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Jazz Hands, Everyone: RI summer jazz guide

Now that live events have made their triumphant return to the Ocean State, it looks like jazz has made something of a comeback in the RI music scene. More clubs are starting to book regular, weekly jazz gigs, so right now is probably the best time to get back out into the scene and dig into some live jazz.

First off, if you’re anywhere in the state on a Sunday you’re probably within 20 minutes of listening to live jazz. Every Sunday at The Parlour in PVD you can catch a different group playing live in the 5 – 8pm slot. The first Sunday of every month is the Jazz Jam hosted by the Ben Shaw Quartet and is open to players of all ages and abilities. Other weeks feature acts such as Clear Audience, Modern Sounds and many more. Check out The Parlour Providence on Facebook for more details. If you’re looking to pair a signature cocktail with your music head over to Courtland Club in PVD to watch the Leland Baker Trio every Sunday night. Saxophonist Baker along with bassist Kweku Aggrey and drummer Marcus Grant make up what is arguably the best regularly performing trio in the city right now. Make sure you make a reservation ahead of time at courtlandclub.com so you can guarantee a table. The Courtland Club is an intimate setting.

Across the city line in East Providence, check out the Sunday Blues & Jazz Music Series happening every Sunday at The 133 Club. If you travel a little south from PVD you can hit The Updike Room at The Greenwich Hotel in East Greenwich to check out their slate of Sunday jam sessions which feature rotating house bands with incredible musicians such as David Zinno, Jay Azzolina and Dino Givoni. And if you head even further down to Newport you can catch the Chase Ceglie Quartet at the Firehouse Theater.

There’s also regular jazz or jazz-adjacent music happening around town during the other six days of the week. Pop over to Askew in PVD on Wednesday night and you can get your face melted off by The Autocrats, which features an all-star lineup of who’s who in the scene, including John Allmark and Dino Givoni, and even sometimes features local up-and-coming acts such as singer Alexus Lee, who performed a few weeks ago. Also on Wednesdays you can catch guitar duo Birt and Harley playing their signature style of jazz at The Royal Bobcat, a wicked cool bar on Atwells Ave in PVD which regularly hosts various other jazz ensembles. Be sure to find them on Instagram @theroyalbobcat for information on upcoming acts. 

On the first Saturday of the month PVD World Music Institute takes over the Long Live Beer Garden in downtown PVD to host Open Air Saturdays, regularly featuring some of the best musicians around town, including trombonist Dan Mach Holt, Birt and Harley and more. On the second Saturday of each month you can head to The Parlour again to catch RI favorites Evening Sky performing their roots-infused brand of jazz.

If you’re just looking for a “one off” sort-of night, there are also plenty of other events around that you can hit up in between catching the regular sessions. Friday, July 1, head to Chan’s in Woonsocket to catch Greg Piccolo and Heavy Juice. Piccolo is a former member of local legends Roomful of Blues, and in this new ensemble he explores traditional jazz, R&B and rock ’n’ roll. July 29 through 31 is the return of the historic Newport Jazz Festival at Fort Adams in – where else – Newport. This year’s lineup includes Norah Jones, Christian McBride, Terence Blanchard, Esperanza Spalding, Cory Wong, Ron Carter and so many more. Although three-day tickets are sold out, there are still two-day and single-day passes available. Head to newportjazz.org for more details. 

On Saturday August 27, Chan’s is hosting Daryl Sherman, Jay Leonhart and Friends. RI native and jazz legend Sherman has been part of the New York jazz scene since the mid-‘70s and will be showcasing her signature piano playing and singing alongside some of her long-time musical collaborators.

Though there is a lot here, this is just a teaser for what is sure to be a summer full of live jazz. Be sure to keep eyes open for more great announcements and events happening around you.

Ben Shaw is a composer, performer, and writer. Find his work at benjaminshawmusic.com




Roots Report June 2022: Big outdoor summer shows

Okee dokee folks… It’s a good thing that it is getting warmer and events will take place outdoors again. I know folks don’t want to hear it, but COVID-19 is still out there wreaking havoc. I somehow wound up sick with COVID-19 and I didn’t much care for it. I am already loopy. As if being sick wasn’t enough, I had to cancel three gigs and miss going to two shows. I keep receiving notices of rescheduled and canceled tour dates. Fortunately this highly contagious variant is not even close to as bad as the first strain, but still… Maybe this will be COVID-19’s last blast and will burn itself out. “It’s better to burn out than fade away.” I hope so. I usually complain about summer because I really hate the heat; I will never complain about being outdoors. There are lots of open air shows headed our way pre- and post-solstice. Read on…   

The other day my girlfriend said to me, “I don’t think I have ever heard the word ‘podcast’ so much in my life.” It’s true, I talk about my podcast a lot. I put a lot of work into each episode (about 5 hours), so I want to get the word out. Honestly, I never listened to podcasts before I started this one, but I find the conversations interesting and fun. I hope that you all will give them a listen and get hooked! Navigate to MotifRI.com/RootsReportPodcast for more. 

The Rhythm and Roots Festival has been given a new life! A CT company has purchased the festival and promises to maintain the event’s status quo. See you in September! Zyde-go-go to RhythmAndRoots.com for more. Tickets are already on sale for the Labor Day Weekend gathering.

Also happening in Charlestown: Ninigret Summer Nights, a free, two-fer evening – a concert and a movie at Ninigret Park! The summer schedule is Jun 30, PreFab 4 with Jaws; July 7 Run For Cover/Spiderman; July 28, Kayla Farnham & Frank Viele/Encanto; Aug 18, Will Evens/The Sandlot; Aug 25 Forever Young/Meatballs. Music starts at 5:30 and films at dusk. Food, ice cream, face painting and other activities as well. Get the scoop at CharlestownRI.gov.

Common Fence Music has transitioned to Newport Live! Common Fence, a new name for the long-standing arts organization whose mission is to celebrate diverse music traditions by offering access to vibrant performances. This summer they will once again be presenting shows at the Norman Bird Sanctuary and bringing muic and nature together for four evening performances. June 10, Kyshona; July 8 Mark Erelli; Aug 5, Lisa Morales; Sep 16, The Suitcase Junket. They will also present a show at Newport Vineyards on July 21 with Laura Veirs. Follow the fence to NewportLive.org for more. 

The RI Folk Festival, now in its 8th year, will happen at Larisa Park in Riverside on Sunday, Aug 28. This free festival features three stages of music and this year will also host a songwriting workshop with Mark Cutler as well as a children’s area. The line-up includes: The Fools, Robin Lane, Jake Blount, Pamela Means Trio, Dan Lilley and the Keepers with Amy Bedard, Sidy Maiga, The Carleans, Julie Rhodes, Allysen Callery, Beth Barron, Cardboard Ox and about 25 more acts. Food trucks and craft vendors will also be in the park. But wait, there’s more! On June 10 the Galactic Theatre will host the fundraiser “Folkin’ For Funding” to help support the RI Folk Festival. Beth Barron, Dan Lilley & Amy Bedard, Amy et Moi, How’s About Charlie, Sounded Ground and Anthony Loffredio will be performing. For more, carousel to RhodeIslandFolkFestival.com  

I will always call it Great Woods but it is now on its third or fourth identity: The Xfinity Center. They host those “big shed” shows during the warmer weather. There is the lawn area and the covered, open-air seated section. This is a fun choice for a nice summer night. My favorite memory of a concert there was back in 1993 (or 4) when I sat under the stars and listened to John Williams conduct the Boston Pops as they performed all of William’s greatest hits: the themes from Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws and more. There are far too many shows on the schedule to list so I will just hit the highlights (as I see it). June 8, Train, Jewel and Blues Traveler; June 25, The Doobie Brothers and Michael McDonald; July 2, Steely Dan & Steve Winwood; July 5, The (Dixie) Chicks and Patti Griffin; July 10, Chicago & Brian Wilson; Aug 10, Santana & Earth, Wind and Fire; Aug 12, Rod Stewart & Cheap Trick; Aug 19, REO Speedwagon, Styx and Loverboy; and Sep 16, Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival. For a complete list, explore LiveNation.com

As you may already know, there was a fire at The Pump House on May 6. As a nonprofit, The Pump House always needs community support to survive — now more than ever. They are currently unable to use the inside of the building to host shows, but will be returning with Music on the Green. To learn about shows and how to help, extinguish over to PumpHouseWusicWorks.com

Don’t forget there is so much more online from Motif! The Roots Report Podcasts, interviews and event reviews at MotifRI.com and lots of concert photos on the Motif Facebook page, fb.com/MotifRI. That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. www.JohnFuzek.com




Keeping It Classy: Your summer guide to classical music

As live performance returns to the concert halls, the summer months offer many opportunities to see music in open outdoor spaces. For classical music lovers, there are some great events to look forward to over the next few months: 

The 2022 Music On The Hill festival presents seven concerts of chamber music through June 12 at various locations throughout the state, including Cranston, East Greenwich and North Providence. For more: musiconthehillri.org

The Chorus of Westerly presents its free summer pops concert on Saturday, June 18 in Wilcox Park at 8pm. This family-friendly concert is always a good time. For more: chorusofwesterly.org

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra kicks off its summer pops concerts at Narragansett Town Beach on July 15 with a followup on Aug 3 at Roger Williams Park in PVD. Watch for upcoming outdoor performances in Bristol and Pawtucket. For more, visit riphilharmonic.org 

The Newport Music Festival presents multiple concerts of chamber music from July 1 – 17. The wide variety in programming promises to keep any music fan coming back for more, not to mention the unique settings of chamber music in and around Newport’s historic mansions. For more, visit newportclassical.org

The 34th annual Kingston Chamber Music Festival, in partnership with the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, presents a series of seven concerts July 20 – 31 at URI. For more information visit kingstonchambermusic.org

Further north are two festivals worth considering in New Hampshire. The Monadnock Music Festival generally runs mid-June – mid-August. The New Hampshire Music Festival at Plymouth State University runs July 7 – 23. For anyone vacationing in New Hampshire, these festivals are a wonderful addition to  your itinerary. For information: monadnockmusic.org   nhmf.org

To the south, The Talcott Mountain Music Festival featuring the Hartford Symphony Orchestra performs outdoor weekend concerts starting in June. Dates and times TBA as of this writing. For more: hartfordsymphony.org/concerts-tickets/series/talcott-mountain-music-festival

For die-hard classical music fans, Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA remains the epicenter of classical music in New England over the summer months. The season features regular concerts by the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras, the Festival of Contemporary Music, as well as various pop and jazz artists. For more information, see the schedule at bso.org




2022 Music Awards are coming

It’s time again for Motif’s RI Music Awards. We are looking for nominations right now – if you’d like a ballot, please email publisher@motifri.com or hit us up on Facebook!

w if you plan on attending and keep an eye out for more information at this link: https://fb.me/e/2EMrtnWcm

SAVE THE DATE!

Monday, July 18, 6 – 9pm at FMH
(Fete Music Hall), 103 Dike St, PVD

Vote Now!!!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KFCK2D7?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=music_awards_voting_waterfire_film_festivals_deck_dining_in_ri_jazz_hands_summer_spritz&utm_term=2022-06-22

See the results from last year!

Learn more about our nomination process.




Tori Amos A Mos-tly disappointing experience

Okee dokee folks… Tori Amos brought her Ocean to Ocean tour into Veterans Auditorium on Monday, May 16. First of all let me say that I was a Tori Amos fan at the beginning of her career. A BIG fan. So much so I ALMOST named my dog Tori. By the end of the ’90s I had fallen off the Tori train as I found her music to be more and more monotonous. That is the way I felt about tonight’s show. It was monotonous. Her 17-song set mostly stayed away from her more popular songs but did cover material from her nearly 30-year career. Her first few albums contained her best work, but she only played a couple of songs from those early releases- an (unfortunate) extended version of “Crucify,” the set ending “Cornflake Girl” and the first song of the encore, “Precious Things.” She also performed the title track from her latest CD, Ocean To Ocean as well others from that disc “Addition of Light Divided” and “Devil’s Bane.”

Amos’ voice is not as strong as it was in the earlier days. She relies on vocal effects and processing to beef up her vocals. The overall band sound seemed mechanical. There were pre-recorded choruses, drum machines, loops and other sounds to augment Amos who was only backed by her keyboards, bass and drums. The drummer, though playing live, overplayed quite a bit even on places where it should have been more subtle. His live sound was more like a drum machine than organic. A lot of times the music suffered from the “one long song syndrome.” This show was really more for the die-hard Amos fans. Tori could have let go a (light) sneeze and the crowd would have loved it.

I was honestly disappointed in the show. As I said I was a HUGE Amos fan. I’ve seen her live a few times. I was fortunate to have seen her with just a piano at Lupo’s back in the early ’90s and a few years later sit in for a private sound check that had just a couple of people in attendance. I even met her back then. So having to express my dissatisfaction with the show is not something I am enjoying. I was looking forward to her show after not having seen her live in a while. At this point I see no point in hopping back on the Tori train, it has left the tracks. Sorry.   

Don’t forget there is so much more online from Motif! I have the Roots Report Podcasts, interviews and event reviews at MotifRI.com and lots of concert photos (Including Tori Amos) on the Motif Facebook page fb.com/MotifRI. Please check it all out! That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. www.JohnFuzek.com




Sarah Shook to Shake Up Askew

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers will take the stage at Askew in a few weeks, hot off their February release Nightroamer. Whether you want to call it insurgent country, outlaw country or pull out your thesaurus for all manner of other names, Shook (they/them) specializes in honky tonk with a rock ‘n’ roll edge. 

The backstory around their North Carolina upbringing is now famous to fans – a sheltered, deeply religious upbringing in which secular music wasn’t allowed. Shook, a single parent, recently found sobriety and came out as non-binary in 2020, describing themselves as “bi and queer til the cows come home.”

Celebrated for bringing an indie rock, DIY sensibility to country themes along the lines of Lucero or Lydia Loveless, Shook’s vocal delivery is non-nonsense as they sing about fractured relationships and missed chances. Nightroamer takes Shook’s sound in new directions, in some instances trading twang for more straight-ahead sonic territory. 

“The wide spectrum of genres on Nightroamer is indicative of where I was in life when we made the record, new to sobriety and going through a lot of self-discovery,” said Shook by email. 

“Been Lovin’ You Too Long” is a minor-key indie rock song with pedal steel as background texture, reminiscent of Neko Case. “I Got This” is a sickly sweet pop song with high-pitched vocals – if dressed up a little more, it may be a Billboard top 40 contender. 

“No Mistakes” and “It Doesn’t Change Anything” are more meat-and-potatoes fare – bouncy, no-nonsense honky tonk tunes. “Stranger” feels like the perfect balance, with its wistful guitar riff and backup from the pedal steel and 12-string. It even uses autotune (though tastefully!), a very far cry from the barroom rock of Shook’s previous albums. 

They noted the deeply personal “If It’s Poison,” a catchy melancholic tune with the ‘50s chord progression, as their favorite on the record. “I wrote it after escaping an abusive relationship and while navigating a new fledgling relationship,” said Shook. “There was a great deal of uncertainty those few weeks we spent joined at the hip and ultimately we didn’t end up together.  In the end it wasn’t poison, but we also didn’t get the timing right.”

“Talkin’ to myself” is an infectious rocker complete with Hammond B3 that will keep the fans happy, and “Nightroamer” brings things back to classic country melodies. 

Nightroamer was produced by Dwight Yoakam guitarist and producer Pete Anderson, who has worked with such diverse artists as the Meat Puppets and Roy Orbison. Shook noted the band managed all pre-production, and that Anderson really only added a few embellishments toward the end. They also admitted “honestly, there were a few concessions I made I wish I hadn’t.”

Shook also just finished a solo album under the name Mightmare to be released later this year, with the first single dropping in July. On this one, titled Cruel Liars, Shook handled everything – from the drum programming to the engineering – save a few bass tracks contributed by Disarmers bassist Aaron Oliva. 

As they gear up for a grueling touring run across the US and Europe, Shook admits that the road can be a rough go: “People think it’s glamorous – it’s not.  It’s very hard to consistently eat healthy food, it’s impossible to have any type of daily routine, you have zero privacy, and you miss your loved ones like mad.

“All that said, it’s honest hard work. I love my bandmates, and it makes our fans pretty damn happy when we come through their towns.”

Sarah Shook and The Disarmers are at Askew on May 19 at 8pm. Buy tickets here

It’s Been Real

I’m not one for sappy goodbyes, but I should note this will be my last music column for Motif. I’d like to thank everyone out there for reading my stuff these past eight years, as well as the folks at the magazine, especially Mike Ryan and Emily Olson. 




Roots Report May 2022: So many shows, you MAY be overwhelmed

Okee dokee folks… I think some people out there may need a little reeducation as to how to behave in public now that things are getting back to normal. Folks spent a little too much time in their bubbles watching Netflix and doing whatever they wanted, when they wanted. It shows. What exactly am I talking about? I have been going to shows and I have witnessed a lot of bad-mannered behavior. Concerts are no longer in your living room. You cannot adjust the volume, rewind or pause them at will. If someone interrupts the goings-on, things will be missed.

I went to a show the other night that was supposed to start at 8pm. It did not. Many ticket holders were late arriving to the theater. Twenty minutes past go time, the show still had not begun. An announcement was made alerting the audience that the show was going to begin soon and that they should take their seats. The alert actually seemed to have the opposite effect. Lots of folks began to get up and head to the lobby. Shows are supposed to start at a predetermined time. If you are late YOU should miss out, not make everyone wait. These shows are not on demand.

Most shows are 75-90 minutes long. Most times there is an intermission. What boggles my mind is the excessive and steady flow of people that get up from their seats during a performance and disrupt the enjoyment of the folks around them. Can’t anyone sit still for 90 minutes anymore? Don’t even get me started on the spilled drinks! My camera bag has been soaked twice over the past couple of weeks!

Oh, and one more thing. Hats! Seriously? It used to be proper etiquette to REMOVE your hat when indoors, especially at a seated event. I had to ask the person in front of me to either take his hat off, slouch down or turn the brim down — it was flipped up like Gomer Pyle’s and extremely obtrusive.

Please, for the sake of everyone around you, reintroduce yourselves to proper, polite and considerate behavior. The outside world is not streaming, it is real and live. This has been a public service announcement. Thank you. Read on…

The band Chicago has always been a favorite of mine. No other band has ever produced so many horn-driven hits. They are now in their 55th year of playing music. Though the band has endured many personnel changes and styles, they always return to the brass section for their core sound. Jimi Hendrix famously said of the band, “The horn section is like one set of lungs and the guitar player is better than me!” I had a good, long chat with Jimmy Pankow, trombonist and songwriter for the band. He shared many stories from his 55-year career with the band. Listen to that on Motif’s Roots Report Podcast! Chicago will be at Mohegan Sun Arena on Sat, May 7. For more, don’t be “Searchin’ So Long,” just get to: MoheganSun.com

Joan Osborne hit it big in the mid-’90s with the song “One Of Us.” Since then she has kept busy playing her own music, the music of Bob Dylan, joining with others such as Funk Brothers and touring with the Dead. It’s been a while since she has performed her breakthrough album Relish in its entirety. She will be making her only area appearance doing just this on May 13 at The Garde Arts Center in New London. Also performing at this show is Madeleine Peyroux who will be performing her Careless Love album. Don’t miss this one! Look for my interview with her online. For more, climb the “Ladder” to: GardeArts.org

There are so many great shows coming up besides the few I talked about above. I will mention some here. Ready. Set. Go! At Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland; North Sea Gas, music from Scotland on May 8; Matt & Shannon Heaton perform a “Take It Outside” concert on May 15 and Cantrip on May 22. Row over to RiverFolk.org for more. 

The Odeum is always a busy place. Coming up: Get sedated with Marky Ramone on May 6, SNL and Weeds star Kevin Nealon May 12, one of the hardest working musicians around; Adam Ezra, on May 14; rumor has Graham Parker playing on May 15; Anders Osborne and Jackie Greene on May 21; a solo, electric show by Bob Mould on May 26 and the Mighty Max Weinberg with his Jukebox show on June 3. Yodelayheehoo to: GreenwichOdeum.com for more. 

The Narrows always has a big, wide schedule! In May catch: Jonathan Edwards on May 6, Jon Butcher on May 7, Matt Anderson May 11, A Tale of Two May 14, Danielle Nicole May 18, Low Cut Donnie May 19, Quinn Sullivan May 20, and Beaver Brown on May 21. The Narrows has made it a bargain for college students to attend shows with a new student discount. All you have to do is show up on a concert night, show your student ID, and get in for $15. (This does not apply to sold-out events). For more, Braga over to: NarrowsCenter.org 

PPAC has the cerulean-faced Blue Man Group with what is promised as a “Still Blue, The Rest Is New” show on May 20. Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli is also at PPAC for two shows only on June 2 & 3. Make your Weybosset to PPACRI.org for more. 

I know Rhode Islanders don’t like going very far, but sometimes you just have to if you want to see something special! The Only Former US Senator Currently on Tour Tour with Al Franken will be at The Wilbur Theatre in Boston on May 14. Do you remember when he and Tom Davis used to imitate Mick and Keef on SNL? Neigh over to TheWilbur.com for more. 

Shawn Colvin will perform her breakthrough recording Steady On in its entirety to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of its release. It will take place at The Cabot in Beverly, Mass on May 7. Nice theatre and not a bad drive — a little over an hour. Colvin is the perfect reason to check it out! Cheddar over to TheCabot.org for more. 

The Who, or as I say, half a Who, will be at the Garden in Boston on May 18. Who knows how long Roger and Pete will keep doing it. See them now! “Magic Bus” to TDGarden.com for more. PHEW!!!

Don’t forget there is so much more online from Motif! I have the Roots Report Podcast, interviews and event reviews at MotifRI.com, and lots of concert photos on the Motif Facebook page Facebook.com/MotifRI. Please check it all out! That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. www.JohnFuzek.com




American Band Joins RI Music Hall of Fame

True, the Rolling Stones have been around since forever, but how many bands keep playing for 185 years? The American Band is one of the oldest military-style bands in the US, and in recognition, it’s being inducted into the RI Music Hall of Fame, a recognition delayed from 2020.

The event will be celebrated with a concert at URI’s Recital Hall in Kingston on Sun, May 15, 2022 at 3:00 pm.

The free event is being produced by the URI Music Department and Notable Works, and will also feature the Notable Works’ Ensemble performing work by composer Noreen Inglesi, plus presentations by poets Nicole DiPaolo, David Dragone and Mary Ann Mayer as well as Priscilla De La Cruz of the Audobon Society and the Environment Council of Rhode Island. Visit uri.edumusic/events for more info.

The RI Music Hall of Fame will be recognizing other inductees, from 2020 and 2022, in the coming months.




“Get Ready” For A Show: A tempting musical catches an era

Okee dokee folks… The Temptations endured personnel changes, drug and alcohol abuse, racial tension, personal tragedy and still managed to come out on top, with timeless hits and a legacy that continues today. The Temptations musical Ain’t Too Proud, based on the history of the singing group, opened to a full house at The Providence Performing Arts Center Tuesday night. The show relates the history of the band with lots of great music and energetic dance.

The stage set of a theatre façade and marquee that varied with projected words and images was the minimalistic backdrop for the almost constant song and dance that propelled Ain’t Too Proud. The show is narrated by Otis Williams, portrayed by Marcus Paul James, as he tells the tale of the group’s formation intermingled with songs by the Temptations as well as other singing group contemporaries such as the Supremes and Cadillacs.       

Otis remarks at start of the musical journey that “There is no progress without sacrifice” and wonders if “The measure if it is worth the cost.” Williams seamlessly moves from singing and dancing to directing his dialogue towards the audience and imparting more of the Temptations’ tale to them. The production takes place over the span of approximately 30 years: from the group’s inception until the deaths of four of the original members.

The music is energetic and will have you tapping your feet and clapping your hands. The soundtrack includes classics such as “Ball Of Confusion,” “Get Ready,” “I Can’t Get Next To You,” and about 28 more musical gems during the over two-hour show.

Marcus Paul James is the star as Otis Williams and he carries the weight of the story as the real life Williams carried the weight of The Temptations. The group’s line-up changed over 20 times since its formation leaving Williams the only living original member. Elijah Ahmed Lewis perfectly captured David Ruffin’s moves, vocal prominence and demons. Jalen Harris was brilliant as Eddie Kendricks. Every voice in this cast was outstanding and powerful. The dance moves were amazing and if you are a fan of performers jumping and landing in a split then this is definitely the right show for you! If you are not on your feet applauding at the finale then you must not have a musical soul. The audience applause and cheers for this were the loudest I have heard in quite a while.

If you a fan of Motown, The Temptations, dance, jukebox musicals and great performance then get to PPAC to experience Ain’t Too Proud-The Life and Times of the Temptations. The show runs until April 17th. For more about this show and others at PPAC, “Speedo” over to PPACRI.org 

You can listen to my interview with Ain’t Too Proud star, Marcus Paul James on the Motif Magazine Roots Report Podcast at: motifri.com/rootsreportpodcast/episode-11-marcus-paul-james/ That’s it for now. Thanks for reading (and listening)! www.JohnFuzek.com




April Showers Us: Memorials and shows to cheer you

“If there is a Rock ‘N’ Roll Heaven, You Know They’ve Got One Hell of a Band” 

The local music scene has been battered this year with the passing of local musicians Mike Schiavone, Pete McClanahan, and Nick Iddon. I didn’t know Mike but his passing was a jarring blow to the music community coming just hours after he played a Nirvana tribute night. I had met Pete a few times but never really knew him. What struck me about Pete was the sheer power and passion he had as both a songwriter and performer. Pete was a punk rock superhero on stage with the way he attacked his bass. He blasted through songs like a locomotive steamrolling through a starfield night. I was lucky enough to catch Pete many times with his band The Worried. Some of Pete’s other bands over the years included The Buzzards, 32-20’s, and The Yuhboys. Mike and Pete will live on forever in the music and memories they created and all the hearts they touched. 

Then there is Nick… whose passing I’m still processing. Nick Iddon had a personality that could light up the darkest mine. He was so warm. He made everyone feel like family, even if you just met him. Sure, Nick was one hell of a drummer. He could play anything. Hard rock with Donnybrook and Kanerko, smooth grooves with Viking Jesus, conjuring the ghost of Gram Parsons with The Quahogs, or just rocking the hell out with Ravi Shavi – Nick poured his soul into every performance, looking like the happiest person in the room the whole time. He probably was. When he told me several months ago about his illness, which would ultimately take him, he said it so calmly and confidently – like it was no big deal, “I got this.” Every time our paths crossed after, he was so energetic and vivacious that I forgot he had cancer. That was just Nick. I’m sending love and light to all Nick’s family and friends. When times get tough, just close your eyes and picture Nick banging out the beat, hair blowing like he’s in a hurricane with that big smile beaming like a sunrise. 

David Tessier’s All-Star Stars – “Tough Face Girl” single release

The new single, “Tough Face Girl,” from David Tesssier’s All-Star Stars is a burst of ’60s power pop that reminds me of Tommy-era The Who meets The Monkees at the sock hop. Tessier said: “Tough Face Girl was a power pop song which I had written to be part of a short Rock Opera based on the Native American Folk Story ‘The Rough-Face Girl’.” “The song’s chorus was stuck in my head for years, so I decided to rearrange the music and rewrite the lyrics. “It’s about that certain someone you can’t help but love, even if they are, shall we say, a bit curmudgeonly, because you can still see the sweetness deep beneath the exterior.” The single will be available online at BandCamp and through 75OrLess Records on April 1. 

David Tessier’s All-Stars Stars, Haunting Titans, and Death Pesos will rock The Parlour in PVD on April 9. 

Fozzy

Fozzy might be best known as wrestling legend’s Chris Jericho’s heavy metal band. That said, they have been making records and touring the world for over twenty years. I can’t deny the infectiousness of some of their tunes, notably “Judas.” I can’t remember the last time Fozzy was in town so this is a rare chance to catch a legend, in Jericho, doing something he’s not a legend at, while hearing some kick ass hard rock! 

Fozzy, GFM, KrashKarma, and The Nocturnal Affair will rock Fete in PVD on April 10. 

7Seconds

During my teenage punk rock alienation years, bands like 7Seconds gave me hope with their songs of unity. 7Seconds were different from most of ’80s punk and hardcore of the day in that the vocals were actually sung and the songs generally had positive messages. Plus they did a killer cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons!” 

7Seconds, Negative Approach, Catalyst, Bullet Proof Backpack bring the old school punk rock vibes to Alchemy on April 13. 

The Schizophonics

I caught The Schizophonics a few months before the pandemic and they blew my mind! They were a mess of high octane psych-garage with power pop hooks throwing down like space invaders from another dimension. Fitteningly, they were touring behind an album called People In The Sky which sounds like The Sonics jamming with the MC5. This show is going to be a testamentment to the evil powers of rock ‘n’ roll! 

The Schizophonics, Artist Jackie and The Wizard, Salem Wolves will rock Askew in PVD on April 15. 

Digital – Dreams Of Leaving EP Release

When all Civility is lost, there is only one option: Digital. Civility was a local post-punk band that recently underwent a lineup change and decided to write all new songs and be born again as DIgital. It is a cool name because it flies in the face of the current vinyl revival and you’ll probably never find the band if you try to Google them. As for the tunes, “Spectres” reminds me of the Sisters of Mercy meets Head On The Door-era Cure. I guess Echo & The Bunnymen could be added as a reference point for “With You” along with the above. In other words despite the rebranding, Digital still embodies the ’80s post-punk. This show will be bananas! 

Digital will celebrate the release of Dreams Of Leaving with Trigger Discipline, Pilgrims of Yearning, and Video Shoppe at Dusk in PVD on April 16. 

Askew 4th Anniversary Party with The Silks with The Low Cards 

Askew is a melting pot of a venue featuring exciting music of all genres, comedy shows, and great vibes. For their anniversary, the blues will reign supreme! The Silks will bring it with big-time early ’70s style rocking riffs and booty shaking groove. The Low Cards will rip it up and throw it down with some high-voltage shredding. 

The Silks and The Low Cards will celebrate Askew’s 4th Anniversary on April 23. 

Bonus Bangers!

  • The Soul Rebels rock the Narrows Center of the Arts in Fall River on April 7.
  • Julie Rhodes & The Electric Co. with Ali McGuirk and Mary-Elaine Jenkins bring the soulful grooves to Askew on April 16.
  • Melissa Etheridge will be at Bally’s Event Center at Bally’s Twin River Lincoln on April 22. 
  • Clutch, The Sword, Nate Bergman will rock The Strand in Providence on April 30.
  • The Zombies bring their legendary sound to the Narrows Center of the Arts on May 1.

Email music news to mclarkin33@gmail.com