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MUSIC: A Tribute to Providence Takes Over The Parlour

Friday, January 24, 2014

 

The 'Mericans (Photo: Richard McCaffrey)

Rarely do you get to experience Providence's past & present music scene right before you eyes. Alt-folk rock & rollers The 'Mericans were celebrating the last night of their weekend bash for A Tribute To Providence at The Parlour this past Sunday in front of a packed house, it was the place to be adorned with musical treasures to see. If you don't know about A Tribute To Providence, it's a covers album The 'Mericans put out last year that is a full on examination of the music of Providence from the past few decades. The previous night had The 'Mericans playing the album in it's entirety that roared pure excellence. This time around shifted to the bands they honored with The Nonpareils,Allysen Callery, Arc Iris,The Figgs, Honeybunch, Reindeer,The Brother Kite and a rare Purple Ivy Shadows reunion taking over the stage. Sunday is usually full of football & cold beer, along with the brews there was plenty of wonderful tunes on tap.

Their first show in over a decade, The Nonpareils had a mellow pop sound that started things off perfectly. I enjoyed the subtle grooves from the lead singer's guitar along with the drums providing silky smooth rhythms, a tad different than what you usually hear out of local music in Providence these days. They did have a minor hold up in the beginning but it was more comical than disastrous. I won't hold it against them though, they were working out the kinks and I loved every minute of it. From what I saw by the constant applauding, everyone at The Parlour agreed with me. It may be a one time only thing but in today's day & age you never know, hopefully The Nonpareils will make their presence felt in The Creative Capital soon.

You gotta love that vintage 60's vibe from the keys in Honeybunch, they went up next and were a lot of fun to listen to. Another Providence act from decades back that has begun to resurface, Honeybunch had a few heads bobbing in the crowd. A little bit of pop and even some surf, this quartet were a dreamy act in the vein of The Byrds. The keys really had me hooked though, a spectacular dimension that gave Honeybunch a full rhythmic body. I hope I get to see them again, Honeybunch really sweetened the room with their performance.

Elegant, soothing and pristine are the best ways to describe the brilliance of Allysen Callery. She is one of the top singer-songwriters in Providence and she proved why tonight with sheer beauty in every song. What sets her apart from others is Allysen's way of channeling Joan Baez style folk with an Irish touch that resonates a rustic tone. I wish the crowd wasn't talking so much during her performance but that's always something you have to combat when you're on stage by yourself with a guitar. Keep your tabs on Allysen and go see her play, she's one of Providence's treasures who has to be cherished.

They might be from New York City but don't let that mislead you. The Figgs are as much as a local band in Providence in any other, and they've created an endless amount of roots to keep them the topic of conversation around here. You like rock & roll? Of course you do. The Figgs brought the ruckus with "Something's Wrong", "Embrace The Train" (which The 'Mericans played on A Tribute To Providence), a pumped up version of The Velvet Underground's "Cool It Down" and the acapella of "I Got The Drums" sung by drummer Pete Hayes highlighted a set by one of the best bands ever, yea you read that right. I obviously suggest you listen to The Figgs, why? Because they rule, they're awesome and it's rock & roll.

Lead by ex-Low Anthem member Jocie Adams along with having dual keyboards, Arc Iris were straight up powerful. Dream-pop with emphasis, they captivated the audience right from the start. So jazzy & multidimensional, they even brought a flute into the equation to liven it up. Both keyboards had such emphasis and originality that it had everyone mesmerized. I love Jocie's solo material but Arc Iris might be even better, go see them play and be amazed.

The grand reunion of Purple Ivy Shadows came up next and obliterated the senses. If you don't know, they were one of the biggest bands in Providence in the 90's. The 'Mericans' Chris Daltry taking the lead on vocals on guitar, current local photo icon in Frank Mullin on drums were joined by The Figgs' Pete Donnelly on bass lead the rest of the group into a prime alternative rock experience that was simply memorable. At one point they had Jocie and her significant other Zach Miller on dual sax and Matt Rozzero on dual drums with Mullin for a few shoegazy tunes that mirrored The Beta Band. It was one of the many moments that made this night so special, maybe Chris will get his old band together for a few more shows around Providence to reintroduce Purple Ivy Shadows to rest of the live music fanatics.

Purely electric, alternative rock act in Reindeer followed up and knew how to make heads spin. A group featuring musicians from Scarce, The Bevis Frond, Overflower & Swirlies riffed these high chords on their guitars that tingled my lobes and had me in a state of awe. A big Sleater-Kinney influence, I was absolutely impressed with how this New England rock act turned the amps up to full blast and got wonderfully emphatic throughout their entire set. With a few singles on their BandCamp page available for your listening pleasure, indulge into Reindeer and enjoy.

Finishing off one hell of a night was The Brother Kite, the premier alt rock band in Providence that always knows how to bring the goods. With songs like "Father To Son" and "Aching Heart" (Which The 'Mericans also played on A Tribute To Providence), the band's performance was the perfect cherry on top to a musical sundae. With an impromptu jam session lead by Chris concluding the festivities, this past Sunday at The Parlour will definitely hold up as one of the best shows of 2014 by year's end. To get a wonderful in depth look at the scene that is currently surrounding you, grab yourself a free download of A Tribute To Providence by The 'Mericans. While your at it, get yourself a Stuart Foster slider and a beer at The Parlour sometime soon. Tell Aaron & Greg I sent you.

 

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1. Newport Festivals

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