be at the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich on June 25.  

Electric Six

This show is so big that Alchemy had to pack up and move around the corner to the former Art Bar on Chestnut St. just to accommodate it. That’s right, Alchemy has moved — no more long stairs to avoid falling down. Alchemy has not re-opened yet, but they will be hosting the hottest show of the summer! As I’ve said in these pages before, Electric Six combines the groove of the Talking Heads with the hard rock of KISS to forge ahead into the next frontier of rock ‘n’ roll. Electric Six at Alchemy at the Art Bar just sounds like more fun than could possibly be legal.  See you there!

Electric Six rocks the new Alchemy in Providence on July 15.

Email music news to mclarkin33@gmail.com