Concert

Billy Bragg with Special Guest Kim Churchill

Sunday / April 28, 2013 / 7:00 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston
MA
02115

 

After his sold-out solo tour in 2012, Billy Bragg returns to Boston this time with his full band. The English musician is known for his blend of folk, punk-rock, and protest music. He was recently described by the Times as a “national treasure.” Over his two-decade career, Bragg has certainly made an indelible mark on the conscience of British music, becoming perhaps the most stalwart guardian of the tradition of radical dissent that stretches back over centuries of the country’s political, cultural, and social history.  Bragg is an artist with a keen sense of political activism and a pop hook, all informed with a sense of humanity and humor.

On March 19, Bragg will release his tenth album, Tooth & Nail, his first since 2008′s acclaimed Mr. Love and Justice. The album was produced by songwriter/producer Joe Henry and will be released via Cooking Vinyl.

Inspired by a fan’s tweet referring to Bragg as “the Sherpa of Heartbreak,” the album’s twelve original tracks were written with an eye towards the personal rather than the political. “Most people, when they hear my name, think of polemical anthems born in struggle,” says Bragg. “I often find myself having to remind people that I am also the Sherpa of Heartbreak, writing songs about the struggle to maintain our relationships with those we love the most.” He adds, “It is fitting that Tooth & Nail should be my next release after the re-issue of the Billy Bragg & Wilco collaboration as, stylistically, it is the follow-up to Mermaid Avenue that I never made. ”

The album was recorded live, with no overdubs, in five days—an approach not used by Bragg since his 1983 debut Life’s a Riot With Spy Vs. Spy—at Joe Henry’s basement studio in Pasadena in early 2012. It features Bragg on vocals and acoustic guitar along with a band of crack musicians assembled by Henry for the recording: Greg Leisz (Bon Iver) on pedal steel guitar, Patrick Warren (Lana del Rey) on keyboards, Jay Bellerose (Regina Spektor) on drums, and David Piltch (Ramblin’ Jack Elliot) on upright bass.

Bragg's early songs were full of passion, anger, and wit, a "one-man Clash." This was not, however, what the major record companies wanted at the time—the punk attitudes of the late-Seventies had long since given way to the escapist rise of the New Romantics. Bragg’s stark musical backdrop—for the most part a roughly strummed electric guitar—and even starker vocals belied a keen sense of melody and passionate, deeply humane lyrics. It was an early indicator that Bragg’s work would be infused with genuine insight and humour, as well as a sustained and personal commitment to political and humanitarian issues.

Bragg’s 1998 release, Mermaid Avenue, was a "reinventing" of previously undiscovered original Woody Guthrie songs. Bragg’s collaborators on the project were American alt-country rockers Wilco. Recordings began in Wilco’s hometown of Chicago and then in Dublin, where English fiddler Eliza Carthy and bluesman Corey Harris made their contributions. Natalie Merchant also added her talents when Bragg was finishing the recordings in Boston.

“People tell me that they are inspired by my songs,” Bragg explains “and for that I’m thankful, but I take my inspiration from the only people in this equation who can actually make a difference—the audience. After 25 years of activism, my faith in your ability to change the world is undimmed.”

Kim Churchill's style is explosive, with intricate fingerpicking, percussive beats on the body of the guitar, and two-handed tapping intertwined with an earthy stomp box, powerful harmonica melodies, and soulful voice. His songwriting reflects his coastal lifestyle—growing up on the East Coast of Australia, with the surf at his front door—and his new nomadic life on the road.

Admission: 
$36.50, $31.50, reserved seating

WesFest 8 Featuring Brendon Small's Galaktikon

Sunday / March 3, 2013 / 7:30 p.m.
Roxy Theater (LA)
900 West Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood
CA
United States

Galaktikon is the critically acclaimed side-project of Brendon Small, the creative mastermind behind the smash-hit animated TV show Metalocalypse and the band Dethklok. Galaktikon will headline an all-star lineup for WesFest 8: A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee College of Music at the Roxy in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday, March 3, 2013. The show marks the live debut of the project, and the event is sponsored by Gallien-Krueger Amplification, Mike Lull Custom Guitars, D’Addario Strings, Studio Instument Rentals (S.I.R.), and Epiphone Guitars.

The scholarship fund honors Wes Wehmiller (1971-2005), a 1992 Berklee graduate and highly accomplished bassist, athlete, and photographer who died of thyroid cancer in January 2005. Established by his family and friends, the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship is awarded annually to a continuing student at Berklee who best exemplifies the excellence and grace Wehmiller showed as a bassist and as a human being. The WesFest concert series and related fundraising drive has raised more than $150,000 over the past seven years.

Before Metalocalypse and Dethklok’s runaway success, Brendon Small, a 1997 Berklee alumnus, began his career in animation as the co-creator, writer, voice actor, composer and musician for the TV show Home Movies. Small has also lent his voice to a number of other shows including The Venture Bros., Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies, Reno 911!, and Frisky Dingo. He then reprised his cocreator/writer/voice actor/director/ producer/ music-composer role for Metalocalypse, which premiered in August 2006 and just completed its fourth season on Adult Swim. But in April of 2012, Small branched out to write and produce Brendon Small’s Galaktikon, a self-described "high stakes intergalactic extreme rock album.” The long-awaited side project was inspired not just by modern metal, but also by Queen, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, and Weezer.

 

Admission: 
Advance tickets are available through March 1 for $35 per pair of tickets or $20 per single ticket. Tickets are $30 each at the door.

Dan and the Wildfire / Cara Brindisi

Saturday / March 23, 2013 / 8:00 p.m.
Red Room at Cafe 939
939 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
02115
Dan & The Wildfire

Dan and the Wildfire are most noted for their crisp, soulful, and rootsy sound, as well as their ability to write songs that are both honest and singable. Their well-received second album, Smoke Signals, is available worldwide and follows their debut album, Nothing, Anything, Everything, released under the artist name Dan HL in 2011. The group will be performing two sets at this very special show at the Red Room. Each will include a horn section and a string section, respectively.

It wasn’t until Cara Brindisi began her studies as a music therapist at Berklee, that she picked up a guitar and learned the power of self-accompaniment and, more importantly, the power of music. Brindisi now spends her days as a certified music therapist; bringing "clinical" music to hospice patients, children, and elder groups. In the evening hours, she can be found performing at crowded dive bars, festival stages, and small coffee shops. It has been this paradox of an audience that has inspired her to develop a repertoire that spans both genre and generation, and maintain a connective presence with each listener. While the set list ranges from Johnny Cash to Talking Heads, the style stays consistent and the sound remains clear.

Admission: 
$10, general admission

Jens Sweeting: Sometime Anywhere

Monday / February 4, 2013 / 4:00 p.m.
Berk Recital Hall
1140 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
02215

Pianist Jens Sweeting presents a concert of groove, funk, and fusion music with his band Sometime Anywhere, featuring Jens Sweeing, keys; Ryu Yamakawa, guitar; Jin Yamakawa, bass; and Donnie Hogue, drums. The band's debut performance includes the music of Chick Corea, Freddie Hubbard, and Herbie Hancock.

 

Admission: 
Free

2013 Lunar New Year Concert

Thursday / March 14, 2013 / 8:15 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston
MA
02115

The Berklee Chinese Student Association is hosting a night of music to celebrate the 2013 Lunar New Year.  The Lunar New Year, or "Spring Festival" as it is known in China, marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of a new year on the Chinese calendar. The concert will feature a variety of music ranging from traditional Chinese folk to contemporary pop and jazz. Students from Berklee and neighboring Boston schools will perform in several different ensembles. Due to weather conditions, this event has been rescheduled from Saturday, February 9. Tickets for both dates will be honored. For refunds, please contact the box office by calling 617 747-2261 during business hours.

Admission: 
$8 in advance (discount applied at checkout), $12 day of show, general admission

Me vs Gravity / Melanie Lynx / Carly Tefft

Friday / March 1, 2013 / 8:00 p.m.
Red Room at Cafe 939
939 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
02115
Me vs Gravity

In the short time they've been together, Me vs Gravity has been blowing up the Boston scene with their epic pop/rock style. Since their first show a year ago, Me vs Gravity released a self-produced, self-titled seven-song EP along with a music video for the EP's lead single, "Walls," which now has more than 200,000 views on YouTube. With a strong online presence, a bombastic live show, and a drive like no other, Me vs Gravity is a force to be reckoned with.

Melanie Lynx discovered she had a talent for singing at an early age and began her musical journey, succeeding at competitions both locally and nationally. Some noteworthy accomplishments include her participation in Hollywood Week on Fox's American Idol season 10, performing at the Apollo Theater and Carnegie Hall in New York, and performing in more than 350 shows with one of New England's top cover bands. Lynx is currently developing her original music with producers Chris Leon and Jay Weiss, as well as producing YouTube covers.

When asked how to describe her sound, 18-year-old Carly Tefft responds with, “There’s a lot of rock and roll influence from the Police, mixed with some funky alternative roots from Sheryl Crow and Jason Mraz, blended with the lighter sounds of Sara Bareilles and Colbie Caillat.” The Cape Cod singer-songwriter strives to be “creative without being cliché." With one year at Berklee College of Music under her belt, Tefft has hit the ground running, releasing her first independent studio EP, Loud and Clear. Kathleen Szmit of The Barnstable Patriot describes it as “an album that could easily hold its own against the likes of Gwen Stefani, Hayley Willians, Sara Bareilles, and, yes, Taylor Swift."

Admission: 
$10 admission, $8 with Berklee ID

reVERB Poets presents Mary Lambert with Rose McAleese

Tuesday / January 22, 2013 / 7:30 p.m.
Red Room at Cafe 939
939 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
02115

Mary Lambert is an accomplished singer-songwriter with a spoken word background. In addition to her famed contribution to the Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis track “Same Love,” and her debut EP letters don’t talk, she was also featured on HBO in Russell Simmons’s Brave New Voices International Competition in 2008, and was Seattle’s 2011 Grand Poetry Slam Champion and the 2012 Northwest Regional Slam winner.

Joining Mary is poet and filmmaker Rose McAleese from Seattle. McAleese was named Individual Youth Slam Poet in 2007 and 2008, and was a member of the Seattle Youth Slam Poetry Team in 2007, 2008, and 2009. She also competed on the University of Washington poetry team at the 2010 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, where she was nominated Best Female Poet. She was a member of the 2011 Seattle Adult Poetry Slam team, and in 2012 she represented Seattle at the Women of the World Poetry Slam.

Stay tuned for details about a special VIP after-party with Lambert and McAleese.

Admission: 
Free

Steven Wilson

Saturday / April 27, 2013 / 8:00 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston
MA
02115

One of the most eclectic and prolific artists in rock music, Steven Wilson has been writing, recording, and producing music continuously since the age of 10. He is perhaps best known as the lead guitarist/singer and songwriter for progressive rock band Porcupine Tree, but his projects are numerous, including collaborations with Israeli superstar Aviv Geffen, Blackfield, and a long-running partnership with Tim Bowness.  Wilson comes to the Berklee Performance Center in support of his third solo album, The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories).

 

Admission: 
$27.50, $35, $45, reserved seating

Caitlin Callas: Viola Recital of Righteousness

Thursday / January 31, 2013 / 7:00 p.m.
Berk Recital Hall
1140 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
02215

 

Caitlin Callas will be presenting a program of original works, including arrangements of Radiohead tunes for two violas and pieces she has cowritten with guitarist Bob Holiday.

 

Admission: 
Free

Mike Block: Solo Faculty Recital

Wednesday / January 30, 2013 / 7:00 p.m.
Berk Recital Hall
1140 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
02215

 

New cello faculty member Mike Block will present a solo recital mixing original and cover songs for cello and voice, a Bach cello suite, and instrumental arrangements of folk music. Special guests to be announced.  

 

Admission: 
Free

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