missed dave norton's, :-(, but caught the warren zevon (lawyers guns and money!) end to corey's b's first set at fortunato's last night, (along with his second) and thoroughly enjoyed my own personal "folk festival eve" celebration. i came by a flyer (thanks, jen!) that every lowell music aficionado should come by, which lists the "not a festival act" musical participants in this year's extravaganza at all the great restaurants and clubs downtown. it's an amazing list, from khmer/celtic fusion (celtic angkor at brew'd awakenings) to purely whimsical (de lusional & the ladies boots at cappy's copper kettle after the jackson street celebration breaks on saturday night) to purely awesome (carl johnson is playing at no fewer than five different venues throughout the weekend with copies of his new cd, "attic recordings--volume one"), and it's the ONLY way you're going to be able to see LOWELL music at the folk festival that otherwise bills itself as from lowell.
conspicuously absent from the list of complementary evening venues is dharma buns, who i understand have had their entertainment license summarily suspended by the city, ironically because of a complaint by a neighboring business. (one without any sense of irony, since they continue to feature their own live music during the weekend themselves). good on dharma buns for being the kind of good neighbor not to compound a bad example with a response in kind, and one that continues to come through with the best burgers, fries, onion rings and beverage selection in town. (stop in and tell 'em HI for me, and try 'em out if you haven't already--their food is GREAT!).
where was i? (having a mushroom swiss burger reverie, that's where).
the "local music that is happening throughout the city of lowell during the same weekend as the lowell folk festival" flyers are around, so look for yours. there's also a folk festival after dark
website with the same information, (jay knows jen--it's a small town!), which is a great online way to get the same 411. the flyers are by venue, and the web page is by hour, so you can get both dimensions to your friday, saturday and sunday nights this weekend. (i like it by hour, but jen was kind enough to asterisk musical recommendations on the flyer which is the best way of all--melvern, jen kearney, los wunder twins del rap, (contrary to brett favre's example, i have it on good account that this will be dee tension and effect's official and permanent last show together--let's send 'em out with a bang, so get thee to the jackson street stage and the 2nd annual uptown lowell music and art festival on saturday night, yo!), electric donkey, carl johnson (every time he's playing so you will be sure not to miss him, and, hence, have your choice of musical highlights for the weekend), thunderpants johnson's hillbilly orchestra, de lusional and the ladies boots, amy black and the red clay rascals, jen kearney solo, live evil, ken budka, speakermute, the cold pilgrims, hot day at the zoo, reverend jj and the casual sinners, peter lavender (with carl johnson, arte k, bob nash and some guy with a ukulele who is NOT melvern taylor by any stretch of anyone's imagination), audrey can't die, ben hillman, kevin burgess, ed and me, (me being nicole ribaudo, who, if you haven't yet heard her sing, GET THEE TO THE WORTHEN ON SUNDAY!!!), and, finally and again, carl johnson.
it's worth pointing out that the rest of the talent (which is no less talented, it's just that it's impossible for a person to be more than one place at once) includes leo blais, the doctors fox, bella birds, vermont, celtic angkor, (i've seen this trio before--absolutely a must-see), oakes and smith, tropical fire, double shot, whiskey tango, kweejeebo, charlie christos, the farewells, the deliriants, liz longley, air traffic controller, bleu, the rafters, elizabeth lorrey, and trick bag.
i'm right here and right now putting this lineup against anything the festival organizers have got, and telling you that you haven't been to the "lowell folk festival" if you haven't stayed late and treated yourself to the only real LOWELL music you'll find this weekend, which is happening at all the local restaurants, bars, clubs, sandwich shops and coffee shops downtown: major's pub, brew'd awakenings, cappy's copper kettle, caffe paradiso, centro, cobblestones, garcia brogan's, the old court, savanna palace, the blue shamrock, the village smokehouse, the worthen, etc, etc, etc.
see you downtown!!!