Weekend Ideas: June 6, 2014


The Rock and Blues Concert Cruise offers a novel way to enjoy live summer music, and its season opens Friday with local roots-reggae futurists John Brown’s Body departing the World Trade Center Pier for a Boston Harbor excursion aboard the Provincetown II. That’s one of many concert highlights on a busy first full weekend of June. Also on Friday, local jazz/world/groove collective Club d’Elf welcomes both keyboardist John Medeski and slide guitarist Dave Tronzo (as in this clip) as its virtuoso guests for two shows at the Lizard Lounge. And rounding out the night, veteran roots-rockers the Bottle Rockets plays an early show at Johnny D’s Uptown and Brooklyn’s Red Baraat shakes up the Sinclair with its boisterous blend of Indian bhangra and New Orleans-style brass.

Saturday starts cooking with the annual Cambridge River Festival from noon to 6 p.m. Relocated to Central Square, the free festival features such bands as banjo rocker Bow Thayer’s band, pianist Laszlo Gardony (leading a sextet that includes saxophonists Bill Pierce, Don Braden and Stan Strickland) and the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, as well as dance and theater, on multiple stages around intersections of the square. It’s like the return of the old Cambridge World’s Fair. More info here.

The Dave Matthews Band changes up its formula at Mansfield’s newly renamed Xfinity Center on Saturday, playing two sets, with a full-group acoustic set to open the night with rarities as well as warhorses along these lines. Other intriguing options grace the same night, starting with Morrissey. The singer scuttled two shows this week due to a virus that’s reportedly hit him and his crew, but he said Thursday on his Facebook page, “The tour will resume as originally scheduled, without question, at the Boston Opera House on Saturday.” Two all-female groups also shine on Saturday: bluegrass upstarts (and onetime Improper cover gals) Della Mae pick ‘n’ sing at the Middle East Downstairs while ’90s pop favorites Luscious Jackson return from hiatus to get funky at the Paradise Rock Club. Here’s a recent live clip of Luscious Jackson and here’s a jump to my recent interview. Also, the energetic South African rap-rave outfit Die Antwoord pumps up House of Blues, and shape-shifting songstress Meshell Ndegeocello bridges soul, hip-hop and rock at the Sinclair the same night.

Sunday brings the alluring Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit to the Paradise, surging black-metal outfit Deafheaven to the Sinclair, and reggae scion Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, who broke out with his 2005 hit “Welcome to Jamrock,” to the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on a bill with Atmosphere. And the Allman Brothers Band plays its closest likely appearance before packing it in this fall, performing its first two albums just across the border in Hunter, N.Y., to close out the weekend-long Mountain Jam.

Finally, for my Thursday throwback, I turn to King Crimson, since tickets go on sale Friday for Sept. 15-16 shows by the prog-rockers’ latest edition at the Emerson Colonial Theatre. For this revived combo, guitar guru Robert Fripp is retaining Pat Mastelotto (as part of a three-drummer lineup) and bassist Tony Levin, and bringing back early ’70s winds player Mel Collins. I’m still partial to this 1974 Crimson with drummer Bill Bruford, violinist David Cross and singer/bassist John Wetton.

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