For many folks this weekend — celebrating the laborers by actively not laboring — it will be a three-day holiday extravaganza.
Perhaps you will pile the family into the SUV for a long drive to (a favorite nearby vacation destination) or (preferred nearby friend/relative) or maybe you’re just going to make it a low-key stay-cation and enjoy Mother Nature nestling us in her big, warm, breezy, early autumnal bosom.
Well, there are some opportunities to enjoy live music, the community and the weather this weekend, including Lock 3 Park, which has a solid weekend of entertainment.
It is also the start of college football as the University of Akron plays host to Virginia Military Institute on Saturday afternoon.
To celebrate the hopes and dreams of this year’s Zips team, which last season went 8-5 and won its first bowl game, the university is holding the Touchdown Music Fest on Saturday afternoon at the Lee. R. Jackson Track & Field Complex right next to InfoCision Stadium.
The festival will be headlined by Soul Asylum and will include area bands: local legends the Bizarros, Shooter Sharp & The Shootouts (aka Ryan Humbert and his Musical Friends in cowboy outfits) and sensitive singer/songwriter J.D. Eicher.
Not only is Soul Asylum still a band, but also the Minnesota alt-rockers have a new album, Change of Fortune, released this past spring, the band’s first since 2012.
The band is best known for its crossover, Grammy-winning hit about depression, Runaway Train, from the triple-platinum album Grave Dancers Union, and the song Misery.
The band is still led by singer/songwriter/co-founder Dave Pirner whose ragged, indie rock tenor voice is still in fine form.
Pirner can also still crank out a batch of solid, catchy adult-contemporary, alternative-rock songs such as the lead single Supersonic, which surely has been inserted into rotation by the festival’s “promotional partner” 91.3 The Summit.
Sure, I doubt Soul Asylum, which was born in 1981 and had its platinum selling commercial heyday in the mid-1990s, is dominating the music playlists of many UA students.
But this concert is a family affair, and there’s a pretty good chance that a few of those students’ parents will hold hands, gently touch their heads together and sway back and forth, momentarily lost in the hazy fog of nostalgia.
So leave them be and enjoy the show.
Meanwhile, Akron’s Lock 3 Park only has a few more events left in its season, including this weekend’s twofer of classic-rock tribute and classic well, classic late 1980s-early ’90s R&B.
On Friday, it’s the final Rock the Lock of the season, meaning it’ll be your final chance to see a tribute band this season! Naw, I’m kidding. Tribute bands rule in Northeast Ohio. It’s actually kind of weird.
Anyway, the very good Pink Floyd tribute band the Machine will perform.
A quarter of a century under its belts, the Machine has been playing Pink Floyd’s catalog live nearly as long as the actual Pink Floyd and, yes, it is quite good.
Slight tangent here, but Pink Floyd singer/bassist/songwriter Roger Waters just signed up with BMG to represent his P.F. catalog, so don’t be surprised if in a few weeks you see and hear Young Lust in a condom commercial or Wish You Were Here in one of those wistful and slightly sad story ads that usually involve ridiculously cute babies or toddlers and/or small animals.
But I digress.
If an ersatz Pink Floyd gets your ya-ya’s out, how about a genuine half of En Vogue?
On Saturday night, the 2016 version of “The Funky Divas,” which still features original members Terry Ellis and Cindy Herron-Braggs along with Rhona Bennett, the on-again, off-again third member and former Jamie Foxx Show co-star, will surely run through the group’s hits.
En Vogue was founded and produced by my fellow Oaktown natives Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy, and these ladies made us proud with their string of funky, sassy hits, including Lies, Hold On, the rock-flavored Free Your Mind and My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It).
I say two out of four original members ain’t too bad, and since none of the former members have died tragically or turned up sad and desiccated on Celebrity Rehab or anything depressing like that, we can all just enjoy.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at www.ohio.com/blogs/sound-check, like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml and/or follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.