Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Live Music: Dropkick Murphys; Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars; The Gaslight Anthem; Tony Furtado

Great live music to check out this week

Posted by Sam Spence on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 1:00 PM

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  • Provided

CELTIC PUNK | Dropkick Murphys
w/ The Botss
Thurs. May 8
8 p.m.
$31
Music Farm

Fortune has shined mightily on the Dropkick Murphys, though the celtic-punk icons have never lacked for grit or persistence either. They formed 18 years ago in Boston and got their first break opening for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones on their ’97 national tour. After each of the Murphys’ first two albums, the lead singer and guitarist left (respectively), but that didn’t stop them. They only gathered steam thanks to their energetic live performances, which rival concert firestarters such as Flogging Molly or Gogol Bordello. Like those acts, the music’s fueled by an intoxicating and irrepressible, hard-charging spirit. Loud guitars are mirrored by traditional Irish elements (mandolin, tin whistle, bagpipes) while the growling vocals are impassioned pleas or calls to action. After breaking the Billboard Top 100 with their fourth album Blackout, the Dropkick Murphys broke the Top 50 with 2005’s The Warrior’s Code, buoyed by publicity from the Red Sox’s 2004 World Series win and the band’s BoSox anthem, “Tessie.” Their subsequent three albums have all broken the Top 20 without changing the formula much (including last year’s Signed and Sealed in Blood). They write fist-raising, beer-drenched, no-surrender songs that are about as close as Irish-Catholic punk can get to soul music. —Chris Parker THURSDAY

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FOLK-REGGAE | Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
Sat. May 10
9:30 p.m.
$15/adv., $18/door
Pour House

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars’ groovy, vibrant West African folk evokes the reggae sway of Bob Marley. That’s because Sierra Leone was a slave trade hub and many slaves took their native rhythms with them to Jamaica. That reggae downbeat thumps beneath SLRAS’ fluttering folk guitar alongside intermittent blasts of percussive thunder. Like reggae, the music is borne of protest and perseverance. The Refugee All Stars formed in 2004 at a refugee camp after its individual members fled civil war in their homeland. Two filmmakers discovered the band in a camp playing their signature song (and title track of their 2006 debut album), “Living Like a Refugee,” and made them their documentary’s subject. Although the members had suffered horribly — they witnessed friends and family being killed and were pressed into service as child soldiers ­— their music offers an uplifting antidote, full of big harmonies and warm melodies. The film brought Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars international acclaim, allowing them to tour the world. SLRAS recorded their second album, 2010’s Rise & Shine, in New Orleans and picked up some jazzy, brassy overtones. For 2012’s Radio Salone, they teamed with musician/producer Victor Axelrod (Sharon Jones, Antibalas), who deepened the tones and texture. For the Refugee All Star’s latest, Libation, they’ve stripped back the instrumentation for a crisp acoustic sound that harkens back to their debut. ­—Chris Parker SATURDAY

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HEARTLAND ROCK | The Gaslight Anthem
w/ Cory Branan
Sat. May 10
8 p.m.
$22/adv., $25/door
Music Farm

Gaslight Anthem wears their hearts and their influences on their sleeves. They write stormy, heart-pumping rock that combines Bruce Springsteen’s anthemic spirit with chunky, punky rock ’n’ roll. You have to forgive frontman Brian Fallon for his impassioned lyrical drama and romanticism ­— he’s from New Jersey, where the Boss is imprinted at the DNA level. Around him, the music’s clamorous power-chord punk roots evoke Social Distortion and The Replacements, both of which accent the middle finger in Fallon’s fist-in-the-air theatrics. Gaslight’s unapologetically earnest approach is powered by a spirited live show that has quickly gathered fans and accolades in equal measure. They followed their raucous breakthrough second album, The ’59 Sound, with 2010’s rootsy American Slang and 2012’s Handwritten, which split the difference between the two. It reached No. 3 on Billboard. The prolific quartet has also released five EPs in addition to an album of outtakes, covers, and B-sides in January. In March they began preproduction on their fifth, presently untitled album. This tour appears to be a chance to road-test material before setting it to tape. —Chris Parker SATURDAY

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BANJO FOLK | Tony Furtado
Thurs. May 8
10 p.m.
Free
Surf Bar

Portland-based banjo, slide-guitar maestro and avid rabbit sculptor Tony Furtado has released 16 albums and numerous bronzed bunny sculptures. Now he’s working on his latest work of art: a brand new record. “I laid down a few tracks a few weeks ago and will be in the studio again today,” says Furtado, a two-time winner of the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship. “I’m incorporating banjo but also cello banjo, which is twice as big as normal banjo and has a deeper sound. There will be some instrumentals based around those. Today will be exploratory, so we’ll see!” Furtado began playing bluegrass at the age of 12, but soon added in jazz, blues, rock, Irish ballads, folk songs, and whatever else he was listening to at the time. His other interest, sculpting, blossomed in art school, while his rabbit focus stemmed from a traumatic childhood experience — neighbors slaughtered a bunny right before his eyes. Long story short, his heartbroken fascination led to a future hopping between artwork and music. “Sometimes it’s cool to go back and forth between sculpting and music in a day. The creativity bounces between the two,” says Furtado. —Kalyn Oyer THURSDAY


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