Thursday, April 24, 2014
Keyboard man Marco Benevento often plays with his fantastic trio, but on rare occasion he heads out on his own for an evening of solo piano, which is what he’ll present at the Arts Block in Greenfield on Saturday at 8 p.m.
His solo show might find the piano’s microphones hooked into all manner of looping and effect pedals for a rhythmic, trance-like atmosphere, or he may stick to a more traditional approach and just use the piano’s 88 keys in all their acoustic glory.
Benevento, who once studied at the Berklee School of Music in Boston with Bruce Thomas and Joanne Brackeen, knows no musical bounds. He can sprawl through an unbroken half-hour of free improvisation, play a cover of a Leonard Cohen or Pink Floyd tune, or offer up an original instrumental song like “Atari,” an energetic catchy thing that’s like the intro to Billy Joel’s “Angry Young Man,” rewired for a world fed on post-rock and electronica.
Zoe Darrow and the Fiddleheads — Darrow on fiddle, her father, Phil, on guitar and Tom Coburn on piano — play Scottish, Irish and Cape Breton fiddle tunes. The group brings its traditional sounds to the Iron Horse in Northampton Friday at 7 p.m.
Jeremy Lyons played in clubs and on corners in New Orleans for years until Hurricane Katrina washed away his home. The “Deltabilly blues” man, who grew up in Ithaca, N.Y., decided to head north and bring his “down-home yet elegant” style to New England. Lyons will share a bill with local trio The Shangri Lips as well as a deejay-hosted dance party with Lips frontwoman Margaret Garrett and Original Cowards frontman John Crand spinning garage/soul/blues records. At The Basement in Northampton Friday at 8 p.m.
Longtime locals The Big Bad Bollocks was famously described by Academy Award-winning screenwriter (and onetime regular of Valley nightspots) William Monahan as “The Pogues and Sex Pistols fused.” The Bollocks will play its yearly St. Patrick’s Day show at the Iron Horse Saturday at 7 p.m.
Frontman John Allen recently released his memoir, “Marmite Cowboy,” which will be available at the gig. He’ll read brief excerpts with gusto during the concert and have copies on hand to sign; hard copies can also be bought directly from Allen on the book’s Facebook page, while the ebook version can be ordered online at www.smashwords.com/books/view/306634.
Dan Bern — one of the few singer-songwriters to get labeled “the new Dylan” and have Dylan lovers not spit at the hype but instead become fervent fans themselves — has never slowed down since he hit the national scene in the mid ’90s. Prolific, irreverent, equally inspired to write protest songs or tunes about baseball, Bern returns to the area for a show at the Parlor Room in Northampton Wednesday at 7 p.m. Ray Mason opens.
Sierra Hull was a child prodigy on the mandolin, getting signed to Rounder Records at an age when most kids are elbow-deep in middle school homework. Now 22 and just as likely to sing an Adele cover as play a gentle solo rendition of “Tennessee Waltz” or dizzy your brain with manic string-picking, Hull is both a bluegrass mandolin virtuoso and singer-songwriter. She’ll team up with guitarist Courtney Hartman for a show at the Parlor Room in Northampton Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Nice Try, The Demographic and Comma turn the amps up to 11 at the Sierra Grille in Northampton Thursday at 10 p.m.