Music

Nightcrawler: Voice of the Valley

Naia Kete comes home; whole lotta Shakin' in Greenfield.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Naia Kete
Fresh off a series of breakout performances on NBC's The Voice, Naia Kete headlines the Iron Horse on Friday, June 1

No fewer than three upcoming area performers can credit network television singing competitions for their present headliner status.

The first two, American Idol cast-off Adam Lambert and former The Voice victor Javier Colon, can be seen this Saturday, May 26 at Six Flags New England's (sixflags.com) River's Edge Picnic Grove. Dubbed 96.5TIC's Spring Fling, this show is free with park admission but preferred, standing area tickets can be reserved for an additional $20.

The following Saturday, June 1, finds the recently eliminated Voice contestant Naia Kete holding court at The Iron Horse (iheg.com). It's a homecoming of sorts for the Shutesbury native whose mother and stepfather were founding members of Amherst-based reggae notables Black Rebels and whose biological father is practicing, Turners Falls-based musician Wes Brown.

Presently a street performer in Santa Monica, California, the 21-year-old Kete was reportedly plucked mid-set—and in person—by show host Carson Daly to audition. After wowing the judges with a soulful twist on Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song" (including a now-infamous exchange with Cee Lo Green in which Kete countered the celebrity coach's "I pushed my button for you" with "Cee Lo, you push all my buttons"), she was eventually asked to join team Blake Shelton.

"What I love about this show is that they are not trying to change who you are, they are really trying to show who you are," Kete told E Online of the experience at the time. "And I've felt that from the producers to everyone that interviews to the make-up and styling people... everybody has been 'Who are you, Naia? How can we represent you best?'"

Kete continued to represent Western Mass. well with a powerful take on Adele's "Turning Tables" and a successful head-on battle with teammate Jordan Rager set to the backdrop of Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours."

Beyonce's "If I Were Boy" would ultimately prove to be her small-screen swan song, but the woman Rolling Stone recently declared an "earthy soulstress" remains appreciative of the opportunity and the exposure.

Among the tunes most likely to appear on Kete's June 1 setlist is "Crazy Glue," an original offering that she plans to release as the first single from a debut EP she hopes to release by year's end.

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Also on tap this holiday weekend, May 25-28, is the 10th annual installment of StrangeCreek Campout—a multi-day, multi-band affair occurring once again at Camp Keewanee in Greenfield.

As per the event's name, StrangeCreek is perennially headlined by jam band staples Max Creek and Strangefolk. While this is also the case for the 2012 affair, no fewer than 75 other acts, including Donna The Buffalo, Dopapod, Ryan Montbleau Band, The McLovins, Rustic Overtones and Toubab Krewe, will ensure incessant audio on all five stages all festival long.

"It is a pleasure to be invited to play with such an amazing lineup of talented musicians," notes singer Danny Faraone of the band Folkadelic, a funky foursome from Brooklyn slated to grace the festival's main stage from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. on Friday, May 25. "We are thrilled to share the stage with everyone and hope to really 'enhance the dance' of the patrons at this awesome event!"

Tickets are $110 and include access to all shows and wooded camping. To obtain yours, kindly point your browser to strangecreekcampout.com.

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Last but not least, there's a whole lotta shakin' going on in Greenfield... courtesy of one of the area's premiere '50s and '60s dance cover bands, Shakin' All Over (shakinallover.com). The six-piece Western Mass troupe will pay homage to the golden era of rock this Saturday, May 26 at the Greenfield Arts Block starting at 7:30 p.m. The hometown show coincides with the impending release of a new studio effort for the band. The disc is titled Rock N' Roll Dance Party and features the creme de la creme from the band's 200-plus tune catalog.

Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, P.O. Box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email garycarra@aol.com.

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