May 18th, 2012
I can’t say enough good stuff about the upcoming season of music at Boarding House Park via the stellar (and beneath the stars) Lowell Summer Music Series of Lowell National Historical Park and the many sponsors. Peter, John, and the team have assembled an all-star (there’s that word again) line-up, including Ziggy Marley, K.D. Lang, America, Lyle Lovett, The Brew, John Sebastian & the Pousette-Dart Band, Kenny Loggins, John Mayall, some Styx and Pink Floyd, Gaelic Storm, and others. Here’s the link to see whole series.
April 10th, 2011
Shakespeare will return to Boarding House Park this summer with a free performance thanks to the Moses Greeley Parker Lectures and Lowell Summer Music Series. On Sunday, August 14, at 4 pm, see the New England Shakespeare Company’s production of “Measure for Measure.” For news on the whole schedule announced to date, visit www.lowellsummermusic.org
August 21st, 2010
You don’t have to say a lot more than “the B-52s played Boarding House Park last night.” They raised high the steel roof beams of the trademark pavilion set against a wall of brick and tall windows at the Boott Mills. The moon floated over downtown at about 7/8ths round and the air was cool and still. It was a standing dance party for the Lowell Summer Music Series crowd, something I haven’t seen often.
The iconic band of good-sport entertainers played all the fan favorites, plus a few new songs. The band of bass, keyboards, lead guitar, and drums superbly powered through vocal-driven numbers. Propulsive is a word to use here. Shouting is another word to use. Fred Schneider joked at one point about the group’s ballads. I didn’t hear much of that. Little Richard-type shout-singing from the 50s is more like it. And a kind of campy pop gospel holler mixed with ’80s’ techno-rock. They are from the South, after all. The sound level all night seemed slightly over the top, but maybe it’s just my older ears.
Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson raised the roar in the park with an extended version of “Roam,” and the whole crew closed the 90-minute show with a souped-up version of “Love Shack.” They came back for a two-song encore, the cosmically goofy “Planet Claire” and cellar dance classic ”Rock Lobster.” The last words from the stage by (was it?) guitarist Keith Strickland were a big shout out to Lowell’s own “dead beat”—”Thank you Jack Kerouac, wherever you are.”
July 18th, 2010
John Wooding of UMass Lowell and the COOL Board of Directors is a regular at the Lowell Summer Music Series. He sent us this instant review of Joan Armatrading’s performance at Boarding House Park last night, which sparked a cross-Atlantic memory for him. —PM
“Another great night at Boarding House Park. Joan Armatrading was in fine fettle and clearly enjoying herself. It took me back — way back. I remember the last time I saw her, maybe 1977? She was playing at Chalk Farm in London. Thirty-three years ago. Time like that is an oil slick.
“Last night she did old and new stuff and the old stuff brought it back for me – Love and Affection, Show Some Emotion — s’funny how songs can be the jumper cables of memory. Only reason I remember that other concert (although I have a vague image of her — young, very young, and self conscious) was that a friend was staying with me then and came to the show. Later that night, back at my flat, he fell against the record deck and sent the needle skidding across my copy of “Let It Be.” Sent the little arm on a vacation “Across the Universe.” I had to listen to that click for years until I got the CD.
“Thirty-three years. The speed of an LP on the turntable. Another hot summer night in Lowell. Perfect evening. In front of me last night, three young women — maybe 16, 17 — rocking out to Armatrading, knowing all the words from all the songs, high-fiving each other when a favorite got played. So good to see them, connecting the times. This is what Lowell can sometimes do so well. History getting up there with the present and, maybe, even the future. Score another one for the music series.”