Ken Maiuri's Tuned In: Look Park plays Iron Horse and other musical happenings this week in the Valley

  • Brickabrack

  • Dave Mason

  • Helga Davis

  • Chris Collingwood of Look Park

  • The Marcus Roberts Trio

  • The Stone Coyotes

Published: 10/27/2016 11:21:30 AM

One of my favorite shows of 2016-so-far was the summertime debut performance by Look Park, the new project from Fountains of Wayne frontman Chris Collingwood. The full five-piece band is back after a busy few months, playing the Iron Horse in Northampton Sunday at 7 p.m. Jake Manzi opens.

Look Park’s 10-song debut is one of those rare dud-free records, with songs so melodically graceful and strong they feel timeless. Some of the many highlights are the groovy soul-pop number “Breezy,” the swooning driving-with-the-top-down zoom of “Stars of New York,” the eerie-yet-inviting waltz “I’m Gonna Haunt This Place,” the dark-sky snapshot “Minor Is the Lonely Key”... as I type these titles, I’m happily humming the hooks to myself.

Collingwood’s melodic skill is as focused and well-enunciated as his lyrics, like on the immediately sing-along-able “You Can Come Round If You Want To,” which feels like the “it’s tough to get old” version of Brian Wilson’s golly-gosh “Busy Doin’ Nothin’”: “The bird in the tree won't shut the hell up / there's nothing to see in the window / but day-old red wine / the passage of time / so many bills to pay / so many bills / I got the gas man knocking / the bank on the phone / they say what you own you don't own, it's true / doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo it adds up / you can come round if you want to.”

And if the high-quality new songs aren’t enough, Collingwood and friends also rock the heck out of some Fountains of Wayne classics. At the summer show, that meant “Red Dragon Tattoo,” “Barbara H.,” “Radiation Vibe” and “A Dip In the Ocean” (and a surprise cover, too).

Look Park, which also includes guitarist Philip Price, keyboardist Scott Klass, bassist Paul Kochanski and drummer Dave Hower, followed up its local debut in July by flying to Japan to play a festival in front of more than 100,000 people. Then a pared-down trio version of the band opened for classic British songsmiths Squeeze on a U.S. tour. Now they’re back. Don’t miss them.

Vocalist Helga Davis has gotten comparisons to the unique jazz singer Jeanne Lee, and she’ll use her powerful range during a “solo with loop station” show, a direct response to Nick Cave’s immersive installation “Until” — in fact her performance will take place within the exhibit itself. At MASS MoCA’s Building 5 gallery in North Adams Friday at 8 p.m.

The Stone Coyotes, the Valley’s long-running, always-rocking family band, play The Root Cellar in Greenfield Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Starting off the night is Rice, An American Band, an eight-piece jam-friendly outfit from Warwick.

The Threesies is a local collective led by bassist Paul Kochanski, but with an ever-changing lineup of musicians, which dedicates itself to playing songs only in time signatures that involve 3s — waltzes, strolls, anything in 3/4, 6/8, 9/8 or 12/8. No disco four-on-the-floor at this gig! The three-happy band plays its third-ever show Nov. 3, at 8:45 p.m. at the Luthiers Co-Op in Easthampton. All ages.

This year, jazz pianist Marcus Roberts celebrated the world premiere of his new concerto (“Rhapsody in D for Piano and Orchestra”) and also put out a fascinating EP called “Race For the White House,” which featured compositions inspired by the presidential candidates at the time. Roberts brings his trio (featuring Rodney Jordan on bass and Jason Marsalis on drums) to Bowker Auditorium at UMass Amherst Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Guitarist Dave Mason (in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of Traffic) brings his show “Alone Together Again” to the Academy of Music in Northampton Thursday at 8 p.m. Expect some historical stories between the night’s songs (one of which will hopefully be his 1977 radio staple “We Just Disagree”).

Brand-new Northampton “basement rock” band Brickabrack, featuring Ashlyn Pentowski (from Avedis), Paul Preston (from Spinster) and Evelyn Mandel, is releasing its debut album, “Irrelevant Thoughts,” on digital download (Oct. 31) and CD (Nov. 3). It’s a fresh combination of full-bodied indie-rock crunch and an unaffected vocal delivery that makes songs like “The Abe Vigoda Birthday Bash” and “Tina Fey” immediately engaging. Brickabrack makes its first public appearance on a bill with Eric Gaffney and Moon Power at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence Thursday at 9 p.m.

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