Arts & Culture

Local performances offer students music variety

Musical acts from Ke$ha to Deer Tick will perform in Boston and Providence venues this semester

Senior Staff Writer
Friday, September 6, 2013

Students can attend performances at local venues such as the Dunkin Donuts Center, rather than traveling to Boston for concerts.

What better way to blow off fall semester steam than by dancing the night away  close to home? Though Boston consistently offers top-notch lineups, local music venues such as the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, the Met in Pawtucket and Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence will all offer diverse entertainment opportunities in the coming months.

Ke$ha will play  the Ryan Center at URI Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. The Ryan Center Box Office will sell tickets — $45 for seats and $55 for floor — starting today.

Best known for her electro-pop anthems including her number-one hit singles “Tik Tok” and “We R Who We R,” Ke$ha’s distinctive musical style is characterized by her penchant for yodeling and a liberally autotuned vocal technique that oscillates between singing and talking.

Ke$ha’s performances are glittery and infamously uncouth — her mother’s appearance onstage in a giant penis costume, along with her “trashy” and “brattish” stage persona, earned her a less-than glowing review from the Guardian in July. But the review did say the singer’s advice to her audience to “be yourself, unapologetically” was “sincere,” reflecting the theme of individuality and freedom of sexual identity that underscore the otherwise controversial content of her songs.

Though perhaps not as notorious as Ke$ha, the band Michael Franti and Spearhead, known for its hit “Say Hey (I Love You)”, will perform at Lupo’s Nov. 16. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show cost $27.50 in advance and $30 at the door.

Michael Franti and Spearhead began with a solo artist’s endeavors. Franti, who sports dreadlocks that swing and bob as he plays guitar and goes barefoot in honor of those who can’t afford shoes, formed the band in 1994.

The group is not easily characterized by a single genre, featuring heavy influences of reggae, funk, rock and blues that are layered on a foundation of hip-hop and R&B. Known for its socially and politically aware lyrics and its engaging live performances, Franti’s music is most widely acclaimed for its celebration of common hope and humanity.

Other shows at Lupo’s include The Gaslight Anthem tonight at 8 p.m., Manchester Orchestra Nov. 15 and Cold War Kids  Oct. 21. Tickets to all three shows, which are open to audience members of all ages, cost between $16 and $25 and are available on the venue’s website.

For a music festival closer to home, 95.5 WBRU and Deer Tick will present and curate Dudesmash 2, an outdoor concert in the courtyard of the Met  Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $22.50 in advance and $25 the day of the concert.

Deer Tick, the event’s main headliner, is an alternative-folk band with humble roots in Providence. Singer-songwriter John McCauley, the man behind the moniker, struck out on a solo career in 2004, according to the band’s iTunes biography. Since then, he has joined forces with drummer Dennis Ryan and several other musicians.

Deer Tick is known for its high-energy live shows, often peppering performances with “irreverent onstage banter,” according to a 2011 NPR review. A 2012 review in the Dispatch lauded the band for its “passion” and “pure, unadulterated, rock and roll madness.”

Other Dudesmash 2 acts include local indie bands such as The Low Anthem, Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons, Toy Soldier and Ravi Shavi.

Alexa VanHattum ’16 said she plans to attend the event.

“I absolutely love Deer Tick. Because they’re from (Rhode Island), they tour here all the time. But they don’t come to my home state of Michigan very often,” she added.

Though she hopes to attend, VanHattum said she hasn’t yet purchased tickets because it’s “hard to find friends who are willing to spend the money and time on a concert for bands they don’t necessarily know.”

Deer Tick is also performing at the Boston Calling Music Festival this weekend at the City Hall Plaza, with other major artists including Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit and The Gaslight Anthem. Tickets cost $75 for each day or $130 for a weekend pass.

Public transportation to Boston and back can be a hassle, especially for students with time constraints or on a budget, VanHattum said. She added that while having a car on campus this year will make it easier to travel, last year it was “a real issue.”

Raven Carson ’16, who plans to attend a Paramore concert in Massachusetts Nov. 15, said she never attended an off-campus concert for the same reason. But there are ways around the obstacle.

“The nearest concert location is usually in Boston, and I just never made it over there,” she said. “(When I go for) Paramore, I plan to stay with a friend at Tufts for the weekend, which will make the trip less pricey and much more convenient.”

Even with the multitude of musical and theatrical productions at Brown, VanHattum said off-campus entertainment can be rewarding.

“The on-campus events are nice, sure,” she said. “But they’re totally different from seeing one of your favorite bands live. And although it’s so cliche, it’s great to get out of the Brown bubble and into the city for a night to listen to some familiar music.”


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