Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In: Music happening this week in the Valley

  • 1964: The Tribute

  • Claire Arenius

  • Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band Courtesy Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band/Facebook

  • Primate Fiasco Courtesy of Primate Fiasco/Facebook

  • Bucky Illingsworth/Courtesy of Uni Ika Ai

Published: 12/8/2016 4:02:12 PM

Ron Howard’s lively documentary “Eight Days a Week” brought a new wave of Beatlemania through the Valley this year, and if you were one of the rapt thousands smiling at the cinema screen, wishing you could somehow experience the energy of the band’s early days in person, the four men who make up 1964: The Tribute are right there with you. For decades they’ve been doing their best to recreate the energy of the Beatles’ early-‘60s concerts. 

The tour-happy band has made Northampton a regular stop for well over a decade, but this time through town, 1964: The Tribute is doing something they’ve never done before. They’ll play a rare close-quarters gig at the Iron Horse Friday at 7 p.m. (not quite the Cavern Club, but close enough), and then their usual bigger stage show at the Calvin Theatre Saturday at 8 p.m.

There are plenty of Beatles tribute acts out there, many of which try to shoehorn the band’s entire mutating career into one concert, usually with embarrassingly cheesy results, relying on ornate pre-programmed backing tracks and tacky costume changes.  

But 1964: The Tribute sticks to the Beatles’ mop top, pre-”Sgt. Pepper” years, with playful and tight presentation, the only nod to the modern world being the length of the set. The average early-‘60s Fab Four concert contained a dozen quick songs — hello, goodbye — but 1964: The Tribute gives more Beatles bang for the buck, blasting through 30 or so classics, not a bummer in the bunch.

The band, started 32 years ago by guitarist/vocalist Mark Benson (aka “John”), uses vintage gear and incorporates every memorable mannerism they can — including the all-important polite song-ending Beatles Bow. 


 Drummer Claire Arenius’ Jazz On the Mothership trio (with pianist Andy Jaffe and bassist Wayne Roberts) plays the members’ original compositions, sharing a bill with Juke Joint Jazz, a local quintet with its own take on the modern jazz repertoire, at the Arts Block in Greenfield Friday at 7 p.m.


Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band — Vermont’s groovy soul group with some blues and jamband influences, plus inspiration from Amy Winehouse and the Dap-Kings — returns to the Valley by popular demand for a show at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke Friday at 8 p.m. Humble Diggs opens.


Half Ached, the latest project from Valley mainstay Tom Shea (Hoolapopper, Scud Mountain Boys, Ray Mason Band), shares a bill with Jim Armenti (playing solo) at the Luthiers Co-Op in Easthampton starting at 8 p.m. Jim Matus performs at 7 p.m.


Uni Ika Ai (Brooklyn dream-pop band featuring members of Lucius, Via Audio and Bobby) joins forces with local acts New Mom (jangle grunge) and Abbie Morin (rootsy indie-rock) at The Parlor Room in Northampton Saturday at 7:30 p.m.


Pianist Judith Gordon and soprano Tony Arnold perform works “reflecting and celebrating the natural world,” including Schoenberg’s “The Book of the Hanging Gardens,” Ravel’s “Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé” and Stravinsky’s “Three Japanese Lyrics,” as well as songs by Debussy, Richard Strauss and Earl Kim. At Sweeney Concert Hall at Smith College in Northampton Saturday at 8 p.m. Free.


Dinosaur Jr. needs no introduction. The legendary, loud, much-loved Amherst trio plays MASS MoCA in North Adams Saturday at 7 p.m. Luluc opens.


The Primate Fiasco has always been a band looking to break boundaries, whether it’s stylistically (“psychedelic Dixieland”) or physically (sometimes forgoing the stage to perform among the crowd). Its latest unique idea is “Dylan Disco” — playing high-energy dance versions of songs by the recent Nobel Prize winner. At the Iron Horse Saturday at 10 p.m.


The final Music In the Noon Hour concert of the fall semester features compositions by Bach and Piazzolla, performed by cellist Edward Arron and pianist Henry Kramer. At Sweeney Concert Hall Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. Free.


Valley Jazz Voices, an all-ages Valley ensemble under the direction of Jeff Olmsted, will sing popular jazz standards, accompanied by a trio of pianist Andy Jaffe, bassist Forest Loomis-Dulong and drummer Kade Parkin, at the 121 Club at Eastworks in Easthampton Thursday at 7 p.m. An open mic will follow the hour-long show; singers can sign up and do a song or two with the trio (or their own musicians). No cover charge.


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