Local Rhythms – What Rock and Roll Lifestyle?

Picture 2Whenever my small contribution to the local scene receives a compliment, I’m quick to defer to a more worthy subject.

Dedicated musicians make this column possible.

It’s a constant source of amazement what they’re forced to endure.  Nonchalant diners talk through sets, soused patrons insist on Skynyrd covers and pay to play schemes turn their rock and roll hopes into the stuff of credit card scams.

Still, they persevere.

Pariah Beat plays a hybrid of folk and rock that I call “Klezmericana.”   Their wildly infectious energy has made them one of my favorite area bands.

Last year at this time, they performed a marathon “Pariah Feat” weekend of shows to fund the release of their debut album.  This weekend’s “Pariah Feat II” aims to raise money for a new tour van.

In another era, the California band CAKE asked, “how do you afford your rock and roll lifestyle?” Back then, it meant more that just getting paid enough to keep on working.

Live to play, earn to tour is today’s mantra.

Or, to quote a Pariah Beat song, “a brand new car and a PBR are the American dream/and if I play my cards right that dream could become reality,”

The four-day fundraiser begins Friday at Thetford’s Eclipse Grange with the musical revue, “A Pig’s Tail ~ The Truth Behind the Curious Case of Mysterious Disappearance of Pig & Wolf and Their Miraculous Homeward Odyssey.”

Caring Babies, Jan Meese and others join in the fun – tickets are $10-$18.

The band will busk for tips Saturday in Hanover (Stinson’s Alley, noon-4).  In the evening they’ll move to their de facto home base, WRJ’s Main Street Museum, for a show that’s preceded by the “Hobo Stew and BYO-BBQ” on the Museum Riverside.

The Jitters provide musical entertainment at Sunday’s Pariah Pancake Brunch in Thetford Center, while the band serves flapjacks and scrambled eggs (noon-2 PM, $8).

Later, PB busks again and passes the hat at Hanover’s Dirt Cowboy (9 PM.

Finally, there’s an all-day cookout ($5 music/$5 food) at the Upper Valley Events Center in Norwich.

Guests include T-Town Blues Band (and surprise collaborations). Donated local goods support a Turkish auction and there will be plenty of burgers, dogs, slaws and salads.

All for the sole purpose of getting a great band back on the road so they can play some more – how can you not love that?

Now, on to the rest of the long weekend:

Thursday:  Aaron Seibert, Casa del Sol – This soulful singer-guitarist, hailing from upstate Vermont, has a bit of a Van Morrison vibe going, along with an impressive catalog of original songs.  He also lists Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews as influences, which gives you an idea of where he’s coming from musically. Seibert possess a special kind of energy that really lights up a crowd – Casa del Sol’s tasty food and margaritas should help, too.

Friday: Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, Lebanon Opera House –The raucous singer/harp player was a frequent guest at Bruce Springsteen’s shows in the 70’s; E Street Band guitarist Little Steven produced a few of his R&B infused albums.  Jon Bon Jovi once said he wished he could be Southside Johnny – if only.  Part of the annual “Concerts for the Cause” series of benefits for NH Child and Family Services.

Saturday: Rock On! Fest, Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion – A couple more local bands – Hexerei and Transcent – have secured spots on the bill for this massive all day show, featuring headliner Korn and 30 or so others,  including Claremont’s Soul Octane Burner.  All the performers have a chance to make money on ticket sales and improve their lineup slot – a big improvement over Locobazooka, where most groups struggled to break even.

Sunday: Pete Merrigan, Digby’s on the Deck – Time was, Merrigan’s first outdoor gig at this restaurant in Sunapee Circle signified the return of “Three Season Pete” to the area.  Since he moved back last year, it simply means summer’s starting, which is no less a reason to party.  May weather can be iffy, so here’s hoping the elements cooperate for an afternoon of good vibes and happy music.

Monday: Day Four, Strange Creek Campout  – This is really the mop-up day for Greenfield’s answer to Gathering of the Vibes, which begins Friday and includes big names like New Riders of the Purple Sage, Assembly of Dust, Strangefolk and Max Creek, along with a multitude of others (Ryan Montbleau, Alchemystics) playing on three outdoor stages and two cabins.

Wednesday: CAKE, Lowell Memorial Auditorium – I love this band’s dry with and deadpan humor on songs like “Never There” and “Short Skirt/Long Jacket,” and especially “Rock and Roll Lifestyle,” mentioned above.  It strikes a perfect balance of Tom Waits and Frank Zappa, intoning,  “excess ain’t rebellion, you’re drinking what they’re selling.” Indeed.

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