Listings are in the opposite order of appearance: headliner is listed at the top, next is the support band(s), and the last band listed is the opener.
Saturday March 18 2017
8:30PM doors -- music at 9:00PM ••• 21 AND OVER
The Ballroom Thieves
Rock & Roll
Three Times Bad
Bluegrass / Dirty American Roots
The Ballroom Thieves
-from Boston, MA
- Life on the road for a burgeoning band is easily glamorized: The joy of playing a show, the wonder of encountering new places and people, the stories that amass. Yet the lifestyle can also be a trying one: The suffocating isolation of a van, the misery of being separated from home and loved ones, the unspoken grievances that stack tensions high. If you're unprepared, this life can become your downfall. For Boston's The Ballroom Thieves, it became their sophomore album, Deadeye.
Owing to the success of their harmony-rich 2015 debut, A Wolf in the Doorway, guitarist Martin Earley, cellist Calin Peters, and drummer Devin Mauch have spent the last two years in a sustained state of touring that took them all across the country and to venerable stages like the Newport Folk Festival. As prepared as the trio was for the sudden lack of a sedentary existence -- even packing their Boston apartments into storage units -- it wasn't long before nearly nonstop touring rendered any preparation inadequate. Then in January of 2016, the band took their first multi-week break from touring in what felt like a lifetime. Even with the downtime, they still had no plan to resolve their dilemmas -- they only had a bunch of new songs and some studio time.
Months of pent up energy was transmuted into a heftier, expanded sound. "If you have a rough, heavy time, you might end up with a couple rough, heavy songs," Peters notes. You can feel the weight of the last few months on the beaten dirge of "For Mercy" and the thick grunge of "Pocket of Gold", tracks bristling with both regret and resolve. Once nervous to take lead, Peters' voice sears with confident fire on "Blood Run Red". Even their love songs are gruffer, as on the bluesy romance of "Anybody Else". "Noble Rot" kicks like a tethered mule, as if the instruments are expressing every heated thought that had crossed the musicians' minds.
The doubt that arose as the struggle of the road overwhelmed is conveyed in lyrics like those in "Sea Legs" ("And if risk leads to ruin/ My heart would forgive me") and "Bees" ("This is not the place that I was born in/ But that doesn't mean it's not the place where I belong"). You can even hear Peter's growth as a songwriter as she tackles the same conflicts in "Trouble" when she sings, "Trouble, you've found me again/ I struggle to stay away/ But I fit so nicely in your hand." These are the songs The Ballroom Thieves needed to write.
"For me, recording this collection of songs in the dead of a New England winter, while maneuvering through the fragile atmosphere we’d created for ourselves, was the perfect way of capturing a mood that bespeaks the bleak content of the songs themselves," Earley says.
Although they're not proud of how they've grappled with these issues, they're immensely proud of the music that has come as a result. Rough times have helped them explore the darker corners of their sound -- which is why they've chosen to forgo the standard label release cycle to put out Deadeye on October 21st by themselves. Sharing it now is exposure therapy, letting their fans pay witness to these hardships and the resulting creative evolution while simultaneously helping the band move on. The struggle is still very real, but these songs are a reminder that for this band, there is but one course, and it is forward -- not playing or performing together is not an option. Whatever comes next, these songs are here in 2016 where they belong, and the band is determined to overcome their challenges and continue on.
Deadeye captures the band at a time when they were at their absolute lowest, but it may also prove to be the album that saves The Ballroom Thieves.
Patrick Ferris, Jake Faulkner, Zac Sokolow
-from Los Angeles, CA
-The Americans perform original rock & roll with deep roots in traditional American music. They have performed on the Late Show with David Letterman, twice joined Grammy and Oscar winner Ryan Bingham on national tours, and played the first dance at Reese Witherspoon’s wedding. They have backed up Nick Cave, Tim Robbins, and Lucinda Williams.
The Americans appear throughout American Epic, a four hour primetime PBS / BBC special produced by Jack White, Robert Redford, and T Bone Burnett, featuring Nas, Elton John, Alabama Shakes, and Willie Nelson.
The Americans recorded an original song for Hal Willner’s Son of Rogue's Gallery (ANTI- Records), an album of sea chanties and pirate songs featuring Tom Waits, Keith Richards, and Iggy Pop, executive produced by Johnny Depp. Reviewing the album in Believer magazine, critic Greil Marcus wrote, “The Americans [are] led by Patrick Ferris, whose deep voice doesn't sound like Richard Manuel's but feels like it.”
The Americans’ music is featured in the Michael Mann produced film Texas Killing Fields, starring Sam Worthington and ChloŽ Grace Moretz. The soundtrack includes two original songs, “Kiss Your Eyes” and “When The Blaze Is Blue.”-
Three Times Bad
Reverend Sam Caine (geetar, banjo, vox) - Doubting Thomas (mandolin, vox) - Empress Raheemah (vox, dancing, washboard, uke)
-from San Francisco & Oakland, CA
-THREE TIMES BAD is a contemporary “bluevelvetgrass” combo that plays a high-energy, genre-bending form of “dirty American roots music” (the Register-Guard).
The Bay Area group’s debut studio recording, American Sojourn, was named “ALBUM OF THE WEEK” on Mike Morrison’s American Roots radio program. “American Sojourn is raw, atmospheric, and superbly arranged and played, and thanks to its huge originality will almost certainly be in many best-of-the-year lists!” said Morrison. “There is a mastery of their instruments and arrangements that enables them to roam at will through various old-time genres that contain not only a large slice of ‘hillbilly,’ but also folk, a little western swing, blues, jazz, all played in their own inimitably unique style.” THREE TIMES BAD is nothing if not hard to pin down. Recognizing “a hint of ‘vaudeville’” in the group’s sound, Morrison said, “They are certainly not a bluegrass band,” while Music Junkie Press believes the combo is “breathing fresh new life into American bluegrass… with a variety of musical influences such as hillbilly swing, outlaw country, Gypsy jazz, honkytonk, folk songs, and much more… bring[ing] back that nostalgic feel for a time where music held a common thread that cemented friendships and bonds were forged.”-