Anne's Show Picks for the Weekend (August 28)

By Anne Castellano

The last unofficial weekend of summer is upon us, and fortunately there is a lot of good live music to enjoy. Get the weekend started early if you wish, because there are a couple of shows across the river on Thursday night. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Sandy “Sandman” Allen and bassist Mike Palazzolo will be playing at Sneekers Cafe in Groton. You've probably seen Sandy and Mike with the Hoolios, and they are also former members of the Rivergods, but here is a good opportunity to hear Sandy play his own tunes. In addition to the excellent music, you'll also hear a lot of great stories from his many years of traveling and playing with bands. Music starts around 7 pm and continues until 10:00. It's a friendly place, there's no cover, and you might want to arrive hungry, because Sneekers is well known for its delicious food.

Also on Thursday night, John Fries and bassist Corina Malbaurn will be playing the blues as an acoustic duo (upright bass!) in the lounge at Steak Loft in Mystic. This show is also free, and it's another opportunity to see some live music and grab dinner at the same time. Music starts at 7 pm and continues until 10:00. All ages are welcome; there are always families here. (A related note: if you were planning on seeing John Fries and the Elements on Friday at Stonington Vineyard, that show has been canceled.)

On Friday night, there's a Punk Pop Party happening at 33 Golden Street in New London. The cleverly named McJaggers will be playing, along with perennial local favorites D.O.T. Who would have thought that D.O.T. would be one of the area's longest lived bands? Word on the street is that D.O.T. has been trying to locate their drummer for awhile, and they just found him, so they're going to play this show. The McJaggers are one of the new bands on the scene, fronted by James Ruth (remember Degoleg?), and they will be playing a mix of rock and punk originals and covers. Sorry, no idea whether or not they cover the Stones. The show starts at 9:30 pm and cover is $5.

Also on Friday night, if you feel like a trip out of town, The Hoolios will be performing at Perks & Corks in Westerly. These guys played Sailfest, but they haven't been doing a lot of bar shows this summer. This one was just announced a few days ago. I hear the chai martinis at this place are amazing, and also a little dangerous, so consider yourself warned. You should already know the band is one of the best in the area, but if you have never seen them, you are really missing out. They play a mix of roots styles including americana, rock, country, and zydeco, with brilliant songwriting by head Hoolio Jim Carpenter. His lyrics are dark, poignant, humorous, and disturbing, sometimes all at the same time. The show starts at either 8:30 or 9:00, depending on who you ask, and there is no cover.

On Saturday night, the Hygienic Art Park in New London is the place to be. Garage rockers Straight to VHS will be having a release party for their new CD Weekend Weekend Weekend. Also on the bill will be Heap, The 3-Pack, and Anderson Family Picnic. This album will be the second from Straight to VHS, and you can check out a few tracks here: https://straight2vhs.bandcamp.com/album/weekend-weekday-singles. Heap is from Brooklyn, but as friends and label-mates of the Reducers, they've played in New London many times. Tim Heap is also a former DJ at WCNI Radio. The band has worked with Mickey Leigh, musician and brother of Joey Ramone, and they have released two albums, On the Cheap  and Oddball. The 3-Pack are Hugh, Peter, and Tom from the Reducers, with Peter on bass. They are playing all new originals and a few killer cover tunes, and this is the third show they have done this summer. Hopefully as they become more comfortable with the new lineup we'll get to see them even more often. Surf punk band Anderson Family Picnic has been playing shows and recording constantly since 2005. They call their music “frontier rock”, and their most recent release is an EP called Language Lessons. The show starts at 7 pm and continues until 11:30. I don't know the order of bands, but you'll want to see them all anyway. All ages are welcome, and admission is $8.

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