I have to be honest. I’m not feeling especially festive or wordsmithy this week (evidenced by me just making up a word), so let’s just wade on in and try not to drown.

Wait. That’s a downer way to start. I’ll try again.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Everything is awesome!

Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!

Speaking of teamwork, local “cinematic” indie pop band the Modern Electric is headlining a show at Musica on Saturday night. The quartet (singer/pianist Garrett Komyati, bassist Matthew Childers, guitarist Holden Laurence and drummers Michael O’Brien writes and perform catchy, mostly piano-driven tunes mixing dance rock rhythms, drama and melodies you can hum, all found on their 2015 sophomore album Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. (For folks not into vocals, the band also released an instrumental version of the album.)

I haven’t seen them play live in a while, but if you check out the tunes on the album (Spotify, YouTube etc.) and dig it, I can pretty much guarantee that onstage the energy level will be exponentially higher. Late last year, the Modern Electric offered up a free “mixtape” that contains their hit song David Bowie (Save Us All).

Also on the bill are Akron-Canton’s bluesy rock band Outdated View, whose most recent album, Through The Beginning, is available on Bandcamp.com.

‘Freedom Sings’

On Thursday, Kent State’s May 4 Visitors Center will present an interesting concept with Freedom Sings: A Concert. The concert will highlight the long history of free speech in this country through popular songs that were controversial and in some cases outright banned.

These could include Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Ohio (OK, that one’s a lock), Body Count’s Cop Killer, Barry McGuire’s Eve Of Destruction, Loretta Lynn’s The Pill, or hits as innocuous as Elvis Presley’s Good Rockin’ Tonight and the Kingsmen’s Louie, Louie.

All of the formerly banned songs will be performed live by a group that will include ex-Prince guitarist Dez Dickerson; songwriter/guitarist Bill Lloyd, formerly of country-rock duo Foster & Lloyd; signer/songwriter Sara Beck; singer Jonell Mosser; Jason White and Seth Timbs. A multimedia presentation and narration will put it all in context. The free concert begins at 7 p.m. in Cartwright Hall’s auditorium.

Jimmy Webb

While we’re on the subject of songwriters, one of the greats, Jimmy Webb, will stop in at Nighttown armed with his impressive songbook. As a songwriter, Webb has had a slew of hits especially in the late 1960s and the 1970s, including the wonderfully tortured metaphor of MacArthur Park, the late Glen Campbell’s hit trio of Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix and Galveston, as well as the Fifth Dimension’s Up, Up and Away.

The multi-Grammy winner has had his songs recorded by a ridiculous number and variety of artists including Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes, Pat Metheny, R.E.M., the Supremes, Kanye West (via interpolation of Nina Simone’s recording of Do What You Gotta Do) and many more.

For the Nighttown show, Webb will focus on his hit collaborations with his friend Campbell, and some others among the more than 100 songs he’s written across the decades.

Upcoming shows

Let’s face it: Northeast Ohio is kind of lagging in the big, destination, multiday music festival business. We have the LaureLive festival at Laurel School in Geauga County, which is in its third year. It’s happening June 8-9, featuring an eclectic lineup that includes Fitz & the Tantrums, Stephen Marley and Cold War Kids. But we’re not cranking out destination music festivals like San Francisco or Atlanta or even Cincinnati.

Well, this summer, a new Cleveland-based festival will vie for your attention and discretionary income. The InCuya Music Festival happens Aug. 25-26, boasting its own varied lineup of national and local acts. Headliners include alt-rock icons New Order, indie-folksters the Avett Brothers, red hot R&B chanteuse SZA and alt-rocker Aaron Bruno’s popular AWOLNATION. Also on the bill are national artists such as emcee Earl Sweatshirt and legendary organist Booker T. Jones, and local stalwarts Tropidelic and the Jack Fords.

The fest takes place on two outdoor stages on Malls B and C near Public Hall, in view of Lake Erie. Early bird tickets are on sale now and your weekend pass also gets you into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum for the duration of the festival. Go to incuya.com for information and perhaps to petition for a better name for the festival.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at mabram@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.