Local Rhythms – Stretching Your Music Dollar

motvbbk08It costs over 150 bucks for an open-air seat at this summer’s (rain or shine) Jimmy Buffett show.  Tickets for the Elton John/Billy Joel double bill at Gillette Stadium in July run north of $200, after fees and parking are counted.  Britney Spears wants $250 for her trainwreck tour stop next month at Mohegan Sun.

Before you blow your vacation fund on a night with a diva or a dinosaur, answer this – what else could all that money buy?

I’ll do the math for you.

If you skip Fleetwood Mac ($175), you can see Chris O’Brien/Jenee Halstead (2/28), Seth Glier (3/13), Richard Shindell 3/25) and Mary Gauthier (4/19) at Boccelli’s.  You’ll still have enough left over for a four-day Roots on the River pass (6/11-14).

All cheaper than Sir Elton and Billy.

Rosanne Cash will play songs from her new album (“The List”) at the lovely Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine on July 16. Blow off Britney, spend the night with a mature woman, and get a “getaway package” including dinner and Inn at Crystal Lake accommodations, transportation to the show, primo seats and breakfast in the morning.

Or how about four consecutive nights of great music in Burlington?  On Thursday, April 11, catch Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Americana chanteuse Tift Merritt Friday and the tuneful Felice Brothers on Saturday.

Wrap up the long weekend with headbanging from Sevendust on Sunday.

That’s four Higher Ground shows, at around 20 bucks each, leaving enough for a hotel room, all for less than the cost of a Motley Crüe “Diamond” ticket at the Verizon Wireless Center ($334.00, 3/17).

Phish twilight zone victims (thousands of fans got dumped from queues by Live Nation computers before they could buy seats for the upcoming reunion tour) now face scalper prices in the hundreds of dollars.

Bummer, dude.

How about a NoHo jam band trifecta instead? See Max Creek at Pearl Street (3/13, $15), then moe (3/29, $26) and Umphrey’s McGee (4/8, $25) at the Calvin Theatre.  Buy a bootlegger’s recording machine with the money you save.

Great shows are coming to area opera houses, any combination of which is a better deal than seeing Jimmy Buffett in the rain.  In May, Natalie MacMaster performs in Claremont, while the Dublin City Ramblers (3/10), bluesman Joe Bonamassa (4/5) and the Indigo Girls (4/11) are slated to visit Lebanon.

Times are tough – stretch that dollar.  Here are some additional entertainment bargains:

Thursday: Open Mike With Tad Davis, Jesse’s – A new venue jumps into the open mike game.  Singer/songwriter Davis is an excellent choice for ringmaster.  He emcees at Skunk Hollow, and entertains at a range of area nightspots, including Firestones and Casa del Sol.  He even plays on his nights off – I saw Davis step away from his dinner to play a few tunes at Sophie & Zeke’s a few nights ago.

Friday: Jen Crowell & The Woods Vehicle, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center – Crowell opened last June’s “Concert for the Cause” at the Lebanon Opera House and got a great response.  This is a CD release party for “Cold Front,” a record that has a little bit of country (“Hey Dixon”) and a whole lot of soul, a quality that her old band (Grace Potter & the Nocturnals) lost in spades when Jen left.

Saturday: Red Hot Juba, Salt hill Pub – These guys exude Dixieland, blues and a maple-flavored hybrid they call “Green Mountain Swing.”  It’s a unique sound that earned them the title of “fastest rising band” in their hometown of Burlington. With St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching (the Pub is co-sponsor of the aforementioned Dublin City Ramblers show), things are heating up on the Green.

Sunday: Kris Kristofferson, Colonial Theatre – Rhodes scholar, actor, veteran – he turned down a professorship at West Point to try songwriting.  “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” “Loving Her Was Easier,” “Me & Bobby McGee” – guess that worked out OK.  The 72-year old Kristofferson is still at it, releasing albums (2006’s excellent “This Old Road”) and acting, most recently playing Jennifer Aniston’s dad in “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

Monday: Parliament/Funkadelic, Higher Ground – If James Brown was the Godfather of Soul, then George Clinton is the Sultan of Funk.  So what’s he doing on a CMT reality show, for goodness’ sake?  He released an album last year with guests Carlos Santana, Sly Stone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, his 1993 single, “Paint the White House Black,” is quite prescient now. He doesn’t need to go country.

Wednesday: Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Briggs Opera House – Nathan Lane channeled Sid Caeser in the Broadway (and later television movie) version of this Neil Simon memoir of his early days as a writer on “Your Show of Shows.”  There’s a serious undercurrent of creeping McCarthyism in this humorous play, which opens tonight.