PPAC’s Cool Summer Nights

Yachtley Crew (Photo courtesy of the band)

Beach tunes, island music, yacht rock — whatever you call it, there’s a unique sound to summertime music.

This summer, there’s no need to leave the city to catch the sunshiny vibes of the season because the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) is delivering a trio of concerts that will have you swaying and singing along… in your seat. PPAC’s “Cool Summer Nights” series offers what outdoor venues cannot – an air-conditioned, bug-free environment to jam in.


“I grew up in Warwick and with such short summers, we’d always make the most of the season and squeeze in as many cookouts, beach days, and outdoor concerts as possible,” says Tommy Buoy, lead singer for the yacht rock band Yachtley Crew, part of PPAC’s summer line-up, and co-author, with Someday Providence, of the song “Summertime in Rhode Island.”

Matt Ryan, who performs as Bruce in the USA, agrees that the season is laid-back so the music must be as well. “Summer concerts are a happy place, a celebration of warm, long summer nights, live music, friends and good memories,” he says. “And, when the music hits, everything else fades away.”

Rhode Island, adds native John Cafferty who will appear on stage at PPAC with his Beaver Brown Band, is the perfect backdrop for summer concerts. “Everything and everyone feels young and alive again in the summer, especially here in Rhode Island,” he says. “We’re all looking for a day in the sun with a song to sing and dance and celebrate.”

Tickets for Cool Summer Nights series start at $10. Performances include:

Bruce in the USA: Saturday, June 22, 8pm. At first blush, Ryan’s show is a tribute performance to Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, but the former member of the “Legends in Concert” cast, pours such emotion and authenticity into his work and backs himself with such seasoned, world-class performers that the experience becomes so much more. Musicians from such bands as Queen, Blue Oyster Cult, Joe Cocker and The Temptations have earned accolades as part of the world’s best E Street Band tribute. Meanwhile, Ryan offers up so many hit songs from the Boss’ catalog that the evening becomes a Springsteen marathon.

John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band: Saturday, July 13, 8pm. The Rhode Island legends – with a special appearance by another local icon, Steve Smith and The Nakeds – rocketed to national stardom after performing the soundtrack to the 1980 movie “Eddie & The Cruisers.” The single “On the Dark Side” held the top spot on the Billboard charts for five weeks and was certified platinum. The band followed with the number one hit “Tough All Over” and singles like “Hearts on Fire” and “C-I-T-Y.” Most recently, they have a single “Day in the Sun” in an upcoming film by Peter Farrelly. The 10 members of Steve Smith and The Nakeds bring four-piece rhythm and five-piece brass sections to the party for the powerful R&B vibe they’ve spent 50 years perfecting.

Yachtley Crew: Saturday, July 27, 8pm. Tommy Buoy, stage name for Thomas Gardner Jr., may be from Rhode Island, but the group originated in Southern California so they bring that easy, breezy SoCal vibe to their concerts. Mainstays of Yacht Rock, a throwback to the soft rock sounds of the 1970s and mid-1980s, the seven-piece band is on its “Seas the Day” tour, which brings audiences through classic hits from groups like the Bee Gees (“How Deep is Your Love”), Robbie Dupree (“Steal Away”) and Toto (“Africa”).

For tickets to any of the Cool Sounds of Summer series, go to