A Spooky Good Time
A Spooky Good Time
Local “Moon Raid” Festival Provides Halloween Entertainment
Jack Downey ’23
Obviously, there were quite a few events happening this Halloween. Not only were there fewer COVID-19 restrictions than last year, but the weather was also immaculate despite all the terrible weather in the past week, with the sun bursting forth from the sky. It could only be described as peak fall. Under the smiling sun and the falling leaves, a music festival took place in a backyard in Wakefield, RI. It was called Moon Raid, and it was legendary.
Even before the show itself began, the staggering array of groups associated with it turned heads: there were twelve bands and nine vendors present at the festival, which, for a local show, was astounding and unprecedented. Set construction began at 1:00 p.m. and the stage came together quickly, with the setup of gear being completed efficiently and conveniently.
Leading off the event was Wave Goodbye. Building the sound of a full band using nothing but a guitar and a loop effect pedal, Wave Goodbye’s set received a warm reaction and helped draw in the audience. Following Wave Goodbye was Rather Nice, who recently released a new EP, Diane’s Van. Playing all the songs off that EP and more, the funky indie rock band had people dancing along to their mellow tunes.
After Rather Nice was Fort Revere, a fairly new indie rock/surf rock band based out of Providence. While their sound was sparse, the songs were catchy and had some people singing along. Occasionally, the band would turn up the distortion, keeping things interesting. However, their distortion had nothing on The Gotham Lights, who were up next. Despite only having two members, their sound was enormous and blew people away, almost literally. Lead singer Jake Draven’s howling vocals only added to the wall of leaden noise that filled the entire backyard for the duration of their set.
Continuing the wall of furious sound was Bozo Brain. Another two-piece band, this group was a female duo and their sound was more based around hardcore and metal. The crowd truly came alive during this set, moshing furiously to the distorted bass and pounding drums. At one point during their performance, the two members switched instruments to showcase their dexterity and indeed continued to bring the power. Considering this was their first show, it was rather impressive.
With the energy of the audience mostly spent after Bozo Brain finished their set, Harrison Dolan provided some soothing, if not incredibly melancholy, relief. Despite being another one-man act using a loop pedal, Harrison’s music was jazzier than that of Wave Goodbye and featured far more guitar effects. His soft voice carried with it an undercurrent of sincerity that drew many people to his music. Multiple people commented afterwards about how they had become emotional during his set and, as if Rhode Island was responding to this shift in mood, there had been several sirens audible during Harrison’s set, creating a strangely alluring ambience.
After this brief lull in the energy, Bellyache came in screaming, literally. Not much was known about this band prior to the show, since they have no social media presence and have not played many shows. However, they blew people away with their talent. They had an interesting mix of hardcore and indie rock, with the hardcore songs featuring a singer and the indie songs being instrumental. Whichever sound they choose to play in the future, Bellyache are an intriguing band.
Cameleopard was next in the lineup. Echoing some of the blusier aspects of The Gotham Lights’ set, the crowd was immediately captivated by the group’s melodic yet crunchy guitar, flowing bass, and impressive drumming. The band functioned like a fine-tuned machine; they had people moving and grooving to their tightly-wound style of rock.
This rock sound continued with the following act, Depopulate Montana. While their sound was straightforward, their songs were interesting and captured the audience. The sound had many elements of nineties indie rock as well as those of earlier rock icons such as Bruce Springsteen, with some punk rock thrown into the mix. Their set ended as the sun fully disappeared beneath the horizon.
Although the sun had departed, the show went on. The Park Hill Romance took the stage and ripped through several beloved covers, such as Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” and Green Day’s “Holiday.” Their fans ate it up, dancing and singing along, illuminated by the car headlights which were being used to light the stage. After them were Alligators On Acid, who delivered a gloriously ramshackle punk performance that included bassist Luke Kelley throwing his bass aside and running into the crowd, starting a tidal wave of a mosh pit that resulted in him getting punched in the face. Considering this might be their last show for some time, they went out with style. Last but not least were The Moon Rakers, who hosted the entire event. The band’s sound was remarkably minimal in the most interesting of ways, and many people seemed to be drawn in by the dry guitar sound and the unorthodox drum beats. It was a fantastic way to end such an insane concert.
All the above acts sans Bellyache have Instagram accounts and deserve attention, so give them a follow.
A Closer Look at Pub on Park
A Closer Look at Pub on Park
A Hidden Gem in Rhode Island’s Music Scene
Jack Downey ’23
There are many amazing music venues in Rhode Island. AS220, Askew, and News Cafe are but a few of the local haunts for live music. One of the best places for live music that has recently emerged on the scene is Cranston’s Pub On Park.
Located on 655 Park Street, Pub On Park first appears to be just another hip Providence-area restaurant. Facing the street is a wall of windows, and there are several potted plants in the corners of the building. The front wall features large words “Pub On Park” with a silhouette of a lion underneath. For any unsuspecting passerby, it might seem quite niche.
However, in reality, Pub On Park is a promising venue that is opening itself up more and more to local musicians. On Aug. 15, the venue held a show featuring three young, local acts: The Park Hill Romance, an emo-tinged alt-rock band with a sound that harkens back to the gloomy atmosphere of the early to mid-2000s; The Keegan Turner Band, a rock group with a classic sound that still sounds fresh and original; and The Celler Dwellers, a bar band that plays a wide array of covers. The concert generated a surprising turnout, filling the tables in the restaurant. It was clear that the musicians and attendees alike hoped a similar event would happen again.
Flash forward to Oct. 3. The same bill was assembled to perform, although Celler Dwellers ultimately dropped out. Despite this setback, the crowd was even bigger than that of the Aug. 15 show, with people flocking to the venue despite the rain and a legendary matchup between the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was an incredibly memorable, fun night.
Aside from live music, Pub On Park offers a wide variety of food and drink. They are most known for their pizzas, often served to patrons during shows. The bar staff is incredibly friendly. The spacing in the restaurant is also very comfortable, with ample room for people to come and go as they please.
An additional detail about Pub On Park that makes it such a cool place is it attached to Legion Bowl and Billiards. Simply walk through a door between the bar and the jukebox and you’ll find yourself in an expansive room with several pool tables, a number of arcade games, and multiple lanes of candlepin bowling. The most spectacular aspect of these connections is simply how many pool tables there are at the Legion Bowl portion of the venue. The pool hall area stretches farther than even the candlepin lanes, with table after table as far as the eye can see. Very few places are as dedicated to pool as Legion, making it a rare treat within a rare treat.
At the end of the day, Pub On Park is a charming establishment that is certainly on the come up, and if it continues to host more local bands among its potted plants, chances are it will become a mainstay in the Rhode Island music scene.
Opening the Door to a World of Artistic Talent
Innovation & Cultural Preservation Drives PVD World Music
by Jack Downey ’23 A&E Staff
Chance Boas is a man with a mission. I first met him at Askew, a club in downtown Providence, RI in November 2019. Immediately, I was struck by his enthusiasm for local music. Boas had been booking shows around the city, including the show at which I met him. In February the following year, he booked a massive show at the Pawtucket venue Machines and Magnets featuring local legends Bochek.
However, I would find out as the year went on that Boas’s ambitions went much further than simply booking indie rock shows. He was also devoted to showcasing the incredibly underappreciated varieties of world music.
Officially founding and starting Providence World Music in 2020, Boas faced the daunting task of trying to showcase live music during a pandemic which had all but shut down the industry. However, he found a way around it, collaborating with Indowncity to put on COVID-safe events. One of these events on Sept. 26, 2020 had Boas and PVD World Music host “World Music Sessions” with Sidy Maiga, a renowned drummer in many styles, as well as a second percussionist, Balla Kouyate. Later, on Oct. 3, 2020, PVD World Music hosted the artist Yacouba, a legendary kora player. The kora is an instrument that combines the sitar and the harp. Both of these events occurred on Westminster Street between Eddy and Union, allowing people to witness these great musicians while walking down the street. That way, there would be less risk of a crowd that could spread the virus.
Aside from hosting more shows, PVD World Music also began hosting movie showings. On Dec. 6, 2020, an African film festival took place at the Waterfire Arts Center, a drive-in cinema in Providence, featuring films from the African Diaspora. The festival also featured live performances by Sidy Maiga and Balla Kouyate, as well as Yacouba. This unique setup helped to bring the art of another country to a classic American setting, which was innovative and interesting. As a result, the event drew an impressive crowd which hopefully will only grow bigger as time goes on, as PVD World Music has indicated that this festival is supposed to be a recurring one, providing a spotlight for even more African filmmakers.
In order to ensure that his concerts get off the ground and Boas is able to pay the artists who perform, PVD World Music applies for grants from the city. This process gives the proceedings a sense of legitimacy and professionalism that they might otherwise not have had. It also indicates how dedicated Boas is to what he does. One other advantage is that it means that some of the events can be free, since the money for the artists is already covered. That way, more people are enticed to watch the performances since they do not have to pay anything, exposing the artists to a wider audience.
Boas’s mission goes beyond simply highlighting the work of people from other countries, although that is a big part of it. He is also working to preserve the culture. In a discussion that I had with him, Boas told me that a lot of cultures pass their songs and stories down orally through generations. By giving these songs and stories more exposure, he is keeping the spark alive for generations to come, both on the stage and in the audience.
It helps that Boas works with the indie crowd as well; by promoting and setting up shows for both music scenes, he is helping to enmesh them. One of the ideas that he brought up to me was to feature indie bands alongside world music, a potential example being the aforementioned Bochek performing with jazz musicians. This concept is very creative and would certainly help to diversify Providence’s music scene.
What Boas does is truly honorable and unique, and when he reached out to me to write an article about PVD World Music, I could not have been more excited about the idea. To find out more about future and past events, you can follow @pvdworldmusic on Instagram, or go to pvdworldmusic.com.