The music scene this weekend is a study in extremes, as legendary folk artists vie with some of Rochester’s youngest musicians for your attention and applause.
Things get off to a quiet start Friday, when local songsmith Jeremy Jewell takes the acoustic stage at the Wicked Moose. Jewell, who you might recognize from various bands that play around Rochester, will be onstage on his own for an acoustic set that will feature a host of original and cover songs that hover somewhere in the space between Bob Dylan and Damien Rice.
Jewell’s website features a couple of his tunes recorded in a studio, but I have on good authority that his songs really take on life in a live setting.
On Saturday night, Crossings at Carnegie continues its string of impressive musical acts by presenting folk legends John Gorka and Michael Johnson at the Zumbrota State Theatre.
Gorka is on tour in support of his 12th solo album, released back in March, called “Bright Side of Down.”
The event starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $28 at the door. For more information, and to purchase tickets, head over to Crossings At Carnegie’s website.
If you’re in the mood for something a tad rowdier on Saturday night, head downtown, where Familiar Looking Strangers, a rootsy-rock band imported all the way from the United Kingdom, will tear up the stage at Kathy’s Pub.
Familiar Looking Strangers is a band committed to keeping rock about as pure as it gets. The songs on their newly released self-titled EP all follow a loose formula of American rock, British pop, and a smidgen of blues, while Singer Vinny McPoland’s voice acts as the glue that keeps everything bonded together. The track “Is it Gonna Bleed” features the wail of a harmonica mixed in with its bluesy guitar riffs before morphing into a straightforward rock tune. For a taste of their sound, check out their website.
Also on Saturday night, Hitfaced, purveyors of cover songs that span four decades of chart-topping hits, return to the North Star Bar for another evening of rowdy sing-a-longs and cathartic nostalgia. Their impressive list of cover songs, which features everything from Katrina and the Waves to Taylor Swift and back again, is available to view on the group’s website.
Finally, the Wicked Moose is hosting Pure Rock Studios’ summer showcase on Sunday. The showcase is a chance for Pure Rock’s students to show off their burgeoning skills, and will feature performances from students of all ages.
The event starts at 3 p.m. and admission is $2 for individuals and $5 for families. Proceeds from the concert will go toward buying new music equipment for the studio.
Think of your attendance as a down payment on a bright future for Rochester’s music scene; odds are some of these kids will grow up to continue playing venues around the city. If a great performance and a future full of great music are not enough of an incentive, raffle tickets will be available at the showcase, with prizes that include free music lessons.