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Shakey Graves returns to Summerfest

When: Thursday, August 3. Gates at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.
Where: Forrest Rose Park (Rose Music Hall)
Tickets: $15 in advance | $18 day of show
Opener: David Ramirez

Seeing Shakey Graves (aka Alejandro Rose-Garcia) at The Blue Note last year was one of the best concerts I’ve been to, and one of the most talented artists I’ve seen on stage. (Amy Winehouse, Andrew Bird and Bon Iver are who he’s running up against so hopefully that provides a little context.)

Last year, Rose-Garcia’s outdoor set at 9th Street Summerfest was cut short thanks to a thunderstorm rolling in. While fans waited for an “all clear” Rose-Garcia decided that if it didn’t stop raining, he would continue his set inside The Blue Note and do it acoustic. Moving the show inside couldn’t have happened if he wasn’t able to play it acoustic because it would have required the BN crew to move all the sound equipment indoors and risk getting it wet.

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Rose-Garcia got his stage name when he attended the Old Settler’s Music Festival in Driftwood, Texas. While joking with some friends and coming up with names for each other, someone dubbed him “Shakey Graves.” It stuck.

Fast forward and Rose-Garcia is standing on stage with his guitar, howling into the mic andpumping his foot on a pedal of his custom kick drum made out of an old suitcase. Being the one-man band he is known for, Rose-Garcia kept the audience’s unwavering attention. I was standing on the balcony that was shaking (as it tends to) from the combination of the sound and the crowd dancing. Meanwhile, those below tossed beachballs around and sang along as directed. (WordPress wouldn’t let us embed the Facebook video of this, but you can check it out here.) (Or this video from when we were live during the show.) Toward the end of the show, Rose-Garcia brought up a group of fans from the audience to sing into the mic with him.

This year, Shakey Graves will be bringing his blues Americana rock and roll to Rose Park. He’ll also be playing tracks from his latest EP, “Shakey Graves and the Horse He Rode In On” that was released on Spotify on June 30.

“The first album was me wanting to burn down my life, cut my hair off, and run screaming into the woods,” says Rose-Garcia. “This album is the trials and tribulations of becoming domesticated, letting people into your world and letting go of selfishness — the story of becoming a pair, losing that, and reconciling with the loss and gain of love.”

We’re crossing our fingers for better weather this year because Shakey Graves in the park sounds just about as good as it gets.

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Shakey Graves performing his acoustic set inside The Blue Note at Summerfest in 2016. Fun fact: Rose-Garcia was born in Austin, Texas. After gaining popularity, the Mayor of Austin declared February 9 “Shakey Graves Day.” To celebrate, he puts on concerts with other local musicians.

 

 

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Michael Franti & Spearhead bring the love to Rose Summerfest

The near 100-degree weather yesterday didn’t phase Michael Franti when he and his band, Spearhead, took to the outdoor stage at Rose Park. If anything, the weather couldn’t have provided a better atmosphere for Franti’s positive reggae pop jammin’. The park was packed with a crowd that bounced multi-colored beach balls and danced throughout the entire show.

It probably helped that Franti had a chance to adjust to the heat before the show too. A couple of weeks ago, he posted in the Facebook event page and asked his fans to join him in some pre-show yoga. Franti says he does this before almost every show and we wanted to make it happen, so we teamed up with our friends at Logboat for some yoga in the park. About twenty fans showed up, many with gifts and stories to share with Franti after the final namaste. Hugs were given, pictures were taken and babies were kissed. (Yes, there was a baby that sat quietly through the entire session and was a fucking trooper.)

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Franti and his fans get their dancing muscles warm before the show at Logboat! 

 

Yoga sessions give the band a chance to meet fans and connect with them over a practice based on positive thinking and peace, something that Franti preaches and practices. For each ticket, a dollar went to Do It For The Love, a charity that Franti and his wife founded, which brings together various artists and uses music to “provide empowering moments for people living with life-threatening illnesses, children surviving severe challenges, and wounded veterans.” The foundation’s summer campaign has a goal of granting 1,000 wishes by the end of August. At the show, Franti said they have already reached over 900.

As for the show, it was one of the cooler experiences that Rose Park has seen. People from all ages joined to dance. Literally, at one point in the show when Franti asked the crowd to pair up with seven or eight people around them, hold their hands and dance in a circle. For his hit “Life is Better With You,” Franti brought his wife, Sara, up on stage to sing with him. As if it couldn’t get more adorable, he brought up a group of kids from the audience to dance and sing along toward the end of the show. He talked between songs about peace, loving your neighbor and listening to those around you. When he wasn’t spreading the message from the stage, he joined the audience to sing among the crowd. After the show, the audience trickled out. Among them, were some already wearing shirts they picked up at the merch booth that said “Stay Human” across the chest.

 

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What we’re stoked for: Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

When: Thursday, June 29. Doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m.
Where: The Blue Note
Tickets: $12 in advance | $15 day of show
Openers: The Flood Brothers

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Black Joe Lewis playing at The Blue Note in 2010. Lewis discovered his love for the blues after learning to play guitar as a teenager.

The first time I heard of Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears was when a friend of mine put on “Booty City.” I listened for a minute and learned two things. 1) With the exception of two lines, the entire song is made up of Lewis singing the hook “Right on everybody, won’t you take me to Booty City.” 2) It was catchy and I liked it. I decided I could overlook the repetitiveness of the song, though I can’t listen to it on repeat, and I added a few of his hits to my playlist of the moment on Spotify.

The group’s sound is a contemporary take on blues, soul and funk. A Texas native, Lewis draws inspiration from the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. Their most recent album, Backlash, returns to their contemporary take on soul and “punked-up” R&B. Lewis joined forces with Grammy Award-winning producer Stuart Sikes (The White Stripes, Cat Power, Modest Mouse) to record the album, revisited deep-seated influences. “I wanted to go for more of a soul/blues/rock-and-roll sound compared to the last one—the kind of stuff I was doing back in the day, but with the songwriting a little more evolved,” Lewis says.

Lewis says the album is about the ugly reality of “dealing with the backlash from the things you’ve done in the past.” The album is joyful, chaotic and full of Lewis’ high-energy screams. Given his track record and previous show at The Blue Note, it’s safe to say that his performance is sure to follow in the same path.