A lower Manhattan vibe will permeate downtown Hanover for three midsummer evenings with “Music Box in the Moore,” a musical showcase of cutting edge talent, presented in a unique and intimate setting.
Performing July 14 is QQQ, playing what HOP Publicity Coordinator Becky Bailey terms “revved up acoustic music” with many disparate influences. Picture a Norwegian wedding march performed during a key scene of “Deliverance” to get a sense of QQQ’s sound, which NPR termed “an odd sort of Americana,” existing “somewhere between Brooklyn, Oslo and the hills of Appalachia.”
Next up on July 23 is Die Roten Punkte. This wry and funny duo could have been the house band for “Sprockets,” the old Mike Myers SNL bit with Dieter, the German fashionista who constantly asked guests if they’d like to touch his monkey.
Otto and Astrid Rot are a Berlin-based brother and sister act touched with, shall we say, affection issues. Their name is German for “Red Dots,” a playful homage to another (faux) sibling act. Don’t be alarmed if their frequent familial hugging devolves into tongue wrestling, though. It’s a guise – a brilliant, hilarious one at that.
Their music is Kraftwerk meets Spinal Tap, with instruments made by Mattel. They employ a fractured dialect, which exudes an ‘’even though English is not my native tongue, I speak it better than you’ arrogance that’s totally winning, making for a must-see appearance.
Finally, cellist Erik Friedlander, who plays his instrument in ways Yo-Yo Ma never dreamed of, arrives August 1. He’ll perform a suite of compositions backed by an inventive multimedia show that’s a slice of pre-Interstate Americana. Friedlander’s father is famed photographer Lee Friedlander, recently the subject of a Museum of Modern Art retrospective. The show, entitled “Block Ice and Propane,” features pictures taken by the elder Friedlander during family cross-country car trips in the mid-1960s.
Friedlander’s blend of history, art and experimental sound is consistent with the Hopkins Center mission to give the local scene a contemporary edge, says Bailey
“We brought in performers who are more like the kind you’d see in an urban club,” she says, “ to try to give people in the Upper Valley access to new artists in a variety of genres – music that’s new and unconventional.”
The venue choice was a bold stroke borne out of necessity. “We were losing Spaulding Auditorium due to construction. Moore is good for dance but not for music,” says Bailey. Using a successful run of avant-garde puppet shows last winter as a “theatre within a theatre” template, the space will be transformed – drawing the stage curtain to shrink the room, and setting up tiered seating, four rows deep on three sides.
“It has really nice sound, it’s really intimate, and you’re right there with the performers,” says Bailey.
QQQ, Die Roten Punkte and Erik Friedlander will each do a 7 and 9 pm show (tickets are $15, $10 for Dartmouth students), The late shows will be followed by an after-hours “lounge” open to all patrons, with free light refreshments, and a chance to mingle with the artists.