One of the common criticisms of electronic music, whether it be house,
drum 'n' bass, or ambient, is that it's cold, calculated, and rigid
-- that it lacks the human element of warmth, feel, and flexibility. Toronto's
the New Deal may be the best argument that electronica is not immune to
humanization. The trio specialize in creating live, ambient "drum-break-house"
(their term, not ours) with an improvised, jazzy sensibility, and they aim to
maintain a natural, organic feel even though the equipment they rely on is all
quite digital in nature. They'll demonstrate with headlining gigs tonight
(August 10) at Lilli's (617-591-1661) in Somerville and on August 12 at the Stone
Coast Brewery (207-773-2337) in Portland.
In between, on August 11, the New Deal are on the bill for the opening day of
the mammoth Berkshire Mountain Music Fest, a three-day extravaganza at
Butternut Basin (888-513-FEST), in Great Barrington. Also on Friday: Boston
roots stars the Tarbox Ramblers, second-generation Afro-funk legend
Femi Kuti (who plays the Newport Jazz fest on Saturday), Michael Franti's Spearhead, and the
String Cheese Incident. Saturday's bill is especially jam-friendly, with
Béla Fleck (fresh off last week's Newport Folk Festival),
moe., the Slip, and Jiggle the Handle. And Sunday's
line-up includes Galactic, Deep Banana Blackout (who play the
Newport Jazz Fest on Saturday), and modern jazz-funk faves Medeski Martin
& Wood. Fleck and MMW team up tonight (August 10) at the Cape Cod
Melody Tent (508-775-9100) in Hyannis, and Spearhead headline the House of
Blues (617-491-BLUE) in Cambridge on August 13.
Elsewhere, it's a veritable festival of fests. The Pines Folk Festival, on
August 12 at the Pines Theatre (800-843-8425) in Northampton, includes John
Gorka, Patty Larkin, the Nields, and Melissa Ferrick.
And the traveling edition of the Montreaux Jazz Festival brings Al
Jarreau, Roberta Flack, and David Sanborn to the FleetBoston
Pavilion (617-931-2000) in Boston on August 15. Meanwhile, the Wellfleet
Beachcomber (508-349-6055) hosts New Orleans workhorses the Radiators on
August 10 and 11; the irrepressible funk sideman turned touring machine
Maceo Parker on August 14; and Tex-Mex garage-rockers the Iguanas
on August 16.
August 16, as it happens, is the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. And
though we don't recall ever hearing anyone refer to Joan Jett -- as she
is referred to in a release promoting her free gig on August 16 at the Mohegan
Sun Casino's Wolf Den (880-204-8000) -- as "the girl Elvis," it's not a wholly
inappropriate association: leader of the bad-girl pack with the Runaways, a
solo rock-and-roll lover, the den mother of riot grrrls and trash punks. Beats
rotting on the potty, no?
-- Carly Carioli