SATURDAY SEPT. 14th
The felice Brothers
The Felice Brothers’ album, Life in the Dark, out on Yep Roc, is classic American music. At once plainspoken and deeply literate, the band’s latest features nine new songs that capture the hopes and fears, the yearning and resignation, of a rootless, restless nation at a time of change.
Life in the Dark also coincides with The Felice Brothers’ 10th anniversary as a band. Hailed by the AV Club for a sound at once “timeless, yet tossed-off,” they’ve released plenty of music over the past decade, often on their own without a record label, but the new album is the fullest realization yet of the band’s DIY tendencies. Self-produced by the musicians and engineered by James Felice (who also contributed accordion, keyboards and vocals), the Felice Brothers made Life in the Dark themselves in a garage on a farm in upstate New York, observed only by audience of poultry.
“The recording is definitely rough around the edges and cheap,” James Felice says, laughing. “It was liberating and really cool to do. It allowed us to untether ourselves from anything and just make music.”
Because of makeshift studio set-up, the music they made was necessarily stripped down, emphasizing acoustic instruments and spacious arrangements on songs that showcase the sound of a band playing together live, with echoes in the music of Woody Guthrie, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine and rural blues.
“We tried to make it as simple and folk-based as possible, because we were working with limited resources,” singer and guitarist Ian Felice says. “We wanted to take all the frills out and make it just meat and potatoes.”
Still, there are hints of seasoning: among the folk and blues touchstones, the band took a certain inspiration from Neil Young and the Meat Puppets, too. Ian Felice says he was trying to channel the spirit of Meat Puppets II on opener “Aerosol Ball” — “They played kind of weird, freaky folk music, so there’s a connection there,” he says — while James Felice says listening to Neil Young’s Tonight’s the Night was like getting permission to make Life in the Dark.
“If you listen to that record, it’s fucking crazy,” he says. “We listened to that to know that what we were doing was legal and had precedent. If Neil Young could make a record that sounds like that, we can make a record that sounds like this.”
He’s referring to the wild, whirling accordion and big, loose rhythm on “Aerosol Ball,” mournful glimmers of electric guitar and fiddle on “Triumph ’73” and the ramshackle, blues-rock feel of “Plunder,” full of grainy lead guitars, blasts of organ and a shout-along chorus inspired by the rhythm of Shakespeare’s “Double, double toil and trouble” incantation in Macbeth. Though The Felice Brothers often share songwriting duties, the band gravitated toward Ian Felice’s songs for Life in the Dark.
Along with Shakespeare and the Meat Puppets, Ian Felice absorbed the essence of writers from Anne Sexton to Anne Frank, Raymond Carver to Dr. Seuss, on tunes with clear, if unintentional, political undertones. “It’s just what was going on when I was writing the songs,” Ian Felice says. “It’s a pretty politically charged climate right now.” To say the least.
The singer’s characters on “Aerosol Ball” exist in a dystopian culture bought, and ruled, by corporations; while “Jack at the Asylum” catalogs cultural ills including climate change, economic inequality and the numbing aspects of televised warfare, themes that recur again on “Plunder.” He wrote the title track after re-reading The Diary of a Young Girl, the journal that Frank kept while in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. “The idea of living in a dark attic unable to fully grasp what is going on in your life and feeling powerless to change it seemed like a relevant metaphor for me at the time,” Ian Felice says.
Elsewhere, he offers his own interpretation of classic American archetypes: “Triumph ’73” follows a young man on the cusp of adulthood desperate to ride his motorcycle away from the life changes overtaking him, while the ballad “Diamond Bell” tells the story of a folk heroine gunslinger in the vein of Pretty Boy Floyd or Jesse James, and the hapless, lovestruck kid she ensnares. “It’s part-love song, part-adventure story, part-tragedy, told in the Mexican folk tradition of singing about bandits,” Ian Felice says. “I think it’s one of the most straight-ahead narratives I’ve written.”
The band, spent about a month recording Life in the Dark in the late winter of 2015. James Felice learned engineering on the fly — “I literally had a book, like, ‘Where do you put the mic? How do you mic the kick drum?’” he says — and the band managed to nail most of the tunes within a few takes.
“There wasn’t too much agonizing, just the joy of playing music,” James Felice says. “We had an audience of chickens, and an audience of each other, and we were just really enjoying making it.”
The resulting album is more than just classic American music — it’s a parable for modern America.
Proud to be firmly installed in the new-funk movement, KUNG FU is quickly popularizing their unique sonic contribution, blurring the line between intense electro-fusion, and blistering dance arrangements. Making fusion music "cool" again, the band draws on influences such as early Headhunters and Weather Report, and merges those ideas with a contemporary EDM informed sensibility. Imagine 70's funk-fusion meets a modern dance party!
Although the ensemble cast enjoys a seasoned pedigree that reads like a late-night summer festival all-star jam, this fledgling "nu-sion" project is growing a unique and rabid following by commanding audiences at theaters, clubs, and major national festivals since 2012.
The powerhouse quintet's live show has been described by critics and fans alike as "lethal funk", "explosive", "jaw dropping", and "musically mesmerizing". For the uninitiated, the experience is typically shocking yet the focus is simple: just sit back and enjoy the ride!
Kung Fu Features: Tim Palmieri (guitar & vocals), Robert Somerville (tenor sax & vocals), Beau Sasser (keyboards & vocals), Chris DeAngelis (bass guitar & vocals), Adrian Tramontano (drums/percussion)
Bumpin Uglies spawned from an Annapolis, MD scene awash in musical history over a decade ago. They are rooted in East Coast ska, punk, and reggae, making their mark up and down the Eastern Seaboard. In the past ten years, Bumpin Uglies have worked to carve out their path by relentlessly touring, and releasing one album after another. With each release came more focus, more creativity and more desire to always experiment and try new things with their music. The band is psyched for their latest EP, Buzz, which released on March 22 via Ineffable Music Group based in Oakland, CA. Ineffable is a name synonymous with the likes of Collie Buddz, Stick Figure, The Movement, and many other prominent artists.
Their last album, Beast From The East, is proof positive that Brandon, Wolfie, Chad and T.J. have meshed into a dynamic quartet as the album topped reggae charts, drawing interest from Billboard’s editorial team for their debut in the pole position. With fellow Maryland rocker Howi Spangler of Ballyhoo! working on the production, the alchemy was right for their breakthrough release, so naturally they are keeping that intact with their current album, Buzz, while continuing the trend of evolving their sound, always experimenting in bold ways that keeps everything fresh from beginning to end.
Their climb hasn’t always been easy and as Bumpin Uglies have grinded their way to their current place in the music scene, they’ve shown that hard work pays off and by putting your heart and soul into it and by taking risks, you can achieve great things. It’s why they’ve springboarded from The Whiskey in Annapolis (RIP) to slots at major festivals like Firefly, Peachfest, and Reggae Rise Up, and are selling out several markets around the nation. Bumpin Uglies are also proud to have announced their own Headlining Festival, Weekend at Wolfie’s, set for June 13-15, 2019 in Bedford, PA.
As a band they are clearly intent on doing things their own way, it’s how it’s always been done. This philosophy has grown Bumpin Uglies into a prolific music-making beast, has devoted fans tattooing Brandon Hardesty’s poignant lyrics on their bodies and has them growing into a nationally recognized touring headliner. Bumpin Uglies is on fire with no end in site.
Who is Bumpin Uglies? Brandon Hardesty – Vocals, Guitar. Dave Wolf – Vocals, Bass. TJ Haslett – Drums. Chad Wright – Vocals, Keys, Guitar
adam ezra group
It’s difficult to impart the roots-steeped, road-trippin’ essence of the Adam Ezra Group into a single word, but frontman Adam Ezra nonetheless keeps one in mind as something of a mantra: community.
Community is epitomized by a belief that has long doubled as a mission statement for the group: namely, that making music together is itself a form of grassroots organizing, capable of nothing less than changing the world.
For their most recent release, Hurricane Wind (2017), the AEG fanbase turned the full power of its collective hurricane wind outward, and shared the music for free with over 5000 people over the course of two weeks. Such a groundswell of activity wouldn’t have been possible even a few years ago; “Hurricane Wind,” to AEG, represents both a celebration and reaffirmation of how remarkably that community has grown.
West End Blend
Since their conception, CT-based Funk/Soul band West End Blend has been playing their version of Funk and Soul in venues all over the Northeast and beyond. Fronted by vocalist Erica T. Bryan, the band pays homage to classic throwback sounds while adding their own distinct vibe and flair. Behind her, the Blend packs two guitars, a two-piece horn section, bass, keyboards and drums onto stages every night. From humble beginnings in an epic and sweaty basement dance party, The Blend’s goal has always been to bring that same atmosphere to their shows ever since.
West End Blend has shared the stage with Charles Bradley, Turkuaz, members of Snarky Puppy and Lettuce, Break Science, Kung Fu, Twiddle, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, The Nth Power, The Motet and countless others Jam/Funk staples. Their horns have also been featured as special guests with bands such as Dopapod, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Twiddle, TAUK and more. West End Blend has begun to take their dance party to cities around the US so sure to come see them at the 2019 Rhode Island Music & Arts Festival!
SixFoxWhiskey is a jazzy funk-rock quintet out of Boston, MA. With a songwriter feel and jam band chops, they've refined a unique sound that is reminiscent of Steely Dan, Percy Hill, and the Dave Matthews Band. The group has been performing live all over the US, bringing dynamic arrangements, catchy melodies, and improvised jams to the stage since their inception in 2016. They have opened for bands like Ripe, Kung Fu, West End Blend, and Haley Jane and the Primates, and held featured slots in major festivals. SixFox released their debut full-length album, 6FW, in September 2018.
BASS/VOX: Tommy Yannopolous (Big T), GUITAR/VOX: Chris Ballerini (Mr. Crisp), POTS/PANS: Tyler Davis (Lil' T), GUITAR/VOX: Brad Moreno (Snorts), SAX/VOX: Dan Felix (Chris)
PHIL ADAMS group
Phil Adams is an anthropromorphic cabbage. Or so he says when asked to describe himself. I'll tell you he's a Singer/Songwriter/musician out of Westerly, RI dedicated to social harmony and healing/inspiring people with music in the same way has music touched him. Gaining inspiration and influence from artists like Jamie Cullum, John Mayer, and John Legend to experimental/improvisational acts like Frank Zappa, Grateful Dead, and Phish, the product yields the accessible familiarity of popular music with arrangements, segues, and grooves to satisfy a wide audience and keep listeners engaged. In his career, Phil has shared the stage with the likes of Max Creek, Donna Jean Godchaux, Assembly of Dust, Twiddle, Ryan Montbleau, The Breakfast, Consider The Source, Formula 5, Strange Machines, The Movement, Badfish, and Keller Williams, to name a few...
Phil can frequently be seen performing solo as well as in his duo, The Choos. His solo albums "Pieces of Her" and "Silent Notes Society" are available on all major platforms. Phil also performs his music with Phil Adams Group and occassionally appears with Connecticut Jam-Rock outfit, Jeremiah Hazed
Colby James & the ramblers
Accomplished and versatile American singer-songwriter Colby James has earned an outstanding reputation as one of the most popular performers on the live stage. For the past 17 years, Colby’s powerful hard-driving vocals and brilliant guitar playing skills have continued to entertain audiences throughout the region.
At an early age, Colby James began to develop his unique and distinctive connection with his audiences by showcasing his talents at any number of popular local venues. As word spread of his early success, Colby James along with violinist Heather Church, created the band called Rune, which went on to record their first featured live and studio album. Voted one of Rhode Island’s best bands, and as featured on iTunes, Rune continued to experience raving reviews while touring at larger venues including the Tropicana in Atlantic City and CBGB in NYC.
Soon after the success of Rune, Colby began to focus his creative energy towards further enhancing his solo career. While making numerous guest appearances across the country, he recorded his first solo album ‘Colby James’.
On any given weekend you can find Colby electrifying the stage with his intense vocals and impressive acoustical style which captivates his audiences like only few performers can achieve.
Aubrey Haddard is an indie-soul songstress with influences from Amy Winehouse, Jeff Buckley, and Margaret Glaspy. Her debut album Blue Part, released in July 2018, has received praise from WGBH, The Boston Herald, Vanyaland, DigBoston, and Atwood Magazine. Steeped in stories of love and passion, the unapologetic concept album is a fearless musical venture that displays Haddard’s keen sense of harmonic fluidity. Parts indie-soul, parts jazz infused alt rock, Blue Partsimmers with a candescent intensity.
Aubrey’s trio has performed across the country, from the historic strips of Nashville, to the vibrant clubs of New York City; the trio recently spent two weeks overseas on a country-wide tour through France. Haddard was awarded “Soul/R&B Artist of the Year” at the 2018 New England Music Awards, additionally earning a nomination for “Song of the Year.” Aubrey swept the 2018 Boston Music Awards taking home TWO awards for “Vocalist of the Year” and “Singer Songwriter of the Year”.
Rhode Island's Reggae Rock Band "Rival Roots" brings you a Reggae and Ska mixture packed with heavy rock breakdowns that will send chills down your spine and keep you on your feet all night long. Rival Roots have been a constant in the Rhode Island music scene for over half a decade being nominated this year for best Ska band by Motif magazine. Playing with some of the biggest names in the genre in the best music venues R.I. has to offer, Rival Roots have made their mark in the Reggae Rock scene. Although some members have changed over the years the music stays true to Reggae Rock scene. The future is bright for the Reggae Ska community in Rhode Island because Rival Roots looks to be at the head of that ship.
Tom Lupo: Lead Guitar, Joe Margres: Rhythm Guitar/Vocals, Mike Moura: Bass, Chris Netro: Drums, Justin Leclerc: Vocals/Keyboard/Trombone
Formed in 2015 in the city limits of Providence, RI, Mease puts its own spin on the jam, with a fusion of roots music and pure psychedelia taking you on a cosmic American journey. Having shared the stage with the likes of Redman, Members of Twiddle, Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars, Elise Testone, The New Motif and many others, Mease is quickly spreading to every corner of New England, cutting new grooves every step of the way.