Nonesuch Events for the Weekend of July 8–10
Canada's summer festival season is in full swing with The Low Anthem, Wanda Jackson, and The Black Keys at Quebec Summer Fest; Jackson and the Keys at Ottawa Blues Fest; Emmylou Harris at Mariposa Folk Festival; k.d. lang at Winnipeg Folk Fest; Audra McDonald at BlackCreek Summer Music Fest; Randy Newman at Vancouver Island MusicFest ... Afrocubism plays in Portland, San Francisco ... Björk continues Manchester Fest Biophilia residency ... Carolina Chocolate Drops join Béla Fleck at Wolf Trap ... Ben Folds, Emmylou Harris play Chicago's DMB Caravan ... Jessica Lea Mayfield joins the Avetts in Salt Lake City ... Brad Mehldau and Joshua Redman duo in Denmark, Netherlands ... Natalie Merchant and orchestra are at Chautauqua ... and more ...
The Canadian summer festival season continues this weekend with the Festival d'Été de Québec (Quebec Summer Festival), where three Nonesuch artists will be taking the stages.
First up are The Low Anthem, who perform at the Impérial de Québec Saturday night. Wanda Jackson follows suit later in the weekend, performing a free set with her band on the Loto-Québec Stage at Place Metro Sunday evening. Closing out the weekend late Sunday night are festival headliners The Black Keys, who take the Bell Stage at the Plaines d'Abraham. Cage the Elephant, who have been supporting the Keys on their trans-Canadian tour, play two sets prior, with Girl Talk in between.
AfroCubism, which joins in on the Quebec festival fun next week, continues its brief North American tour with shows on the West Coast of the United States this weekend: at the Oregon Zoo Amphitheatre in Portland, Oregon, tonight, and a free show at the 74th annual Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco, California, on Sunday.
"Some bands just can’t help but be great," says the Portland Tribune's Rob Cullivan. "That’s certainly the case with AfroCubism, a collaborative effort of musicians from the African nation of Mali and Cuban members of the Buena Vista Social Club." Cullivan goes on to describe the band as "one of the sweetest sounding orchestras on Earth."
Björk continues her three-week UK residency at the Manchester International Festival with yet another sold-out show at Campfield Market Hall on Sunday. The live show is the subject of this week's New York Times Popcast, in which Times writer Jon Pareles recaps his trip to Manchester to see this "new multimedia extravagana by Björk." Listen in at nytimes.com.
Björk has just announced that she will be bringing Biophilia back to her homeland this October, with six dates at Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, including two as part of the Iceland Airwaves festival. For more information, visit icelandair.is.
The Black Keys, in addition to their aforementioned Festival d'Été de Québec set, have another Canadian festival performance this weekend: at LeBreton Flats in Ottawa, Ontario, tonight as a part of the Ottawa Blues Festival.
The Toronto Sun gives last night's show at the Molson Canadian Amphtitheatre four-and-a-half stars, asking: "Who knew two early thirtysomething dudes from Akron, Ohio ... could make such a sexy, swampy, soulful, old sound and leaving the audience wanting more?"
Praising their show in St. Paul last weekend, Consequence of Sound reviewer Harley Brown writes: “The band put on the best show I’ve seen from them, and one of the best shows I’ve seen period.”
Carolina Chocolate Drops return to their home state of North Carolina with a set at the Musicfest ‘N Sugar Grove festival in Sugar Grove on Saturday. Proceeds from the festival help preserve and maintain the Historic Cove Creek School in Watauga County, North Carolina, and surrounding historic sites in working order and available for future generations.
The Chocolate Drops join Béla Fleck & The Original Flecktones for a special show at Wolf Trap's Filene Center outside Washington, DC, in Vienna, Virginia, on Sunday.
Ben Folds kicked off his US tour this week and continues with a busy weekend in the Midwest, with a show at Stir Cove Amphitheatre in Council Bluffs, Iowa, tonight, and at Crossroads in Kansas City on Sunday, with Kenton Chen opening both nights and on several of Folds's upcoming tour dates. Chen is the music director of The Backbeats, former contestants on NBC's The Sing-Off, of which Folds is a judge.
In between those two shows, Folds performs a set at the second installment this summer of the Dave Matthews Band Caravan, taking place at Chicago's Lakeside on Saturday.
Emmylou Harris performs at Chicago's Dave Matthews Band Caravan as well, with a set on Sunday, after having performed the previous night at Tudhope Park in Orillia, Ontario, as a part of the Mariposa Folk Festival.
Spinner lists Harris as one of this year’s “Can’t Miss Acts” of the Mariposa Folk Festival, lauding her as “one of folk’s most unique voices.”
The A.V. Club praised Jackson's recent performance at the Milwaukee Summerfest for its retro flare with a modern twist: “There’s something timeless about rockabilly that makes the modernization of another ’60s pioneer seem appropriate. Jackson was full of energy and warmth, her band was excellent, and the crowd was rapturous.”
k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang have another full weekend ahead, with a set tonight in Canada at Winnipeg’s Bird Hill Provincial Park for the Winnipeg Folk Festival, before heading Stateside for two shows in Massachusetts. She and the band play at the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset on Saturday and at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis on Sunday. The Belle Brigade opens each night.
In advance of this weekend's shows, lang is the subject of a feature article in the Boston Globe. Writing of her new album, Sing it Loud, the Globe's James Reed describes as "remarkable ... the fact that lang has rediscovered her voice’s true power in its restraint. 'A Sleep With No Dreaming' is among the most transcendent songs she’s ever recorded. The way she elongates the word 'I' on the refrain, letting it glide over the band like a helium balloon she’s suddenly released ... well, it sends shivers down the spine. There’s a looseness in lang’s vocals that hasn’t been evident on record since her origins as an off-kilter country singer." Read the article at boston.com.
The Grand Rapids Press praised lang’s recent sold-out performance in Michigan, saying: “The lady has a voice in a million, a rich, full-bodied instrument that cradles notes with impeccable control and astonishing range. Her peerless style is a rootsy and wholly original union of alt country, jazz and New Wave.”
Jessica Lea Mayfield heads to the Southwest this weekend as a part of her US summer tour, performing at Larimer Lounge in Denver tonight with Ferraby Lionheart opening. On Sunday, she plays the first of several dates with The Avett Brothers, at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City.
Aarik Danielsen of the Columbia Daily Tribune, previewing a recent tour date, says: "Her voice rarely rises above a murmur, yet Mayfield amps a wealth of hurt, defiance and worldliness down into each note and word sung."
Audra McDonald joins Musical Director Marvin Hamlisch and fellow performers Raúl Esparza (Company), Jane Krakowski, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Martin Short, along with the BlackCreek Festival Orchestra and Chorus, for The Very, Very Best of Broadway Saturday night at York University’s Rexall Centre in Toronto. The concert is part of the BlackCreek Summer Music Festival.
As noted yesterday in the Nonesuch Journal, Brad Mehldau and Joshua Redman, longtime friends and frequent collaborators, began a three-week duo tour of Europe last night in Norway, heading next to Copenhagen’s Suespillhuset tonight and to Rotterdam, Netherlands, on Saturday for the North Sea Jazz Festival. Reviewing the duo's set at the Ottawa Jazz Festival last month, the Ottawa Citizen says they make "music of uncommon depth and simpatico." All About Jazz says they "delivered a performance that will be remembered by those lucky enough to be there, for a long time to come."
Natalie Merchant plays a rare show with her own band in addition to 28 members of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra tonight at Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater in upstate New York, not far from her hometown of Jamestown.
The Erie Times-News describes tonight's event as "a homecoming in more ways than one. With her combination of high moral purpose, subtle mysticism and earthiness, she is practically an embodiment of the Chautauqua ideal."
Randy Newman performs at the 2011 Vancouver Island MusicFest with a set on Saturday at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds in Courtenay, British Columbia. He heads to Australia at the end of the month for a two-week tour of performances featuring the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Symphony.
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Conor Oberst begins a non-stop, three-week tour of Europe and the UK, featuring music from his 2016 solo album, Ruminations, in Munich tonight. From there, the tour heads to Stuttgart, Vienna, Zurich, Cologne, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris, Utrecht, Brussels, London, Manchester, and Edinburgh, culminating with a concert at Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin on February 5.
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The Barbican Centre in London has announced its 2017–18 Classic Music concert season, in which pianist Jeremy Denk will be Artist in Residence at Milton Court Concert Hall. As such, Denk will lead four concerts throughout the season, with programs ranging from Mozart to Gershwin, from a collaboration with the Britten Sinfonia to a personal meditation on the Variation form. "Jeremy Denk isn't like other pianists," says the Barbican. "He's capable of spectacular musical gymnastics and the most eloquent insights—often in the same breath. In short ... he’s the ideal choice to be Milton Court’s Artist in Residence this season."