It all started last Sunday, when I drove up to Cooperstown to see Further at historic Doubleday Stadium. I was surprised by how small the stadium was, and that up to five minutes before the band started, you could walk right up to the stage and talk to anyone on it! Cooperstown is a lovely, quaint little town, and I’m looking forward to my next visit.
Happily, Bobby Weir came roaring back after his fainting episode at The Capital Theatre last April, pulling out old chestnuts like “Black Throated Wind” and Van Morrison’s “Gloria” to the approval of the adoring crowd! The band was on fire and the whole show was great from start to finish!
Then after working hard all week, I went to the nicest concert venue I’ve ever been at to see Everclear, Live, Filter, and Sponge! All the bands were great, but Sponge and Filter stood apart, for me. The thing that impressed me most, though, was the venue itself – Ives Concert Park in Danbury, CT. A very easy, hour long, all highway ride, Ives is on the campus of Western Connecticut State University. Entering on a path through the woods, you suddenly come upon a clearing and a big, beautiful lake! The reserved seat section is very small, and the lawn section is even smaller. They had delicious food trucks there if you happened to get hungry, but the coolest thing was that the stage was on a gazebo built on the lake, so the lake was the backdrop for the bands! It was the most idyllic setting I’ve ever seen a show at! And they have some big shows there! I noticed Warren Haynes, Tony Bennett, The Specials, and Moe had already been through, with some other good shows still to come this summer! This place is great, and well worth the ride! www.ivesconcertpark.com.
The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, The Rosendale Street Festival, and Bob Dylan at SPAC were also this weekend, but I could not fit any of them into my busy schedule! I did have a wonderful weekend though, and am conserving my energy for two Phil Lesh shows at The Capital Theatre tomorrow night and Tuesday!
Pearl Jam recently announced plans to tour this Fall! Starting in Pittsburgh on October 11, the tour will visit 21 cities in 56 days, finishing in the band’s home town (where else) of Seattle on December 6! Local shows are in Brooklyn, at Barclay Center on October 18 and 19!
This will be my last column until after Labor Day! I’m taking a much needed and well deserved vacation! Reservoir Music will still be open, but unless something earth shattering happens in the music world, this column will remain dormant until September 5, when I will return to the pages of The Townsman, as well as the websites, www.reservoirmusiccenter.com, www.brooklyncowboys.com, and www.hvmusic.com. There will, however, be a column next week that will give you whatever live music picks I already know about for August and the beginning of September, information I had originally intended to include in this column, but space and time limitations have forced me to bring that to you next week.
Here are this week’s picks!
Thursday, July 25 – The week starts not with a bang, but a whimper, as THE EAGLES fly into Bethel Woods. They’ve seen better days, but they’re still The Eagles, they still have a gazillion hits that you’ve heard too much on the radio, but they will be great again when played live! More exciting to me, is GRACE POTTER AND THE NOCTURNALS at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown! GP and The Nocturnals are one of the newer, younger bands that have caught my ear in recent years. They’re really good, and fun to watch, and, as I already said, Cooperstown is a lovely place to spend the day! Even more exciting to me is the PAUL WELLER invasion of New York! Paul was the frontman, songwriter, lead singer, and guitar player in Punk/ Pop/ New Wave band, The Jam, who modeled themselves on The Who, and while not as exciting as The Who in the glory days (I mean, who was? Answer – Nobody!), The Jam still managed to stand out on the virtue of their excellent songwriting and production skills. Since they broke up, Weller has distinguished himself with a string of well crafted, catchy songs that rock! He’s a fantastic songwriter and makes hit records! Tonight at The Apollo Theater, an amazingly tiny place compared to what it looks like on TV!
Friday, July 26 – Here comes the weekend! PAUL WELLER is at Webster Hall tonight, another amazing venue to see him! My pal, CHUCK MEAD, formerly, and occasionally, currently, of the most influential Country-Rock band of the 80’s and 90’s, BR5-49, is also around! Chuck is the real deal, as I’ve stated repeatedly every time he comes to town, and tonight he’s at Hill Country Barbecue in Manhattan, where the food, women, and music, are all to die for! King of the Surf Guitar, DICK DALE, starts a two night engagement at Brooklyn Bowl, and, further upstate, at The Capitol Theatre, DICKIE BETTS will run through just about every hit that his former band, The Allman Brothers Band, ever had (he wrote most of them), aided by opening acts, THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS and THE DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND!
Saturday, July 27 – DICK DALE concludes his stint at Brooklyn Bowl, and PAUL WELLER ends his New York run with a show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, but the place to be tonight is the Prospect Park bandshell in Brooklyn, where ROBERT PLANT will present his latest project, THE SENSATIONAL SPACE SHIFTERS!
Sunday, July 28 – Today is a great day to spend in Norfolk, CT, because Infinity Hall, a marvelous and ridiculously small and beautiful venue, is presenting two very special shows! An afternoon show will feature teenage ukulele virtuoso, JAKE SHIMABUKURO ( check him out on YouTube, especially his show stopping version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”), and an evening show with pedal steel virtuoso, ROBERT RANDOLPH AND HIS FAMILY BAND! It’s a long ride, but a beautiful one, and to see this level of musicianship from two fabulous artists, in one day, at this venue, is truly something special! Go early, spend the day, eat in the delicious restaurant attached to the venue, and prepare to have your minds blown by these two stellar musicians!
Monday, July 29 – WKZE, our area’s best radio station (since it’s been programmed by Rick, host of the Evolution show, which is heard Wednesday nights at 10 PM on WKZE, 98.1 on your FM dial, and online at www.wkze.com), has been playing a new band who has jumped out of the radio to demand my attention! That band is DAWN MCCARTHY AND BONNIE ‘PRINCE’ BILLY, and they are at Town Hall in Manhattan tonight! Their remake of the Spencer Davis group hit, “Somebody Help Me” is as good as the original, and several of their other songs have really caught my ear. This is good music, and I’m betting this show will be memorable!
Thursday, August 1 – Tonight features a very special show at Iridium in Manhattan! MORELAND AND ARBUCKLE, an up and coming band from Kentucky, who tore up Bluestock at Hunter Mountain two years ago, will be in the house! These guys are amazing! Their guitar player plays a homemade cigar box guitar with guitar and bass strings on it, and he plays both parts! I expect big things from these guys. They could be the next ZZ Top! I’ll post some video from their Bluestock appearance on the web versions of this column this week, online at Midnight on Wednesday.
That’s it for now. See you next week with my live music picks for August and the beginning of September, and there have already been some killer shows announced! While I’m on hiatus, I will still be doing my radio segment on John Madeo’s Little Delaware Jamboree radio show, every other Monday night between 8:30 and 9:00, so please tune in at 91.3 FM, or online at www.wioxradio.org. Next show is August 5, and I’ll see you back in The Townsman and online in September.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!