With the first official heat wave behind us, summer is now in full swing and there is a ton happening musically in New England. This month local music shows off its diversity.
By Kathleen Burke.
I have not thought about The Pinkerton Thugs since about 1998 when a friend let me borrow one of their records in an effort to teach me about punk music. Influenced by bands like The Clash, The Unseen, and Mudhoney, The Pinkerton Thugs were a DIY punk staple during the late 90s.
After some lineup changes (early members went on to join The Ducky Boys and Dropkick Murphys), a long hiatus, and a reunion marked with fits and starts, The Pinkerton Thugs are back at full capacity, with a new label Jailhouse Records, new album in the works, and new national tour currently in full swing. Catch a boot to the neck when they play Geno’s in their home state. (Or catch the group the next night in Cambridge at the Middle East in Central Square.)
Debo Band and Groupo Fantasma. Presented by World Music/CrasHarts. At Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA, July 11, doors at 8 p.m., 18+.
Debo Band is an 11-piece, Ethiopian, pop ensemble originally from Boston. Led by Ethiopian‐American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, the on-the-rise group specializes in a blend of funk, jazz, and dance music. The Debo Band’s self-titled debut album is about to be released by Ambience/Sub Pop records, and they recently penned a deal with well-respected, MA-based booking agency Concerted Efforts. Before signing with Concerted Efforts, Debo Band completed two international tours, playing with acts such as Gogol Bordello and The Family Stone.
Also performing that night is the Grammy Award-winning Latin ensemble Groupo Fantasma, who have had a number of TV placements on shows such as Breaking Bad, Weeds, and Ugly Betty. Groupo Fantasma tour internationally, and the 10-piece will definitely get the dance party started.
A tap dancing drummer from Lexington, MA is what piques my interest where He’s My Brother She’s My Sister are concerned. Lauren Brown is not just a drummer that happens to tap dance, she actually tap dances while drumming. Her shoes are instruments, and she’s described as “a tap dancer who provides full body percussion while jumping up and down.” I’m sold.
This five-piece identifies as “western-tinged, folky, bluesy, rock & roll with a touch of vaudeville glamour,” and I am inclined to agree. He’s My Brother She’s My Sister recently wrapped up a tour with Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and features brother and sister lead vocalists, a slide guitarist, and a stand-up bassist. Don’t forget to bring the camera. Also playing are local faves The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library.
Surf guitar legend Dick Dale comes to the Middle East downstairs this month. Originally from South Boston and later Quincy, MA, Dale invented surf music in the 50s and has been performing ever since.
The accomplishments on Dick Dale’s resume are staggering. Dale was the first rock guitarist to play on The Ed Sullivan Show, he’s in the Surfing Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame, he’s been granted lifetime achievement awards by various publications, he has played with Stevie Ray Vaughn, and he’s performed on top of Space Mountain in Disney. Leo Fender asked Dale to play his brand new creation, the Stratocaster Guitar back in the 60s, and Dale repeatedly blew up guitar amps given to him by Fender.
The man is a walking piece of rock and roll history and is still touring at the age of 75. Pay homage to the King of the Surf Guitar this month in Cambridge. Also playing is Muck and the Mires.
Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra. At The Middle East (Downstairs), July 31, doors at 8 p.m.
The Middle East is really killing it this month, but if you weren’t lucky enough to scoop up tickets to Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra the day they went on sale, then sitting in the Middle East Corner may be your best bet at hearing a note or two from the show downstairs.
Unsurprisingly, Palmer’s three night stay at The Middle East sold out in minutes. AP&TGTO kicked off their six city tour on June 12th and have weaved their way through Berlin, London, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles before wrapping up this month in the Boston area. The forthcoming (and 100% backed by over one million dollars in Kickstarter donations) album Theater is Evil is set for release this September.