musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Category: Music News (Page 1 of 5)

My Year In Concerts (such as it was)

Violent Femmes - The Royale, Boston - October 30, 2018

Violent Femmes – The Royale, Boston – October 30, 2018

In a typical year, I would be writing my “10 Best Concerts” article around this time. But this year has been anything but typical. It wasn’t completely awful, as I learned a lot of important things about myself and made some key decisions. But as far as live music was concerned — not much. In fact, I only saw a total of six shows this entire year, although one was a festival where I managed to catch a half-dozen different acts. I got to see a few favorites whom I’d never had the pleasure of seeing before (and they were amazing), plus a year with a live Violent Femmes performance is infinitely better than a year without one.

Photos, when I have them, are by me. Video is by others, courtesy of YouTube (see individual credits).

Emmylou Harris / Ry Cooder at Tanglewood, Lenox, MA – July 1, 2018

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::: See my write-up :::


by Manuel


by MysticFollower

Lowell Folk Festival, Lowell, MA – July 29, 2018

In the following order: Big Country Bluegrass, Kyle Huval & the Dixie Club Ramblers (briefly), Salar Nader & Mustafa Saeed (Afghan tabla and rubâb), Burnurwurbskek Singers & Dancers (Penobscot drummers and singers), Sidi Touré (Songhaï guitar music from Mali), a bit of Mariachi band and dancing in the street, plus Bernard Allison Group (blues, and a mean guitar).

Big Country BluegrassKyle Huval & the Dixie Club RamblersSalar Nader & Mustafa SaeedBurnurwurbskek Singers & DancersSidi TouréLowellFolkFestival06LowellFolkFestival07LowellFolkFestival08LowellFolkFestival09LowellFolkFestival10Mariachi band and dancing in the streetBernard Allison Group


by Randy Kohlenberger


Mustafa Saeed


by NDNsoldier2008


The Kennedy Center


by MoJoeVision

Rodney Crowell, Concord, NH – September 20, 2018


Rodney Crowell

Violent Femmes at the Royale, Boston, MA – October 30, 2018

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by Melvin O

Richard Thompson with Sisters of Slide at the Paradise, Boston, MA – November 14, 2018


by Amy Karibian

Willie Nile, City Winery, Boston, MA – December 29, 2018

WillieNile01WillieNile02

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David Bowie’s Never Let Me Down album is reborn as part of the upcoming Loving The Alien (1983-1988) box set

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David Bowie’s Never Let Me Down album, while frequently panned, then and now, by the musical elite (and by some fans) for not being his best work, holds a special place in my heart. It was at the time of this record’s release and subsequent world tour that I was most deeply immersed in my Bowie fandom. I had just begun publishing a David Bowie newsletter with legendary fan Rose Winters called ‘Bowie Bits’ (her name, not mine! It would soon be changed to ‘Sound & Vision’), and I followed the European and U.S. legs of that tour, reporting on the highly ambitious and wildly extravagant Glass Spider Tour shows. So now, 31 years later (egads!), the much-maligned Never Let Me Down album has been not just re-recorded but remade by former Bowie collaborators Reeves Gabrels, Mario McNulty and others, as part of an eye-popping 11-CD, 15-record box set called Loving The Alien (Warner Music/Parlophone), which will see its release on October 12.

Before I launch into all the info., which is head-spinning, have a listen to “Zeroes,” the first single from the collection.

Gone is the overbearing, leaden ’80s production, and in its place, a sleek, clean acoustic guitar centered mix that puts Bowie’s vocals up front and center, where they belong. From the original, they kept the best parts — David’s acoustic guitar and vocals, and Peter Frampton’s classy sitar lines, which come along like a delicate string of pearls to beautifully offset the otherwise sparse and understated instrumentation. The old version now sounds quite dated, but this sparkles brightly and sounds timeless. It’s exquisite.

As Reeves reveals in a recent BBC Radio 6 interview, David was not happy with the NLMD album. The year after it came out in 1987, he was already voicing his disappointment with the production. In 2008, he remixed “Time Will Crawl” with McNulty, recording new strings and new drums (courtesy of Bowie’s drummer from 1991-2004, Sterling Campbell, who is also on this upcoming release). In the album notes, Bowie wrote, “Oh, to redo the rest of the album.” He has now gotten his wish.

Other musicians featured on the reimagined Never Let Me Down album include David Torn on guitar and Tim Lefebvre on bass, who played on ★ (Blackstar). Also part of Never Let Me Down (2018) is a string quartet with arrangements by Nico Muhly and a special guest cameo by Laurie Anderson on Shining Star (Makin’ My Love).

The set includes newly remastered versions of Let’s Dance, Tonight and Never Let Me Down (original and 2018 versions), Glass Spider (Live Montreal ’87), the previously unreleased Serious Moonlight live album, Dance (a collection of original remixes) and Re:Call 4, a non-album, alternate version, b-sides and soundtrack music compilation.

Loving the Alien (1983 – 1988) was clearly designed with the fan in mind. NLMD’s new artwork features previously unpublished images from Greg Gorman’s original cover photo session. The 128-page booklet has rare images from many Bowie photographers of the time, including Gorman, Herb Ritts and Denis O’Regan; historical press reviews and album technical notes from producers/engineers Nile Rodgers, Hugh Padgham, Mario McNulty and Justin Shirley-Smith.

Read all the details and see the full track listing for the Loving the Alien (1983 – 1988) box set — and Pre-Order It On Amazon!

This is Parlophone Records’ fourth box set in a series of special releases that pays tribute to Bowie’s career from 1969. The other critically acclaimed sets include Five Years (1969 – 1973), Who Can I Be Now? (1974 – 1976) and A New Career in a New Town (1977 – 1982).

For Gabrels, the re-recording of Never Let Me Down was an emotional undertaking. As he explains in the BBC Radio 6 interview,

The first song I worked on was Zeroes… One of the things that we used to do all the time was David and I would often record the acoustic guitars facing each other, both of us playing at the same time. It gave it a little more of a natural feel. So, we would record together. I had my headphones on, and I had my guitar that I was playing in my right ear, and David was in the left ear, and his vocal was in the center in the headphones. I had my eyes closed while I was tracking. And in my mind’s eye, I saw David sitting across from me, and the way his body language was, and the way his eyes would look while he was playing. Because he would get this faraway look, but he was looking at you at the same time. I recorded a pass of me playing acoustic guitar with David, and when I stopped, I opened my eyes, and I expected to see David sitting there. I got that feeling out of the way early, because I knew at some point I was going to hear his vocal or something was going to happen that would bring tears to my eyes… In my mind, he was there.

david bowie official site | reeves gabrels official site | BBC Radio 6 interview (starts 45:00 in) | David Bowie – Loving The Alien (1983 – 1988) press release

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Tanglewood Magic with Emmylou Harris and Ry Cooder

Disclaimer: In the interest of transparency, I will reveal that I’m writing this remembrance a half year after the event, which was on July 1, 2018. However, it was such a wonderful experience, I feel I must mark it in some meaningful way, even as tardy as I am.

This is one of those amazing events that you occasionally stumble upon, entirely by accident. I had heard that Ry Cooder was touring, and knowing the my friend Victor is a big fan, I had done a little research to see where he’d be playing. I think there was a local show, but then I saw, to my astonishment, that he would be performing with the legendary Emmylou Harris — at Tanglewood, no less!

I’ve never seen either of them, so this was too good to pass up. I had been to Tanglewood Music Center, summer home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was with my parents, when I was very young, and it was most certainly for classical music, which Mom and Dad favored.

This time, Victor and I took the drive out to Lenox, Massachusetts, for a well-deserved road trip. Just getting away from my demons and the mile-long To Do list was well worth the time and expense. Lenox is a charming town in the Berkshires. The entire area, once you exit the Mass Pike, is laid back and relaxing.

And the show? Magnificent. Emmylou opened (imagine that goddess as an opening act!), and her glorious music was matched only by her warm, funny and humble spirit. Her band was great, with fiddle, banjo, guitar and drums accompaniment, but her powerful vocals were front and center, as they should be. Yes, she still sounds great. You can see the setlist, and suffice it to say, several tears were shed throughout the course of her set. And when Townes‘ goosebump-inducing “Pancho and Lefty” came around, I was done for.

EmmylouHarris_Tanglewood2018-03

EmmylouHarris_Tanglewood_2018-01

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After a brief intermission, Ry Cooder and his band took the stage. Augmenting his tight band was North Carolina R&B trio the Hamiltones, whose breathtaking tenor vocals and close harmonies brought the classy proceedings to an even higher level. There were rockers, there were ballads, there was a lot of delicious sax and of course, Cooder’s trademark slide guitar. Yowsa. Special ‘shout out’ to Robert Francis, an awesome musician in his own right, whom I was stunned and delighted to see grooving along on bass guitar.

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Tanglewood, yes, is a bit of a hike, but as an acoustically marvelous amphitheater, it’s one of the best places to see your favorite musicians. If you have the ways and means, do it!

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Introducing… Discogs (psst, attention music collectors!)

Discogs2

It may seem as though there are too many disturbing things going on in this world right now and too much to be concerned with to be talking about an online resource for music recordings, but don’t tell that to a record collector! These are passionate folks, dedicated to their pursuit of that one extremely rare record to complete an artist collection, or to finding previously unknown recordings from some obscure genre — Northern Soul, for example. If you spend a lot of time on eBay or in the last remaining record stores searching for elusive vinyl, or if you’ve been Googling your heart out to learn more about the records currently in your own collection, or if you wistfully remember Goldmine Magazine from back in its heyday, you need to know about Discogs.

Discogs, a crowd-sourced online music information repository is “on a mission to build the biggest and most comprehensive music database and marketplace.” This enormous site acts as an encyclopedia for vinyl, with a tremendous amount of information about recordings in a mind-numbing number of different formats. It’s also something more — an extensive marketplace where users can buy or sell music in various formats. As a music marketplace, Discogs far surpasses eBay in terms of detailed information about the recordings being offered, and in connecting dealers and private sellers with a deeply engaged and highly motivated audience.

Here’s a good overview of what you can expect at Discogs, from Vinyl Eyezz:

For those too busy listening to their sweet vinyl to take the time to watch that video, here’s the scoop.

What kind of information can I find on Discogs? In addition to the title and record label, there are details about available formats, country of origin, release year, genre, style, tracklist, additional notes and even reviews.

What can I do with Discogs? You can track down rare records that you won’t find elsewhere, and look up information about the albums you already own. You can buy great vinyl (and many other formats) for your collection, or sell your recordings online to a knowledgable and appreciative audience.

What formats of music will I find on Discogs? Every format you can think of, and many you’ve probably never heard of before — vinyl, CD, cassettes, CDrs, DVDs, Box Sets, shellac, flexi-disc, VHS, SACD, Blu-ray, 8-Track, Laserdisk, DVDr, hybrid, lathe cut, file, acetate, CDV, memory stick, Blu-Ray-R, Edison Disc, Minidisc, Reel-to-Reel, Floppy disk, DCC, 4-Track cartridge, HD DVD, UMD, Betamax, Pathe Disc, Microcassette, DAT, PlayTape, U-matic, SelectaVision, VHD, cylinder, Betacam SP, Video2000, Video8…

Why should I create a free Discogs account on their website? With a Discogs account, you can create a listing of all the records you own and look up information, current value and availability. You can also create a wish list for all the records you want. You can track all your Discogs purchases, plus you will have access to the Discogs forums to get your questions answered by expert musicologists and collectors.

It would be really cool to have an easy-to-use Discog app. for my smartphone. Do they have that? Yup, there is a Discog app. for iPhone or Android. Download it now.

If you haven’t realized it by now, Discogs is the perfect place to learn about music and get the most from your vinyl collection!

web | facebook | twitter | instagram | youtube (community profiles and “how to” videos)

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Bowie, Rykodisc, Salem: The Untold Story – May 12, 2016, CinemaSalem

Despite the fact that he is no longer with us, the stories about David Bowie are far from over. So prolific was this legendary artist, there are many songs yet to be heard that will no doubt see the light of day in coming years. His Twitter and Facebook feeds are more active than those of artists supposedly still in existence — yet more evidence of his eternal presence and lasting legacy. And yes, the stories from those who knew and worked with him keep coming in, uncovering a depth of knowledge about his work previously unknown of by even his most devout followers. One such story is of his time working with once Salem, Massachusetts-based maverick indie label upstart Rykodisc, and in particular, their A&R and Special Projects Director, Jeff Rougvie.

Rougvie had a job that Bowie fans could only dream about, which involved digging through the Bowie archives, listening to all the original master tracks of legendary albums and putting together a “wish list” for Ryko’s David Bowie Sound + Vision reissue series. This unveiling of an audiophile’s collection of CDs began with the ambitious Sound + Vision 3-CD plus CD-ROM box set, which went on to win the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Album Package. They then re-mastered and re-released all of his RCA albums, from Space Oddity through Scary Monsters.

Recently at CinemaSalem, located in the heart of this town on Boston’s north shore, Rougvie gave a presentation, ‘Bowie, Rykodisc, Salem: The Untold Story.’ If I were more savvy with a smartphone, I might have Periscoped it for Bowie’s fans worldwide, such were the gems uncovered — in story, visuals and song. It began with a comprehensive history of Rykodisc, a brave little CD-only indie label that achieved stupendous things back at its inception in 1983, but which has fallen into the shadows of rock history. When most people think of Salem, they have images of its witch-burning history and modern day pagans that still inhabit this still rather sleepy New England seaside town. Suffice it to say, a little bit of pagentry to celebrate the good deeds of this label that brought the first compact discs to the U.S. is long overdue.

Ryko's contribution to music aficionados' collections is vast.

Ryko's contribution to music aficionados' collections is vast.

I won’t go into Ryko’s impressive artist roster here (Frank Zappa, the Residents, Chris Bell and Big Star, Bowie, Elvis Costello, Jimi Hendrix, Devo, Nils Lofgren, Bob Mould, Yoko Ono, Galaxie 500, Misfits, Morphine…). You can see their Wikipedia page — or, better yet, Rougvie’s ongoing online retrospective.

In this amazing presentation, what was billed as a 90-minute show turned into three hours of hilarious anecdotes and delicious behind-the-scenes stories (I was going to say ‘dirt,’ but I don’t want to get him into any trouble). This was accompanied by a slide show with rare photos and internal record company documents and two blistering mini-sets from Boston-based Bowie aficionados The Daily Pravda. After the Ryko story leading up to Bowie, the band performed four Bowie songs, in stellar fashion (they’re really quite wonderful). Rougvie then launched into the Bowie portion of the show, which included an exhaustive (and exhausting) biography, some interesting stories about RCA and other entities and what went on when Ryko took over. This was accompanied by photos of Bowie (several of which I’d never seen before) and documents like master tape track listings and album tracks which included possible bonus material, some of which remains unreleased. By hardcore fan standards, it was intense, so you can imagine what the audience thought — a mix of big Bowie fans, casual fans and regular cinema visitors. The band came back and played another four songs to seal the deal for those who were still riveted to their seats in awe.

It is my hope that Rougvie takes this show on the road, because I know of many devout Bowie fans and collectors who would have loved to be there. Until that happens, if you’d like to learn about Bowie’s collaboration with Ryko on the reissues, discover what really happened behind the scenes and learn about the rare tracks that have yet to be heard, check out Rougvie’s Bowie Sound + Vision Blog. It’s crammed full of really interesting information for the serious fan and collector. And follow him on his Twitter and Facebook for any news of upcoming posts, publications and events. He did tell me that this was “just the tip of the iceberg” and that much more is on the way.





The Daily Pravda’s setlist: (set 1) Rebel Rebel / Ziggy Stardust / Man Who Sold The World / Moonage Daydream // (set 2) Starman / Drive In Saturday / Hang Onto Yourself / Heroes

Follow Jeff Rougvie’s exploits:
web | facebook | twitter | album credits (AllMusic) | creative salem podcast

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A Fitting and Festive Eulogy for Johnny D’s!

The closing of a legendary neighborhood institution after 47 years (2 months, 13 days) seems too big to try to sum up in a lowly article. There’s the importance of this fine club for the many bands that graced its small stage, artists that somehow fell outside of the usual rock fare of most of the other venues around town. These were bands that were rootsy, country, bluegrass, folk, world music, singer-songwriter and others that were ‘none of the above’ (Shirim Klezmer Orchestra, anyone?). Johnny D’s was also extremely important for, ok, I’ll go ahead and say it, the older folks who still love live music, but can’t deal with the bootcamp atmosphere of Boston’s rock clubs. Johnny D’s had a comfortable homey roadhouse feel, with tables where you could enjoy a nice dinner and an intimate musical performance. They had an amazing history of artists, both local luminaries and world-famous names, and they will be greatly missed. However, the stellar send-off for this wonderful venue was done in pure New Orleans style, with fantastic music from local legend Ken Field and his phenomenal Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, the equally stellar Harpageddon and a traditional second line parade around Davis Square.

Ken Field and the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble

Ken Field and the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble

Harpageddon -- and one melodica

Harpageddon -- and one melodica

My personal remembrances of magical evenings at Johnny D’s date back to pre-blog days, when I worked at Northeastern Records. Several of our bands played shows there (Barry and Holly Tashian, John Lincoln Wright, Shirim, the impossible to classify Bud Collins Trio and the equally impossible to classify but definitely not country or bluegrass Cul de Sac, and those were the heady days for me during my brief stint in the music business. Johnny D’s was also where I had the great honor of seeing people like Butch Hancock and the inimitable Townes Van Zandt.

Johnny D’s was also the place where I unwound for a low-key but deeply satisfying evening with a few exceptional cover bands, such as Rust Never Sleeps.

In the absence of this home for rootsy rock, Americana, country, folk and bluegrass, it’s uncertain if any other venue will step up to take its place to welcome those kinds of bands in a smaller setting. Let’s hope so! In the meantime, we’d like to wish owner Carla DeLellis and her loyal staff the very best in their future pursuits. And do check out the official Johnny D’s site, which for now has been left up as a tribute, with much gushing praise and many articles. Share your own memories on their guestbook!

Queen of the Festivities, Carla DeLellis

Queen of the Festivities, Carla DeLellis





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Rest In Peace, David

from a 1987 press conference at the Cat Club in New York City

from a 1987 press conference at the Cat Club in New York City

I can’t believe that just a few days after celebrating the birthday of this extraordinary artist and heralding an amazing new album, that we’re now mourning his death. My heartfelt love and appreciation to David Bowie, and my sincere condolences to his family, friends and fellow fans. I’m in absolute shock about this (I wasn’t even aware he had been fighting cancer for 18 months), so for now, I’ll just toss up a quick video of my favorite Bowie song. I wish I had videos of my own, but my time with him was pre-YouTube and pre-any kind of video camera that wasn’t the size of a toaster. I have decided to attempt to digitize what I do have, which are my 40 Bowie Bits/Sound & Vision newsletters from 1987-1992 and a bunch of my live recordings (that is, if the oxide hasn’t come off the cassette tapes). We all thank you, David, for everything.

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Happy 69th Birthday, David Bowie, and Thank You for the Present!

Haunting, mysterious, complicated, intense. And I base this only on the title track to ★ (otherwise known as Blackstar), David Bowie’s new musical offering to Planet Earth, which drops today. It also marks the man’s 69th birthday, and it is his present to us.

Tonight I will listen to the album in its entirety, wrapped in a dark shroud and quite possibly recapturing the feelings I had for this brilliant artist nearly 30 years ago when he was my entire world. For now though, join me in a little taste and celebrate his considerable influence on the musical landscape and our glorious and terrible culture, as he continues, as he always has, to hold a mirror up to show us its strange reflection.



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Crowded House Release ‘Help Is Coming’ to Benefit Save The Children for the Refugee Crisis

The saddest thing about this song recently re-released by Crowded House to benefit Save The Children’s campaign for the refugee crisis is that I received notice of this back on September 11, and it’s even more relevant now, more than two months later. This is not a problem going away any time soon, but with efforts like this, we can help ease the pain for so many people. The song itself is a both a heartfelt plea and a promise — “Help Is Coming Soon.”


This beautiful song is available as a limited edition 7-inch single and download, and proceeds benefit Save The Children to help in their efforts to provide aid during this ongoing refugee crisis. You can read more about their campaign. For those wondering about the song itself, it is from their b-side album Afterglow, released in 2011. The video is by Mat Whitecross with an introduction by Benedict Cuberbatch.

Download the single to donate to Save The Children and show your support. All proceeds will go to help thousands of refugee children in need of food, safe water, medicine, shelter and psychological support. The 7″ single includes an exclusive previously unreleased b-side “Anthem” with new artwork by Crowded House’s bass player Nick Seymour. All entities (the band, Apple, Universal Music Group and producers) are donating their royalties and all proceeds to the cause.

DOWNLOAD SINGLE FROM iTUNES | ORDER LIMITED EDITION 7-INCH VINYL

DONATE FROM THE UK or INTERNATIONALLY | DONATE FROM THE U.S.
NOTE: Above links go directly to the Save The Children official site.

Additional background from the press release:
Like the rest of the nation, the broadcasters/writers Caitlin Moran and Pete Paphides were saddened and angered last week by the images of three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi and his brother Galip.

Pete Paphides “I started imagining my family in a similar situation, and almost without me realising it, a song I hadn’t heard for several years started playing in my head. Help Is Coming was recorded by Crowded House over 20 years ago, but it evokes with uncanny empathy the howling uncertainty faced by thousands of families arriving in Europe for the first time. The following day, I contacted friends at The Vinyl Factory — a label that owns the old EMI pressing plant in Hayes — with a view to manufacturing a seven-inch single with all the proceeds going to Save The Children. They responded immediately, offering to waive all their manufacturing costs.”

Caitlin Moran “The day after the pictures of three-year-old Alan Kurdi went around the world — it was like a switch had been flicked. My social media timelines were full of people who just could not stay inactive any more; who were exasperated with the lack of governmental action. There were people posting up Amazon wish lists of tents, sleeping bags, clothes; people hiring vans to drive down to Calais; people organising libraries, and soup kitchens. People doing that brilliant, simple, ageless human thing: of wanting to help other people. Whilst committees convene and resolutions are published and squabbles break out between this government and that, normal people just become very practical: they roll up their sleeves, and say: “Right. if I’d just fled my country with my family, what would I need? Shelter, food, and clothing. maybe some books, for the kids. Let’s get started now.” So, Pete and I were just doing what everyone else was doing, really. He’d found the perfect song — Help Is Coming, about refugees on their way to Ellis Island, with “Empires crumbling” behind them — and I just went on Facebook and told everyone what we were doing. And everyone was desperate to help — everyone felt the same way.”

Neil Finn “I am continually amazed and grateful for the mysterious pathways that songs can travel. You never know where they are going to turn up and when they will reveal their true nature. First recorded in 1995, quietly released in 1999 Help Is Coming has had a long journey to find a good home. It was always a song about refugees even if at the time I was thinking about the immigrants setting off on ships from Europe to America, looking for a better life for their families in America. The words of the poem inscripted on the Statue of Liberty are an extraordinary statement of intent for the development of a great nation ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’

There is such a huge scale and urgency to the current refugee crises that barely a day goes by without some crushing image or news account to confront us. We can’t be silent anymore. Like the diverse immigrants that made America great, these are good people that just want to find somewhere safe to create a better life for their families. I am grateful to Pete and Caitlin for imagining my song might resonate — and to Mat Whitecross for creating such a powerful film to accompany it. It’s an honour to be a part of a growing chorus of voices to create action and make it real… help is coming.”

HelpIsComing.org | Save The Children – Child Refugee Crisis Appeal | Neil Finn | Crowded House

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Thank You and Farewell to T.T. the Bear’s Place

Good heavens, where to begin? T.T. the Bear’s Place in Central Square, Cambridge has been a beloved member of the Boston music scene family since 1973. Dark and divey, this intimate 300-capacity club has hosted notable legends from Boston and beyond — The Pixies (who recently performed there again in a surprise gig), Lemonheads, Arcade Fire, Dropkick Murphys, Dinosaur Jr., Mission of Burma, Jane’s Addiction, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Shins, Scruffy the Cat and many more. They’ve also hosted many up and coming bands from around the world. They were also the proud home of Boston’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble from 2011-2015. [And as my friend, esteemed poet, psychic and past-life regression therapist Victor Robert Venckus pointed out, they were also home to Stone Soup Poetry for a number of years.]

TT’s will unfortunately be closing their doors forever on July 25.

The only good news out of this is that they’re going out with a bang rather than a whimper with a Farewell Blowout week-long+ celebration that will see quite a few local legends, with many performing together on the same bill. Due to the heavy demand for these really low-priced tickets, all sales are in person at the box office (7pm – closing), with a small amount of tickets put aside for “first come, first serve” the night of the show. The final evening on the 25th with Scruffy the Cat is already sold out, but there will be limited tickets available at the door.

There are many others far more qualified to sing the praises of T.T.’s, since I only arrived to Boston in 1992 and for the last 10+ years have lived in the wilds of the North Shore, not getting in as often as I used to. However, I’ve covered quite a few of their shows here on ‘musings,’ so here’s a few personal highlights.

Local Natives’ first ever Boston show, in the dead of winter, with two other L.A. favorites, The Union Line and Voxhaul Broadcast – 1/17/2009


“Better late than never. Work obligations, the oppressive cold bearing down, and all that. But last Sunday, a distant and rapidly fading memory now, I braved the elements (snowy, windy and cold as they were) to see three really great L.A. bands at T.T. The Bear’s Place in Cambridge. And as I so often am at these times that finally inspire me to get my ass off my small island and down from the North Shore into the city, I was cold, lonely and bereft of inspiration, desperately in need of an indie band live music fix. These guys really delivered for me.” Read more >>

Happy Hollows’ debut Boston appearance, with two Southern rock bands – 10/18/2009


“Toward the end of my ‘Silverlake East Coast Revue’, there was this marvelous miracle of an appearance by highly regarded (and rightly justified!) eastside L.A. band, The Happy Hollows, at our lovely little dive, T.T. The Bear’s Place in Central Square. I don’t know how on earth they got plunked onto a bill that sandwiched them between two swampy Southern rock bands, but bless all the pagan gods that they did. [as Sarah said to me afterward, “we were the odd ducks in the middle”. Odd and immensely talented ducks, I’d say!]” Read more >>

Crooked Fingers – 11/6/2011
(covered on Ryan’s Smashing Life)
“Many indie rockers, when looking for a breath of fresh air away from their main band, will gravitate towards folk-informed singer songwriting, and rootsy alt-country. It’s a yearning for something stripped-down, more personal and self-contained, simple and emotionally direct. It’s a desire to get back to basics, and to find that connection with traditional storytelling and down-home comfort food for the spirit. Elder statesmen such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, and Steve Earle light the way. But few can really pull it off, to ingest and then transform those influences into their own voice. Eric Bachmann is such an artist, and at the risk of coming off as corny, I felt like I was in the presence of a really old soul at T.T. the Bear’s Place.” Read more >>

Rock ‘n’ Rumble Semi-Finals Night #1 – 4/12/2012
(covered on Ryan’s Smashing Life)
“We’re getting down to it, folks. No more messing around, the gloves are coming off, and Boston’s music fans were treated to ferocious jams on Thursday night, as preliminary winners fought hard for a place in next week’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble finals. There was ferocious 50s-style garage rock on the front end, hardcore headbanging on the back end, and sandwiched in-between, a rather breathless battle between the considerable musical prowess of Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck, and the elegant old-timey Americana of Cask Mouse.” Read more >>

The Drowning Men – 11/11/2012


“I had seen The Drowning Men on several occasions as support for The Airborne Toxic Event, mostly in larger venues. I had become so accustomed to seeing/hearing them take over the room and captive big crowds in a big space, that nothing quite prepared me for the sonic onslaught of that huge sound of theirs in the small confines of T.T. the Bear’s Place. This is a happy problem to have—being too good for a small venue. As Nato himself said, when headlining, they’re still a “small band,” though they sure as hell don’t sound like one.” Read more >>

And speaking of Ryan’s Smashing Life, there was that highly esteemed Boston music blog’s 4-Year Celebration —

Oh, T.T.’s, with your dank and cozy vibe, wall-bursting sound and dodgy lighting, I shall miss you. 🙁


Wednesday July 15 (last “regular” show)

Air Traffic Controller w/ Purples (Philly), Gladshot (NYC) and People Skills (NH)
8:30pm doors | 18+ | $10

Thursday July 16 – Wolf’s Farewell to TT’s Party

with the Legendary Vudu Krewe (9pm) & special guests Jenny (Dee) D’Angora, John Powhida, Amber Casares (8:30pm); Fireking (Asa Brebner, Kevin Connelly, Jittery Jack, Anthony Kaczynski) (7:30pm); Michelle Paulus (Dents), Ramona Silver and more!
7:00pm doors | 18+ | music starts at 7:30pm | FREE!

TT’s Farewell Blowout
Friday, July 17 – Saturday, July 25

Friday, July 17
The Upper Crust (midnight), Last Stand, Stop Calling Me Frank, The Bristols, Reid Paley, Pooka Stew…plus special guests!
presented by PBR | 8:00pm Doors | 18+ | $15

Saturday, July 18
TBA
7/16 5:30pm – It has just been announced that indeed, Mighty Mighty Bosstones will be playing an 11pm set at T.T.’s, coming directly from their support gig with Foo Fighters! They’ll be performing with “special guests” (maybe the other support on that bill?). In any case, you can only get on the list here. It’s $20, with no actual tickets. Your name will be at the door and you’ll need ID. The show is 18+.

At press time, we have no idea who will be playing on Saturday. However, Boston heavyweights Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Mission of Burma and Dropkick Murphys all happen to be performing with Foo Fighters at Fenway Park this weekend. Just sayin’.

Sunday, July 19
The Daily Pravda (1am), Bearstronaut, Animal Talk, Spirit Kid, TBA, The Luxury, Paddy Saul… plus special guests
presented by PBR | 7:00pm Doors | 18+ | $12

Monday, July 20
Mike The Considerate & The Interns (midnight), TT’s Staff House Band!, Mary Lou Lord (with Annabelle Lord-Patey), Jules Verdone, Matt & The Lower Standards (9pm)… plus special guests!
presented by PBR | 8:30 Doors | 18+ | $10

Tuesday, July 21
Runner & The Thermodynamics (midnight), Thalia Zedek Band, The Dazies, Evan Dando, Willy Mason, The Grownup Noise (acoustic set)… plus special guests!
presented by PBR | 8:00 Doors | 18+ | $12

Wednesday, July 22
The Lights Out (midnight), Ad Frank & The Fast Easy Women, Parlour Bells, Francine, Cujo (featuring Jen Trynin)… plus special guests
presented by PBR | 8:00pm Doors | 18+ | $12

Thursday, July 23
Harris (1am), Emergency Music, Vic Firecracker, Orbit, Field Nurse featuring TT’s bartender John!, Atomic Spectra (featuring members of Taxpayer & Aberdeen City)… plus special guests
presented by PBR | 7:00pm Doors | 18+ | $15

Friday, July 24
The Dogmatics (1am), The Neighborhoods, Howie & The Scrapes, Martin & Morrell (members of The Neats & Del Fuegos), Bleu… plus special guests
presented by PBR | 8:00pm Doors | 18+ | $15

Saturday, July 25
Scruffy The Cat (midnight), O Positive, Randy Black & The Heathcroppers (with Willie Alexander)… plus special guests
presented by PBR | 8:00pm Doors | 18+ | $15

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