Driving down Main Street these days, with the city’s revitalization project complete, wherever my head turns I’m looking at something new – a curb, a bench, a stripe of paint, patch of grass, a store, a gleaming awning. All the colors blending perfectly downtown, day or night, without any modern gawkiness or traditional New England doom and gloom.
Dare I say it? Concord is sexy again, shining from all points.
Speaking of sexy, Thursday I get to spend the day with Concord’s own Dusty Gray, the country rocker turned radio talker. Dusty and his good buddy, Brian O’Reilly, started a weekly radio show on WKXL about a year ago and called it “Strictly Local.” It airs Thursday nights at 6 pm.
It’s a great show and Dusty puts as much into preparing a good segment as he does turning one of his songs from rust to rain. They discuss craft beers from breweries around the state and describe how the hops bubbles on their tongues. They talk sports, local music and talk about all the best heart attacks foods – the ribs, the slather, and how to prepare a spicy chicken batter.
“Granite State of Mind” and “Strictly Local” are teaming up to broadcast from 5-8 p.m. outside the True Brew. We plan to get right into the mix of the musical bonanza that will be dropped from the Homegrown Music Stage in Bicentennial Square.
Lucas Gallo and Eric Reingold put on a fine, fine show each year. Spot on. Great stage, great sound and they grab music from all corners of the state. No holes, all winners. I swear.
The music starts Thursday at 1:30 p.m. with Crawl Space, a band I know nothing of, but the thought of spending a Thursday afternoon being introduced to their music in an alley under the sun makes my toes curl with envy.
After work don’t miss People Skills at 5:45 p.m. Grab your first beer and get your shred on. That’s right, build yourself a nice appetite. If you haven’t seen this band perform, if you haven’t seen Chelsea Paolini shred on a guitar, well, I wouldn’t go as far to suggest a proper confessional for you, but some form of self-humiliation should do.
Youngest Sun, a really popular band from Peterborough and Concord’s own Evidence Lies will close out the night in the Square. Two great bands with terrific feel and a compulsion to rock and funk it the funk out.
Friday is looking real nice back in the square. Coffee everywhere, the smell of sweets and meats and fresh cheesy plates of egg and chorizo burritos lathered in a special sauce. Plenty of room to celebrate Concord for the 43rd time. Plenty of time for reflection on the city’s resurgence.
A good man, a former solider, Joe Messineo, is playing just after another good man, Mr. Aaron Jones, does his set at 11 a.m. Aaron will play for the kids before Joe comes in and warms up the lunchtime crowd with his brawny ballads and big man love songs.
The minds of the crowd will wander as they start to consider the time of the day, whether it’s better to stay right where they are or slog it back to the killing floor. Half will stay. The others will slouch in defeat.
Come on! You’re kidding me! Walker Smith is playing at 12:30 p.m. This guy’s voice isn’t going to help the conflicted make a decision. They will be so locked into the float in his voice, the shine in his whine, they will decide not to cheat life but to stay where they are.
The choices gets no easier when another crooning, magnetic troubadour named Matt Poirier comes on at 3:30 p.m. and knocks you out. How Poirier blends his voice with the thump of his guitar is righteous and original.
Oh, forget it. If that third beer, that wicked, conniving beast in a glass, hasn’t cut through the cloud in your head and the music hasn’t shaved some paste off your veins, then buckle up for a stretch of Irish music with the JTW Trio. They are tavern tight and splendid to watch.
And if whisky ain’t your thing, then grab a growler of rum juice. You’re about to enter the Land of Plenty with Dopamine, a really cool band that fires off reggae rock infused with clever lyrics. Lead singer Chris Sammon might come from the sticks of Bristol, but his voice is calling for the islands.
A heavy blast of Cold Engines at 6:30 p.m. followed by a sweaty session of brilliance with David Shore’s Trunk O Funk and you have yourself a pretty darn good Friday. Kick that groove right into Saturday where The Don, The Dobros, The Hats, The Sons and Rockspring will hatch a plan to unleash a Granite State Revival on downtown Concord.