The three-day Boston Calling Music Festival on City Hall Plaza only stands as the dominate event on a surprisingly active Memorial Day weekend for concerts.
Funny how America got all freaked out by St. Vincent on last week’s “Saturday Night Live” finale. I wonder what her uncle Tuck Andress thought about that tweet-blown hoopla – or her Nirvana cameo at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame ceremony? Andress will be busy conjuring his own sweetly subversive guitar sounds with his singing wife Patti Cathcart when the longtime duo Tuck & Patti play Scullers Jazz Club on Friday. Also that night, Otis Grove jams its organ-trio grooves at the Brighton Music Hall, while the frontman of Cheap Trick moonlights in the Robin Zander Band, which might toss in covers like this Who classic as part of the Violet Jam cocktail party at Natick’s Verve Crowne Plaza hotel. The Lizard Lounge also sizzles with a trifecta of local heavyweights for your holiday weekend. Friday delivers a split double-header, starting with an early show by the Country Soul Revue, featuring guitarists Duke Levine and Kevin Barry, drummer Jay Bellarose (Robert Plant, Ray LaMontagne), bassist Paul Bryan, and vocal guests Dennis Brennan and Chris Cote. Then bassist Mike Rivard’s eclectic groove collective Club d’elf closes out Friday night with a cast including slide-guitar alchemist Dave Tronzo and trumpeter Yaure Muniz, before Christian McNeill’s soul-rocking Sea Monsters take over the Lizard on Saturday.
Cambridge’s venerable Club Passim presents its annual four-day Campfire marathon, offering dozens of performers from surprising upstarts to higher profile acts like ex-Low Anthem singer Jocie Adams’ new outfit Arc Iris (you can even get a weekend pass). But the weekend’s biggest event remains the Boston Calling rock fest, which takes over City Hall Plaza with an opening night that kicks off with Cass McCombs and features Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and headliner Jack Johnson. The next two days’ longer lineups include Death Cab for Cutie, the Decemberists, Frank Turner and his Sleeping Souls (who also play the Sinclair on Saturday and Sunday nights), Phosphorescent, Tegan and Sara, the fast-rising Bastille and Modest Mouse. Here’s the full schedule with set times. And then there’s Boston Clawing, where local Boston Calling entry Tigerman WOAH! heads over to Ned Devine’s for a Sunday eve at Faneuil Hall that also features fellow hometown luminaries including OldJack, Parlour Bells and Eddie Japan. It’s free with RSVP through do617.com.
Finally, for this week’s Thursday Throwback, I give you the Aquarium Rescue Unit. In the last two weeks, I’ve seen drummer Jeff Sipe with Warren Haynes’ Jerry Garcia tribute and bassist Oteil Burbridge with the Oz Noy Trio, and guitarist Jimmy Herring will be here next month with Widespread Panic. They all played in the ARU with Col. Bruce Hampton, a wonderful character who’s kind of like the Capt. Beefheart of the South. If you’re a fan of Zappa or Phish, jazz fusion or jam-rock, and never saw this virtuoso cross-genre band, check out this ARU show from 1992. Whacked sense of humor as well, starting with the introductions.