A slew of 70s rockers among the best things to do for the week of August 7-13 – Hartford Courant
The Courant’s art picks for the week of August 7-13 want you to want them. One way or another, they’re going to get it. It’s a good week to have been in high school or college in the 70s, because chances are one of your favorite bands is playing here.
It took two or three albums for some of them to get the praise they deserved. So when they first visited Connecticut, artists like Elvis Costello, Blondie, and Cheap Trick played at Toad’s Place or smaller venues. Now they play at resort casinos around the state. The Fleshtones, meanwhile, remain an accomplished club band, concocting their patented “Super Rock” sound at Cafe Nine, where you can watch them sweat it out.
Acts that were already big mainstream draws in the mid-70s are also on the lineup this week, including Rod Stewart, Santana and Steely Dan.
Meanwhile, summer musical gatherings run the gamut from the Podunk Bluegrass Festival to the Charles Ives Chamber Music Festival. The Mystic Outdoor Art Festival’s performing arts stage alone features opera singers, Chinese folk dances, klezmer, swing orchestra, puppets, and modern dance.
Still reeling from the years, starting over, and perhaps still unable to buy a thrill, jazzy soft-rock duo (with sidemen) Steely Dan keep touring in the summer. On August 7, they are at a place they have never played before, the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater in Bridgeport. $54 to $250. hartfordhealthcareamp.com.
Charles Ives, one of the most important American composers of the 20th century, was born in Danbury and cut his teeth as a composer working in churches and schools in the state. He also went to Yale. The annual Charles Ives Music Festival began its summer lineup on August 1, but some key events are taking place this week.
- A free chamber music festival is being held in Ives’ honor at the Ridgefield Playhouse on August 7 at 2 p.m., although the program consists of American composers who are not Charles Ives, including John Williams, Juhi Bansal, Wynton Marsalis, Jared Miller, Patrick O’Malley, Paul Frucht, Han Lash and Christopher Cerrone. There is an expo in the theater lobby before the show, from noon to 2 p.m., with local vendors and artisans.
- There is a separate concert at the Ives Festival on August 10 at the First Congregational Church, 103 Main St., Ridgefield, entitled “The Unanswered Question”, featuring Ives’ famous composition of that name as well as works by Mozart , Jonathan Cziner, Will Stackpole, Han Lash, Derek Geary and Vaughan Williams. This concert is also free.
Details of all Charles Ives Music Festival events are available at charlesivesmusicfestival.org.
With all the bands from the 70s and 80s coming through the state this week, here’s one for the next generation. Dashboard Confessional was a defining emo act of the 2000s, with albums as dark and heartbreaking as “A mark, a mission, a mark, a scar,” “Dusk and summer” and “The shade of poisonous trees.” Chris Carrabba and company had a fight at the Oakdale in Wallingford on August 10 at 8 p.m. Opening act Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness was also there in the 2000s, as part of the band Jack’s Mannequin. Tickets start at $20. oakdaletheatre.net
The Podunk Bluegrass Festival brings the best of the hootin’ and hollerin’ genre to the vast Goshen Fairgrounds, and even offers a camping option for those who love green grass as well as bluegrass. The line-up includes two members of Alison Krauss’ band Union Station, leading their own bands: dobro and lap steel guitarist Jerry Douglas’ band Friday; and Dan Tyminski (the singing voice of George Clooney in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) and his band on Saturday. Dozens of other artists also perform on multiple stages over four days, along with workshops, contests, kids’ activities, vendors and more. August 11 to 14. Hours are Thursday 1-11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Admission is $30 on Thursday, $70 on Friday and Saturday, and $25 on Sunday. A four-day pass costs $165 and a four-day pass with camping and electricity privileges costs $500. podunkbluegrass.com.
Our picks of activities and places to visit this weekend
Carlos Santana has been a rock legend for so long, both as the frontman of a band that shares his last name and as a solo artist that his comeback album “Supernatural” is now 20 years old. The band’s first album came out in 1969, the same year they played at Woodstock. Her 26th album, “Blessings and Miracles”, was released last year. While on tour, Santana also performs her solo hits, including songs from “Supernatural.” August 12 at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena. $89.50 – $199.50. mohegansun.com.
Blondie – a group that formed in 1974, broke up in 1982 (after releasing six albums) and then reformed in 1997, releasing five more albums since then – have been forced to tour without founding member Chris Stein, who has health problems. But drummer Clem Burke (who joined in 1975) and of course vocalist Debbie Harry are on board. The opening act is at least as exciting: The Damned, the first British punk band of the 70s to release a full album (in 1977), which produced the instant classics ‘New Rose’ and ‘Neat Neat Neat’. August 12 at 7 p.m. at the Foxwoods Premier Theatre. $39 to $59. foxwoods.com.
Elvis Costello first performed in Connecticut in 1977 at the now long-defunct Oxford Ale House. Since then, he has performed 16 more times around the state at a dozen different venues. Costello’s musical output is as diverse and exciting as his tours. His latest album reunites him with the other member of a duo in which Elvis (then known as DP McManus) played shortly before breaking through as a singer/songwriter/angry young man with ‘My Aim isTrue”. Live, Elvis Costello and the Imposters can be unpredictable, drawing from dozens of albums. August 13 at 8 p.m. at the Premier Theater in Foxwoods. $45 to $75. foxwoods.com.
Rod Stewart was well into his “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” phase when power pop upstart Cheap Trick released his first three Unassailable albums (“Cheap Trick,” “In Color” and “Heaven Tonight”) at the late 70s. More than four decades later, all are still rocking and splitting a bill on August 13 at 7:30 p.m. in a Mohegan Sun Arena. $99 to $149. mohegansun.com.
New York’s ineffable Fleshtones, supreme garage rockers who’ve been pounding their friendly “super rock” sounds since the late 1970s, make another special visit to New Haven’s cozy Cafe Nine on August 13 at 9 p.m. The Fleshtones were part of the same NYC Scene that spawned Blondie and hordes of other bands. Palmyra Delran and the Doppel Gang. $18, $15 in advance. caffenine.com.
A massive juried art exhibition featuring over 200 artists taking place in downtown Mystic, this weekend-long outdoor art festival also includes a concert stage on the Quad Gallery outside the Thompson Exhibit Building at the North Entrance of the Mystic Seaport Museum (75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic). Performers on Friday include the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, puppet troupe Mystic Paper Beasts, Klezmenschen, boogie woogie pianist Arthur Migliazza and swing band As Time Goes By. Performances: August 12 and 13, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Art exhibitions: August 13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; August 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. mysticchamber.org.
Christopher Arnott can be reached at [email protected].