solid sound festival

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Over the weekend, the population of North Adams swelled by more than 7,000 as people packed hotels and pitched tents, in town for return of the Solid Sound Festival.

  Established in 2010, the Solid Sound Festival kicks off at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA tomorrow evening. The art and music festival is curated by Chicago-based rock band, Wilco, and even now they are in the area rehearsing while countless excellent people put the finishing touches on what is sure to be an amazing weekend of eclectic music, eye-popping art, world-class comedy, food, friends, and fun.

Wilco will play a special acoustic set on Friday night, a plugged-in set on Saturday night, and then Jeff Tweedy’s still-pretty-new band, Tweedy, will play a concert with friends to wrap up the festival on Sunday.

Jeff and his son - and skilled drummer - Spencer formed Tweedy last year and released an album, Sukierae, in September. Spencer has also played drums on albums produced by Jeff over the last few years including Mavis Staples’ One True Vine.

I sat down with them in North Adams yesterday to talk with Jeff and Spencer and was struck by their congenial and respectful their relationship is -- and thrilled to also note good-natured ribbing. To borrow a Wilco title - they have The Whole Love - it’s contagious and it’s cool. Just like Solid Sound.

  The next in our series of Solid Sound Festival interviews features Parquet Courts. The indie rock, post-punk band based in Brooklyn, New York formed in late 2010. The band’s members are A. Savage, Austin Brown, Sean Yeaton, and Max Savage.

They’ll perform on Saturday at Solid Sound.

  The Solid Sound Festival returns to MASS MoCA this weekend. The Richard Thompson Trio will play in Joe’s Field on Saturday.

Named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time, Richard Thompson is also one of the world’s most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters. He has received Lifetime Achievement Awards for Songwriting on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2011, Thompson was the recipient of the Order of the British Empire - personally bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Most recently, the Americana Music Honors & Awards nominated him for “Artist of the Year”.

Yesterday his new album, Still, was released yesterday on Fantasy Records. The album was recorded in The Wilco Loft in Chicago and is produced by Wilco front-man Jeff Tweedy.

The Solid Sound Festival will take place at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The family-friendly music and art festival is curated by the rock-band Wilco and each day this week on The Roundtable we are speaking with one of the featured artists.

Today, we welcome Terry Adams from NRBQ. The band will play in Courtyard D on Saturday afternoon. NRBQ was founded in 1967. They are known for its live performances, containing a high degree of spontaneity and levity, and blending rock, pop, jazz, blues and Tin Pan Alley styles. With a varied career and many think outside-the-box projects, NRBQ has made music and had fun doing it for almost 50 years.

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The first full weekend of summer brings the return of Solid Sound Festival to MASS MoCA. Some 7,000 people from near and far are expected to take part in the three-day event in North Adams.

  This Friday, the 2015 Solid Sound Festival will kick off at MASS MoCA in North Adams MA. The music and art festival is curated by the rock-band Wilco, a Grammy award winning group that has been trying to break your heart and loving you, baby, for 20 years.

On Saturday The Hunter Center at MASS MoCA will host "John Hodgman's Big Time Comedy Thing" with an astounding line-up of amazing comedy acts including Hodgman himself and Tig Notaro, Jessica Williams, improv group Superego and Paul F. Tompkins. (Lest ye fret about comedy not working in the midday summer sun - know that the Hunter Center is indoors and is perfect for stand-up, sketch, and improv.)

Paul F. Tompkins' career launched from writing and acting on HBO’s Mr. Show with Bob and David. His television work includes hosting gigs and guest appearances on just about everything funny and he's the host of the Dead Authors Podcast, a new Earwolf Podcast called Spontaneanation and regularly appears on Comedy Bang Bang and Thrilling Adventure Hour. It's safe to call him a staple of the comedy-podcast genre (which we're here to assure you is a real thing). He hosts No, You Shut Up! on Fusion, and the web-series Speakeasy for Made Man.

Facebook: MASS MoCA

MASS MoCA has unveiled the lineup for its Solid Sound Festival coming up in June.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

As MASS MoCA embarks on another major expansion, the contemporary art museum announced its winter/spring performance and visual arts lineup.

  Our time as an official presence here at Solid Sound is nearly at an end. But before we go - we’re going to really get you revved up for the festivities by letting you get to know Lucius.

They are a fabulous band with a catchy indie-pop sound and we are very excited that they are joining us this morning.

The members of the band are Jess Wolfe, Holly Laessig, Danny Molad and Peter Lalish, and Andrew Burri and they join us to talk and to perform live.

    Food is a major part of any successful weekend long festival. Solid Sound will have amazing food (and drink) all weekend long. We’re going to learn now about a couple of individual super-special curated culinary events - the proceeds from which will benefit the education programs here at MASS MoCA.

We are joined by Jodi Joseph, MASS MoCA’s Director of Communications; Nancy Thomas, Owner of Mezze Inc. restaurant group and co-producer of MASS MoCA Culinary Events; and Chris Weld, owner of Berkshire Mountain Distillers.

Greg Saulmon

  Greg Saulmon is an online editor at The Republican and MASS Live and is a respected local naturalist and photographer. He has lived and worked in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts for more than 30 years.

He is running several Urban Birding walks during the Solid Sound Festival with information on how to see and identify birds in cities. Urban Birding guided walks will depart from Courtyard A at MASS MoCA on Saturday and Sunday and Sunday at 10 am.

 Storey Publishing has been helping readers practice creative self-reliance for 30 years. They are a longtime creative tenant on campus at MASS MoCA and will be hosting a variety of other lifestyle workshops, activities and demonstrations throughout the Solid Sound Festival.

Rich Orris

The Solid Sound Festival is curated by the rock band Wilco. So it stands to reason we’d have a member of the band on our show today - and we do! Jeff Tweedy joins us to talk about Solid Sound and other Wilco goings-on.

Then, after a quick break, his son Spencer joins us, too! Spencer is the drummer for The Blisters - the band is playing this Sunday at the festival. They’ve been together for 10 years and put out an album on their website earlier this month. The album is called “Finally, Bored” - but we have a sneaking suspicion that Spencer is anything but. (The kid is busy is what we're saying.)

Downstreet Art kicked of their 6th season last night with a celebration in downtown North Adams, MA.

Presented by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ and Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, DownStreet Art provides North Adams with a summer of creative events. The public arts festival will run through Oct. 31.

This summer’s events, which are free and open to the public, will include gallery openings, a dance party on Main Street, a wandering light show, a community reading of Frederick Douglas’s famous Fourth of July address, new murals in the downtown, and musical performances.

We are joined by Leslie Ferrin, Director Ferrin Contemporary and on the DownStreet Art Curatorial Committee; Melanie Mowinski, Artist, Founder Press Gallery, Art Professor MCLA; and Jonathan Secor, Director MCLA Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, which runs DownStreet Art.

Karen Pearson/Mass MoCA

    One of the MASS MoCA's current exhibitions is Jason Middlebrook: My Landscape. The pieces contained include new works from Jason’s series of painted hardwood planks begun in 2008 and will debut an awe-inspiring, hanging mobile that functions like a fountain within the gallery.

  This is the third Solid Sound - and our third time broadcasting at MASS MoCA from the festival. (We’ve taken the museum over two other times, but who’s counting? … It’s us. We are counting.)

We’re set up in fine fashion in The Knuckle at MASS MoCA - just outside of the Sol LeWitt galleries and within leaping distance of many of the other attractions and stages on campus. But we won’t leap - we’ll politely walk around - this place is about to be full of enthusiastic music and art fans and we wouldn’t want to leap onto any of them.

Joining us to tell us about some of what goes into making this festival purr are Joe Thompson, Director of MASS MoCA and Alex Crothers, promoter for Higher Ground Music.

  "My Old Friend" - Sam Amidon

Sam Amidon

Jun 19, 2013

      Sam Amidon will perform this Saturday afternoon in Courtyard C at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA as part of the Solid Sound Festival.

Enveloped in traditional music while growing up in Vermont, Sam’s most recent album, Bright Sunny South, is a continuation of his particular method of folk music delivery.

At first listen, his music seems to follow the singer-songwriter model. His background is wrapped in the Appalachian folk-music tradition, and his songs feature expressive vocals and fast, finger-plucked melodies. But a singer-songwriter he is not. Sam Amidon composes new tunes for traditional folk ballads and an array of cover songs that he's attentively made his own.

  "Mother" - Low

Low will perform at the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA next month.

  Lucius is Brooklyn based quintet – dually fronted by Jess Wolfe and Holly Leassig. It was announced last week that Lucius is playing the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA this coming June – but we’ll have a chance to see them in the region before then. Jess and Holly – along with bandmates Dan Molad, Peter Lalish, and Andrew Burrl are playing at The BSP Lounge in Kingston, NY this Thursday; The Outer Space in Hamden, CT on Friday, and The Log in Williamstown, MA on Saturday. (The Williamstown show is sold out. )

The New York Times referred to Lucius’ music as “luscious, luminous, lilting lullabies” – that’s high praise (and a lot of alliteration) from The Grey Lady – and Paste Magazine says the rootsy female-driven dynamic is dangerously powerful.