Nightcrawler: A Not-So-Bright Idea, Matthew Larsen, Mitchells go back to the Dark ages; Green River Festival

Greg Saulmon PhotoMatthew Larsen and The Documents  kick off the first night of the U.S. Dark Dining Room 10-Year Anniversary Tour this Friday
Greg Saulmon PhotoMatthew Larsen and The Documents kick off the first night of the U.S. Dark Dining Room 10-Year Anniversary Tour this Friday

Everyone wants to be a Renaissance man, in a Renaissance band … or at very least, ensconced in a scene or city that has been awarded the “Renaissance” brand.

But Matthew Larsen is kicking it old school — back to the “dark” ages, one could say.

Back in 2006 while still recovering from a stem cell transplant, Larsen says he had the bright idea to bring his music to a more intimate, dimly-lit atmosphere.

“I didn’t have the energy needed to play music in a typical venue, so I started inviting some friends over to play in the otherwise unused dining room of my apartment,” he recalls. “We had no lamps in that room so we lit candles. It made for great ambiance, playing and listening to live music in low light, and it grew from there.”

In the decade that followed, Larsen’s Dark Dining Room shows have graced apartments and art galleries to lofts, restaurants and even a 26-room mansion. According to an online FAQ for those interested in hosting a Dark room of their own, the average soiree works best with 10-45 attendees, usually friends, relatives, co-workers or a healthy mix thereof; $10-$20 per person donations and light snacks/BYOB drinks for all are equal parts appreciated and recommended, and if your pad has a place for the performers to crash — that’s always an added incentive.

This Friday, April 8, Larsen and his band, The Documents, will kick off the U.S. Dark Dining Room 10th Anniversary Tour at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke with supporting acts State Shirt and scene stalwarts The Mitchells in tow.

Not to be outdone, the Valley’s premiere outdoor festival, Green River, celebrates its third decade of music, hot air balloon rides and more this year. Although the actual event does not occur until July 8-10, the anniversary line up and a few other Green River deets have already begun to trickle out. For starters, festival camping will be available at the nearby Franklin County Fairgrounds for the first time in the series’ history. On top of that, national notables to local heroes including Peter Wolf & The Midnight Travelers, NRBQ, Charles Neville, The Felice Brothers, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Winterpills, Sonya Kitchell and Wheels of Soul — the latter of which features members of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Los Lobos and North Mississippi Allstars — are already among the confirmed acts. To monitor new musical additions and/or purchase tix, visit greenriverfestival.com.

Last but not least: Johnny Sixgun axe-slinger Peter Polis checked in to help drum up some buzz about a BUZZ Robotics benefit his band and The Usual Suspects will be performing at this Saturday, April 9, at the Elks of Enfield, Connecticut.

“It’s a great event aimed at raising funds for high school students who participate in this robotics competition,” Polis says. “Besides, where else could you pay $15 [in advance, $20 at the door], bring your own booze so you don’t break the bank and take in an evening of classic rock done right?”

Does the Crawler sense a massive, impromptu Mr. Roboto jam in the making here or what folks?•

Catch the Nightcrawler on Wednesday mornings with Leslie at 6:20 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. on Lazer 99.3 FM. Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, P.O. box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email garycarra@aol.com.

Author: By Gary Carra

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