UPCOMING SHOWS

brand rule 950
JOE KAPLOW

Joe Kaplow w/ Kate Possi & Elliott OK

JUNE 12 @ 8PM | DOORS 7PM | UPSTAIRS

Indie folk goodness from the Golden State.

All Ages

Before I started my career I had a choice: to take over my parent’s thoroughbred farm in New Jersey or pursue music full time in California and relinquish the farm to sale.  I still wonder what life would have looked like had I stayed, but who can resist the gold rush?  Besides, I plan to get back there one day on another farm with some other red barn.

 

My music comes from life’s moments — smelling 4 acres of freshly cut grass, watching the steam from a horse’s breath in the early morning, finally holding the neck of my guitar after holding bridles and worn wooden handles all day.  4000 acres of freshly burnt wildfire, watching the steam from the Pacific Ocean’s breath in the early morning, finally holding the neck of my guitar after clutching the worn steering wheel of the tour van all day.

Now my reality is in Bonny Doon, CA, where mountains meet the sea. I am in my recording studio, aptly named Hippie Cowboy, every day.  Slow and steady; keep it fun, stay engaged.  All for the moment when the song finally sounds right.  My dad passed away a couple years ago — his bullwhip is on the wall, his Harley is in the driveway. He visits me in dreams, and oh, the moment I wake up!  Sometimes I write for him. Sometimes for my mom, who I hope will move out to California soon.   Maybe she could volunteer at an equestrian center…

A person is made from their moments, like their music is made.  I know this is a bio but I shouldn’t have to say much.  Listen to the record.  If I’ve done my job well, you will know me by the end.

Artist Statement

This is a special record to me.  Unlike the past few, this one sounds like a more cohesive ‘band’ statement.  Most of it was cut together live, in a room over five days.   Rob, Elliott, and I had been playing for a long time with Mikey and then Hawes on drums, and while the music always felt great, the ‘band’ feeling hadn’t made its way into the recording studio.  ‘Time Spent In Between’ and ‘Sending Money and Stems’ were very pieced together albums; me playing most of the instruments, collaborating with many different drummers but working one song at a time, etc.  However, when Jeff moved back from Nashville and joined the band, it felt more cohesive. Maybe we gelled because Jeff  came from the same musical world.   In our little family Jeff championed nicknames, Elliott invented musical travel games, and Rob and I rolled our eyes at their enthusiasm for Arby’s.   We travelled around sharing our art and feeling free.   When we went to Enterprise, OR to record the first session, most of the songs were learned on the spot.   We strove for the zenith moments when we knew the song well enough to not make errors but still had to fly by the seats of our pants to keep it from coming unglued.  Everything has an arc like this.  After all, when you know something well enough you can take the present for granted. After those sessions we toured our new songs for a year (it usually goes the other way around) and decided some of the songs were misunderstood the first time so we recorded them again, live and together.  I am thankful and proud of that process and proud of them.  The music captured on this record occurred in very special moments between four people who had a special bond, musically and beyond. We hope you enjoy it.

BUY TICKETS
brand rule 950
444501262 877235771103692 302041791237536317 n

Beat Night feat. Amanda Shedonist & Lanna Lee Maheux

JUNE 13 @ 7PM | DOORS 6PM | UPSTAIRS

A glorious tango of powerful words and sultry live music.

Amanda Shedonist has been reading at Beat Night since it first began. When not writing poetry, she loves playing games, dancing, laughing, making mischief, experiencing joy, cooking for beloveds, spreading happiness, and being of use. She believes strongly in the magic you contain within you, and will go to great lengths to tease it out if you let her.
Lanna Lee Maheux is passionate about helping others realize & reclaim their own power. Lanna uses pronouns she/her/hers & is a poet, witch, faery seer, podcaster, ex-clown, balloon twister, actor, geek, silly person, writer, singer, twit, & recovering Stand-Up Comic. Lanna Lee likes shiny things.
RSVP
brand rule 950
THE QUEEN

The Return of The Queen: Cruel Summer

JUNE 14 @ 10PM | DOORS 10PM | UPSTAIRS

The ruler of the dance floor returns.

BUY TICKETS
brand rule 950
KASSI

Kassi Valazza w/ Sequoia & Blue Cactus Duo

JUNE 15 @ 6PM | DOORS 5PM | UPSTAIRS

A modern country crooner.

21+

There is a cult-like fascination growing around Kassi Valazza following the self-release of her 2019 debut album Dear Dead Days and her surprise 2022 EP Highway Sounds. She is seated squarely at the vanguard of new American songwriters strengthening and broadening the sound of country music as she tours with celebrated acts such as Melissa Carper and Riddy Arman. The Southwestern native resides in Portland, a hotbed of songwriters producing albums that both bear the torch and bend the arc of American roots music, where she recently signed with Fluff & Gravy Records — a label known for launching Anna Tivel and Margo Cilker.

Valazza’s forthcoming new albumKassi Valazza Knows Nothing is a spellbinding collection of songs that dangle like protective magic talismans, catching dreams and glinting light. She hypnotizes listeners with a sturdy, yet gentle, voice and painterly songwriting imbued with an independent spirit. Though her music plays country cousin to British folk, calling to mind greats like Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention) and Karen Dalton, a Southwestern American streak carves its way through these solemn, sweetly sung melodies like a canyon.

On the upcoming 10-song set, multi-instrumentalists from Portland’s TK & the Holy Know-Nothings appear in varying roles as Valazza’s backing band: Taylor Kingman (guitars, bass, vocals), Jay Cobb Anderson (harmonica, guitars, pedal steel, bass), Lewi Longmire (pedal steel, piano, bass, trumpet), Sydney Nash (organ, Farfisa, cornet, Wurlitzer), and Tyler Thompson (drums). The group’s swirling psychedelia combines with Valazza’s gutsy and graceful vocal poetry for a singular sound that washes over the listener like a flash flood, heavy and without warning.

Album opener “Room In The City” introduces Valazza’s high-lonesome, but never lonely world with sharp harmonica and reeling organ. She sings of a touring musician’s longing for home, and a distant lover, with lyrical imagery of open skies, whistling winds, and sepia-toned rock formations: “Did you think I’d be out here feeling lonely? / If I said I thought so too it’d be a lie / When I talk to you it’s hard to be withholding / And I was born to chase this blue out of my eyes.In the still, I often wonder about your breathing / I rise and fall to its rhythm late at night / Clay canyons turn to plaster in my grieving / And our ceiling overtakes the sky.”

Using the physical world around her to paint metaphors from the soul, Valazza carries us through her mind and heart, ever the effortless narrator. “Watching Planes Go By” spins a cautionary tale about the dangers of standing still in life and accepting one’s own fate. The song sets a curious and cosmic atmosphere of psychedelic folk-rock as Valazza reflects on the struggles of moving on, “Autumn leaves turn to yellow / and green turns to jealousy / Watching days go by.”

On “Corners,” fingerpicked acoustic guitar dances with bounding bass and twinkling piano, as twanging telecaster and a gentle backing choir flow behind Valazza like a stream through a lonesome vista. “The clouds move slower than they ever seemed to / Still, they find a way to pass me by,”she sings on her breezy lament about the longing that comes with an unhealthy love, “My friends, though, they wonder what I’m used to / To love a man who never treats me right.”

“Smile” opens with a familiar telecaster honky-tonk squawk and a half-time trot, but Valazza sings in deference to traditional bar-room tales. Hers is about acceptance when love is not enough, about being satisfied having met someone at all, and keeping only a farewell note as a souvenir. “I guess I could have left the light on / Or stayed awake to see you home / But good intentions go unnoticed / And I fare better on my own.” In her careful hands, the typical loved-and-lost tale becomes an ode to self-realization and the liberating feeling of going it alone.

As her journey winds down to “Welcome Song” — the album’s final Valazza-original preceding a perfect closing cover of Michael Hurley’s “Wildegeeses” — tension from her nearly behind-the-beat band pushes and pulls the listener into a whirlwind of stream-of-consciousness lyricism. The opening verse, “As I was laying on my floor / Hiding dreams from the t.v. / I heard a knocking at my door / While my eyes faked sleeping,” paints an immaculate mental picture of both the physical surroundings of the narrator and what she’s feeling and thinking at the time. It’s clear that every line Valazza writes carries extreme weight, every simple word is carefully chosen and placed with intention.

Kassi Valazza Knows Nothingcaptures the romanticism of country crooners with the intuition of a realist poet. Exploring themes of love and longing through metaphors from the natural world, Valazza manages to cut straight to the heart of the human experience, her lucid songs full of delightfully languid characters that haunt the hallucinatory soundscapes her band creates.

 

Led by kindred spirit songwriters Steph Stewart and Mario Arnez, Blue Cactus got their start among the active honky-tonk circuit of North Carolina, developing an electrified twang that now branches out effortlessly into folk, alt-country, and psychedelic-tinged rock. Blue Cactus has supported a diverse set of artists over its eight-year history (The War & Treaty, Town Mountain, and Junior Brown, among others), Stewart’s introspective lyricism and Arnez’s skill for lush arrangements making the band potent in the studio and on stage. Praised by No Depression for their ability to paint “beautiful pictures of limitless possibility” in roots music, Blue Cactus has drawn comparisons to Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris.

Their sophomore album, Stranger Again, released in 2021 on Sleepy Cat Records, nabbed enthusiastic attention from tastemakers including No Depression, American Songwriter, FLOOD Magazine, Talkhouse, and INDY Week among others. Following their critically acclaimed 2017 debut and a string of singles in 2020, Stranger Again saw the band taking their sound to an ambitious new plane, where country-rock and light psychedelia mingle, vocals soaring over twangy slide guitars and propulsive basslines. 

Between the comfort of classic country and the glamor of 70s rock, Blue Cactus resuscitate a fleeting style of honest-to-goodness country music considered valueless to a “new” country music where songwriting is officiated by financial analysts and teams of marketing plutocrats instead of woebegone troubadours. With a high lonesome twang, a Lucinda-like southern drawl, and blistering guitar techniques, Blue Cactus exercises the honky-tonk muscles to firmly bear the flag for a new generation of country music. 

BUY TICKETS
brand rule 950
IMG 4043

Adrienne Mack-Davis Presents: Stay Juicy w/ DJ 32French

JUNE 15 @ 10PM | DOORS 10PM | UPSTAIRS

A grown & sexy queer dance party.

Come join your host Adrienne Mack-Davis and her illustrious dj 32french for a night of queer joy and reverie. Let the beats take you higher as they weave you through a night of classic house mixed with her R&B vocals. Together these two create a unique party that celebrates the culture of dance music and queer expression. All are welcome, come be your best self. See you there!

BUY TICKETS
brand rule 950
METABEAT

Father's Day Jazz Brunch: MetaBeat

JUNE 16 @ 11AM | DOORS 10:30AM | UPSTAIRS

A group of local jazz greats reinterpreting beloved Beatles songs on Father’s Day? Yes, please.

MetaBeat was formed over 10 years ago by Mark Shilansky and Les Harris Jr.

The initial idea came out of their weekly lunch discussions in which they often discussed their mutual love of The Beatles and the possibility of getting together to play their music. Taking it a step further, they’d also discuss songs that might go together well in medleys and could work with a jazz flavor while still remaining true to the original versions.

Mark Shilansky then put together some amazing musical arrangements doing exactly that! The next step was to ask like minded musicians (jazz musicians who also loved The Beatles), if they might be interested in getting together to play these great new charts written by Mark. MetaBeat’s first concert performance took place at The Berklee Performance Center in February of 2013.

The current lineup for tonight’s show consists of:

Taylor O’Donnell (Berklee faculty) on vocals;

Chris Klaxton (UNH faculty) on trumpet, guitar and vocals;

Mark Shilansky (Berklee, UNH faculty) on piano and vocals;

Les Harris Jr.(UNH, USM, Phillips Exeter faculty) on drums and vocals;

Eric Byers (Berklee faculty) on guitar and vocals;

Mark Poniatowski (Berklee Faculty) on bass

MetaBeat will take take you back to the music of the swinging 60’s with a new and original sound. Tonight’s set will include the music of The Beatles as well as solo material by the individual members of The Beatles (with a few other gems from the 60’s mixed in!), all with a jazz twist.

SOLD OUT
brand rule 950
6.16.24 ADMAT

Father's Day Jazz Supper: The Adventure Time Trio

JUNE 16 @ 6PM | DOORS 5PM | UPSTAIRS

Give dad a jazzy night out for Father’s Day.

The Adventure Time Trio is an energetic, modern jazz trio, drawing from Brooke Sofferman’s extensive original material, and some jazz standards reimagined. Their interplay is often ESP-like, each finishing each other’s thoughts and ideas. The fact that they are good friends off the bandstand, is also apparent, and it lends itself to exciting and sometimes ethereal musical communication.

BUY TICKETS
brand rule 950
Jazz Jam Post

The (World Famous) Jazz Jam

JUNE 18 @ 6PM | DOORS 5:30PM | UPSTAIRS
brand rule 950
SOGGY PO BOYS

Soggy Po' Boys

JUNE 18 @ 9PM | DOWNSTAIRS
brand rule 950
DGPRJune19

Happy Hour w/ Dave Gerard (Truffle)

JUNE 19 | 5PM-8PM | DOWNSTAIRS

Come on, get happy w/ our pal Dave Gerard from Truffle! FREE.

brand rule 950
PLANT FIIGHT 1

Plant Fight EP Release Show w/ An Anderson, Willyzx, & Palana Vs The Man

JUNE 19 @ 8PM | DOORS 7PM | UPSTAIRS

Your Wednesday just got a little louder.

BUY TICKETS
brand rule 950
diaspora radio

Diaspora Radio: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

JUNE 20 @ 9PM | DOORS 8PM | UPSTAIRS

The gang takes on a Flaming Lips classic.

In 2002, way before ChatGPT, Wayne Coyne and the Lips were already afraid of the Robot future.

The suite of songs that became “Yoshimi Battles the Punk Robots” continued the sprawling psychedelic symphonic sound of 1999’s “the Soft Bulletin,” but incorporated more drum machines and hip hop grooves.

With rarely a moment of true silence, this is exactly the sort of album experience that was intended to be heard as a whole. Which is exactly what Diaspora Radio bring you.

BUY TICKETS
brand rule 950