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Brand New are the latest emo kids on TRL’s block, and much like the old kids on the block, Simple Plan, they’re a fresh-faced pop outfit with a singer who wants painfully to be mistaken for Morrissey. "Call me a safe bet/I’m betting I’m not," croons Jesse Lacey with the exhalation of a stale-voiced fag-smoking Britmope twice his age on "The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot." Brand New’s sophomore disc, Deja Entendu (Razor & Tie), is the sound of band in love with the Smiths and Jawbreaker and Metallica’s Ride the Lightning who write better Smoking Popes songs than anyone since Jimmy Eat World. Which was enough to get them on the Dashboard Confessional tour that hits the Tsongas Arena (978-848-6900) in Lowell next Friday, September 6. Tonight (August 28), moreover, Brand New play a WBRU (401-272-9555) freebie in Providence’s India Point Park.

If you’re staying in Rhode Island for the rest of the weekend, check out the sixth annual Rhythm & Roots Festival at Ninigret Park (888-855-6940) in Charlestown, which features Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Little Feat, Marcia Ball, Solas, and many others playing Friday through Sunday. The Woods Hole Film Festival–sponsored Reel Blues Fest has a little bayou flavor of its own this year courtesy of New Orleans piano legend Dr. John, who headlines with Delbert McClinton, James Montgomery, Weepin’ Willie, Shirley Lewis, and others on Sunday at the Cape Cod Melody Tent (508-775-9100) in Hyannis. And we can think of no more appropriate way to spend a Labor Day weekend than with the hardest-working saxman in show biz, former James Brown sideman Maceo Parker, whose never-ending tour brings him to Boarding House Park (978-970-5000) in Lowell on Saturday, to the Chicken Box (508-228-9717) on Nantucket on Monday and Tuesday, and to Harpers Ferry (617-254-9743) in Allston next Saturday, September 6.

Playwright, bestselling novelist, and singer-songwriter Rupert Holmes has many accolades to his credit — he took a bushel of Tonys for The Mystery of Edwin Drood — but we’re most in awe of him because he’s the only person we know whose songs have been covered by both Anal Cunt and Britney Spears. The former did a version of his hit "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)"; the latter covered "You Got It All," his song for ’80s bubble-salsa greats the Jets, as a B-side to her single "Oops . . . I Did It Again." Holmes is doing it again himself with Say Goodnight Gracie — The Life, Laughter and Love of George Burns and Gracie Allen, which, starring riddlin’ Frank Gorshin, will show up at the Shubert Theatre (617-931-2787) in Boston on October 21; but the production opens this Tuesday at Hartford Stage (860-527-5151), and Holmes will be there at noon next Thursday, September 4, for a discussion, book signing, and Q&A session.


Issue Date: August 29 - September 4, 2003
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