English Beat at Johnny D’s in Somerville — A Review

Antonee First Class (left), and Dave Wakeling of the English Beat
Antonee First Class (left), and Dave Wakeling of the English Beat
The English Beat again graced the stage of Johnny D’s in Somerville. The mellow round tones of Matt Morrish’s (Sax/Vocals) sax and the jangly street sound of steel drums from Kevin Lum’s (Keys/Vocals) Korg predominated the room. They started the night out with a rocksteady version of “Rough Rider,” the Prince Buster cover. Dave Wakeling (Lead vocals/Guitar) commented that the room felt like a submarine.

Yeah, the ceilings are low at Johnny D’s, but it makes for an intimate space and the sound isn’t overpoweringly loud. After all, some people were eating supper. But the dance floor filled up quick for “Hands Off She’s Mine.” Well dressed teds next to punks and regular folks in jeans and tees stomped to “Twist and Crawl.” A shout out to all, and Wakeling waved at the audience. Antonee First Class (Toaster) told us it doesn’t matter who you are or if you remember the 1980’s. The younger ones think they started it. Wakeling added The 1980’s were the best two or three years of his life. He said, if we could help him remember, he’d take us there, and went right into, you guessed it, The Staple Singers cover “I’ll Take You There.”

After that soulful number the band played the seminal “I Confess.” The song turned into a sing along, and Wakeling added a little scat-rap ending with First Class reaching out to the crowd, in the chant “hey.”

As the set progressed, they played hit after hit flawlessly, and First Class called “all the rude boys say yo,” with the audience supplying a mighty call back. Wakeling added, “I’m gonna need fucking heart pills for this,” as First Class called “all the ladies scream!”

The fun banter continued with Wakeling telling us a tale of his boyhood days in Birmingham. Staggering home after pints of Guinness on any given rainy Tuesday dreaming of girls where he wrote “Sooner or Later.” They followed that with “Stand Down Margret,” wonderfully, Wakeling presented the two fingered salute for ‘ol Maggie. Then getting a little less political, they broke into “Best Friend.” The place was jumping. Even this old girl was skanking. They did a terrific rendition of Andy Williams’ “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” their highest charting single release ever. Which is hard to believe since every tune is practically a pop standard.

Wakeling switched back and forth from his iconic teardrop Vox to his red Fender. The Vox replacement is yellow with a Beat airplane sticker on it. The “real” one, as I understand it, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year and has taken it’s place next to Jimi Hendrix’s axe.

Roger Bueno (Bass/Vocals) asked me to order him a Jack and Coke, and I eventually saw the drink poised and vibrating on the back of the bass rig. They did a new number followed by “Too Nice To Talk To,” in quick secession. The newer material offered a marked change in sound with heavy bass, no sax or reggae steel drums ringing out, but nice harmonies as there are on many a Dave Wakeling tune.

One of our party came back and reported that in the men’s room there was a pissed off guy in a kilt. Seemed fitting that the next tune had First Class calling “a brand new dance called the tolerance,” and showing us how to get ‘er done, dancing up a storm on stage. We hoped Mr. Kilt was listening and dancing.

“Soul Salvation,” had Wakeling saying “life is a miracle, life is a fucking miracle,” and we mellowed out with a taste of piano and whistling as they did the General Public number “Tenderness.” Another killer drum solo by Rhythmm Epkins (Drums/Vocals) followed with a final rap about finding what you need in Somerville, and our evening ended with “Ranking Full Stop,” and “Mirror in the Bathroom.” Two hours of solid playing, no encore, and no opener, and no stopping.

Just in case you want to know who’s who and what’s what: the English Beat’s front man Dave Wakeling (Lead Vocals/Guitar) is the only original member in the US version of the 2-Tone ska band. In the alternate universe of the UK, another version of the same band exists called The Beat fronted by original member Ranking Roger (Toaster). The English Beat is touring the US in a giant bus. Look for it near you.

A new box set called “The Complete Beat,” a five-disc set containing expanded remastered versions of all three of the group’s albums, 1980’s “I Just Can’t Stop It,” 1981’s “Wha’ppen?” and 1982’s “Special Beat Service,” was released plus a two-disc collection of “Bonus Beat” material that contains a CD of 12” mixes and dubs and a disc of recordings from the Peel Sessions and four cuts live from a November 1982 gig in Boston.

English Beat In Somerville, Wednesday, 10/16/13!! Buy Tickets Now!


The English Beat return to grace the stage at Johnny D’s in Somerville, MA this coming Wednesday October 16th. Come out and dance to the legendary Two-Tone Ska beat as Dave Wakeling, and Ranking Roger show off their manic struts.

A new release, “Specialized II – Beat Teenage Cancer” is scheduled to drop later this year with all proceeds going to the Teenage Cancer Trust. “Music has always had a healing aspect, and 2-Tone a bit more than most, as it was designed to bring people together,” says Wakeling. “These songs have been a big part of my life, and I am honoured that they could be of use to the Specialized project… a wonderful opportunity to assist a worthy cause, the Teenage Cancer Trust, and remember, when we help others, we help ourselves…one hand washes the other!”

“Specialized II” will include a re-recording of “Mirror In The Bathroom” and more than forty other Beat classics. Helping out are Hunt Emerson, creator of the iconic Beat girl logo, guitarists Dave Steele, Andy Cox, rhythm by Everett Morton on drums and Lionel Martin AKA “Saxa” adds that extra dash of cool on Sax.

Come out and dance the skank with the English Beat next Wednesday at Johnny D’s. Tickets still available.

Ezra Furman & The Boy-Friends New Release on Bar/None and Tour

Erza Furman, Photo by Rosie Wagner.
Erza Furman, Photo by Rosie Wagner.

“My Zero,” the new video for Ezra Furman and his band the Boy-Friends, and one of the cuts from their new album “Day of the Dog,” offers up a crisp poppy sound with overtones of seventies orchestral charm. In a lyric wrapper of knowledgeable worldly ideals, that hint at algorithms and over population, the song is that breed of love song – quirky but honest. Furman strains his voice in a heartfelt nasal whine that’s more early John Lennon than Bob Dylan, but the songs are stories with straightforward composition that’s an easy listen. A good folk-rocker, but with fantastic saxophone Charlie “Bird” Parker-esc solo finishing out the song for the new release on Bar/None Records.

Ezra Furman & The Boy-Friends Tour
Thu 10/10 – Springfield, IL – Donnie’s Homespun
Fri 10/11 – Champaign, IL – Mike & Molly’s
Sat 10/12 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean
Wed 10/16 – Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups
Thu 10/17 – Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe
Sat 10/19 – New York, NY (CMJ Showcase) – Living Room
Tue 10/22 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East Upstairs
Wed 10/23 – Brooklyn, NY – Shea Stadium
Thu 10/24 – New Hope, PA – Triumph Brewery
Fri 10/25 – Philadelphia – North Star Bar
Sat 10/26 – Marietta, OH – Adelphia Music Hall
Sun 10/27 – Yellow Springs, OH (Antioch College)
Tue 10/29 – Detroit, MI – The Loving Touch
Wed 10/30 – University Center, MI – Saginaw Valley State University
Thu 10/31 – Cincinnati, OH – MOTR Pub
Fri 11/1 – Indianapolis, IN – Do317 Lounge

“Day of the Dog,” Ezra Furman and his band the Boy-Friends. Available now on Bar/None Records.

The Feelies At The Sinclair – Review

The Feelies

Last spring, around the time of the Boston Marathon manhunt for the mad bombers, the Feelies were scheduled to perform at the Paradise. The show was canceled, but the Sinclair and the Feelies, honored those tickets. The Sinclair, as it turned out, may have been a better venue for the Feelies. I’m not dissin’ the ‘dice here, it’s just that the sound levels for the room were so perfectly set. No earplugs required, something I usually need.

The room was overflowing with a polite standing room only crowd. You could actually hold a conversation, but hardly anyone did once the Feelies took the stage. They started at nine, promptly, with no opener. The crowd didn’t dance for the most part, but grooved out nonetheless, because the Feelies were phenomenal with their signature jangly pop rock sound. There was little banter and no hesitation between songs. They started out steady with old favorites like “Original Love,” and “Crazy Rhythms,” interspersed with covers, like “Who Loves The Sun,” by the Velvet Underground, and the Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride.” They also hit their more recent material like “Nobody Knows,” and “Away,” their 1988 charting hit, adding in a fantastic rendition of “Dancing Barefoot,” the Patti Smith ballad.

Everything about this concert was well executed, down to the staging, lighting, and if you will, costuming. Whether they have someone color coordinating their plaid shirts, Glenn Mercer (vocals/lead guitar) in red with his green sunglasses, Bill Million (rhythm guitar, backing vocals) in grey-green, and Brenda Sauter (bass, backing vocals) in pink against her fab powder blue bass, or they’re just really, really in tune, sorry bad pun there, the Feelies rocked with precision, grace and a little reverb. Fantabulous. Stan Demeski (drums) and Dave Weckerman (percussion) were fucking machines, and Sauter helped out on percussion on a number or two, as well.

No moody lighting, or lasers in you face – the lighting was clear white and I could see standing in the back by the board, no problem. During the second set, with the lighting, they mixed it up a little – some red and blue washes, and turned up the volume a smidge as Mercer ran amok with some blazing guitar solos with more great songs like Velvet’s “There She Goes,” and originals like “Higher Ground.”

Maybe with the closing of Maxwell’s they’ve taken back their Jersey roots in a new way because they did an incredible version of the Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” wait, the Stooges are from Detroit, oh well – anyway – many a veteran Feelies fan I spoke to had never heard them play that, and they did a great growling version.

End of the evening after almost three hours we got four, count ’em, four encores. Covers included and are not limited to the Stones’ “Paint it Black,” and a bass and percussion heavy “Get Off Of My Cloud,” followed by their volatile version of REM’s “Shaking Through,” with their final selection from Crazy Rhythms “Fa Cé La.”

If I had any criticism at all it would be “more cow bell,” oh wait, I mean wooden block. Kidding. Go see them, and get their new record “Here Before” (Bar/None CD 2011) and Feelie good about helping out an incredible progenitor of the indie rock movement. Re-release’s of “Crazy Rhythms,”(1980), and “The Good Earth,” (1986), the first two LPs by the Feelies are also available this month from Bar/None.

The Lovers World Tour This Fall

The Lovers New Release: A Friend In The World on Badman Records.
The Lovers New Release: A Friend In The World on Badman Records.

Cue the pyrotechnics. From their website, it says: “The three first encountered in 2002 after Berk’s near-fatal van explosion while on tour with an earlier incarnation of the band.” How cool is that? It’s like an origin story for a super hero trio. And within the feminist community maybe Lovers is just that. They write songs that let you cry your heart out or might just inspire you to dance through it or drunk dial your girlfriend. Carolyn Berk, singer, and the mainstay in the band, since its inception, writes most of their material. This current version of the Lovers has seen its way to making two records. Their newest release on Badman records, “A Friend In The World,” is a seasoned second for the trio. Emily Kingan and Kerby Ferris make up the rest of the band. Berk and Ferris met in San Paulo, and it would seem may have been influenced by Argentine Wave, since their music can have a palpable pulsing trance quality to it. Berk calls Portland home, but made Somerville her home once, so come out and support the peeps from the hood. Whether you call it “heartfelt bedroom-pop” as Pitchfork has called it, or “queer synth-rock” as The New Gay has called it, the music is a well produced, professional and worth a listen.


Catch them on tour this fall supporting their new release “A Friend In The World.”


Sat Oct 5, 2013
Seaside OR @ EDEN PNW
Fri Oct 18, 2013
Pittsburgh, PA @ BrilloBox (Operation Sappho)
Sat Oct 19, 2013
Buffalo, NY @ Ambush! (Duke’s Bohemian Groove Bar)
Sun Oct 20, 2013
Providence, RI @ Machine with Magnets
Mon Oct 21, 2013
Boston @ the Middle East
Tue Oct 22, 2013
Burlington VT @ Nectars
Wed Oct 23, 2013
Philadelphia PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
Thu Oct 24, 2013
Richmond, VA @ The Camel
Fri Oct 25, 2013
Durham NC @ Pinhook
Sat Oct 26, 2013
Baltimore, MD @ Club K
Sun Oct 27, 2013
Brooklyn NY @ Glasslands
Thu Oct 31, 2013
Berlin Germany @ Südblock [www.suedblock.org]
Fri Nov 1, 2013
Copenhagen DK @ TBA
Sat Nov 2, 2013
Stockholm Sweden @ we need help!
Sun Nov 3, 2013
Oslo Norway @ Café Mir [www.lufthavna.no/cafe-mir]
Mon Nov 4, 2013
Göteborg Sweden @ TBA
Tue Nov 5, 2013
Malmö – SE @ STPLN [http://stpln.se/]
Thu Nov 7, 2013
Hamburg Germany @ Centro Sociale [http://www.centrosociale.de]
Fri Nov 8, 2013
Bremen, German @ Die Friese [http://diefriese.de/]
Sat Nov 9, 2013
Amsterdam, Netherlands @ OCCII [www.theopenseries.wordpress.com]
Sun Nov 10, 2013
Brussels, Belgium @ TBA
Tue Nov 12, 2013Who: LOVERS
Cologne -DE @ AZ [http://az-koeln.org/]
Wed Nov 13, 2013
Stuttgart – DE @ Contain’t e.V.
Thu Nov 14, 2013
Paris FR @ TBA
Fri Nov 15, 2013
Paris France @ TBA
Sat Nov 16, 2013
Nantes, France @ Queerdrome [www.queerodrome.com/]
Sun Nov 17, 2013
Toulouse France @ TBA
Mon Nov 18, 2013
San Sebastian Spain @ TBA
Tue Nov 19, 2013
Bilbao Spain @ TBA
Wed Nov 20, 2013
Madrid Spain @ TBA
Thu Nov 21, 2013
Barcelona Spain @ TBA
Sat Nov 23, 2013
Grenoble, France @ TBA
Sun Nov 24, 2013
Bern Switzerland @ Flurstrasse 14a [Sonntags Brunch mit LOVERS]
Mon Nov 25, 2013
Zurich Switzerland @ Autonomer Beautysalon [http://autonomerbeautysalon.wordpress.com/]
Tue Nov 26, 2013
Innsbruck, Austria @ Café DeCentral
Wed Nov 27, 2013
Graz – A @ Postgarage
Thu Nov 28, 2013
Munich, Germany @ Kafé Kult [http://www.kafekult.de]
Fri Nov 29, 2013
Leipzig Germany @ Connewitz
Sat Nov 30, 2013
Berlin, German @ ://about blank
Wed Dec 11, 2013
San Francisco @ Bottom of the Hill
Thu Dec 12, 2013
Los Angeles @ TBA
Fri Dec 13, 2013
Long Beach, CA @ Que Sera
Sat Dec 14, 2013
Superior, AZ @ Magma
Sun Dec 15, 2013
Tucson @ Solar Culture
Mon Dec 16, 2013
Las Vegas @ Artifice (http://artificebar.com + https://www.facebook.com/ArtificeBar).
Tue Dec 17, 2013
San Diego @ Tin Can
Wed Dec 18, 2013
Los Angeles @ The Smell
Thu Dec 19, 2013
Oakland @ TBA
Fri Dec 20, 2013
Sacramento @ Bows & Arrows

K. Flay Turns It Up To Eleven at The Nines Festival

K. Flay, The Nines Festival, Devens, MA, August 10, 2013
K. Flay, The Nines Festival, Devens, MA, August 10, 2013

K. Flay opened with “Hail Mary” on the Lucky Cat stage late Saturday afternoon at the Nines Festival in Devens, MA to a small but dedicated crowd. The new EP “What If It Is” was released a week ago, K. announced, drinking a Coors Light, and sporting a great cheesy black Call of the Wild tee with an airbrushed Jack London, black jeans and combat boots. K. stomped and pogoed through the first few songs, then stopped to check in with the audience, asking, “how you doin’ Devens Massachusetts?” A direct response was flung back “No one is fucking from Devens Massachusetts!” So she said, “Well how you doin’ wherever the fuck you’re from?” The audience roared with approval. As the set progressed, she got the crowd into a call and response with “Hell, Yeah” and demanded the audience “clap motherfuckers” going into a killer scat-rap with a heavy metal backing.

Noah was crushing it, scratching, and making magic with his Buddha encrusted laptop and turntables. He and K. Flay blew it apart dancing, hair flying to a looped background while Nick kicked it out on the kit. K. Flay confessed she wrote material when she was a bit stoned, and didn’t know if the audience could relate, but thought they might could for her intro to “Fvcking Crazy,” a song she wrote about trouble with commitment. “You know whether you’re going to continue with the relationship, you know about those, right?” she quipped, as the band laid down the beat. The trio ripped it up with a severe three person drum session with Nick on the kit, Noah on electronic drums and K. Flay on an electric blue Tom, playing the rim and the skins.

As a band, they hail from San Francisco, but K. Flay now lives in NYC. Wherever they’re from, they convey a raw urban vibe. Subjects range from rage about injustice and dating woes to eating disorders. K. Flay is fast and precise in her rapping which packs an emotional punch. She announced their finish would be “wild ass fucking songs,” which ended with “Sun Burn.” As the set ended, Noah shot K. Flay with a super soaker, then the two of them sprayed the audience “for your pleasure and enjoyment,” K. Flay said. They’re an incredible mix of headbanging hip-hop rap with raw metal energy reminiscent of MIA and worth a listen. Catch them on tour now with Icona Pop & Sirah supporting their new EP release “What If It Is.” They’ll be playing Boston at the Paradise September 19.

Get Ready for The Nines Festival in Devens, MA

The Nines Festival rocks Devens, MA - Saturday Aug. 10th, 2013
The Nines Festival rocks Devens, MA – Saturday Aug. 10th, 2013

Get ready to head to Devens, MA! The old army fort town will be the host of the first Nines Festival on Willard Field August 10th from 1-11PM. Parking is free, and kids under ten get in free, accompanied by an adult.

A collaborative effort by 3 River Arts and Great Northeast Productions, the Nines Festival promises a diverse line-up suitable for all ages including music, comedy, art installations and interactive exhibits of local, national and emerging artists. Food and crafts will be for sale on site.

Notable indie-rocker national acts like, Austin’s Explosions In the Sky touring with Nine Inch Nails, and Boston’s own Air Traffic Controller will be there, as well as Shuggie Otis the well known R&B guitarist. San Diego’s Delta Spirit will be mixing it up with their own brand of roots, blues and country, and DJ Kid Koala will create some unique sounds with his turntables. With three stages going, plus a comedy tent, there is sure to be something to suit everyone.

For more info about the event:
General ticket purchase: Ticketmaster, The Nines Festival or call 800-653-8000.
VIP ticket purchase: Gets you much swag and goodness, in fact you’ll be on cloud nine, for details scroll to the bottom of the page.

Air Traffic Controller, The Outside The Box Festival, Beacon Stage

Air Traffic Controller, Dave_Munro
Air Traffic Controller, Dave_Munro

Air Traffic Controller’s Dave Munro announced they would start their set off with a little number called “Test, 1,2.” Apparently a song they do for sound check when they don’t get one. Casey Sullivan, a recording artist in her own right, plays a mean Hoffner style bass, the instrument favored by Paul McCartney. They soon kicked it into “Pick Me Up” off of their latest, Nordo. Following it up with a brilliant Munro and Sullivan duet on “Anyway.” Another off Nordo was about a dream Munro had. “Magic.” Jangly and discordant, it’s loaded up with heavy bass and angular guitar. They needed to start the song again since Munro said they partied too hard the night before. Munro talked about the CD they recorded and how this time Alison Shipton was having to represent for the whole warehouse of people that usually accompanied “Blame.” When they recorded they had a forty piece band from BU. Munro and Casey readied the audience to participate with the sing along “Hurry Hurry,” and kids ran to the front to dance, even in the record heat.

Munro gave a shout out to Ted Cutler, the founder of Outside the Box Festival for this crazy idea, adding that this might be the coolest thing Boston has ever had. Munro changed to a white Fender electric and Steve Scott when not playing lead guitar or keyboard took up Sullivan’s bass while she played mandolin. Alison Shipton delivered an elegant violin solo, on “Ready or Not,” and before launching into “Foot of the Bed” Shipton said Munro got married last Saturday. Munro teased “yeah, to Alison.” To which she replied “Musta been another dream.” Munro switched back to acoustic and Scott back to piano for another few songs. They plugged “You Know Me” in current rotation on WERS. Their last song was off the new CD “Nordo” called “Bad Axe, MI” another story telling number about a band from Bad Axe Michigan. This highlighted everyone’s talents with a fast kick-ass fiddle solo, killer drums by Richie Munro and flourishing guitar. The Munro brothers facing each other, Dave finalized the set with a rock and roll jump on stage. Catch them this summer around Boston.

Check out Nordo their new CD with previews on their website: http://www.airtrafficcontrollermusic.com/


Air Traffic Controller, Casey_Sullivan
Air Traffic Controller, Casey_Sullivan
Air Traffic Controller, Steve_Scott
Air Traffic Controller, Steve_Scott
Air Traffic Controller, Alison_Shipton
Air Traffic Controller, Alison_Shipton

A Band Called Death — Great Movie, An Awesome Punk Band

a band called death

Picture this: It’s the early seventies. You’re a black male. You sport a killer ‘fro. You’re living in the inner city, and the hot groups are people like Chicago and Earth, Wind, and Fire. You’ve grown up in a town soaked in Motown and Soul – Detroit. You’re a teenager, you need to rebel and your parents claim to be open minded. What do you do? You start a punk band.

Part documentary a la Robert Burns and part current interviews and performances by Death and Rough Francis, the film recounts the genesis and trajectory of three brothers and a band. With influences including Alice Cooper, the MC5, Iggy Pop, the Who and Queen, these black kids were playing fast “white boy music” and in a “black boy” town, and met with little acceptance.

A great story about integrity, regret, purpose, spirit and what music can mean. As teens, in the early seventies, the Hockney brothers formed a band in their extra bedroom. They got close to getting a record deal with Arista, and recorded a studio demo, but the eldest Hockney brother, David, stuck to his guns – the band’s name must stay Death. His brothers stuck to the family code – never fight and stick together – so Death never got a recording contract.

As young men, Dannis (drums), Bobby (bass/vocals) and David (guitar/vocals) continued their musical odyssey. They found their way out of Detroit to the opposite end of the cultural spectrum, Vermont, and put together a Christian rock band. Eventually, David goes back to Detroit, but his brothers develop a reggae band which meets with moderate success. David cuts a single as Rough Francis, but only presses a few hundred records. His work, again, meets with rejection.

Fast forward thirty years: enter the record collectors. Some of those interviewed include Henry Rollins, Joey Ramone’s brother Micky, and oddly, Frodo. Elijah Wood is a record exec, so, whatever, anyway, all these rabid fan-boy vinyl collectors are blown away by Death’s 45s. On eBay one sells for $800 bucks. Bobby Hackney ( bass) is flabbergasted when he finds this out from his son, and that his music is being played at underground parties in San Francisco. Finally, Bobby’s sons start a Death tribute band calling it Rough Francis to honor their uncle Dave, the visionary.

David Hackney, the guitarist, song writer, oldest and the leader of the group, was a gifted, wild, wise, tortured soul with a drinking problem and a bad cigarette habit. He died of lung cancer, thirteen years ago. A huge loss to his family and especially his younger brothers. Prophetically, right before his death, he gave the demo tapes to his brother Bobby to keep safe, saying hang onto the tapes, people will come looking for this music. Boy, was he right.

To find out where it’s playing and for more about Death see the links below.

The Official Death website

Rough Francis (The Legacy)

A Band Called Death (Drafthouse Films)

Los Lobos, Kick-off Outside The Box Festival In Boston, MA

Los Lobos, Out of the Box Festival, 2013, Boston, MA Photo by C H Willson.
Los Lobos, Outside the Box Festival, 2013, Boston, MA Photo by C H Willson.

Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, and Alejandro Escovedo hit the Beacon Stage.

Outside The Box Inaugural Festival July 13-21, 2013

Maestro Charles Ansbacher, the founder of Boston Landmarks Orchestra and Free for All Concert Fund passed away in 2010, but his legacy is manyfold. Outside the Box founder Ted Cutler was so touched by the man’s simple philosophy that “concerts should be accessible to all” that he “built an entire festival around it.” Robert Brustein, critic and Founding Director of the A.R.T also was involved from the ground up in the creation of this enormous happening.

The kick-off concert was held on the “Beacon Stage” on Boston Common. One of several stages specifically setup for the nine day event. Three jumbo-trons surrounded the stage and the grass was partitioned off for VIPs. Sponsor’s logos were prominently displayed on the proscenium.

We missed Los Lonely Boys’ and came in as Alejandro Escovendo was leaving the stage. Los Lobos kicked it into “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” with an unexpected awesome funk grind, followed by another great cover of the blues classic made most famous by The Allman Brothers, “One Way Out,” but originally recorded by “Sonny Boy” in the sixties. Everyone sang along to the chorus, “Cause there’s a man down there, might be your man, I don’t know.” The vibe morphed into country soul with “Just A Matter of Time,” and Steve Berlin performed an amazing bass sax solo. Los Lonely Boys joined Los Lobos on stage with a very tight version of “Don’t Worry Baby” from Los Lobos breakout album “How will the Wolf Survive?” (1984). The Lonely Boys continued the extended jam, Jojo Garza offering up a wicked bass solo on that number. The Los Lobos’ singer and guitarist Cesar Rosas jokingly warned that with that low tone on that solo Jojo was getting close to brown tones. Next up was some Grateful Dead. The audience danced and held forth with much applause, followed by “Bertha” written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter with another kick ass guitar solo by the long haired lead guitarist and singer Los Lonely Boy’s Henry Garza sporting a Boston Strong shirt. For the encore Barrence Whitfield, a local boy, joined the crowded stage with a screaming rendition of “Georgia Slop.” Los Lobos ended with their signature “La Bamba” and “Good Lovin’” the 1966 Young Rascals hit.

More music, theatre, and art events will take place throughout the week – all for free. Some highlights include the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Puppet Show Place, Quick Silver Dance, Taj Mahal, Gaga The Musical, Imagination Movers, James Montgomery, Air Traffic Controller, and a concert on Saturday evening featuring Buffalo Tom, The Lemonheads and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones at the Beacon Stage.

For a schedule of events see: http://outsidetheboxboston.org/

Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, and Alejandro Escovedo are touring together.