Needy Visions, Magic Magic, Bearstronaut, and co-host of Bent Wit Cabaret, Mary Dolan.

Needy Visions, Magic Magic, Bearstronaut, and co-host of Bent Wit Cabaret, Mary Dolan.

Two Three interesting events to profile this week. The first is actually a three-day musical extravaganza to celebrate The Boston Phoenix’s Best Music Poll, with some very cool local bands in free performances at Downtown Crossing. This includes everything from psychedelic to lo-fi punk, synth-propelled New Wave and dance, indie pop, folk, and Americana. Secondly and a late addition because I just realized they’re performing at the Milky Way in JP Friday night, Audrey Ryan and Shepherdess, two highly talented singer-songstresses. The third promises to be a fun and adventurous evening of cabaret and music from Bent Wit Cabaret. They present a full collaborative theatrical production on the second Sunday of every month at OBERON in Cambridge (Harvard Square). For this particular show (“Identity”) which commemorates the end of Pride Week, they’ll be exploring race, sex, and gender, with lots of music, from rock to jazz to pop.

Best Music Week – Free Concerts @ Downtown Crossing!

An awesome line-up of shows put on by the Boston Phoenix to celebrate their Best Music Poll. Wednesday looks to be “Boston Blogger Day,” with a few of the top local blogs presenting one band each… very cool. Shows are free, all ages, 21+ to drink. 5-8pm on Summer Street, Downtown Crossing.

Needy Visions, Thick Shakes, Hands and Knees @ Downtown Crossing, Summer Street – Tuesday June 8.

Needy Visions, Thick Shakes, & Hands and Knees

Needy Visions, Thick Shakes, & Hands and Knees

Needy Visions are cool, garage/psychedelic and actually rather 60’s hippie sounding for how young they probably are. Thick Shakes are a lo-fi punk trio from JP, nice and noisy. Also delightfully lo-fi, Hands and Knees are a bit punk, a bit quirky, a bit pop with some nice harmonies.

Tea Party Boston/Supertonic Presents: John Shade, Boston Band Crush Presents: Kingsley Flood, and Bradley’s Almanac Presents: Magic Magic @ Downtown Crossing, Summer Street – Wednesday June 9.

John Shade, Kingsley Flood, and Magic Magic

John Shade, Kingsley Flood, and Magic Magic

John Shade is a singer-songwriter whom I’ve profiled (briefly) before. His writing is honest and thoughtful, and he’s lately been performing with The Neave Quartet, though I’m not sure if he’ll be with them or solo for this show. Kingsley Flood are a really good acoustic Americana/folk band from Cambridge, blending rootsy with rocking. Magic Magic I’ve heard some very complimentary things about. Pretty indie pop with varying moods from song to song; nice harmonies; cool, dreamy and whimsical guitar sounds and percussive flourishes, extremely listenable. They’ll also be performing at Great Scott three days later, on Saturday (6/12).

Mean Creek, Bearstronaut, Mystery Roar @ Downtown Crossing, Summer Street – Wednesday June 9.

Mean Creek (photo by Matt Teuten), Bearstronaut, and Mystery Roar

Mean Creek (photo by Matt Teuten), Bearstronaut, and Mystery Roar

And speaking of that Magic Magic show at Great Scott on Saturday, they’ll be supporting the gutsy and soulful dark-country/rock of Mean Creek, who celebrate their 7″ release. Bearstronaut are quite odd – part synth-pop dance, part alt-rock. Kinda new wave, kinda funky. Like I said, weird. Interesting and weird. Mystery Roar is dance-funk, a good match-up with Bearstronaut. I don’t know why I think of The Time when I hear these guys, but I do.

Audrey Ryan & Shepherdess @ the Milky Way

Shepherdess and Audrey Ryan

Shepherdess and Audrey Ryan

Audrey Ryan and Shepherdess @ the Milky Way Lounge, Jamaica Plain – Friday June 11.

Just a quickie, but I first profiled gifted singer-songwriter Audrey Ryan back in December, when she played a few shows at Toad. To quote myself, “early influences include Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan, and vocally, she definitely has a Joni thing going on. Nice. Besides singing, she plays guitar, accordion, banjo, violin, keyboards, and percussion.” She’s performing at the Milky Way Lounge in Jamaica Plain along with Shepherdess who also sounds really great. This is definitely one worth trying to catch.

Bent Wit Cabaret: “Identity”

Co-host of Bent Wit Cabaret, Mary Dolan (photo by Caleb Cole)

Co-host of Bent Wit Cabaret, Mary Dolan (photo by Caleb Cole)

Axe To Ice Productions and Bent Wit Cabaret Present their Identity Show for Pride Weekend, hosted by UnAmerika’s Sweetheart Karin Webb (co-producer of Bent Wit Cabaret) and legendary Mary Dolan, and featuring NYC-based trans spoken word artist Kit Yan, Baratunde Thurston of The Onion, trans dancer and burlesque artist Ms. Lolita LaVamp, and musical guests Box 5. Bent Wit regulars will also be on hand: burlesque dancer Sugar Dish (creator of The Slutcracker), Lainey SchoolTree (highly recommended – just saw her perform at Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys’ CD Release Party), burlesque dancer Femme Brulee, and the Bent Wit House Band, Elephant Tango Ensemble (featuring members of Goli and HUMANWINE) @ OBERON, (Harvard Square) Cambridge – Saturday, June 13, 8pm. Buy tickets here.

photo by Caleb Cole.

photo by Caleb Cole.

This Sunday’s show closes out Pride Week, and so will feature gay and trans gender artists. For their theme they’ll “take a deeper look into whom we are, why we do the things we do, and whether or not anyone else is aware of it.” For an idea of what one might expect (or probably better to say “leave your inhibitions at home and expect anything“), have a look at the photos from past performances…

photo by Caleb Cole.

photo by Caleb Cole.

Bent Wit Cabaret is co-produced by Jill Gibson and performance artist Karin Webb. Their core collaborators include composer Lainey SchoolTree, and burlesque dancers Femme Brulee and Sugar Dish. Their mission is to create monthly collaborative theatrical presentations that are highly polished and choreographed, centered around particular themes that aim to bridge gaps between communities and encourage conversation.

(from the press release): “Axe To Ice Productions¬†was created by two cabaret-producing, gender-bending, clown-like character actors. The company seeks to create, support, and produce art that causes an audience to question and to think, to be struck in the moment, and to bring their experiences into action in their own communities.”

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