The best alternative shows in RI all season plus an interview with Hope Anchor
I’d figured with Hope Anchor-a-mania about to run rampant through the city, a fun person to do an interview with would be the band’s guitarist, Terry Linehan. Known as Terry Dread back in the day, he has literally seen it all from being on a major label with Waterdog, touring as a guitarist for Green Day, and even being in a Green Day side project called The Frustrators with Mike Dirnt. He got a shout out from Billie Joe Armstrong at Green Day’s recent appearance at The Dunk. Terry co-owns a punk bar in Providence called The Scurvy Dog where the music is always loud and there’s a great selection of beers. To kick off the Fall Guide, I figured I’d ask him a few questions to get the dish on Never Gonna Let You Go and his thoughts on the music scene.
MC: How would you compare Never Gonna Let You Go to your debut release, Pile on the Dirt?
TL: Firstly, Pile on The Dirt was recorded in three spurts over four years and I think it sounds like that. Even if you’ve been doing this for as long as we have as musicians, it takes a while to feel the direction out as a band. After we did Pile on The Dirt, the songs on Never Gonna Let You Go are the next nine songs plus bits we wrote that we threw against the wall and stuck. So it has more of an immediate feel and is less calculated. I think it’s more visceral as well. Music should be physical and I think this record has that.
MC: How do you feel Hope Anchor as a band has evolved in the last couple of years?
TL: Well, you got enough copy for that? We started with a bunch of music I had written, assembled the group and tested what worked that I had written and what didn’t, then hit the studio. Since Pile on The Dirt there have been three major changes. 1) Eric Fontana left the band as he had his first child and we respect his decision and admire his contributions during his tenure, 2) we added Pip’s brother Matthew as a violin player, which makes us sound like a haunted house! 3) I switched from playing Gibsons to Fender Jazzmasters, which allows me to use the whammy like My Bloody Valentine, but use it in hard blues, which I’m not sure has been done before.
MC: As a longtime fixture on the music scene, how would you compare the music scene of today to say 10 or 20 years ago?
TL: The scene today has a lot more information, a lot more bands, and a lot less music fans. Local bands used to draw 800 people on a Friday at the Promenade St. Living Room. It seems like bands are mostly playing to other bands these days. I think the internet has made it so people don’t have to go out and see bands live to know what they’re getting anymore. Also there are obviously way less record stores anymore. I admire the ones we have, but I feel bad that kids don’t go to a record store to learn about music anymore.
MC: What are the three things you are most proud of in your music career?
TL: This’ll sound corny, but I’m most proud of our new record. Like everything else, it’s the culmination of a lifetime in music. Besides that, I’m super proud of playing guitar for Green Day on the American Idiot tour. It was a special record at a special time. We were in the middle of the Bush years and very publically rallying against them. Thirdly I’m very proud of the last Frustrators record and tour. Mike and I wrote the record in five hours, recorded it the next day and hit the road the next year having not played together as a band in 10 years!
MC: What were some the influences or types of things you guys were shooting for making this record?
TL: The new record was more influenced by time and place than other artists. I can’t speak for the other guys, but R.L. Burnside is the only palpable thing I tried to channel on anything. We were lucky enough to get flown to Oakland last summer to play some shows, and while we were there, we laid down the drum tracks for the album. We came home and did overdubs with Kraig Jordan and then flew back to Oakland to mix with Denny Muller. Also Pip playing the harmonica was a big part of shaping these new songs. Having other instruments that can make a racket without just adding more and more guitars allows things to breathe and still be loud and raucous. Pip and I had a conversation and decided to make our version of a blues record. We also wanted the record to be listened to beginning to end as one thing, so we added the blues bits between the songs to connect the dots. We recorded the blues bits on a handheld recorder in Pip’s living room. We wanted to sound like two old blues guys playing.
Hope Anchor will be playing during intermission at the Providence Roller Derby bout at the Rhode Island Convention Center on September 14th. Doors are at 5 pm with the bout between the Old Money Honeys and the Mob Squad scheduled to start at 6 pm.
Mean Creek are considered by some to be the best local band going in Boston right now. They mix in a little American, but are basically just full tilt rock & roll music wise. This is a strong bill for straight ahead rock & roll between Northern Lands, WBRU Rock Hunt champs Torn Shorts, and Dylan Sevey and The Gentlemen. I know there is a lot of competition on this night, but if you’re going for the rock & roll, I guess this show would win out!
Mean Creek, Northern Lands, Torn Shorts, Dylan Sevey & The Gentlemen, and The Ya Beautifuls rock The Spot on September 6.
The Gaslight Anthem
New Jersey bred rockers; The Gaslight Anthem return to Lupo’s to play their blue collar anthems. As far as an audio description, they’re pretty much modern day cookie cutter alternative rock. They do wear it well though, as I caught them last time they were in town and it was pretty much a love fest with the crowd singing along with the band on every song.
The Gaslight Anthem, The Sidekicks, and Gates rock Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on September 6.
Biz Markie isn’t sitting at home counting all the money he made from those Heineken commercials using “Just A Friend.” He’ll be coming to Fete and no doubt bringing the party with him. I love all that late 80s/early 90s hip-hop. It was just a fun era in music before everyone started fronting. Come down to Fete and take a trip back in the time machine to that era with Biz Markie.
Biz Markie plays Fete on September 6.
The other day I realized that Pere Ubu have been around for 38 years and found it mind boggling. They get classified as an experimental rock band on Wikipedia, largely because the categories for “alternative” or indie rock” had yet to be invented. Pere Ubu started from the ruins of the Cleveland punk band, Rocket From The Tombs (the other members formed The Dead Boys). Since then Pere Ubu have hit marks all over the spectrum and been a major influence on bands like The Pixies. I haven’t heard about them touring and have been eagerly anticipating this show for months.
Pere Ubu, Gagarin, and Atlantic Thrills will rock Fete on September 23rd.
Hardcore punk legends D.O.A. come to town on what is being billed as a farewell tour. If that is true, D.O.A. have had one hell of a run. To celebrate their arrival, Firehouse 13 is re-opening for a night. In addition to D.O.A, local legends Neutral Nation and Drunk Robb and The Shots open the show along with The F.U.’s from Boston. If punk rock is your thing, this will be the show to be at!
D.O.A., Neutral Nation, The F.U.’s, and Drunk Robb and The Shots are at Firehouse 13 on September 13th.
Rocktucket returns for its 5th annual takeover outside 250 Main Street in Providence. This year’s festival features something for everybody with acts geared more towards kids early in the day and then shifting to singer songwriters, then going full tilt rock ‘n’n roll, and then on to hip hop to close the party right. Of the rock portion, I’m stoked to see the Atlantic Thrills, Gavage, Malyssa & The Liberators and Ants in The Cellar. All great bands and what’s better than getting to drink out in the street while listening to some great music.
Rocktucket will take over Main St in Pawtucket on Saturday September 14th. The event happens outside 250 Main Street and runs from 1130AM to 11PM as part of the Pawtucket Arts Festival. Performers include KRIS HANSON, NATURAL ELEMENTS, FUNKY AUTOKRATS FEATURING MARK LOVE, ATLANTIC THRILLS, ANTS IN THE CELLAR, MALYSSA AND THE LIBERATORS, GAVAGE, BLESSED ENERGY, SIDY MAIGA AND THEAFRIMANDING, CASED CLOSED, DIRTYDURDIE, MILEZ GRIMEZ, THR33 PIECE SUIT, BLOCK MCCLOUD, BLACASTAN, TERMONOLOGY, and APATHY. Check out their page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/301255376681071/ for more info and set times.
Deer Tick return to town to present “Dudesmash 2” which promises to be an epic rock ‘n’ roll party. Deer Tick are releasing a new album brightly titled Negativity later in the month and will doubtless be featuring a bunch of new material along with old favorites. This show is like a who’s who of local bands with Americana favs The Low Anthem, Joe Fletcher and The Wrong Reasons, rockers Ravi Shavi, and country rockers Smith & Weeden all on the bill. I’m also looking forward to seeing T Hardy Morris of Dead Confederate perform solo, after catching an epic performance by him with the band this past Memorial Day Weekend.
Saturday September 14th ; Deer Tick and 95.5 WBRU presents “DudeSmash 2” – an outdoor concert featuring Deer Tick, The Low Anthem, Jonny Fritz, Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons, T Hardy Morris (of Dead Confederate / Diamond Rugs), Last Good Tooth, Ravi Shavi, Smith & Weeden, The Kolour Kult, and Vio/Mere at the Met Café’s Courtyard, 1005 Main St., Pawtucket RI. The show is all ages with 4PM doors / 5PM show.
Walk The Moon
Fresh off a recent appearance at the Jay Z- curated Made in America festival, Walk The Moon return to town to bring their dancey alternative rock to the big stage in town. It seems like a big jump for a band that played to a well-less-than-capacity show at The Met this past winter but there’s little doubt that Walk The Moon has some momentum going for them now. I wouldn’t call them really rock, closer to a boy band of alternative rock. A little 80’s, but the songs are catchy enough to have a good time with on the dance floor.
Walk The Moon and Magic Man play Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on September 18th.
R.I. Pizza Wars
Okay, so this isn’t a show but the chance to have free pizza from some of the state’s best pizzerias sounds good enough to me! There are much worse ways to spend a Friday night than eating free pizza and having a couple of beverages on top of that. One can also vote if they care enough on the contenders and a Pizza Champion will be crowned at the end of the night. Personally, I’ll probably stick to eating pizza.
R.I. Pizza Wars will go down at the Met Café on September 20th.
Pawtucket Fireworks Committee 2014 Fundraiser
I’m all for supporting causes that fund blowing stuff up! Throw in two sets by Rhode Island Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers, Steve Smith & The Nakeds and you have one whale of a Sunday night! Steve Smith and The Nakeds fit into the category of straight up rock ‘n’ roll and one hell of a party band to boot!
Pawtucket Fireworks Committee 2014 Fundraiser featuring music by Steve Smith and The Nakeds happens at the Met Café on September 22nd. There will be an auction from 5PM to 6PM, followed by two sets from Steve Smith and The Naked. Proceeds will go towards funding the third annual fireworks display at McCoy Stadium on July 3rd, 2014.
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears bring it with a mix of funk and soul that is sure to electrify the night. Taking major influence from the likes of Howlin’ Wolf and James Brown, Lewis and his band are not the type of band that you’re going to be able to stay seated for. The Silks will kick off the night with their patented mountain-man flavored rock ‘n’ roll.
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears and The Silks will rock Fete on September 24th.
990WBOB Presents Mondays on Blast
We all hate Mondays but that doesn’t mean they have to suck. What if there was a place you could go to see and hear a couple of comedians and catch a couple of bands for free? There is and that place is The Spot (formerly Underground – now above ground). 990WBOB broadcasts from there every Monday and showcases a diverse blend of the many styles of the local music scene. Whatever your cup of tea is, if you don’t like the bands one week, come back because you’ll probably love them the next week! In addition The Spot has an open kitchen in case you get the munchies and need something to snack on.
990WBOB Presents Mondays on Blast every Monday at The Spot located above ground on Richmond St. in Providence. The show kicks off at 9PM and rages all night.
Forever Young is a super group of local musicians who do a great job breathing new life into Neil Young’s large catalogue. They do everything from Young’s folk numbers to the full on Crazy Horse barnburners. They don’t win the Motif Award for Best Tribute Act every year for sucking. Trinity will open the night with a Crosby Stills and Nash set. No word at press time whether they have to stay away from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young material to avoid a conflict.
Forever Young and Trinity will play the Met Café on September 28.
They Might Be Giants
I keep waiting for They Might Be Giants to go on a tour and call it the Revenge of The Nerds 25th Anniversary tour as a testament to their staying power. Often mocked when they first surfaced in the 80s, They Might Be Giants laughed along with the joke by writing songs about it like “Rhythm Section Want Ad.” They Might Be Giants still put out albums, and although they may not be getting the crossover hits like “Birdhouse in Your Soul” anymore, they’re still money live for a good time.
They Might Be Giants and Mooch Hooch are at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on October 8.
The Parkington Sisters
The Parkington Sisters are four real life sisters from the Cape who have great harmonies. As for the band sound, it’s mostly indie folk with a couple of upbeat tunes that could be lumped in as alternative. I caught them recently at the Burnside Park Concert Series and they pretty much killed it!
The Parkington Sisters will fill Fete with harmonies on October 18.
Cold War Kids
Cold War Kids return to town after playing the WBRU Summer concert series in July. Cold War Kids remind me a little of a more keyboard-infused version of The Strokes. As far as modern day radio alternative rock, Cold War Kids are one of the better acts out there. Check out their latest record, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, but more importantly, don’t miss them at Lupo’s!
Cold War Kids will rock Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on October 21.
Built To Spill
Built To Spill return for another night of indie guitar rock mayhem. Built To Spill have always delivered whenever I’ve caught them. Singer/Guitarist Doug Martsch shreds on guitar land; while the lineup around him has changed over the year, the intensity of Built To Spill live hasn’t wavered. It has been a few years since Built To Spill has released any new material, so it will be interesting to see if they’re road testing anything for a potential release. The band tours non-stop, so they’re guaranteed to be in fine form.
Built To Spill, Slam Dunk, and The Warm Hair rock the Met Café on November 6.
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