Punks Don’t Know Jack

This split CD from Cretin Records comes out of the gates with no holds barred punk rock. Defecation Area open the CD swinging with “Generation D.U.M.B.,” which while essentially generic 77’s punk does sound big. They remind me a little of ’90s NYC punks L.E.S. Stitches, who were one damn good band. The most off-putting thing to me about this track is that I’m really sick of punk rockers singing about how everything is dumb. They’re dumb or everyone else but them is dumb. Either way, songs about being dumb are stupid. I know, The Ramones did it with “Pinhead,” but guess what….you are not The Ramones. Defecation Area definitely hit big on the scorching “Slam Dance is Savage” and channel the Beach Boys via Social Distortion on “She Just Wanna Dance.” Defecation Area may mine ground that has been well traveled from the Dead Boys and 2 billion bands since, but they do it better than most!

It’s good to see some studio recording finally making their way out for Tony Jones and The Cretin 3. They kick off their half of the disc with “Lady Frankenstein,” which has a strong Cramps undertone. The Cretin 3 essentially merge rockabilly and punk together and sprinkle some horror rock sensibility lyrically. “Bathroom Floor” really isn’t my bag. It doesn’t really rock and is too repetitive and the vocals kind of give me a migraine. Better is “Leather,” which borrows the guitar riff from Cheap Trick’s “He’s a Whore” and uses it to create a catching little ditty. “Blood on the Pavement” is a strong closer that brings to mind bands like The Independents and the Jonee Earthquake band. All in all, Tony Jones and The Cretin 3 deliver a solid shot of rock ‘n’ roll.

Tony Jones and The Cretin 3 will be performing at intermission of GCW Wrestling extravaganza taking place May 26th at the Varnum Armory located on6 Main StinEast Greenwich.  The matches kick off at6PM.

 

Fishbone

Fishbone are one of those seminal bands that have undergone resurgence in recent years in terms of activity after peaking commercially in the mid-90s. Fishbone actually started when the members were in junior high school in 1979 as a “disparate, all-black oddball crew.” I find that amazing considering I don’t keep into contact with anyone from those days never mind continue actually continuing to engage in any of activities from those days. Musically, they mashed Jamaican ska, soul, funk and hard rock up to create something different and unique on the ’80s “left of the dial” indie rock landscape. As the grunge rock revolution hit in the early ’90s Fishbone shifted with the times to more the funky hard rock spectrum on records like The Reality of My Surroundings, Give a Monkey a Brain and He’ll Swear He’s the Center of the Universe, and Chim Chim’s Badass Revenge. I first caught Fishbone live in the early ’90s at the old Campus Club and remember the night as a torrid sweat-soaked dance party. Singer Angelo Moore definitely stands out as one of the more eccentric and charismatic performers that I’ve ever had the pleasure of catching perform. In the late ’90s, when the “alternative” bubble burst from gentrification, so did Fishbone’s momentum. Since 1996, Fishbone has only managed to put together two full-length studio releases. After the better part of a decade away, Fishbone recently has been on an the upswing of sorts with the release of a documentary titled Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone and an increased touring schedule that has seen them come through town a few times in recent years. Call me a sucker for nostalgia, but I’m pretty stoked to see Fishbone again for the first time in almost 20 years at Fete. Punk rockers The Brunt of It and local ska kings The Agents will open the show.

Fishbone, The Brunt of It, and The Agents will be at Fete inProvidenceon May 19th.

 

Three Bad Jacks

Three Bad Jacks are a mix of pop rockabilly, and singer-songwriter crap. If you can look beyond the cheesy aspects of the latter to the rock ‘n’ roll – Three Bad Jack becomes a pretty good band. Three Bad Jacks have a new CD titled Pictures & Memories From Home that leans to the high energy music that is their forte. Seriously though, my only explanation for the tune “Noah and Jacob’s Song” is that someone in the band lost a bet. Tracks like “I’ve Been Around” and “X Marks the Spot” are much better representatives of the band’s repertoire. I can also vouch for The Arkhams for good psychobilly rock ‘n’ roll.

Three Bad Jacks, The Arkhams, The Pity Whores, The Wrong Guys, and The Honey Shakers will be at the Pvd Social Club on May 19th.

 

Punks For Pets

Whoever said all punk rockers care only about is cheap booze and loud guitars has never been to a Punks for Pets Benefit. The first Punks for Pets show was organized by Jenn Lombari in 2007 at The Living Room inProvidence. In addition to proceeds from the doors, attendees are encouraged to bring donations of pet food and supplies, which as in the past, will be given to Providence Animal Rescue League. During the last few years, other benefits shows have been held with donations going benefit worthy causes such as the RI flood victims in 2010 as well as PALS Humane Society Gift and Thrift Shop. The organizers of this year’s Punks For Pets are hoping to make this year’s benefit the biggest one yet! Let’s  see – check out some punk rock by the likes of Sourpunch, Lowlife, Vagora, Red Line Rebels, and Dog Day Afternoon AND make a difference by helping better the lives of many vulnerable animals… well sounds like a WIN -WIN from here!

The Punks for Pets Benefit will take place on May 26th at The Blood Drive Co Op on745 Branch Avein

Providence.  The show is all ages and as added bonus the Poco Loco taco truck will be there from 5-10 to cure your hunger.  There is a $5 dollar donation plus bring pet food and supplies is encouraged.  All donations will be split amongst local animal shelters.

 

 

Lindsey Buckingham

It is rare when you get to catch a legend like Fleetwood Mac vocalist/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham in a club setting. Buckingham’s guitar solos in “The Chain” and “Go Your Own Way” were defining points of that era of Fleetwood Mac. I’d go as far as to say Buckingham was the biggest talent even though he tends to get over shadowed by Stevie Nicks. “Go YourOwn Way” is probably the greatest breakup song ever and a perfect pop song to boot. The fact that it was about the incestuous nature of the band just gives them bonus points. Buckingham has released a number of solo albums, none of which I’ve heard. It doesn’t matter because Buckingham could just stand on a stage in dead silence for an hour and then play “Holiday Road” and “Go Your Own Way” and I’ll think it was the best $50 I’ve ever spent.

Lindsey Buckingham will be at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on May 30th.

 

Odds & Sods:

The Evil Streaks, The Mighty Good Boys, The Sour Doo-Dahs, and The Denver Boot are at Firehouse 13 on May 18th.  I’m a big fan of The Evil Streaks personally. Think female-fronted surf garage with horror-rock lyrics.  Boy Sets Fire and I Hate My Freedom are at the Met Café on May 18th.  Verse, Achilles, Like Wolves, Raindance and My Fictions are at AS220 on May 18th. Armageddon Record Shop presents: Nasum, Brutal Truth, and Dropdead at AS22o on May 22nd.  Aborted, Stryk Nine, Gut Bucket, and Gravesideservice are at the Pvd Social Club on May 23rd. Vulgarrity have a video premier show at Fete on May 25th with Dirty Durdie. Bob Kendall, Hope Anchor, and The Sentimental Favorites are at the Pvd Social Club on May 25th. I caught Hope Anchor recently and all I can say is “holy shit” – straight up rock ‘n’ roll. I’m not sure what happened, but their new tunes are phenomenal. The Can’t Nots, Mattera, Sgt. Baker & The Clones, and Jillian Stellar are at AS220 on May 26th.  METCALF, Dog Day Afternoon, Our Burgandy, are at Firehouse 13 on May 31st.  Vertical Twin, Fall and Bounce, and Psychedelic Clown Car are at the Pvd Social Club on June 1st.

Email music news to mclarkin33@gm




Award-Winning Vudu Sister Release ‘Bastard Children’

Generally speaking, when you sit down to listen to a song, the individual instrumental elements are right there in the forefront jumping out at you. ‘nice voice on the singer… Oh there’s the guitar solo… man, them drums is loud…’ But every once in awhile a band comes together in such mellifluous harmony that the actual sounds meld together to form one singular theme. When guitars, rhythms vocals and lyrics all transcend their respective roles and fuse together into a complete musical motif (pardon pun), that is when it becomes all about the song. And on Vudu Sister’s freshman CD release “Bastard Children”, it’s clearly all about the song.

 

Vudu Sister is the collective name for singer-songwriter brainchild Keith McCurdy and a varied roster of accompanying musicians, including drummer Alexander Garzone and some lovely harmony vocals from Kate Jones. Though a relatively new act on the scene, Vudu Sister have already established themselves as earnest artistic alchemist who have combined elements of traditional folk,  Appalachian mountain music, depression era protest songs , Celtic sounds, and a heaping scoop of modern alternative sensibilities.  The result is a painfully heartfelt, often dark and beautifully disturbing music that may not win over any Justin Biber fans anytime soon, but will immediately sound both familiar and fresh to those of us in-the-know.

Throughout the 10 offerings on Bastard Children, Keith McCurdy’s guitar picking and singing serves as a droning constant that appropriately sets the mood for this deceivingly simple stripped down music. McCurdy works in a voice born from such disparate singers as David Van Ronk, Woody Guthrie, and Jack White.  Though he sometimes flirts with his pitch, he does so in deference to the genre.  And perhaps most importantly his lyrics and song structure demonstrate an obvious understanding of this genre, which can often leave less-schooled artists sounding like a bad parody.

Bastard Children opens with the dirge “Psalms”, a battleground shanty that speaks of mourn and lament. With a plaintive bass drum punctuating the accompanying dobro and mandolin, McCurdy plays and sings in a manner that puts me in the mind of  Dylan’s “Masters of War”: “Can you hear the dead bell tolling, can you hear the five man drum, can you hear the death bell ringing in the deep…”

With its dark, sardonic storyline, standout track “Dead Man’s Pocket” is perhaps  the best  single example of what Vudu Sister is all about. “Somebody out there done hit him – with the blood on his hands still stained – he covered his tracks and he stole what was left inside of the dead mans pockets..”

I’m looking forward to revisiting Keith McCurdy et al when their next project is released.  With the level of maturity already displayed on Bastard Children, it won’t be long before these guys become the stewards of the entire roots scene, in New England in beyond.

Vudu Sister will be joined by an all star lineup Friday, May 4, at Local121 inProvidencefor their CD Release.




Skinny Millionaires Drop ‘Easy Tiger’

Newport darlings join Supersuckers bill @ PVD Social Club
Newport’s The Skinny Millionaires dropped their debut CD, Sleeping Dogs Lie (75orLess Records), about a year and a half ago which was mostly fell along the lines of what you call Americana with some rocking stuff thrown (“Night of The Creeps” stands out). I’ve caught maybe a half dozen Skinny Millionaires show in the time since and always enjoyed the element of mystery in that you never know exactly what you are in for. They can go anywhere along the gamut from doing a neo-punk set opening for The Dwarves to a recent no drums folksy throw down I caught a couple of weeks ago. The Skinny Millionaires are poised to release their sophomore CD titled, Easy Tiger, on May 8th when they’ll open for The Supersuckers at the Pvd Social Club.
I got a preview of a few of the tracks and can tell you that Easy Tiger is a heavier on the rock side while retaining the Americana groove largely due to presence of violins on most of the tracks. On tracks like “Driftin’ to California,” Mike O’Donnell’s vocals jut out with the intensity of in your face punk rock despite that song is mostly acoustic sonically. The song proves that Americana can be in your in face and retain a certain wistful feel. The Skinny Millionaires re-recorded “Keep Dyin’ from Sleeping Dogs Lie in a slightly more upbeat (if it is possible for a song with this title) rocking version that works well. I’m not sure if it so much an improvement because the original was pretty good, but it works and casts a new light on the song. The rock really kicks in tunes like “Mess” which O’Donnell’s guitar solo alone is heavier than anything on Sleeping Dogs Lie. The rock continues with the title track which gives the Skinnys almost like metal Americana feel meets the blues. Often on Easy Tiger, I get the feeling I’m listening to someone like The Troggs doing an amped up set of Irish folk songs and making it work! “Poison Fruit” is another winner that is in the vein of Sleeping Dogs Lie Americana but it is just better!
I poised a few questions to Mike O’Donnell to get the lowdown on Easy Tiger and what is next Skinny Millionaires.
MC: How would you compare the album Easy Tiger to Sleeping Dogs Lie?
MO: Compared to Sleeping Dogs Lie, this album is a bit more on the rock side of things. With the Let Dogs Lie, I recorded most of the instruments myself, but you can tell on this record that there is a really tight band there. Mathew Millionaire on the drums is insane, and Meghan on the violin is still the whiz kid genius from another planet.
MC: Stylistically, were there any influences that made their way in?
MO: Stylistically, there are still a lot of the same elements of rock n’ roll, punk, and Americana. I went for some different guitar tones this time, a little more reverby Detroit type guitars on songs like ‘Easy Tiger’ or ‘The Mess you Made’, and just different stuff. ‘Easy Tiger’ is a really mean sounding song with punk and blues and rock n’ roll. I’ll never escape that stuff, and I don’t want to. I kind of hate when a punk band goes acoustic usually. It sounds like a punk band going acoustic, if that makes any sense. Bad voices can be okay hiding behind speed and noise, but not always with just a guitar. So I’ve spent a lot of time making sure I’m not that guy. Its gotta be legit. So the mixture of electric and acoustic guitars in the same song is more cohesive now than ever, I think. I love hard rock n’ roll, and I love folk, blues, Americana, stuff like that. I don’t know any band that sounds like us.
MC: One of the cool things about seeing the Skinny Millionaires is you never know what you are going to see. Do you go into a show with an idea that you’re going to feature this side of the band tonight?
MO: One cool thing about having harder songs and more acoustic songs is that it opens you up to be able to play more shows. Like, our CD release with The Supersuckers in May, it’s like, ‘ok, it’s a big rock crowd, it’ll be fun to play a rock set’. But if we can also go ‘ok lets go to this coffee shop with this acoustic set, and have it be legit.’ That is awesome to me. It seems like a lot of rock bands are scared of playing anything but the same song over and over. That’s kind of weak, if you ask me. I know guys turning 50 who are still writing the same song over and over and can’t see past it. The rock shows for me tend to be a little more fun though, as it gives me more of a chance to hang from balconies and fall off tables and light myself on fire or whatever. I love entertainers. Someone told me something like “musicians end up selling strings at Guitar Center. Entertainers…well…entertainers live and die entertaining. There’s a difference.” So, it’s not always about what to do, it’s also a lot about what not to do. I have to always step outside it and look at it objectively.
MC What’s next for you guys?
MO: This record will be out on a new label called Giant Robot Records. They’re great. They have everything needed for a music video in-house, so right now we’re working on a video. I love living in Newport. It’s not just mansions. There’s plenty of broke guys like me rocking and rolling. I like booking cool national bands here when I can, no one really expects to see someone like The Dwarves in downtown Newport, but…fuck ‘em. Now they can expect the unexpected. So we’ll be around for now, and tour later on in the summer
The Supersuckers, The Skinny Millionaires, The McGunks, and The Old Edison rock the Pvd Social Club on May 8th.

Odds & Sods:

Mike Doughty from Soul Coughing performs and reads from his book at the Met Café on May 3rd. Celebrate Cinco De Mayo with Boo City is at Local 121 on May 5th. Santigold is at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on May 9th. Jocie Adams from The Low Anthem is at the Met Café on May 9th. Flogging Molly is at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on May 11th. Chanteuse featuring Il Abanico, Fall and Bounce, Sara Azriel, Beberequin, Chantal Ambroise, and Jess Powers is at Fete on May 12th. The Schemers and The ‘Mericans are at the Met Café on May 12th. Spindrift (a Morricone-influenced psychedelic spaghetti western soundtrack rock), Strangers Family Band, Volcano Kings, and Famous Winters are at Firehouse 13 on May 14th. M.O.T.O., Midnight Creeps, and Atlantic Thrills are at Fete May 15th.
Email music news to mclarkin33@gmail.com




The Return of Joe Fletcher

After a recent successful run at SXSW, Joe Fletcher returns to home to headline a night of great music at the Met Café. Since Fletcher took the leap to go for broke and follow his dream as professional troubadour, good things have followed.

Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons

Not only did his St. Louis Cardinals win another World Series, but his reputation has solidified making money for a draw. It used to be when you saw the Wrong Reasons, you never knew what you were going to get. One show might be reeling and a rocking, the next might be Fletcher solo or someone playing drums on something that didn’t amount more to a trash can. Part of this probably speaks to Fletcher’s love of Dylan idiosyncratic ways where every show is different. Now that the lineup of the Wrong Reasons has been solidified, the band has seasoned enough that they can pull off going up without a set list and seamlessly not just pull off, but kill it with their mix of country, roots, and rock ‘n’ roll. Recently the band has expanded into video age producing a couple of music videos off their most recent release, White Lighter. You can check them out online at www.joefletchermusic.com. The Wrong Reasons will be playing the Newport Folk Festival this summer but there is no reason to wait to late July to see them rock, they’ll be at the Met Café on April 13th. Get there early for the openers with WBRU Rock Hunt runner-ups Northern Lands and Portland ME’s The Mallet Brothers. I caught them both recently and have to say The Mallet Brothers are absolutely fantastic as far as revved up Americana/rock ‘n’ roll!
Joe Fletchers & The Wrong Reason, The Mallet Brothers, and Northern Lands rock Met Café on April 13th.

Last One Out

stormed the scene last year making it to the final of the WBRU Rock Hunt and this year they’re gunning for the WXIN Rock Hunt Crown. Last One Out aim to hit it big in 2012 starting with the release of their debut EP, Lover’s Trance. The first thoughts that come to mind after listening to Lover’s Trance is God damn it, this is one crystal clear professionally cut bucket of tunes. The downside is that it really to the point of excess where it comes off as wimpy and annoying. The phrase no balls popped up in conversation while listening this with new Alt-Nation correspondent, T-Rock who added that the popularity of music like this is why we’re still in Afghanistan. Personally, I’d look to American Idol before Last One Out as far as being the Novocain to the American psyche. Not surprisingly given the title, Lover’s Trance is a collection of love songs which there is certainly nothing wrong with. The Beatles did it and so hasn’t 90% of everyone else. It is all in how you do it. As far as an original pop alternative on Lover’s Trance, Last One Out has both hits and misses.
The EP opens with “Under the Red Lights,” which tells the tale of falling in love from Virginia and wistfully whining about “leaving her lying under red lights, I want to stay but I must take flight.” This could be cool… if you are Superman and literally fly away but it sounds more like a one night stand on vacation. Other than the guitar riff buildup to the chorus, the music is pretty generic with keyboards over the guitar. There is nothing wrong with doing pop, but if that’s what you are doing, throw in a catchy hook. “Under the Red Lights” has no such hook. “Something I’m Into” sounds like a cross between elevator music buttressed by some ska beats and licks. It’s just real tough to like a song that starts with the lyrics “I’d like to tell you something into but there is an issue, you might laugh at me… and thick rimmed glasses to help you see.” Not saying I don’t have moments of self doubt or jitters but come on, you might laugh at me? I have trouble believing whoever is writing the lyrics is even remotely funny. The lyrics improve if you get can past that opening with “I dig your tattoos, they really speak to me allowing to describe what is going on inside without letting a heart on your sleeve.” I’m going to assume this girl didn’t have tattoos on her arm because than this would make no sense and say I like this. I can relate to this because I start conversations with white girls that have tribal tattoos and Chinese letters about Native American reparations and Chinese oppression all the time.
The momentum of Lover’s Trance shifts dramatically with “Utopia for Two” which is an infectious pop ditty that explains the popularity of Last One Out. “Utopia for Two” follows the tried and true soft to loud backed formula by a big hook formula. Throw together some killer uses of the dramatic pause with a bridge that enhances the song and it doesn’t matter if the lyrics about “going to the banks of outer space” and “grabbing a hold of a shooting star” don’t make sense. They all sound good here in the context of the song. Last One Out continue the positive moment with “Lovin’ Tonight” using a bouncy danceable keyboards during the verse to lead into a chorus catching enough to remind me of something from the 80’s like The Outfield. While not as strong as the previous two tracks, “Threads of Sweet Nothing” and “Standing on a Giant” extends the run of alterna-pop positives to close out Lover’s Trance on a high note.
Something needs to be said about train wreck track sequencing here. Although I do get why the band chose to open with a kind aimless mid-tempo number given that the word trance is in the title of the EP, I would have never have made it to track three if I wasn’t reviewing this. When in reality after repeated listens, four of the 6 tunes highlight the safe modern day alternative stuff that Last One Out do best. Last One Out scored big in the first round of the WXIN Rock Hunt and likely will be in the finals whenever they are at Firehouse 13. In the meantime, you can check them out at the Met Café for the CD release of Lover’s Trance on April 7th.
Last One Out celebrates the release of Lover’s Trance with Les Racquet, Evil Animals, and Sunshine Riot rock the Met Cafe in Pawtucket on April 7th.

Small Factory

Local indie-pop legends Small Factory teleport to Met Cafe from the 90’s for their first performance in over 15 years in these parts. It was like the Make A Wish Foundation intervened when this show was announced for those of us who listened to lo-fi indie guitar rock with harmonies and were around in the early 90’s at those Babyhead shows, often with the likes of Velocity Girl. The truth is after a reunion show earlier this year in at a festival in Washington DC, this had to be inevitable. What band would do a reunion show and blow off their home town? Thank God, not Small Factory. As added bonus this show also sees the reunion of another local early 90’s titan in Flower Gang. I’m not sure how big they were because back then I was a novice at this but I remember seeing them and getting excited enough to buy a 7 inch which I still have. This became comical years later when I worked at a record store with bassist Jack Hanlon and was discussing music and couldn’t remember the band name other than it was Flower Something and Jack informed he was in the band. At that time the Amazing Royal Crowns were starting to blow up to the point that people were coming into the store and asking Jack to sign CDs. In hindsight it must have seemed weird for Jack going through while working with someone who would only ask him about Flower Gang and no matter how many times, he told me, I could never get the name right. That said, this is the must see event of the spring at the very least for indie guitar swing rock ‘n’ roll!
Small Factory, Honeybunch, Flower Gang return from the 90’s to rock the Met Café on April 14th.

General Assembly State of The Union: Part Deux

The first General Assembly State of The Union last December was successful representation of both the heavy rock ‘n’ roll and ever burgeoning Americana elements of the Providence music scene. It raised the bar pretty high but I think the General Assembly has topped itself with this bill. First off, I do not get to see the garage rocking’ thump of the Atlantic Thrills often enough! Hands down, Atlantic Thrills are easily in my top 5 of local bands bringing the noise today. Throw in Tower in The Fool who as much I wanted to initially hate upon for being a mid-tempo of Americana act. I couldn’t. Their songs are too good! The Famous Winters mine similar territory as Tower and The Fool but with a grittier early 70’s Stones backbone that blew me away on what had otherwise been a dark night a few weeks ago. Throw in the presence of the official Alt-Nation house band and king of noisy guitar over a high Watt bass thump, Six Star General, and son you have one Hell of a party!
General Assembly presents State of The Union II featuring Tower and The Fool, Olneyville Sound System, Atlantic Thrills, The Famous Winters, Prolyphic, Moga, Six Star General, Ravi Shavi, The Washingtons, DJ Nook, and Born Without Bones goes down Fete in Providence on lucky Friday the13th of April.

The Sawyer Family

Hailing from Eugene OR, The Sawyer Family deal it with a unique blend of stoner Americana thunder. They’ll start one song and you find yourself saying, ok they’re a punk band and then it will turn into something ghostly Americana without skipping a beat. They’ll do a surf guitar type on number and then without warning start throwing in some 70’s stoner rock to kick you in the teeth. It’s like if the members of someone like Slim Cessna’s Auto Club started a side project that was part Black Sabbath, part Black Flag. Let’s put it this way, I review a lot of stuff and it isn’t often that after listening to a band a few times that I want to go out and buy one of their albums immediately. I do with The Sawyer Family – this show is going to rule! As an added bonus you have Sasquatch and The Full Moon boys which I’m looking forward to checking out even bummed that I can no longer make jokes about how one in every three musicians was at one time was a Sick-A-Billy. Throw in some country-punk with Girl Haggard and a re-configured Tony Jones in the Cretin 3 (who I hear have been slaying as of late), and you have an rock ‘n’ roll overload that is going to blow up big time!
The Sawyer Family, King Sickabilly and The Full Moon Boys, Girl Haggard, and Tony Jones &

The Cretin 3 rock the Pvd Social Club on April 15th.
Email music news to mclarkin33@gmail.c




GE Brings CD to Light

What can I say about GrandEvolution that I havent already written in my past three reviews of the Worcester area alt-indie-rock band? Well come to find out, quite a bit. You see this act is not merely just another band circularly swimming in the morass of stale wannabe hopefuls, chasing that ever-elusive shot at fame and fortune. Rather, GrandEvolution represents the standard to which those aforementioned nonstarters should aspire. Because well beyond the point that many musicians lose their crucial drive courtesy of a series of inexorable rejections and obstacles, GrandEvolution has continued to reinvest in their own destiny by constantly striving for excellence. And on their latest release “Collide”, excellence is exactly what’s achieved.
With all due respect to some fine backing tracks provided by Dave Shul on guitar, Marty O’Brien on bass, and drummer Matt Palermo, for all intents and purposes GrandEvolution IS Sarah Kenyon. The effervescent, eternally twenty-something singer/guitarist has put every bit of herself into this successful rock & roll project. And she’s done it by not only traveling the nation to find that just-right producer or the perfect recording facility, she’s additionally unlocked the secret to absolute musical success – WRITING, WRITING, WRITING, and more WRITING!!!! Her prolific composing has been paying dividends as of late, resulting in catchy, pop-friendly melodies, enveloped in a credible grungy alternative rock sound.
One of the best weapons Sarah Kenyon has in her songwriting quiver is the ability to invariably keep her song’s vibe youthful and airy, without ever losing any of the driving edge. Much like Brian Wilson’s work instantly conjures up adolescent memories of surf, sand, and summer, Sarah writes and sings in a voice that is inescapably young, though never puerile. A good example is the opening track on collide entitled “sweetheart”. “out on the town in the rain the sun the clouds, had so much fun hanging with you – i said goodbye, you said goodnight, called me sweetheart.”
Although the topic of lost love and broken relationships have been covered in song enough for fifty lifetimes, Kenyon indeed finds a way of expressing the hurt in a refreshingly succinct, yet powerful manner: “Seemed a perfect plan, working toward what could have been – Hit or miss, never know who you’re dealing with – Put all i had into belief and trust in you – Better off without you, i’m not looking back”
In interest of full disclosure, I like Sarah Kenyon and GrandEvolution, always have and always will. They are fully deserving of any and all accolades forwarded their way, ucn as recently reaching the semi-finals of WBRU’s Rock Hunt, and an upcoming stint at Mohegan Sun Casino. With Sarah Kenyon firmly in control of the band’s direction propelling them forward, GrandEvolution will continue to evolve (pun intended) in a manner that seems to always make their last project pale in comparison. If these guys aren’t a household name on the national scene inside of five years, one thing’s for sure – it wasn’t for lack of trying.




Local Punks Start a Movement

Peter & the Test Tube Babies

Local punks have joined forces to create a monthly event, called PVD Punk Night, with the first installment coming March 31 at PVD Social Club. Former Hell owner John ‘Cyco’ DiFruscio, Drunk Robb, Brass ‘N’ Ammo, Done Right, and American Pride among others are off to an awesome start.
This will be the type of night that punk rock dreams are made of. The 1980’s punk legends, Peter and The Test Tube Babies are on their first US tour in more than 10 years, which includes a stop at the PVD Social Club. Peter and The Test Tube Babies are known for blistering punk rock anthem like “Intensive Care,” “Run Like Hell,” and my personal favorite, “Banned From The Pubs.” I remember getting a punk compilation mixed tape with no song names in high school and “Banned From The Pubs” was the first song and just listening to that song and hitting rewind over and over. I didn’t actually find out until an embarrassing amount of years later that it was Peter and The Test Tube Babies and not The Exploited. Hey, there was no internet back then.
Sometimes it is hit or miss when the punk rock titans of the past come to town but Peter and The Test Tube Babies have enjoyed a solid reputation on the European festival circuit and look to be a sure bet. If that wasn’t enough throw in a second headliner in NYC hardcore legends, Murphy’s Law, and you got the punk rock show of the spring, possibly the year. There are solid local openers on the bill to with Reason to Fight and Oi! Division.
Peter and The Test Tube Babies, Murphy’s Law, Reason to Fight, Damages, Combat 49, and Oi! Division bring the punk rock to the Pvd Social Club March 31st. As an added treat Hank Sinatra Jr. will be doing his one of a kind multi-media karaoke rock between bands. The doors are at 7PM and the rock ‘n’ roll going all night.

Six Star ‘Splinter’

Six Star General returns with their 7th full length (8th overall) release, Splinter. This time around, the band got some help from friends like Kraig Jordan, Joe Traynor, Mark Cutler, and Bill Keough as well as increased vocals from drummer Dan Ulmschneider. On Splinter, Six Star General try out a few new things, like working in more keyboards and background vocals while still retaining their trademark bass thumping fuzz tone squall. Splinter opens with “Feeling Ungroovy,” which save for some occasional low backing vocals, continues their penchant for doing an increasing amount of instrumentals in recent years. All together, there are four instrumentals on Splinter with my favorites being the trippy “Triple EEE” that reminds me of Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins meets Caspar Brotzmann and the ’70s stoner rock infused “There’s No Steak in Cake.” The latter of which had been released previously with a different mix on last year’s These Woods Smell Like Grape EP (75orLessRecords). “Shave Your Beard into the Shape of a Smile” is probably the closest Six Star has ever come to writing a pop song. Complete with backing vocals and a sing-a-long melody, “Shave Your Beard into the Shape of a Smile” combines the pop instincts of ’90s lo-fi stalwarts like Guided By Voices and Sebadoh with lyrics I could picture someone like Hank Sinatra Jr. writing. “Nerve” sounds like a throwback to classic Six Star of old with a little cleaner production. I’ve never been a huge fan of instrumentals. So I was a little skeptical about Splinter given that over half the tracks are instrumentals but Six Star General pull it off thanks to guitarist Kyle Jackson’s arsenal of effects pedals.
Six Star General’s CD Release Party for Splinter with a show at The Apartment on March 16th with Galvanize and Deadlands. This is an early show running from 7-10PM with a low dough cover of only $3.

The Revival Tour

Chuck Ragan cut his teeth playing punk rock as the guitarist/vocalist for Hot Water Music. This may seem like an unlikely beginning for the founder of The Revival Tour, which is essentially a folk tour. The Revival Tour is different from your average run-of-the-mill tour because it emphasizes collaboration and openness between the musicians and the audience. Ragan described the inspiration for The Revival Tour saying: “At the end of most tours, I went on, everyone would end up on stage together anyway so I thought why not communicate more beforehand so we can share the old way collaboration onstage from the onset as the folks that came before us all did in the past?”
The first Revival Tour took place in 2008 and has continued since boosting an impressive list of guest musicians like Avail’s Tim Barry, Lucero’s Ben Nichols, 7 Seconds’s Kevin Seconds, Sparta’s Jim Ward, Audra Mae, Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon, and many more. This current swing of the tour features Alkaline Trio’s Dan Adriano, Against Me’s Tom Gabel, and longtime Lucero collaborator Corey Branan. Each will perform a solo set but expect plenty of collaboration and there are rumors of surprise guests. Think about it, where else are you going to get to experience an intimate club show with sets by people from Hot Water Music, Alkaline Trio, and Against Me for under $20 bucks?
The Revival Tour recently had a sold out run of shows in Europe and Ragan is nothing but optimistic about the future for the tour. Ragan has says, “We are going to do everything in our power to keep this tour going for years to come because we believe in the music. We put our hearts, souls and energy into it and the ethics we live by aren’t going anywhere. We’re still going to be here regardless of whether there are a lot of folks coming to the shows or it goes back underground where the majority of us come from. In the meantime, we’ve been documenting and archiving as many of the shows, artists and show goers as possible. We all feel we’re sharing something special together and it’s crucial to us to capture as much of that as possible with film, interviews, live recordings or backstage, back of the bus or parking lot hootenannies.”
Fittingly enough, one of the sponsors of this show is the maker of some of the next great Rhode Island beers, Revival Brewing. Founded in 2010, brew master Sean Larkin’s suds are currently available in a number of places around town including Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, the Scurvy Dog, The Avery, Wild Colonial, and Dusk to name a few. For the Revival Tour, it is also rumored that Larkin will be debut a new beer that night at Fete. Having sampled a few of Revival’s beers, I highly recommend their Saison!
The General Assembly presents: The Revival Tour featuring Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music), Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio and In the Emergency Room), Tom Gabel (Against Me), Corey Branan (longtime collaborator with Lucero), as well as accompanied by Joe Ginsberg and Jon Gaunt hits the Fete Ballroom in Providence on March 29th. Tickets are $16 in advance at the Fete box office and $18 the day of the show. Doors are 8PM and the show will start at 9PM.

Odds & Sods:

This is a Movement, Montana Skies, Sayings, and Outlook Not Good hit The News Café in Pawtucket on March 15t h. The Mighty Good Boys, Northern Lands, and 6A Valley are at The Met Café on March 15th. Rapper J-Flamez has his CD release for his great new biscuit, Now or Never, on March 16th at Platforms Nightclub in Providence. Viral Sound and Off the Rez hit the Spot Underground on March 16th. Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers, Native Run, and Katrina are at The Met Café on March 16th. The Spot Underground hosts Captain Nick’s Party for St. Paddy’s Day with Dr. Westchesterson, Starforce Trio, and Original Jelly Roll Soul on March 17th. Moga, The Famous Winters, Ravi Shavi, and Alt-Nation favorites Reverend Bastien ring in St. Paddy’s Day at The Met Café on March 17th. Larcenist, Cactus Attack, and The Quahogs are at The Local 121 on March 23rd. The Meds from Newport have a CD Release show on March 23rd at the PVD Social Club with the diePods and Vertical Twin. Roz Raskin & The Rice Cakes, Kingston 5:30, Northern Lands, and Sic Vita face off for the WBRU Rock Hunt Throne at the Met Café on March 23rd. This will be an early show running from 7-10Pm. Coyote Kolb, Last Good Tooth, and Smith & Weeden are at The Local 121 on March 24th. My quasi-monthly DJ night – Daughters of Satan Christian Dance Party – returns to the Tap Room of Local 121 on Sunday March 25th. Never a cover and the music will begin around 10PM. Foxy Shazam come to the Met Café for a must see show on March 26th. Band of Skulls and We Are Augustines are at the Met Café on March 28th. The Throttles, Evil Streaks, Denver Boot, and Dog Day Afternoon will make for another killer “Thirsty Thursday” at KC’s Tap in Pawtucket on March 29th. Scarce makes a rare return to Providence at the Local 121 on March 31st. Kevin Costner may be a movie star but for years he’s moonlighted as a musician. This makes more sense than Steven Seagal’s moonlighting as a cop as far as curious Hollywood’s star hobbies. His band, Kevin Costner and the Modern West hit the Park Theatre in Cranston on April 7th. Advance ticket are going fast so go to www.ParkTheatreRI.com to reserve your tickets if this is your thing.
R.I.P. Davy Jones
Email music news to mclarkin33@gmail.com




Macaster Plays Park

Okee dokee folks… I got inked. Yes, I went and got myself a tattoo. It’s small. I got it in memory of my dog, Zoey. The first thing folks ask me about it is “did it hurt?” My reply has been, “it felt like a hot knife cutting through my skin.” That feeling was only momentary. After that, it didn’t feel too bad. I can almost understand why people get so many tattoos. They are cool and the process of getting one is part of the allure, though I’m not sure I will be getting anymore soon. I got one for a sentimental reason and I don’t want that reason to be diluted. Now if I could only understand why Mike Tyson got his face tattooed.

Natalie Macaster

MacMaster

@ Park Theatre

Equally at home on the concert stage or at a folk festival,CapeBretonfiddler Natalie MacMaster is one of the most versatile and exciting young musicians on both the Folk music and Celtic music scenes. MacMaster’s many projects have seen her collaborate and perform with Alison Krauss, the Chieftains, Paul Simon, and Pavarotti. Natalie MacMaster will be bringing her high-kicking-fiddle-playing the The Park Theatre inCranstonMarch 20th at7:30pm. Natalie’s live performances are a testament to her incandescent musicianship and boundless energy, featuring foot-tapping rave-ups, heart-rending ballads, and world-class step dancing. MacMaster is equally adept at hypnotizing a crowd while alone in the footlights. Natalie’s fiddling fireworks on traditional and contemporary Celtic melodies generate a kind of “Traditional Fusion” delivered with uplifting energy felt by the musicians and audiences of all ages. MacMaster will feature a performance by students (as she always does with local groups) of the Kelly School of Irish Game. For more info go to: www.parktheatreri.com

 

Werner Common

Common Fence Music presents acclaimed singer-songwriter Susan Werner on March 31st at8pm. Over the course of her colorful career, singer-songwriter Susan Werner (www.susanwerner.com) has cultivated a reputation as a daring and innovative songwriter. She boldly endeavors to weave old with new to create original genres of music when existing ones do not suit her muse. She regularly keeps audiences guessing and laughing simultaneously. Most of her work infuses traditional music styles and methods with her contemporary worldview. She constantly challenges listeners to experience music from a fresh and unexpected perspective.  Susan has become a favorite of the Common Fence Music audience. She returns for the third time in three seasons and will have you in stitches. If you’re a fan of Cheryl Wheeler, then this show is for you. The performance will take place at Common Fence Music,933 Anthony Road,Portsmouth,RI.  Call 401-683.5085 or pay a visit the website commonfencemusic.org Doors open at 7.

 

Two-Stepping It, again

Aztec-Two-Step, (aztectwostep.com) the duo that does duos right has done it again. They have just released a wonderful collection of socially conscious songs. Some of them are new; some of them have been reworked to address the issues that we are dealing with today. The 16 song recording is entitled “Cause and Effect” and captures the signature ATS sound. Songs from as far back as 1967 and as recent as 2004 have been re-envisioned, re-recorded and released on this, their newest release. Although composed in previous decades, verses from “Falling Down Clowns”, “Shantytown”, “Ban Vinai”, “What Would The Indians Say”, and “Living In America” reflect the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, expressing the aftermath of economic disparity and the ills that come to a society that focuses primarily on money. Rex Fowler and Neal Schulman have been at this for over 40 years now and are masters of the two guitar/two vocals harmonizing. They’ve been at it longer (and better) than some of the acts that inspired them. In 1972, Aztec Two-Step, whose name comes from a poem by beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, burst upon the scene with their self-titled debut album on Elektra Records. Since then Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman have spent a lifetime making music together as the folk/rock duo Aztec Two-Step. They will be at theNarrowsCenterfor the Arts inFall Riveron March 30th. An ATS show is ALWAYS enjoyable and amazing. For more info go to www.ncfta.org

 

TaylorGets Stoned

Kate Taylor (katetaylor.com) performs at Stone Soup Coffeehouse on March 31st. Kate Taylor, growing up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was immersed in the rich heritage of southern and uniquely American musical culture. Country, Rhythm and Blues, Blues, Rockabilly, Gospel, Appalachian Folk, Blue Grass, Rock n Roll, Motown. These styles infused her musical style. She started her performing life as a teenager. At age 19 she met, through her brother James, her first producer and manager, Peter Asher. She joined Peter inLos Angelesin 1969 to start her first album, “Sister Kate”, and launched a nationwide tour culminating with a concert inCentral Park. Her subsequent albums have included “Kate Taylor” (1976), “It’s in There and It’s Got to Come Out” (1978), “Beautiful Road” (2002), and “Fair Time!” (2009). “Fair Time!” is a sassy blend of country, rock and roll, blues, ballads and more. Songs include a touching and heartfelt Red Tail, (composed for her late husband, Charlie Witham), and a tribute to her musical family, Sun Did Shine (onCarolina), with each verse celebrating one of her brothers (Alex, James, Livingston and Hugh) and his unique qualities.  Kate Taylor is one of a long line of what her brother Livingston calls “Circus Folk”. In her song she referred to “the Chapel Hillbillys”. The ham gene runs very deep in this family, and Kate was graced with a healthy dose. Come to Stone Soup to hear her and you will understand what thatTaylorgene means to music! Opening the show will be RISA’s Paul Pasch. www.stonesoupcoffeehouse.com

 

Sojourn to The Z

A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn Returns to “The Z” inNew Bedfordthis Saint Patrick’s Day! The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center will present Brian O’Donavan’s 7th annual St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn on March 17th at8 p.m.The popular Celtic Sojourn features music, dance, conversation, poetry and history fromIrelandand the Irish Diaspora.  The show will follow the format established for the burgeoning A Christmas Celtic Sojourn series, which played to a sold out crowd at The Z in December. Steeped in Celtic tradition, this year’s performers include: Dublin-born Susan McKeown, accompanied by newcomer and rising star Michael Brunnock who recently recorded songs for Sean Penn’s newest movie This Must be the Place. The Bee Eaters will perform, showcasing the string talents of Tristan and Tashina Clarridge, as well as hammer-dulcimer player extraordinaire Simon Chrisman. Named one of the “most accomplished and gifted string player of his generation” Jeremy Kittel, a regular collaborator with the Bee Eaters, will perform songs of his popular new CD, Chasing Sparks.  Jefferson Hamer andDublinnative Eamon O’Leary make up two thirds of the group the Murphy Beds and were also part of a memorable Guest Street Session at with Brian during this past year at WGBH. Longtime Dancer Director for A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, Kieran Jordan will be returning with a group of hand-picked dancers. Joined on stage by Jackie O’Riley and Kristen Kelly, she will bring variety and percussive spice to the gatherings. Local fiddle phenom Tina Lech will be joined by Uilleann Piper Joey Arbata and Mark Roberts, a founding member of the band Touchstone. They will add the required touch of “pure drop” playing to the evening’s activities. The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center’s box office is located at684 Purchase Street,New Bedford. For more information, visit www.zeiterion.org.

 

Goddess Pride

@ The Spot

Rhode Island Pride will hold The 13th Annual Goddess Show on Sunday, March 25th at The Spot Underground inProvidence.  This yearly celebration of women and music will feature performances by The Liz Borden Band, The Becky Chace Band, Bethel Steele, Pamela Means, Sabrina Chap, and Sarah Rich and will be hosted by local gal Nicool.  This is RI Pride’s biggest event planned specifically for the ladies and they’re sure to come from near and far for this exciting line-up.  The doors will open atnoonwith entertainment from1-6pm. The Spot’s kitchen will be up and running for a great lunch menu. The annual raffle will feature a 50/50 raffle and donated gifts raffle. Visit www.prideri.com for more information.

 

Pendragon @ Home

The Blackstone River Theatre will present an evening of Irish music and dance with Pendragon on Sunday, March 18th at7pm.New Englandhas long had a rich tradition of Celtic-inspired music. The Rhode Island-based ensemble Pendragon has embraced that tradition and created a timeless sound of its own, performing roots music with an unmistakable contemporary edge. Pendragon’s music celebrates the lives and lore of generations of New Englanders who brought traditions fromIreland,Scotland, French Canada and other distant shores to the banks of theBlackstoneRiver.        Pendragon fashions the music of tradition into the music of tomorrow, performing their original songs and dance tunes on an exciting combination of fiddle, flute, bouzouki, concertina, banjo, guitar, whistle and percussion. In performance, Pendragon elaborates on the cultural and historical context of their music while projecting a relaxed and humorous stage presence that comes from more than 28 years of performance together The Blackstone River Theatre is located at549 Broad StreetinCumberland. For reservations or information call Blackstone River Theatre at (401) 725-9272 or visit www.riverfolk.org.

 

Random Tunage

Wrapping things up, here are a few random shows for you to get out to. Saturday March 17th, celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with The Gnomes who will bring their world folk fusion and some special guests at the Roots Café, 276 Westminster St. Providence 8PM; $10.00 272-7422. The Brooklyn Coffee Tea House has a couple of great shows coming up: The Saturday Songwriter Sessions on March 17th will feature Bill Nottage, Ronnee Ringquest, and Meg Braun. On Thursday, March 29th Singer-songwriter Trina Hamlin will be playing an intimate show at theBrooklyn. You can find the BCTH at209 Douglas Ave.inProvidence. Peeptaod Cofffeehouse Presents: Atwater& Donnelly & friends on Friday, March 16th at8pmatNorthScituateBaptistChurch,619 West Greenville RoadinNorth Scituate. Buddy Cavaleri has a new Open Mic every Thursday at Ernie T’s inWyoming, RI that is! Buddy says, “bring your instrument, voice, comedy, or whatever or just come and enjoy the talent, food and drink…I look forward to seeing you there!!!” For more info: www.ErnieT’s.com.

 

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. John Fuzek

www.johnfuzek.com




It’s A Dog’s Life

Okee dokee folks…” A dog’s age,” that phrase defines a length of time, actually quite a length of time. It’s not commonly used anymore. I titled my last CD A Dog’s Age because it had been a long time since I made a CD and because I love (my) dogs. Now I sit at my computer devastated and writing this bit because “a dog’s age” wasn’t long enough for me.

I had to put my dog to sleep last week. My dog, Zoey, was almost 15 years old and I’d had her all but the first two months of her life. She was a gift from a friend who sprung her from a shelter in theBronx. During the next 14-and-a-half years, that dog was truly my best friend. She did just about everything with me and when my other dog, Abby, came along, they both were my constant companions. They were at my feet when I wrote at the computer for just about every article I composed for this paper. If you are a dog lover, you understand the heartache and sadness that I am dealing with. If you are not a dog lover, think of it this way: I adopted a child at 2 months old, raised her, taught her, disciplined her, took care of her, and loved her and just before she reached the age of 15 she got very sick and passed away. How many parents could deal with that kind of pain? Probably none. And, I have already dealt with it five times in my life. It doesn’t get any easier. It actually gets harder. When you live with a dog you grow together. Man and dogs have been doing for 100,000 years. You learn to communicate on a level that goes beyond commands. You both learn to read body language, gain trust, acceptance and unconditional love. Dogs are the best at unconditional love – giving and teaching. They also tell you when it’s time to go. For years, Zoey, Abby and I hiked in the woods 4-5 times a week. It was good for us all but Zoey needed to do it. She was getting old, slow and creaky and the exercise was good for her. Hiking with Zo and Ab was my favorite thing to do. A few weeks prior to Zo’s passing, we were hiking and we decided to try a new trail. We got lost. Then Abby got separated from us. I was panicked. There was nearly450 acresof woods to get lost in and I had no idea where she was or where we were. It was very cold and this went on for hours. We walked many, many miles. My old dog Zo never complained once, she kept right up. I called my father to come help me to find Abby because the sun was getting ready to set. Fortunately, within a half an hour we were able to track her down. That temporary taste of loss freaked me out. It freaked Abby out too. With this incident fresh in my mind, we had an already scheduled vet appointment to add to the stress. Both of the dogs had tests that came back that they both had health issues and needed more tests and Zoey probably needed surgery for a tumor. I began the process of preparing to submit Zoey to surgery, something I was afraid to do because of her age but after consultation and research it was determined necessary. We didn’t make it to the surgery. One day we went for a hike as we normally did, we came home and later had dinner. Zoey didn’t eat. In her WHOLE life she never turned up food. She was never sick a day in her life either. The next day she didn’t eat, started getting weak, started choking and though she was losing weight her body was swelling. I was in denial but decided I was taking her to the vet the next day to see what was what. That night was one of the worst nights of my life. I stayed awake with Zo all night trying to keep her comfortable waiting for the morning. By the time the morning came, Zo gave me that look. It was time to go. I took her to the vet but she didn’t come home. Now I have a HUGE hole in my life and Abby and I are trying to adjust to life without Zo. It’s hard, very, very hard. The sadness lingers and will for a very long time. I’m not writing this for sympathy. I am hoping that this may help the healing. Also, in my almost 8 years of writing for this paper I have always had a column in every issue and I feel that I let a lot of folks down by not providing a column for the last issue. I apologize for that and hope that you all understand now why it was missing.

Someone wrote this to me, “We who share ourselves with those whose lives are shorter than our own, are so very brave… letting go is not for the faint of heart.”  How true. Now I MUST move forward.

 

Chocolate Drops

into theNarrows

I have often said that theNarrowsinFall Rivershould open a Bed & Breakfast because of the amount of absolutely awesome shows they regularly present. Well, the month of March definitely has it going on! On Saturday, March 3, Jeffrey Gaines with only his voice and a guitar for accompaniment will simply astound you with his passionate performance. Gaines came to notoriety in the ’90s with his unplugged version of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” that gave the original a run for its money.

Sunday, March 4, returns Grammy Award winners and recent stars of the Newport Folk Festival, The Carolina Chocolate Drops to theNarrowsfor “dirt-floor-dance electricity.” Banjos and black string musicians first got here on slave ships, but now this is everyone’s music and it’ll be playing at the narrows – last time sold out! www.CarolinaChocolateDrops.com. On Thursday, March 15, Steve Earle, one of the most influential and revered songwriters on the planet graces the stage at theNarrows. Need I say more?  It’s Steve Earle!!! www.SteveEarle.com. On Friday, March 16th, They’re having a party and Southside Johnny and the Poor Fools will embark on a stripped down journey through Johnny Lyon’s eclectic version of the Great American Songbook. The Poor Fools will also dive into some of the legendary Asbury Jukes material. www.SouthsideJohnny.com. Saturday, March 17, yes it’s St. Paddy’s day, but this show trumps that! Jon Anderson: The Voice of Yes – There are few vocalists in the history of rock music that are as immediately recognizable by their sound as Jon Anderson, former lead singer of progressive rock icons Yes. In this personal and engaging solo performance,Andersonwill perform songs from all across the Yes songbook and his own eclectic solo work.www.JonAnderson.com There is just sooooooooooooooo much going on at theNarrowsyou’ll want to check for yourself. www.ncfta.org

 

The Knick

Gets Black Irish

The New York City Irish rock band, BLACK 47 hitting the road for its22nd StPatrick’s Day season on March 1st and makes the Knickerbocker Café its second stop on Friday, March 2. Black 47, long-time leaders in Celtic rock, the genre they helped create, formed in 1989, earning their chops playing the pub scene inManhattanand self-producing their first indie record, Black 47, before converting The Cars’ Ric Ocasek to the cause and gaining mainstream attention with their second album, Fire Of Freedom.  Years of relentless touring and thirteen albums later, the band has become a cornerstone of modern Celtic rock, since bursting out of MTV screens with their 1992 hit, “Funky Ceili.” Their signature eclectic sound, socially conscious lyrics, and off-the-wall live shows paved the way for other Irish influenced bands such as Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys. They cover topics ranging from theNorthern Irelandconflict to civil rights and urban unrest in contemporaryNew York. Led by Larry Kirwan who provides lead vocals and Stratocaster duties, the band’s music, though often based on traditional melodies, is laced with rock, reggae, hip-hop, New Orleans and modern jazz, while songwriter Kirwan uses influences as varied as Yeats, Joyce and Dylan to fashion his dramatic cutting edge lyrics.

The show starts at9pmand special guest, Mark Bernier opens. www.theknickerbockercafe.com.

 

Sugar Ray @ BRT

On Saturday, March 3,8pm, Blackstone River Theatre is thrilled to present the BRT debut of Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, hot off FIVE Blues Music Awards nominations! Their latest CD, Evening, has garnered nominations as Album of the Year and Traditional Blues Album. The band is up for Band of the Year, and Sugar Ray Norcia for Instrumentalist – Harmonica and Michael “Mudcat” Ward as Instrumentalist – Bass. Norcia’s career kicked into high gear in 1979 when he formed the original Sugar Ray and the Bluetones line-up with guitar giant Ronnie Earl, and it’s stayed there ever since. The elegant singer has appeared on more than 50 albums including discs with the Bluetones, Ronnie Earl, Roomful of Blues, Otis Grand, Michelle Willson, Duke Robillard, Pinetop Perkins, and his 1999 Best Traditional Blues Grammy-nominated collaboration with fellow harmonica virtuosos James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite and Billy Branch called Superharps. In the ’90s Norcia spent seven high-profile years with the legendary Roomful of Blues cutting five albums with the group including 1996’s Turn It On, Turn It Up, which also received a Best Traditional Blues Grammy nod. Now, Sugar Ray has led the Bluetones – guitarist “Monster” Mike Welch, drummer Neil Gouvin, bassist Ward and pianist Anthony Geraci – back on the road to support their hot new CD… don’t miss it! www.riverfolk.org

 

Z Stage Door

This March, The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center welcomes you to step through the red door on Spring Street to experience the Stage Door Live Series with Natalia Zukerman on March 8 and Dane Vannatter on March 22. This is not the traditional Zeiterion show. Your seat is on-stage. The artists are on-stage. Couches, chairs and tables create an intimate setting where you can view great artist up close. Visit www.zeiterion.org

 

Chan’s Got Blues

He’s back, back to where he started! Anthony Gomes, #1 Billboard Blues Artist, will be rolling into Chan’s Friday, March 9, at8pm. This local hotspot is where Gomes will be debuting music from his new release Up 2 Zero. The new CD represents a full-circle return to his love of high energy, guitar-driven blues rock. “This album is the most honest representation of who I am. The title represents getting back to the blues – back to ground zero,” Gomes says.  www.anthonygomes.com or call Chan’s at 401-765-1900.

 

Four Cornersof The Music Universe

On Saturday, March 3rd, An Evening of Singers, Songwriters and Stringed Instruments, will be presented byFour CornersArtsCenterin Tiverton. The show features Allysen Callery, Kim Lamothe, and Red Eye Flight — separately and together. Jeff Johnstone will be sitting in on keys. For more info, go to www.tivertonfourcorners.com/calendar/category/events/concerts/. You can also find advance tickets at Coastal Roasters (1791 Main Road in Tiverton) The concert will be held at the Four Corners Meeting House, located at 3850 Main Road in Tiverton. Doors open at7 pm; show starts at7:30.

That’s it for now. Thanks to all the folk who already sent condolences. Your kind words have helped a lot. And as always; thanks for reading.

John Fuzek www.johnfuzek.com




Continental, Silks & The Crock Hunt

The Continental bring it with straight forward infectious punk rock. Think of it this way, picture if the Dropkick Murphys of today were not a frat band and were actually… I don’t know, good. The Dropkick reference is escapable with original Dropkick guitarist Rick Barton fronting the band and sharing guitar duties.  Barton was also in the seminal ’80sBostonpunk band, The Outlets. The Continental are prepping to release their debut album in June and you can get a sneak preview Friday at the Pvd Social Club. With that in mind, I contacted Barton to get his take on things.

MC: From your days in The Outlets to Dropkicks to Everybody Out to Continental, what has stood out most for you as far as how the punk rock scene and even just the term “punk rock” has evolved?

RB:  The whole punk rock label in my opinion is a misnomer. On our most recent tour, it was pointed out to me that the first time that term ever appeared in print was back in the ’60s in reference to Question Mark and The Mysterians. So that was a good 10 years prior to Malcolm McLaren “officially” dubbing the term as legend would have it. So basically, what I’m getting at is I’m not a fan of that term being used as a musical form. I prefer to call the movement that most people say started with The Ramones, simply, original underground Rock & Roll.

The punk thing is basically an attitude and you could possibly say that Little Richard and Chuck Berry were the first Punk Rockers!

Anyway, the biggest change in this underground movement is back in the late ’70s and early ’80s when it was most prevalent people went and sought it out!! Nowadays, they click on it!  Kind of sad in my opinion but you can’t fight City Hall.

 

MC: It must be a thrill playing with your son in Continental. Does it ever create awkward moments between the youthful rebelliousness of a punk rock band and parental responsibilities? It is an interesting dynamic.

RB: Being in a band with my son has been incredibly trying! He pretty much contests and challenges me on everything from band direction to my personal lifestyle! I think I’ve become a disappointment to him as he’s had to experience the real me. Most kids don’t really get to know their parents on this level. But I’m steadfast in my determination and mission to make a small living playing music and hopefully he’ll come to respect me again as a person but that’s his business not mine. In one sense, it’s really good because he no longer puts me on a pedestal and that’s a really tough place for a parent to sit!

 

MC: Who was your biggest influence as a guitarist?

RB: I don’t really get off on guitar players, I’m a song guy! But, put at gun point, I’d say Malcolm Young, Johnny Ramone, Henry Cluney & Billy Loosigian

The Continental, The McGunks, Down and Outs, and Barroom Heroes will rock to The Pvd Social Club like a hurricane on March 2nd.

 

The Silks Album Fundraiser

The Silks have been tearing it up for a couple of years, playing everywhere from clubs to living rooms around town  If you get out much to see local music, chances are you’ve caught them. For those unfamiliar, The Silks are a like a spicy combination of Delta blues, country, and roots orientated Stones rock that people nowadays loosely term asAmericana. There is just one thing that has been missing from The Silks experience – a record. The Silks aim to change that and our holding a fundraiser to help with the finances at Machines With Magnets. Like a kickstarter project, there are various tiers one can invest into the show with perks like a custom poster from Ghost-Town, a DVD of the show, to even a private concert in your living room.  Check out http://www.facebook.com/events/241180289303482/ for the complete info. For an interview titled “Jonas Speaks,” I posed a few questions to singer/guitarist Tyler James Kelly and drummer Matt Donnelly.

MC: I understand you have a ton of material down. How are you guys going about selecting what will and what will not get on the record?

Tyler James Kelly and Matt Donnelly: Natural selection is the way to go for us. We strive for an album that imparts a large spectrum of emotion.  We are always writing new material and, at this time, we actually have tunes held over for a second full length.  We make sure to take time and pay attention to our musical inclinations .  Some tunes get dropped while others get added.

 

MC: Genre terms likeAmericanaand alternative get overplayed to the point that it becomes impossible to tell what anything sounds like. How do the Silks describe their sound?

 

Tyler James Kelly and Matt Donnelly: We do not necessarily try to sound like anything specific but to keep things pure and raw, the way we like it. Tradition is one of the most beautiful aspects of playing and writing music. Some of our biggest influences are The Band, The Flamin’ Groovies, Creedance Clearwater Revival

 

MC: How do you feel the band has evolved?

Tyler James Kelly:  With this current lineup, considering our varied individual tastes in music, we work very well together. Jonas for instance, has been playing bass in punk bands for years. On the other hand, Matt has played in a vast array of different types of bands, never playing in the same type of band twice.  For me (Tyler-James), I have had a love affair with guitar music since I was a boy.  Anything from 1930s country blues to 1970s funk and soul.  In our early stages The Silks main focus was exploring traditional modes Ie: Delta Blues, Country,Bluegrass.  Over time we have grown to be a band that has evolved to play music that is indicative of a more personal blend of our tastes.

 

MC: What do you think might surprise people the most when you finish the new album?

Tyler James Kelly and Matt Donnelly: We can feel the anticipation from our fans for the release of this first record. It’s been a long time coming. What might surprise them the most is the fact that they actually have it in-hand.

The Silks and Atlantic Thrills will be rocking Machines With Magnets on March 10th.  DJ Ty Jesso will be spinning his Soul Power set between bands.  All proceeds will go to funding recording of The Silks debut album.

 

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants are one of those love em or hate em type bands. They’re either stuck up nerds who don’t rock or quirky pop geniuses depending upon where you sit. I liken They Might Be Giant’s cult appeal to a band like Ween, where their fans tend to just love them. I’m not really in either camp, but I can’t deny that tunes like “Birdhouse in your Soul” and “Alienation is for the Rich” are damn infectious. They occasionally even rock out with numbers like “Spies.” They Might Be Giants are damn fun live too, unless, of course, one is already in their hater camp.

They Might Be Giants bring the nerdcore to Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on March 9th.

 

Deer Tick – Drops EP

Deer Tick has released more material from last year’s Divine Providence sessions in the form of a digital download EP titled Tim (Partisan Records). One doesn’t have to go any further than the EP’s title to find the homage to the Replacements that emerged in Deer Tick’s sound on Divine Providence.  In fact the first track, “Born at Zero,” sounds eerily like an outtake from the Replacement’s album Tim from everything to the guitar tone to the tempo.  Listening to it, I just can picture singer/guitarist John McCauley trying to come up with a song that is in between the Mats’ “Left of the Dial” and “Bastards of the Young.”  Lyrically, the tune is a little darker than the Mats but not as bleak as the addiction Hell narrative of the second track, “When It All Falls Down.” The song is kind of a mid-tempo storm with a simple riff that is carried through by waves of fuzz drenched guitars and Rob Crowell’s licks on the keyboards. The mood lightens with the love song “Virginia Gal” that has more of a stripped down blues meets ’70’s rock flavor. Ian O’Neil takes over the mic duties on  “She’s Not Spanish,” which is a waltzing lullaby. The EP ends alternate version of McCauley solo on “Main Street,” that was recorded almost immediately after the song was written. The stripped down arrangement works as far as giving the song a new dimension.  All and all, these are not simply leftovers throwaways but it is evident why some of these songs didn’t make the cut for Divine Providence.

 

WBRU Rock Hunt

March Madness is back with the return of the annual WBRU Rock Hunt which has traditionally featured some of the best (and worst) of local music. This year’s event is highlighted by a couple of veteran female fronted acts in indie posters, Roz Raskin and The Rice Cakes and ’90s rock dealers, Grand Evolution. There are some upstarts like Northern Lands, who after some lineup changes have really toughened up their sound and could do some damage, especially in the semi-finals. Bands that have also been making a name for themselves around town to keep an eye while betting include The Anchors. Scarlet, and Satellites Fall. I’m putting my money on the Rice Cakes to win the whole shebang because they’re further along as a band than some of the other acts and have a quirky aspect that separates them from the pack. This plays well when you might be playing to the same judges twice over a short period of time. Here are the details for the semi-finals, keep in mind that all shows start at9PM.

Roz Raskin and the Rice Cakes,KidMountain, and Grand Evolution will play the Spot Underground on March 2nd.

Kingston530, Look North, and Satellites Fall will play the Ocean Mist on March 3rd.

Free Hat, Sun of Sound, andNorthernLandswill play The Ruins room at the Colosseum on March 9th. The Anchors, Sic Vita, and Scarlet will play Newport Grand on March 10th.

 

Email music news to mclarkin33@gmail.com and get live updates on Twitter at twitter.com/marcclarkin




Benefit for the Louvers Frontman at Social Club

In Memory of Edward Henry Andrews of {Eddie and the Louvers} Eddie passed away on December 10th two days after his 29th birthday.

Eddie was a Renaissance man in the punk scene in these parts – frontman for the Louvers, they soaked the floors and walls of many venues around here and brought back the “beer bath.” They were banned from a lot of places, for making a public spectacle, such as the town of Bristol, and a few other local venues too. However, Eddie was totally embraced by places like Jerkys and Club Hell. As frontman, Eddie and the boys’ music was raw, anthemitec drunk rock at it finest. They won a Motif Music Award and split it, on stage, with fellow drunks Chris Evil and the Taints. Eddie was also part of The Butcher Shop, a chopper-building collective that turned out some awesome show-winning rides. Eddie was an expert Volkswagen tuner and shop foreman at Metro Volkswagen. He was always around to lend an ear or a hand when any one had a problem. He was a member of the Fall River Piss Drunks, a group of beer enthusiasts who took in my group of Friend’s and band The Shots and made us so welcome, we considered Fall River our second home. He was a member of the H-F Gentlemen’s  motorcycle association and a great guy. I write this with a very heavy heart. Eddie is only survived by his grandmother and mom, but survived more by the family he built on reputation, with all of these groups of  people above mentioned and the legacy of his music.

PVD Social Club has offered to have his Wake in the form of a good olde shit show on January 7th @8pmwhere we can all make a public spectacle and a proper celebration of his life, and what he meant to all of us, and the music community. There will be a donation of whatever you can spare, so that we can purchase a head stone for our lost brother, the rest of the proceeds will be donated to charity .

In closing, I’m gonna quote Ernst Neubach “Im Himmel gibt’s kein Bier.” In heaven there is no beer, that’s why we drink it here. And because Eddie, Buddha and Crazy Chris are in Heven drinking it all and having one heck of a time. Ride on Brothers.

RIP your freind

Drunk-Robb