Tuned in: Ken Maiuri on Valley music
The Black Sheep is bringing more live music to Amherst. The deli/bakery/cafe will have a weekly Thursday night open mic beginning Jan. 31. Eventually there will be a regular jazz night, too.
Next Thursday will feature a blockbuster lineup of popular local artists — all of whom usually headline their own concerts — including Primate Fiasco, Bella’s Bartok, Azwan and other guests. It’s a big show to bring attention to the new weekly open mic and will take place at the Black Sheep Jan. 24 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. It’s free but donations will be accepted.
Open mics are a great way to build and strengthen community, particularly among fellow artists, says Primate Fiasco drummer, Chris Trevethan. They also offer “common ground for communication and entertainment from the likes of people you might never have known were right here in your backyard,” he added. “You know, a ripping solo from someone you stood behind in the grocery line the other day, or a fascinating songwriter who makes your sandwich while you still have their tune spinning in your head from the night before.”
Azwan, a onetime Amherst resident who now lives in Providence, R.I., says having an open mic in a “hip comfortable” space like The Black Sheep makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
“It’s got a nice little stage, it’s intimate and an untapped resource,” he said. “I’ve always thought it was ridiculous that Amherst doesn’t have a legit music venue, e_SSRqcause it’s surrounded by college kids and teenagers looking for something to do. Amherst (and every town) needs it!”
Bela Fleck’s Banjo Summit (featuring Tony Trischka, Bill Keith, Richie Stearns, Eric Weissberg and Noam Pikelny) takes the stage at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton tonight at 8 p.m.
Singer-songwriter Iris DeMent has a powerful new album of original material — her first in 16 years — called “Sing the Delta,” and her tour takes her to the Iron Horse in Northampton Saturday at 7 p.m. Jason Wilber opens.
Folk duo The Nields play a show at the newly rebuilt West Cummington Congregational Church, a concert that doubles as the release party for their new CD, “The Whole Catastrophe,” Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The Lonesome Brothers and the Salvation Alley String Band team up for a fine night of country and twangy rock at the cozy Luthiers Co-Op in Easthampton Saturday at 8 p.m. No cover, tips appreciated.
Local singer-songwriter Carolyn Walker appears at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls Thursday at 9 p.m. Free show.
A triple-bill of Guerilla Toss, The Dreebs and Fat Worm of Error brings the experimental pop noise to the Elevens in Northampton Thursday at 9 p.m.
Jeremy Dubs presents ... Speak! will hold a record release party for the new disc “The Words” at the Sierra Grille in Northampton Thursday at 10 p.m. Also on the celebratory bill are Personal Finance and Strobe Horse.