Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Town and the City Festival is This Weekend

This weekend marks the return of The Town and the City Festival on Friday and Saturday. The festival is spread throughout downtown Lowell, MA with many of the venues within a block or two of each other. The festival is always a well run great time with something for virtually every music fan. Here's a guide to what we consider to be the highlights, which include many of our favorite artists!

Friday night features Sofia Talvik at Gallery Z. The singer-songwriter is on tour throughout the US all the way from Sweden, and has been a favorite of ours before we started If It's Too Loud... She'll be joined by Evan Goodrow and Frank Morey.

Christ Church United features the legendary English singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock. Any time he plays in the area is an official Big Deal. You can tell The Town and the City know what they're doing since this is a return to the festival for him. He'll be joined by Syd Straw, making this a legendary bill in the making.

If you're looking for something a little heavier, Smokehouse Tavern has a quadruple bill that would make any independent venue in Boston jealous. Lowell's own The Only Things open the night with their noisy alt-rock. They're joined by garage rock luminaries Muck & the Mires, glam punks Linnea's Garden, and post-hardcore thrashers Cuidado.

On the other side of the block is a punk/grunge/heavy rock show that also can't be missed. Lowell's own noisy pop punks Burp. kick off the show. Alt-rockers Subpunch (also of Lowell) play after them, with 2023 Rock & Roll Rumble winners One Fall playing their can't be missed melodic punk. Closing out the night is Tysk Tysk Task (so you know where we'll be) playing their last show before Boston Calling next month!

Warp & Weft hosts 90's indie rock legends Orbit, who have been much more active as of late (not that anyone is complaining). They'll be joined by Boston hip hop legend D-Tension with his alt-rock project D-Tension & the Secrets.

Saturday starts early in the afternoon at Thirsty First with Boston's Tell performing their dark indie rock. They'll be joined by Minibeast (aka Peter Prescott from Mission of Burma's current musical project). If you've never seen them live, do yourself a favor and check them out this weekend. Also playing is New Hampshire's The McCritters with their roots rock sound.

If you're into Americana, you can't go wrong with Fantastic Cat. I discovered them playing In Between Days last summer, and their live show is... fantastic. (I apologize.) They're playing with Bandits on the Run in the evening at The Overlook at Mill No. 5.

Taffeta hosts the other big show of the weekend, with indie rock legends Clap Your Hands Say Yeah headlining. Also playing are Dengue Fever with their Cambodian rock of the 60's meets 70's psychedelia sound. Make sure you get there early for Lowell's own Colleen Green providing the best lo-fi set of the weekend. 

We're sure to be back at Thirsty First for Sapling's art rock/bitch pop. It's been far too long since we've seen the inside of their clown box. Also playing is Roger Clark Miller of the legendary Mission of Burma. Prom Night Dumpster Baby open the show, and all we need to know about them is their name and we're in.

If you want to take a break from live music, The Town and the City has you covered for that, too. Friday night sees an edition of EARFULL featuring a discussion with comedian Dave Hill and author and Blake Baby Freda Love Smith. Saturday starts with a record show at Mill No. 5, and also includes stand up comedy at Cobblestones and storytelling and poetry at Luna Theater.

The Town and the City Festival takes place in downtown Lowell April 26 and 27. You can find information and tickets (both festival passes and individual tickets) here.

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