Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CLUBBING: Vardan returns ... briefly

Before we get down to the real nitty-gritty, something you should know: Jazz pianist Vardan Ovsepian will be back in the area, broadly conceived, for three shows with his new trio and a bunch of new tunes. He moved here in 2000 after taking a teaching job at The Musical Suite. He released four jazz albums with the Barcelona-based Fresh Sound-New Talent label after making his debut with “Sketch Book,” showcasing works for solo piano debut, in 2001. He blew out of town last year, mostly to spend more time with his family in California, but also to be closer to the musical action. Easiest show to catch would be his April 13 date at the Regattabar, 1 Bennett St., Cambridge. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Unfortunately it’s a school night, a Tuesday. But it’s close by. Second best? At 8 p.m. April 17 at Woodford’s Congregational Church, 202 Woodford St., Portland, Maine. The third show is in the Big Apple. Starts at 10 p.m. April 18. A Sunday. You can do it. We do it whenever the Plastics or Uz jsme doma are around, get home at like 4 a.m. Gets harder and harder to do every year. Just like dealing with these New England winters. Anyhow, could be a while before you get a chance to see him again. Unless you-ve got eyes for his late summer South American tour. Your call. Check out vardanovsepian.com for more info.


... and speaking of New England winters, it’s probably safe to say that everybody has had just about enough of it and is seriously thinking spring — including the folks at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom. The first show of the new season (talk about optimistic!) begins April 15 — just a few days after the Sox demolish the Yankees (talk about optimistic!) Unfortunately, they’re opening with pretty boy John Rzeznik and the Goo Goo Dolls. Oh, well. Looks like an interesting season so far, though, from the vile (Dennis DeYoung playing the music of Styx) to the sublime (a return performance of Zappa Plays Zappa) to the return of the always in-your-face Korn, the only metal band we can think of that has a bagpiper. They’re about to release a new album, one that they tell us is rife with detritus of decadence and lessons learned. Ummmmm, detritus. Tickets go on sale Friday. Check out casinoballroom.com ... 

Elsewhere in Bignameville … Tupelo Music Hall, which is giving the old Casino a run for its money — and demographic — has Woodstock hero Richie Havens on March 19 and the Robert Cray Band on March 21. The Stompers, originally slated for March 20, canceled. Looking ahead, we’ve got local fave Livingston Taylor, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Jo Dee Messina. Yeah, we were stumped, too. But turns out she’s had nine Number One singles — and two platinum and three gold albums. Yeah, country. Still ... But we’re looking ahead to the April 3 performance by Todd Rundgren’s Johnson. Yeah, we wondered the same thing: Did he really think that name through? Is it some sort of infantile joke, or are we just childish? Probably the latter. The backbone of the show is a dozen tunes written by Delta blues legend Robert Johnson including “Love in Vain,” “Hellhound on My Trail” and “Me and the Devil Blues.” The lineup includes Kasim Sulton from the old Utopia Days, Jesse Gress (of the Tony Levin Band) and Prairie Prince, a founding member of the Tubes. Info:tupelohallsalisbury.com/

Hatrack Gallagher and the Ric Maure Trio check in with Curtis Jerome Haynes March 21 at the Sunday Soul sessions at Glenn's Galley, 44 Merrimac St. Music starts at 6 p.m., no cover. Info: 978.465.3811... The acoustic duo Black Cat on March 19, _contemporary and classic covers with Not Broken_ on March 20 at David's Tavern, 11 Brown Square, No cover. Music starts at 8:30 p.m. At Port Tavern, Ruben Kincade Project, March 19. Sligo Road March 21. Eamon Coyne & Friends March 24 and 3.Tim Cannon March 26, Shane Dunn and Damon Liebert March 28. Music starts at 8:30 p.m. 84 State St. Info: 465.1006 ... Another hot weekend at the Grog. Last week it was Hot Like Fire, this week its Hot Day at the Zoo. The genre-bending American roots string band uncages its high-energy folk, blues, ragtime and jazz with progressive bluegrass and Americana on March 19. Positive Mental Trip opens. Audio Underground plays March 20. The Evil Gal, Michelle Willson will have plenty of help when she tears it up with Parker Wheeler and the Blues Party on March 21. Backing her up will be Ricky “King” Russell, Tom West, Per Hanson, Danny Heath, Amadee Castenell and Bob Worthington.

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