I AM music festival returns to New London on Saturday
Several folks in this part of the world actually attended Woodstock. You know: Hendrix, Alvin Lee, Richie Havens, Janis Joplin, The Who. Massively cool artists - but, then, oh yeah, there was a lot of mud and humidity and the bad acid and the worst traffic jam the world has ever known and not near enough water or, worse, not near enough deodorant. You get the idea on the Misery Quotient.
Consider, instead, the neatly contained and beautifully organized I AM Festival taking place Saturday in downtown New London. It's the largest free independent music festival in the state, and almost 30 bands - national headliners as well as the best the city and region have to offer - will perform on two outdoor stages and in three venues.
Of course, there will be merch, vending and civic-minded info kiosks as well as a gourmand's fantasy land as represented by food trucks. All of the action takes place in the heart of the downtown arts district with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars to help provide comfort, nourishment and atmosphere.
Here are the artist lineups and sundry pertinent information.
PARADE PLAZA STAGE- Bank Street at State Street
12:45 p.m. The United States Coast Guard Dixieland Band (New London) - World-class musicians capture the swinging essence of the whole birth of jazz. Song to request: "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead (You Rascal)."
2 p.m. Goodnight Blue Moon (New Haven) - Pop songs smartly rendered via trad bluegrassy instrumentation. Song to request: "Hollow."
3:45 p.m. The McLovins (Hartford) - Jammy mix of rock and prog with seraphim harmonies. Song to request: "Birthday."
5:30 p.m. Quiet Life (Portland, Ore., by way of New London/Waterford) - Adventurous, seasoned Americana. Song to request: Anything from their brand-new "Housebroken Man" EP.
7 p.m. The Hempsteadys (New London) - Devilishly fine amalgam of energy, dub, reggae and punk. Song to request: "Teen Wolf 2012."
8:30 p.m. Pretty & Nice (Boston) - Hyper-creative mutations of early Elvis Costello and XTC freshly tweaked for the modern world. Song to request: "Yonkers."
10 p.m. The So So Glos (Brooklyn) - Finest possible distillation of punk music 40 years after The Ramones. Witty, frenetic, and hooky. Song to request: "Lost Weekend."
HYGIENIC ART PARK STAGE - 79 Bank St.
2:30 p.m. The Cranks (Dunstable, Mass.) - Vocalist Kaley Gowland fronts a pop trio so garage-y they have oil stains. Song to request: "Down to Earth."
3:30 p.m. Pocket Vinyl (New London) - Clever art-rock duo, literally: smart piano pop from Eric Stephenson while spouse Elizabeth Jancewicz paints a new canvas onstage at each show. Song to request: "Salem Witch Trials."
4:45 p.m. Roz and the Rice Cakes (Providence) - Three-piece act whose approach to catchy but eclectic and experimental pop knows no boundaries. Song to request (or play while handing out candy on Halloween): "The Birds."
6:15 p.m. The Can Kickers (New London) - Storied indie-Americana band re-imagining everything from hillbilly gospel to Civil War songs. Song to request: "Rabbit in the Pea Patch."
7:45 p.m. Ron Gallo (Philadelphia) - Former Toy Soldier frontman who brilliantly describes his new album as "troll pop." Song to request: "No Cure But Time."
9 p.m. The Whigs (Athens, Ga.) - Contempo-Southern rock that mines the rich ore of Drivin' and Cryin' with a dollop of Tom Petty hot sauce. Song to request: "Asking Strangers for Directions."
THE TELEGRAPH —19 Golden St.
2 p.m. Tyler-James (Providence) - Rockin' country blues from leader of The Silks. Song to request: any Skip James cover. Seriously. He'll know what you mean.
3 p.m. Dan Blakeslee (Boston) - Melodic, literate and modern folk from a well-traveled troubador. Song to request: "Wizard Nor a King."
4 p.m. Ponybird (New Haven) - Lulling acoustic epiphanies from singer-songwriter Jennifer Dauphinais. Song to request: "Let Something Fall Apart."
5 p.m. Elison Jackson (New Haven) - Smart indie rock from a band starting to call New London their second home. Yes, frontman Sam Perduta is taller than you. Song to request: "Do Not Fear to Kill a Dead Man."
OASIS PUB - 16 Bank St.
6 p.m. Loom (Toronto) - Loom is the aka appelation of Brooke Manning, a minimalist singer-songwriter with hypnotic, bewitching melodies. Song to request: "Dream Doe."
7 p.m. The Box Tiger (Toronto) - Bewitching and cheeky DIY art pop. Song to request: "Set Fire to Your Friends."
8 p.m. Violent Mae (Hartford) - Lo-fi drums/guitar duo utilizing atmospherics and a drowsy, sing-around-the-dying-embers quality. Song to request: "Any Time You Fall."
11 p.m. Terrible Roars (Bristol) - Poppier side-project headed by Ross Page of the folk-rock band The Raven and The Wool. Song to request: "Blind."
12 a.m. Adios Ghost (Brooklyn) - Music that sounds as though Appalachia was actually in West Africa. Don't worry; it'll all make sense when you hear it. Song to request: "Fernseher."
33 GOLDEN - 33 Golden St.
6:30 p.m. The Adarna (Seattle) - Melodic, grunge-in-the-rearview-mirror hard rock from the Pacific Northwest. Song to request: "Superman."
7:30 p.m. Marvelous Liars (Groton) - Self-described "strut rock" trio, which conjures gleeful images of everyone from Marc Bolan and Cheap Trick to Slade to Tommy Bolin. Song to request: "Nightmare Colors."
11 p.m. Lost Riots (New Haven) - Unprocessed, in-your-face punk in supplication to the good old days. Song to request: "You Don't Like Otis Redding."
12 a.m. Ferocious ... Teeth (New London) - The gooey musical liquid that slowly seeps into the carpet when someone kicks over the bong in Orange Goblin's rehearsal pit. Song to request: "Putting the 'O' Back in Country."
1 a.m. Empty Vessels (New London) - Viscous musical blowtorch - perfect for closing a long, rewarding day/night at I AM. Song to request: "All Just Ghosts."
I AM to go
I AM Fest is a glorious, complex event of many moving and oft-overlapping parts. It's going to be fun and frenetic. True, you can't be everywhere at once - or maybe you can't be there for the entire day-into-night festivities. The Day can help. For the duration, we'll be streaming all performances from the Parade Plaza and Hygienic Art Park stages and also presenting question-and-answer sessions with band members and sundry luminaries. Simply access www.theday.com/iamfest. Also, we'll be highlighting the best from Twitter and Instagram using #iamfest2014. Finally, you can always look back fondly; The Day presentations will be archived.
IF YOU GO
What: Seventh I AM Festival
Who: 30 bands on five different stages, food trucks, merch and more
When: 12:45 p.m. Saturday-2 a.m. Sunday
Where: Downtown New London
How much: Free
For more information: iamfest.org, theday.com/iamfest
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