Old blues, old nu-metal, all available this weekend
It’s Summer Festival season, y’all!
Okay, maybe you didn’t make it to Coachella this year (it’s too damn hot and dusty out in the desert anyway). Perhaps the upcoming Lollapalooza is not within your live music budget, and Woodstock 50 seems to have suffered a proper and ignoble death. Laurelive has already happened, and there is no InCuyaFest 2019.
But there’s still plenty of area festivals to enjoy live music, people watch and gorge on random foodstuffs prepared in the back of trucks and tiny mobile huts.
On Friday, the 11th Annual Kent Blues Fest takes place in more than 25 venues and businesses throughout the city’s downtown area. The focus appears to be on veteran local acts with varying amounts of blues in their roots, and many whose names live music lovers should recognize.
I won’t run through the entire schedule, which you can find here: https://www.kentbluesfest.com/schedule. But here’s a couple of names to whet your blues appetite.
For fans of solo singing/songwriting troubadours, there’s Roger Hoover doing his thing (6 p.m. at Tree City Coffee & Pastry). You'll also find chilled-out storytelling folk- and rock-infused entertainer Tom Evanchuck (7:30 p.m. at Bricco), and singer/guitarist Mike Lenz (5:30 p.m. Taco Tanto’s), who has been playing the oldest school blues, raw from the Delta (with elements of ragtime and jump blues). And you can get a darn fine burrito.
Among the bands are the relatively young quintet of Kent long hairs, The Outside Voices, who have a brand new album, “Stoned & Lovely,” filled with their loose, melodic ramshackle blues and country infused guitar rock (8:30 p.m., at Tree City Coffee & Pastry).
Also among the younger pool of performers are Cleveland’s Liz Bullock and the Tremonts, a group of schooled musicians fronted by the soulful voice of Bullock and the searing guitar work of Gavin Coe. The eclectic group mixes classic blues and rock (Hendrix, B.B. King) with arrangements of a few contemporary tunes thrown in the mix.
Of course, 15-60-75 The Numbers Band is involved (6:30 p.m., Venice Cafe), as are upbeat blues rockers The Juke Hounds, who will play for four hours (8 p.m., Dominick’s Pub, 147 Franklin Ave).
For a more Americana and New Orleans-influenced sound, there’s the tight, acoustic duo of Jen (Maurer) & guitar ripper Anthony (Papaleo), and the Zydeco King Duo of guitarist Kevin Okey and keyboardist Bob Corlett.
And for some straight up Electric Buh-Looze, there’s former Robert Jr. Lockwood harp player and longtime solo artist Wallace Coleman. There’s plenty more to see and hear, and Kent’s a solid walking town. So if a casual night of live music, food and drink sounds good, it’s worth the trip.
Speaking of trips, down in Mansfield this weekend is an event for headbangers as the INKcarceration Music and Tattoo Festival happens at the old Ohio State Reformatory.
The old prison, in case you didn’t know, was featured in "The Shawshank Redemption," as well as the buddy cop action-comedy “Tango & Cash,” Harrison Fords '90s hit “Air Force One” and the horror film “Fallen Angels” starring Michael Dorn, a.k.a Worf from "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
The three-day hard rock and nu metal festival features some popular turn-of-the-century bands, including headliners Godsmack and Shinedown, along with other veteran bar chord bashing bands Seether, Five Finger Death Punch, Buckcherry, Taking Back Sunday and P.O.D.
I’ll admit that the concept of being in an old prison, getting tattooed while listening to the aforementioned bands, appeals to me about as much, well, as being tortured in an actual prison.
But there’s still plenty of folks who love that crunchy, post-grunge, drop-tuned sound and who came of age to many of those bands.
Plus, here’s a surprise! Many of those music fans also sport tattoos, so it’s one-stop shopping for them.
Closer to home, the three-day Summit County Italian American Festival is happening this weekend at Lock 3 Park.
It will feature Straight On, the Heart tribute band, on Thursday evening; Abba Mania, the Abba tribute band, on Friday night; and the refreshingly appropriate Rat Pack Show with a tribute to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. on Saturday.
All of those performances are free. More info: www.lock3live.com.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.