Live Reviews – Aug


Veterans Park, Beverly Farmers Market, Beverly MA


Ahhh – it’s a beautiful sunny summer day and Julie Dougherty is set up in a nice little shady area in the southeast corner of Veterans Park (between Rantoul Street and the Beverly train station). People are spread out on the grassy ground in front of her. Lots of kids are running and playing games (one kid plows into me from behind like a train that has lost control). Vendors of all types are set up along the south and east sides of the park.  And the dog watching is excellent. I greet one handsome breed as he strolls by and in return he starts in with some deep French kissing. I don’t mind at all – I love those doggies. And the music – Julie is a master musician. She makes everything appear simple and perfect. She has a wonderful voice and her acoustic guitar playing is beyond that of your average player. Though a talented songwriter, she’s singing mostly covers today – songs by Carol King, Joan Baez, Cindy Lauper. She uses some modern technology to make it sound like she has background singers joining in with her. I request a song that I know she wrote with her talented California niece, “The Real Deal.” I love the tune because it’s filled with these cool jazz chords that follow each other in the most melodic way. She hesitates, saying she hasn’t played it in a while and that she’ll have to work it out first. But right after her next song she fulfills my request. I didn’t see her “work it out” the way I would – like playing a passage five times and finally getting it correct on the last try. No, Julie just plays the song. It sounds perfect to me, though she claims she flubbed up the bridge. That what I like about great musicians – they can make mistakes and the listener will never be aware of it. Check out Julie – a North Shore icon – she plays the the area frequently.    (T Max)


Revival Fest @ Dusk, Providence, RI


July 4th is a special day in Providence. It is not so much about liberty as it is about getting wasted in parking lots and seeing rock ’n’ roll bands. Dusk is absolutely bananas pretty much all day and night on the two stages. There’s also food courtesy of Julians and the beer junkies at Revival Brewing Company who sponsor the whole festival. Dusk is kind of a metal club, but anything goes today.  Pyramid starts the inside stage with a creative, if sloppy, garage rock set. Bad Motherfucker is already playing when I get outside and I get to see roughly a half hour of them. All three members take turns singing lead in different songs, though the bassist sings most of them. I have never seen a band do so many solos within songs and not take away from the tunes. These are the best musicians in Providence and they write killer songs in a weird Queens of the Stone Age or Melvins kind of way. Teazer is up next – they are kind of like BMF but they do mostly covers. They are fun and get the crowd going, though they are a little silly. Everyone is wearing wigs and dressed like Apollo Creed from Rocky. I didn’t expect to hear Van Halen today, but that’s okay once in a while. Pixels aren’t bad but a New England band with a name that close to Pixies? They also take forever to set up and cut into the next band’s set, but they are always pretty good in a Lemonheads kind of way.  I’m already sunburned and sweaty but the music keeps me going. Civility is the worst Killers rip off I’ve ever seen. I go back outside for Moto – a very good, veteran punk band who slay with their Ramones type riffage. Thee Itchies follow with another good punk set. Hott Boyz are up next and stink out the room, terrible stuff. Smith & Weeden and Cannibal Ramblers get things back on track with solid Americana sets. Beta Motel always take 400 years to set up their stuff, but they know how to throw a dance party. They always get the whole room dancing, and are ready to be big stars, you heard it here first. Buy their album! Quahogs do a decent set and never let the crowd down. Gymshorts and Atlantic Thrills close the night with passable punk sets. It’s a great day for free music but maybe Beta Motel should have closed the night. (Terry Boulder)


Medford Farmers Market, Medford, MA


It’s a short walk to the locals farmers market, which today happens to be one of the many stops of the T Max Patriotic Vegetable Tour. There’s a bustling of activity in Medford Square for today’s farmers market; pedestrians swarm the tents and booths set up carefully on the lawn, as they peruse the locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as other locally made products. At the center of it all is a friendly face with a warm smile, plucking his guitar. Children run up to him and he playfully sings them a song, weaving quaint details of the farmers market into the lyrics.  It inspires me to pick up some locally produced ice cream for my son and me, which we enjoy as we watch the rest of the family friendly performance. Nearby are a couple singing along and a little girl clapping her hands with excitement. This could be described as the perfect soundtrack to a lazy summer afternoon but it’s much more than that.  It’s a fun interactive experience that leaves a smile on your face and your spirit feeling a whole lot better about the planet. It’s amazing how the right music can just make an event like this truly sparkle. It left me thinking how fortunate we are to support our local musicians as well as farmers. (Kier Byrnes)


The Holy Ghost Society Cultural Center, Peabody, MA


While stopping by my local supermarket I could hear sounds of music in the air coming from near by. Following my ears I’m led to where three policeman escort me across the street to an area that is bursting with energy. Dance music is blasting out of a large PA system. There is food and drink being sold and one vendor is selling Portuguese soccer shirts, plastic water guns that blow bubbles, and little boxing gloves (I guess to hang on the rear view mirror of your car). Everything is foreign around me. Have I been transported to western Europe? Then Marc Dennis takes the stage. On each side of the performance area are video projections of the Marc singing in real time. He wearing large sun glasses and an extremely long scarf that drapes around him and needs constant adjustment while be belts out his songs to pre-recorded music. It’s music he has produced. Kind of like doing karaoke to your own songs. He’s created these stadium rock backing tracks with a traditional Portuguese feel.  Couples gradually get up and start dancing. It feels like a large family of friends that I’m watching from my little bubble. Marc invites all the kids in the audience to come up and sing his “Superman” song. While they sing a real Superman appears from out of nowhere and joins them, using his microphone stand as an air-guitar object. More and more people of all different ages join in with the dancing. Wonderful to see a different culture living right around me with their door open to come join in on their fun.  (T Max)


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