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5/19 was Day 1 of Joe’s Jazz and Blues Festival for the city of Somerville

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The sun was blazing down on the hill of Powderhouse Park but the music was decidedly chill. Townies and Tufts kids lounged in the shade around the temporary stage that hosted the opening day festivities of Joe’s Blues and jazz festival for Somerville.

Rising star Brendan Hogan played some trouble-in-mindful original folk-styled tunes from his new release, Long Night Coming, early in the afternoon. A few jam bands and jazz outfits later, Peter Parcek woke up the park with some authoritative, hot electric blues. Parcek didn’t try to hard to work the sparse and scattered crowd but, backed by bassist Marc Hickox and drummer Steve Scully, he dominated an electric guitar. Sounding particularly good on the recent Dylan tune, Beyond Here Lies Nothing, the band also pleased with the title track from their latest release, “The Mathematics of Love.” I was glad to discover these guys who have been around for a while.

After Parcek’s crew, the Ben Powell Quartet kept things moving with some Grapelli-esque jazz-fiddle and the Camelia Latin Jazz Quartet finally get the languid sun-baked crowed to its feet for some dancing. Salsa resolved itself into stomps and sways when Boston native, “The Undaunted” Professor Harp took the stage with his band and blew some Chicago style jump blues to close out the day.

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While the event was as small and laid-back as a festival can be, it made me remember that Powerhouse Park existed, reanimating its virtues, and introduced me to some pretty solid bands in the company of my neighbors.

Events continue throughout the week and indoor venues around town.

--Jason Rabin


--Photos by Allison Stroh

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3rd Deli Showcase at the House of Blues - Boston - Front Room 7/1

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The Deli - New England will be holding our 3rd showcase at the House of Blues - Front Room on July 1st. We'll be featuring three of Massachusetts' finest. Vostok 4, a unique pop-rock band with the elastic creativity and sound of the Talking Heads. Ghost Quartet's new album is currently our featured album of the month, they hail from Western Mass. Trip-rockers, Those Wolves Actually Happened sound like Modest Mouse in outer space. Most importantly, this show is FREE! So you have no reason not to come. Take the train to Fenway. There is no Red Sox game, so if you are driving you can find parking, I'm sure.

See you there.

July 1st - House of Blues - Front Room - 15 Landsdowne St. Boston, MA - FREE - 21+

--The Deli Staff

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Review - Marie Stella - Trust

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Marie Stella's six song Trust starts with a distorted guitar creeping around and ends with a decaying synth line and in between is 20 minutes of joyful experiments in building and breaking crescendos. The twisting warp and weft of Bryan Bruchman and Matthew Erickson's zipping guitars, the interplay of female vocals (lead: Sidney Bourke, accompaniment: Katherine Hulit), Derek Gierhan's crashing drums (he sat in on the recording, now it's Max Heinz) weave a powerful tapestry. Marie Stella is fluent in dynamic range. Blue Blood starts off simply with Sidney singing over all-or-nothing instrumentation. Guitars, bass and drums kick on and off. She sings "I don't need a lover to bring me down" and the song changes moods, increasing the energy with a steady beat and then, as she affirms her identity, the song kicks into high gear and becomes a thumping, driven machine. The hook grabs, as the band builds into an energetic melee. Bryan's mean guitar cuts a wandering scar on "Taken", which builds itself out of an atmospheric soup into a sinister cacophony of frenzied drums and adrenaline bass. Guitars and synth bounce off each other in a sonic mosh pit... finally resolving into a sincere declaration: "No more shenanigans." Then turns for the chaotic as Sidney and Katherine belt out a punchy chorus. Ron Harrity recorded, mixed and mastered the album at Forest City Studio. He captures the twin interplays of voices and guitars with aplomb. What could be noisy and muddy is instead a beautifully crafted and wonderfully dense soundscape. The interweaving vocals and guitars create two strong cords that Marie Stella climbs and builds on. It's woven with deft complexity and it's worth losing your hearing for. You can check out Trust streaming on their bandcamp page.

--Krister Rollins writes for [dog] and [pony]

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Audrey Ryan at O'Brien's 5/26

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Audrey Ryan was born when The Arcade Fire and Beck tumbled down Niagara Falls in a bucket with Joni Mitchell. She emerged unscathed, accordion in hand at the bottom. She writes the kind of music I prefer listening to while lying on the floor drinking a bottle of red wine. Since bars won’t let me do this, I stand and watch her one-woman-band-sleight-of-hand. Audrey simultaneously plays any combination of guitar, keys, drums, accordion and/or glockenspiel while singing. Her third full-length album (partially recorded in her loft where she often hosts DIY events) I Know, I Know was released earlier this year. Audrey Ryan works with Cave In’s Stephen Brodsky once again on I Know, I Know and with help from her UK Label, (Folkwit Records) the album is available in Europe as well.

She performs tomorrow 5/26 at O’Briens’s Pub in Allston along with Greg Lyon, and Ian Adams as part of Eldridge Rodriguez’s residency. Doors at 9pm, $6, 21+

--Kat Burke

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May 2010
Ghost Quartet
"Ghost Quartet
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Ghost Quartet is an anachronistic delight. Sharp, tactile, and playful, this Northfield, Massachusetts quintet (yes, you read that right—there are actually five members, none of whom are ghosts) offers up a new self-titled live EP that feels like something out of a smoke-filled 1920s nightclub. In 1975. In New Orleans. On Mars. Cacophony, chaos, and experimentation sit at the center of the five tracks on this jazz-funk treasure, transforming Ghost Quartet from a jazz recording into a piece of living, breathing art. Josh Powers weaves nimble bass lines with surgical precision under some seriously smooth vocals by Hilary Graves, whose Ella Fitzgerald-esque agility lends the group a winsome vibe with mass appeal—the same vibe, some might say, that lead singer Jenny Lewis offers Rilo Kiley. On “Catch the Funk,” guitarist Zach Holmes pays homage to 70s funk bands like Kool and the Gang and Earth Wind and Fire by digging grooves so deep, he hits rock bottom. On “Freeloader,” Graves shows off the band’s goofier side as she sarcastically taunts, “I don’t really like you much” over tubist Kevin Smith, who haphazardly blares away. Ghost Quartet sparkles not only because it embraces the unexpected; what makes it so unique is that it is a rarely-seen celebration of the raw, the unpolished, and the unperfected. While other bands reach for shiny new trumpets and fancy guitar pedals, you get the sense from these five live recordings that Ghost Quartet would rather play rusted instruments they found in an antique store. There’s something charming and wholesome about a band that sounds like it’s having fun when it performs, and by the end of Ghost Quartet, there’s no doubt that these guys (and girl) love every moment. With one foot in a speakeasy and the other in a garage, this quintet has struck a unique balance of old-timey nostalgia and youthful modernity. --Stephie Coplan

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