Tuned In by Ken Maiuri (6/7/19)

  • Todd Rundgren

  • Stephanie Craig Photography

  • Kieran Kane and Rayna Gellert 

  • Los Lobos 

  • Jimmy Cleveland Photo

  • David Murray and Kahil El’Zabar 

Published: 6/6/2019 12:50:29 PM
Modified: 6/6/2019 12:50:19 PM

Todd Rundgren didn’t want anyone (least of all himself) to be subjected to some writer’s inaccurate version of his life-so-far, so he figured he better write it himself. The resulting unique autobiography is 2018’s “The Individualist: Digressions, Dreams and Dissertations.” Rundgren’s current tour is based around that book, and he appears with a full band at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington on Sunday, June 9, at 7 p.m.

The generous shows include one set of chronological hits and should-be-hits (with Rundgren offering commentary and stories along the way) and a second unpredictable set of deep cuts, all from the time span covered in the book (childhood through 1998). Plus an audience Q&A. The band includes longtime Rundgren collaborators Kasim Sulton (bass), Prairie Prince (drums), Jesse Gress (guitar) and Greg Hawkes (keyboards).

Seeing setlists from the recent tour stops has made this longtime Rundgren fan giddy. His classic ‘70s songs pop up, as do some of his beautiful soul ballads, choice tunes from his late-‘60s band the Nazz, and some of his quirkier compositions (the cartoonish miniature “An Elpee’s Worth of Tunes;” the bouncy 1995 song built around a Rundgren rap, “The Individualist”).

Rundgren attempted to start writing his autobiography in the late-‘90s, but the process reminded him, as he writes in the book, “of a high school homework assignment and jeez do I never want to go through that again.” Eventually, he hit upon a form for his own “attention-challenged mentality”: each page contains three paragraphs (recollection, subjective assessment, conclusion) on one subject — relationships, synthesizers, dogs vs. cats, meeting your idols, religion, bowling.

Downtown Boys, passionate political rockers from Providence, Rhode Island (their 2017 album “Cost of Living” came out on Sub Pop), headline a show that also features Nemesister and OroborO at the Ashfield Lake House in Ashfield on Friday, June 7, at 8 p.m.

This week you have three opportunities to see the magnificent Chandler Travis Three-O with Kami Lyle. First the quirky and open-hearted Cape Cod pop ensemble plays two shows at Easthampton’s Cultural Chaos Festival on Saturday, June 8 — in the parking lot across from 84 Cottage St. from noon to 1 p.m., and then inside the Luthier’s Co-Op from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Chandler’s group will also appear at the must-visit Dream Away Lodge in Becket on Sunday, June 9, at 8 p.m.

Longtime local bluesman Wildcat O’Halloran brings his band to Fort Hill Brewery in Easthampton on Saturday, June 8, at 4 p.m.

Western Mass. folk trio Ona Canoa performs at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Saturday, June 8 at 7 p.m.

Americana vocalists/songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Kieran Kane (The O’Kanes) and Rayna Gellert (Uncle Earl) recently released their second album together, “When the Sun Goes Down,” and they appear at The Parlor Room in Northampton on Saturday, June 8, at 7 p.m.

The Greg Abate Quartet (for which the saxophonist/flutist/composer is joined by the Green Street Trio of pianist Paul Arslanian, bassist George Kaye and drummer Jon Fisher) takes the stage at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center on Saturday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Waveform (Connecticut indie band with fine new record “Shooting Star”), Big Mood (Valley power pop), Polka Dogs and Temporary Jock make up the quadruple-bill at Flywheel in Easthampton on Saturday, June 8, at 8 p.m.

The phenomenal East L.A. band Los Lobos returns to the Valley for a show at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Sunday, June 9, at 8 p.m. Local all-star Americana band Opal Canyon is the opening act.

David Murray (tenor sax, bass clarinet) and Kahil El’Zabar (drums, percussion, voice) play a duo concert at the New Africa House on the campus of UMass Amherst on Wednesday, June 12, at 7:30 p.m. It’s the latest show in the Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares concert series. To learn more about the nonprofit grassroots all-volunteer organization and its quest to bring unique music to western Massachusetts, arrive early at the venue for the group’s annual meeting at 6 p.m.

Ken Maiuri can be reached at tunedincolumn@gmail.com.




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