The Northampton Summer Concert Series kicks off its freebie Friday shows July 17. And while event producer Jamie Kent notes that he and his Collective Music Group are certainly looking to uphold the established tradition of offering fresh, new acts, he is quick to note that this year’s installment also gives a solemn nod to series past.
“We are dedicating the season to Dan Yacuzzo, who passed away earlier this year and was absolutely integral to getting this off the ground and helping it grow the past three years,” Kent explains. “He is sorely missed by us and many in town, so there couldn’t be a better way to pay tribute to his amazing legacy as far as I am concerned.”
Kent himself will start things off this weekend, aided and abetted by billmates Sarah Blacker and The Franny O Show. Other highlights include Boston’s Eddie Japan and the Valley’s Wishbone Zoe (July 24), Josh Panda (July 31), and series closers Jazzfest Valley All Stars on Aug. 14. All shows are free and will occur at the Old Courthouse Lawn in Northampton, 6-8 p.m. In case of rain, the whole shebang heads over to The One Bar & Grill on the corner of Pleasant and Pearl.
For the complete line-up, schedules and more, kindly point your browser to collectivemusicconcerts.com.
In other news, funk/metal mavens of Living Colour turned in a blistering sonic smorgasbord at the Mohegan Sun on July 3, utilizing the occasion of an off night from their summer tour with Aerosmith for the rare, intimate show. That is, once they they became acclimated to their surroundings.
“This is like … I mean … like … wow … like,” singer Corey Glover jested, throwing his hands in the air as he surveyed the Wolf Den surroundings.
“I keep waiting for that robot coyote over their to come down from that fake hill,” six-stringer Vernon Reid added.
In between staples from the band’s breakthrough debut Vivid, including “Middle Man,” Desperate People,” and “Funny Vibe” plus chestnuts from later albums, Living Colour splattered the evening’s set with covers of Robert Johnson’s “Preachin’ Blues,” Notorious B.I.G.’s “Who Shot Ya?” and a healthy snippet of James Brown’s “Sex Machine.” But perhaps no single tune showcased the band’s true virtuosity and versatility as well as their fresh take on the minor 1990 hit “Type,” which saw the band throttling through the song at breakneck speed then turning on a dime to break into dreamy calypso and reggae-tinged passages.
“Open Letter To A Landlord” allowed Glover to take the Wolf Den faithful to church with an extended gospel intro that showcased his breathtaking range and power. Hometown hero Doug Wimbish (a Bloomfield, Conn. native who has been with the band since 1992) was afforded a second bass solo of the night courtesy of repair time for drummer Will Calhoun’s faulty foot pedal.
For the anthemic closer “Cult of Personality,” Glover worked his way atop the booths that horseshoe the venue, stopping to mug for pictures between verses and working the crowd into localized frenzies along the way.
“I like it over here,” he said near the song’s end, turning to face the throngs of slot-machine players he had brought into the fold with his impromptu journey. “I can almost smell the desperation in the air.”•
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