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Tuned In: Ken Maiuri on Valley music April 14-20

  • Mal Thursday

  • The Nields Sarah Prall—Sarah Prall Photography

  • Green Street Trio

  • Sheer Mag

  • Bridget Kearney

  • Out of System Transfer


Thursday, April 13, 2017

“YEA-YUH!”

Only true characters have catchphrases, and the above rock-and-roll exclamation belongs to Mal Thursday, the local legend responsible for bringing top local and international indie rock bands to the Bay State Hotel back in the ‘90s. All these years that booking agents have been “Re-animating the Bay State” — Thursday was the one who animated it in the first place.

He’s been away from the Valley for some time, living in Austin for the past decade, but Thursday is revisiting the onetime nucleus of Northampton’s indie scene to perform a set of his garage rock originals and covers, backed by an all-star ensemble, at the Sierra Grille in Northampton on Thursday at 10 p.m. Sharing the bill are The Immolators and Chicopee Moose Project (one of the many projects from Eric Gaffney, co-founder of Sebadoh).

Thursday didn’t just book bands at the Bay State during his time in town. He also ran his own record label, Chunk Records (responsible for the “Hotel Massachusetts” compilation as well as releases by the Scud Mountain Boys, Silver Jews, New Radiant Storm King, DMZ, Lyres and others), and fronted the garage-rocking bands The Malarians and The Cheetahs.

At Thursday’s local gig (his first since 2010), he’ll be fronting the “Mal Thursday Quintet” (“the greatest six-piece quintet in the history of rock,” he said), which includes former Cheetah Frank Padellaro on ripping lead guitar, former Malarian Bob Medley on flourish-filled organ, tambourine and vocals, guitarist Greg Saulmon, bassist Patrick Timmons, and drummer Brian Marchese. The show will be recorded for a live album.

Thursday’s a lifelong lover of garage rock (for decades he’s been hosting the internationally syndicated radio show/podcast “The Mal Thursday Show”), so expect to hear some underground numbers by The Pretty Things, The Warlocks, The Outsiders (the Dutch band, not the Cleveland outfit who sang “Time Won’t Let Me”), and of course Thursday’s own self-penned manic show-stoppers with wailing harmonica, like his classic “Get Outta Dallas!”

And if you can’t get enough of Thursday on Thursday, you can see him and the band again on Friday at Ralph’s Rock Diner in Worcester with Muck and the Mires, The Sonomatics, and The Immolators, starting at 9 p.m.

 

The Pioneer Valley fundraiser for the ACLU Foundation features Winterpills, The Nields (pictured), Local Chorus,Carrie Ferguson, Pamela Means, speaker Bill Newman, emcee Seth Lepore and special guests at the First Churches of Northampton on Saturday from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. The event is in collaboration with Mass Musicians Resist.

Big Mean Sound Machine has a new LP out, “Runnin’ for the Ghost” (co-released by Blank Slate and the local label Peace & Rhythm), and the funky collective returns to the Root Cellar in Greenfield on Saturday at 9 p.m. Peace & Rhythm deejays Andujar & Bongohead will spin Afro-funk, Latin and Afrobeat vinyl before and between band sets.

 

The Northampton Jazz Workshop’s seventh anniversary coincides with some big news: Last month the NJW, founded by pianist Paul Arslanian, won New England Public Radio’s 2017 Arts & Humanities award for Best Arts Organization. Arslanian and his long-running Green Street Trio (bassist George Kaye and drummer Jon Fisher) will celebrate by doing what they always do — back up a visiting performer with finesse and spark. Tenor saxophonist Don Braden is this week’s special guest at City Sports Grille at Spare Time Northampton on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. (the regular weekly open jam session will happen as always starting at 8:30 p.m.).

 

Philly rockers Sheer Mag are acclaimed for numerous reasons — their mix of classic rock and punk energy, the impassioned vocals of frontwoman Tina Halladay, and their high-quality EP releases (which just got compiled into the aptly titled full-length “Compilation”). The on-the-rise band plays Flywheel in Easthampton on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Local groups Longings and Laika’s Orbit will start off the night.

 

Bridget Kearney, bassist of Lake Street Dive, has a debut solo record out on the Signature Sounds label, the pop-oriented “Won’t Let You Down.” She’ll appear at The Parlor Room in Northampton on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Opening the show is Fit Club.

 

Out of System Transfer call themselves “NYC's gonzo anti-folk punk rock radical leftist hootenanny.” And “weirdos.” They’re a hyper rabble-rousing gang, with influences like Mojo Nixon, The Dead Kennedys, Pete Seeger and The Carter Family. They play the Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton on Thursday at 8:45 p.m. Also on the stage that night will be Colorway frontman F. Alex Johnson playing solo (7:45 p.m.) and local solo acoustic artist Tony Valley (7 p.m.)