Weekend Ideas: August 8, 2014


There’s a broad, mainstream-tilted slate of concert options, mainly on Saturday. Maine’s Kahbang Festival has run into troubles that prompted its relocation from Bangor to Portland as well as cancellation of some events. Yet art-rock goddess St. Vincent, who’s done cameos from Nirvana’s Hall of Fame induction to subbing as sidekick to Seth Meyers’ late-night TV show – will grace Portland’s intimate State Theater on Friday. And get this, the bill also includes hardcore rap veteran DMX.

Closer to home, Saturday takes off most obviously with the Tennessee band of brothers Kings of Leon getting anthemic at Mansfield’s Xfinity Center, while singer and pianist John Legend gets romantic at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. Despite recent cancellations blamed on his health, Gregg Allman’s also headed to Lowell’s Boarding House Park for a bill with his jazz-influenced Allman Brothers bandmate Jaimoe’s own band Jasssz. The Allman Brothers Band hasn’t been able to nail down a Boston area date on its short swing of farewell appearances (the closest being Aug. 16-17 at its Peach Music Festival in the Poconos), but Gregg Allman’s still mining that catalog along with his solo fare. And Allman Brothers percussionist Marc Quinones plays in Allman’s band as well.

Also on the north side of town, the Gloucester Blues Festival stirs up that seaside city on Saturday with an afternoon lineup including Tinsley Ellis, Debbie Davies and Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, where that local harp journeyman’s joined by matured guitar prodigy Mike Welch. And in the western part of the state, the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival serves up a free Saturday program that includes saxophonist Phil Woods, his prodigy Grace Kelly, and singer Charmaine Neville, appearing with her Neville Brothers-famed father Charles on sax. She also pulls into Somerville’s Johnny D’s Uptown on Sunday.  And the Mavericks rock their country-soul party at Webster’s Indian Ranch, a show that was one of my top summer picks.

Saturday’s club picks include the return of Seattle’s indie-pop oddballs the Presidents of the United States of America (remember the ’90s hit “Lump”?) at the Paradise Rock Club. That band’s singer/bassist Chris Ballew once lived in Boston, where he worked with Morphine’s Mark Sandman, picking up his minimalist string techniques. Montana resident Laurie Sargent, who coincidently sang with the Sandman tribute Orchestra Morphine at the Lizard Lounge this week, sticks around her old hometown for a 4 p.m. Saturday solo set at Atwood’s Tavern that’s sure to feature many of the same bandmates. And Boston-based soul shouter Barrence Whitfield‘s sure to keep Johnny D’s Uptown hopping that night with the Grits and Grocery Orchestra.

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