Local Rhythms – My Little Town’s Jumping

On Tuesday night, I attempted to partake in Ramunto’s, the latest Claremont food pleasure, only to give up when it became clear the wait for a gourmet pizza would be interminable.  This is not a complaint, folks.  It’s beyond encouraging when a new downtown restaurant draws such a crowd on a weeknight.

The consolation, of course, is that there are many dining choices available – and more on the way.  Construction of the Common Man in the Mill District should start in the summer.  Quiznos Sub on Washington Street will be open any day now, and you can watch their “Prime Rib Dinner Video Podcast” for an idea of how delicious that will be.

Mmmmm, toasty.

To paraphrase W.S. Kinsella, if you build it they will come, eat and then want after dinner entertainment.  Gratefully, that’s arriving soon, too.  On May 12, Sophie and Zeke’s, the new downtown eatery, kicks of their music series with “A New Kind of Blue”, a jazz/blues hybrid featuring gospel singer Emily Lanier.

Plans are still in place to expand S & Z’s musical offerings to additional nights later in the spring.

On the other end of Pleasant Street, the Elks Club present its second “Elegant Evening” tomorrow night, with drinks, dinner and entertainment from the Taylor Brothers Band.

The busy folks behind the scenes of the Claremont Opera House have been working hard to bring excitement to that venerable building.  Patrons who requested more country-flavored sounds get their reward Saturday when Tia McGraff  takes the stage.  Opening act Jon Michaels is immensely talented in his own right, and both Tia and Jon plan one-hour sets of music.  Claremont will sound like Nashville in prime time.

Also coming to the Opera House is the North Shore Comedy Club, which arrives May 20 with laughs aplenty for the more mature.  The troupe had a successful night last year, so it’s good welcome them back.  

Parents with small children should be aware of the early morning kid’s theatre performance May 12 – family entertainment at an affordable price.

I’ll add a plug for the Opera House website, where anyone with an opinion can make their thoughts known. What kind of talent would you like to see?  Are there shows from the past you’d like back?  This wonderful building belongs to all of us, and it needs everyone’s input to stay vital.  If you don’t have email, for heaven’s sake, call or write.

They’re filing dates for next season as you read this – so get involved.

How about some fun ideas for the weekend?

Thursday: The Little Willies, Iron Horse – An occasional NYC homage band with some famous names like Norah Jones in it.  They got together to play their favorite songs, by folks like Willie Nelson (the band’s namesake), Kris Kristofferson and Gram Parsons.  Their covers are great, but it’s an original, “Lou Reed,” that had me in stitches.  If you want to go, however, be warned – this is a tough ticket.

Friday: Sirsy, Salt Hill Pub – If you like the White Stripes or the funky break beats of Gwen Stefani, this should please you.  Songs like “Pet” and “Soul Sucker” are gutsy romps; the big surprise comes when lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Melanie Krahmer whips out her flute and lets it rip.

Saturday: Jason Cann, Bistro Nouveau  – A great choice for pre-Opera House gathering, the music starts at 6.   Cann usually fronts Wherehouse, a rock band with a long history in the area. Tonight he tones it down, playing acoustic guitar and singing a variety of covers and originals.  Even if it’s only for a drink at the bar, you should stop by and wet your musical whistle.

Tuesday: John Lovejoy, Canoe Club – John’s a mainstay at Bistro, as well as Canoe Club and the Woodstock Inn.  A terrific piano style and an equally impressive singing voice, he covers everyone from Lennon & McCartney to Fleetwood Mac, and plenty in between.  There are not many songs he doesn’t know.

Wednesday: Till We Die/Hexerei, Dover Brickhouse – Hoping to cast off their recent snake-bit ways, local heavy metal heroes Hexerei have once again teamed with their old management.  As a part of that effort, they’ll be playing several shows with longtime friends Till We Die, a band that was known as Leviticus for a long time. If Dover’s too far to ride, the band also has tentative plans for a Claremont show in the works.

Finally:  Tonight at 5:55, Pearl Jam will perform a live webcast, which isn’t a huge surprise.  However, the show’s coming from David Letterman’s television home – NYC’s Ed Sullivan Theatre.    It’s the first time any band’s performed a regular show there.

Also, if you have XM Radio, check out Bob Dylan playing DJ tonight at 6 on Channel 15.

By Michael Witthaus

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