Weekend Ideas: July 31, 2015


It’s clearly a hot and beautiful weekend for outdoor concerts. For starters, it’s the second of two nights with the hefty double bill of perennial favorites Steely Dan and Elvis Costello with his Imposters at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. Saturday serves up the return of Van Halen down at Mansfield’s Xfinity Center — hopefully with David Lee Roth keeping shtick and singing in balance with rock guitar star Eddie Van Halen’s family crew. At age 76, Gordon Lightfoot will resurrect his own hits the same night at the Lowell Summer Music series at Boarding House Park. And Sunday, Boy George plays the karma chameleon with his ’80s-founded band Culture Club at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion (and get there early for an opening set from Boston’s own fine Parlour Bells).

For those seeking a broad view of jazz, there’s no better destination than lovely waterside Fort Adams State Park in Rhode Island for the Newport Jazz Festival. Friday warms up with the likes of Snarky Puppy, Christian McBride and Ambrose Akinmusire, while Saturday soars with Cassandra Wilson, Jon Batiste & Stay Human, Hiromi, Lisa Fischer (pictured) with her band Grand Baton, Maria Schneider Orchestra and Jack DeJohnette’s Made in Chicago band. And Sunday serves another busy slate that includes Jamie Cullum, the Mike Stern/Bill Evans Band, Dr. John, Bill Frisell and Fred Hersch. Here’s the entire Newport Jazz lineup. To the north, there’s also the Tweed River Music Festival in Waitsfield, Vt., on Friday through Sunday, featuring Lydia Loveless as well as New England-born talent like Bow Thayer, Laurie Sargent (who also plays locally at Club Passim on Friday), Joe Fletcher, Jesse Dee, Tim Gearhan and OldJack. Here’s the whole Tweed River schedule.

For those who prefer live music a bit more intimate and indoors, there are a few shows to note as well. Boston-bred, Nashville-based music journalist and guitarist/singer Ted Drozdowski leads his psyche-blues Scissormen into Johnny D’s Uptown for an early Friday show. Guitar alchemist Thurston Moore cranks up his latest band that include his ex-Sonic Youth mate Steve Shelley on drums at the Sinclair on Sunday. And the same night, if you didn’t catch her at Newport (or even if you did!), you won’t find a better room than Rockport’s Shalin Liu Performance Center to bask in the dynamic vocal palette of Lisa Fischer, who’s best known for going toe-to-toe with Mick Jagger as a backup singer with the Rolling Stones. Here’s a jump to my recent interview.

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