Published in City Newspaper (Rochester)


Sounds Boxes 2005

Swamp Padres

A recent appearance by C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band at NOLAís óit stands for ëNew Orleans, Louisianaíóapparently went well and the venue has decided to inaugurate a series.  Rochesterís own Swamp Padres will kick off the proceedings this Saturday.  This is (um) the weekend before Fat Tuesday óëMardi Grasí to you sophisticates.  Somebody in marketing at NOLAís was really on their toes.

If dancing in an organized fashion (as opposed to flailing around like a fish on the floor) makes you nervous, zydeco will calm you down.  Step, quick, quick step.  Over and over again.  And the Padres arenít purists; theyíll give you a few numbers to flail to.  Iím not sure Geoff Tesch can help himself.

Swamp Padres will appear Saturday, February 5 at NOLAís, 4775 Lake Avenue, Charlotte, at 9 p.m.  Tix: $5 (free to diners before 9 p.m.; costumes encouraged) 663-3375

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C.J. Chenier and the Louisiana Red Hot Band

What if your father was a famous musician from out in the country, who plays a super-charged version of the rural music he grew up with? What if the music was about chickens, eating snap-beans and having a good time on the bayou? What if you grew up in a housing project, playing funk music and jazz and you hardly even knew your father?

Clayton Joseph Chenier found himself in this position in 1978. He was invited to play saxophone for the Louisiana Red Hot Band, then led by his illustrious father Clifton. As the elder Chenier grew increasingly ill from diabetes, C.J. took up the piano accordion and began to lead the band. Because he came to zydeco from the outside, he blends blues, funk, jazz and rock elements into the music, but he never loses sight of the central purpose: to dance and have a really good time.

C. J. Chenier and the Louisiana Red Hot Band will appear Saturday, February 12 at Nolaís, 4775 Lake Avenue, Charlotte at 10 p.m.  Tix: $12 (advance); $15 (door).  663-3375

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Wild Geese

All the good clean family fun of the parade is behind you.  You saw the Wild Geese at Milestones, distracted by your 10 year-old son tugging at your sleeve, screaming ìI wanna ënother taste of yer beerî in your ear.  You were too tired the next day to go hear the Geeseís Ben Mac an Tuile play solo and then everything went wrong at work for the next three days.  The luck of the Irish, indeed.  So now itís Thursday and you call your wife and you say, ìGet a sitter.  Weíre going to get some dinner and go see the Wild Geese at Johnnyís.î  Somewhat stunned by your resolve, she asks, ìWhy?î You say, ìBecause itís St. Patrickís Day Ö dear.î

Wild Geese will appear Thursday, March 17, at Johnnyís Irish Pub, 1382 Culver Road, at 7 p.m. Free. 224-0990

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Cherish the Ladies

When Joanie Madden and Mick Moloney dreamed up Cherish the Ladies it was meant to be a demonstration of female talent in the male-dominated Irish music community. It is a demonstration that has definitely made itís point over the last 16 years or so. Bright lights of Irish music like Eileen Ivers, Aoife Clancy and Cathy Ryan first found wide audiences while in CTL.

In keeping with their high profile beginnings, the band is more a creature of the stage than the corner of a pub, so their association with symphonies and pops orchestras is par for their course.  They will be right at home in the Eastman Theater and donít expect to see pints of Guinness stashed beneath their seats.  Unless itís under the chair of Triona ni Dhomhnaill, formerly of the Bothy Band.

Cherish the Ladies will appear with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at the Eastman Theater, 60 Gibbs Street, on Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12 at 8 p.m.  Tix: $22-$55.  454-2100

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Tempest

It has been exactly a year since this Bay Area band was last in town. Their line-up, which has been subject to regular change over the years, has been steady lately. Tempest is essentially a progressive rock unit that borrows relentlessly from Celtic and Nordic folk sources. Their arrangements are complexly interlocking and as they slash through them it is sort of like watching a cross between a Swiss watch and a forest fire.

In the last year Tempest released a 15th anniversary boxed set. It opens with a previously unreleased cover of Dylanís ìMasters of Warî, their own response to the Iraq War. If they can be induced to unleash this one, it alone might be worth the price of admission.

Tempest will appear Tuesday, April 12 at Milestones, 170 East Avenue, at 8 p.m.  Tix: $8 advance; $12 door.  325-6490

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Planet Zydeco

This sextet from the greater Brattleboro area manages to sound both tight and relaxed at the same time, in spite of being from southeast Vermont instead of southwest Louisiana. Their Creole-spiced allegiances within the zydeco community are clear by their choice of covers: four Keith Frank tunes, three by the Ardoin brothers and one by Geno Delafose. These Yankees also nod to the Cajun tradition with ìJolie Blondeî and a Dewey Balfa song. Their album is recorded entirely live in the studio and is played like they see a floor full of moving bodies right there in front of them. Bass, drums and rubboard lock into a rock steady rhythm with the accordion and guitar bumping and grinding around the beat. Saving it up to go all night, just like good dancers do.

Planet Zydeco will appear Saturday, April 16 at Harmony House, 58 East Main Street, Webster, at 8 p.m.  Tix: $10 (kids <14 free).  Dance lesson by Esther Brill at 7:15 p.m. 586-0476

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Full Frontal Folk

Fatale Frontal (Wendy Fuhr) is now an expectant Full Frontal mother, so she will likely be cutting back on her consumption of beer these days, but the remaining Frontals are under no such proscription.  The maintenance of dead-on four part harmonies throughout an FFF show suggest that a certain amount of theater is involved in the beer-guzzling conceit that is the hallmark of an evening with these women.  In any case, their choice of material (Bad Religion and Dave Carter songs in the same set), their tumultuous delivery and their teasing stage patter add up to some uproarious fun.

Full Frontal Folk will appear Saturday, April 30 at Milestones, 170 East Avenue, at 7 p.m. Tix: $12 (advance); $15 (door). 325-6490

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John Renbourn & Jacqui McShee

This is a stunning opportunity to see two legends from the British contingent of the ìfolk revivalî of the 1960s.  Between 1967 and 1973, Pentangle both revolutionized and built a bridge between the pop and folk scenes by bringing complex, jazz-inflected arrangements to the live stage.  Audiences were reportedly stunned into reverent silence, riveted by the quiet beauty of the music.  Renbourn and McShee have continued over the last 30 years to record and perform English and Scottish traditional music and contemporary compositions, both separately and, occasionally, together.

John Renbourn and Jacqui McShee will appear Saturday, April 30 at Harmony House, 58 E. Main Street, Webster at 8 p.m. Tix: $17 (advance); $20 (door). 328-3103

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Brian Conway and Brendan Dolan

Folk music should be played by folks.  As many folks as possible.  This Saturday Brian Conway and Brendan Nolan will offer workshops in the playing of Irish traditional music on the fiddle and flute in the afternoon and then get up on stage that night.  The concert setting is a recent development for Irish traditional music.  For centuries it was the music of firesides, parlors, church halls and pubs.  Most of it is dance music and in the past a single melody line would be played by a single instrument.  Perhaps this is one reason why the melodies are so compelling.  

The Bronx-born Conway grew up tutored by an impressive roster of master fiddlers from the New York scene.  He is called a ìSligo styleî player, but the breadth of his instruction has pushed his playing beyond the sound of a single county.  A workshop with him is a rare opportunity to make yourself a part of one of the mightiest traditions in the North American Irish music community.  Dolanís father Felix has been and remains a stalwart member of that tradition.  The younger Dolan has expanded his inherited expertise in the piano to the flute.

Brian Conway and Brendan Dolan will appear Saturday, May 14 at East Rochester High School, 200 Woodbine Ave., East Rochester at 8 p.m.  Workshops are at noon and 2 p.m.  Tix: $12; $5 for students.  234-3746

Hibernian Weather Channel Productions

Last revised:  May 11, 2005