Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's a week of insanely great live music in Northampton and Holyoke

Here at IHEG Towers high above Main Street in downtown Northampton, we put our pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else. (Well, before we come to work.) But once in a while we look out the window at the little model railroad town below and the rolling mountains to the North in the distance and we say, “hey, let’s book some amazing shows.” On occasion, there’s a perfect storm of shows that, when viewed on the calendar, causes us to audibly gasp and stand in awe of our booking prowess. This week is an example.

Tonight (Tuesday), two artists who pack the Iron Horse on their own are paired up on a co-bill at The Calvin Theatre. Alejandro Escovedo and Kathleen Edwards. Escovedo is backed by his band the Sensitive Boys and Kathleen Edwards has a full band as well. We just saw Kathleen on Main Street and she was praising Northampton’s excellent coffee options. Kathleen used to open for the likes of Kasey Chambers and The Be Good Tanyas at the Iron Horse. We’ve always loved Kathleen and it’s a thrill when our favorite openers inevitably “go viral.” She and Alejandro will be live on 93.9 The River this afternoon before the show.

Those who prefer a litte Va Va Voom (and a more intimate room) can get their gawk on with Burleque-A-Pades at the Iron Horse at 7PM tonight. BURLESQUE-A-PADES is a sexy, sultry, randy and racy 90 minute show conceived by The World Famous Pontani Sisters, trailblazers of the burlesque movement!

Wednesday it’s Counting Crows Traveling Circus and Medicine Show outdoors at Mountain Park with Augustana and Adam Duritz’s rapper find, Notar. Adam says “I love hip-hop. I grew up in Oakland, and NOTAR is a flippin' genius." Adam continues, “The Circus was always meant to be about playing with a friend. It's the idea that opening bands…. no one hears them, and then there's a middle band that people hear but they don't hear much of, and you don't get your band until the end and it's never enough. And so I wanted everyone onstage together and to just go, everyone out to the end. It's one big thing. We play together, we play separately, we guest on each other's songs or we don't. It's just fun to stand there and stand back and sing a seven, eight part harmony. It's a wall of harmony, like the Beach Boys or something.” Gates are at 5:30 and based on the above, it’s probably a good idea to be there in time for the 7PM start of the show.

Wednesday at the Iron Horse you can enjoy the very entertaining Roger Clyne and his band the Peacemakers. Roger is formerly of the wonderful band The Refreshments and he’s the composer of the theme song to Mike Judge’s TV institution King Of The Hill.

Thursday, witty nerdsmith Jonathan Coulton will again pack the Iron Horse to the rafters. Jonathan, along with They Might Be Giants and many more, is featured on our friend Bill Childs’ new benefit CD Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti. With a national release on August 10th, the CD is the first release from Spare the Rock Records. “This unique collection of songs is filled with uplifting messages from some of today’s very best family musicians.”

On Friday, Interpol, the world's largest international police organization… oh wait….. wrong group…okay. Interpol, the epic NYC band that has been compared to Joy Division, The Chameleons, and dark, rich, chocolate rum cake, take over the Pearl Street Ballroom. Interpol has returned from their major label adventure to their first home, Matador Records, and have a grand new eponymous album out.

Friday at the Iron Horse at 8:30, Chicago’s Occidental Brothers Dance Band Int'l featuring Samba Mapangala are joined by Makaya McCraven, formerly of Northampton and full time drummer in local legends Cold Duck Complex. After playing the Pitchfork festival in 2008 and GlobalFest in January 2009, the OBDBI experienced a meteoric rise–graduating from Chicago street festivals to the stages of Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Montreal and Vancouver Jazz Festivals in the course of a year. They play classic Central and West African dance music—specializing in soukous, Highlife, Rumba, Dry Guitar, and other delights from the great continent.

Saturday at Mountain Park in Holyoke, the anticipation is palpable for The Flaming Lips. Excitement about this concert has been building exponentially as rave reviews of recent shows make the rounds. The band’s musical power alone would be enough, but the visual magnitude of their live show may leave you sputtering and trembling with joy and transcendence.

But get out your pen and stationary set because Saturday night in Northampton is worth writing home about as well. You’ve heard the irresistibly hooky Matt Kearney on WRNX and Mix 93.1. Well, he headlines the Pearl Street Ballroom with Jim Carrey’s daughter Jane Carrey opening.

Across town one man guy Loudon Wainwright reports into the Iron Horse at 7PM with his latest lyrical update on the glories of middle age, family, and other strange weirdness.

But wait, before you exhale, on Sunday at Pearl Street, the ballroom will bow to the ridiculously popular Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, a band who has gone from zero to pinning the speedometer in just over a year. They had the most popular song as voted by listeners on WRSI last year.

Sweet fancy Moses, it just keeps going next week. Monday at the Iron Horse: Rogue Wave, Tuesday: Vieux Farke Toure, Wednesday: Andy Mckee, Thursday: Frazey Ford of the Be Good Tanyas (now with Reed Foehl on the bill with the Sweet Remains as co-openers), and Friday: Justin Townes Earle.


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