News Column

Mickey Hart, Danny Kalb Play This Weekend

August 15, 2013

Mark Zaretsky

The dog days of summer give way to one rather busy weekend for music, with a three-night run that includes Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and Blues Project co-founder Danny Kalb, both Friday night, and a bunch of other shows that are TOTALLY worth seeing on Saturday and Sunday.

Hart, a two-time Grammy winner who plays at the Fairfield Theatre Company's new venue at the Concert Hall in Norwalk, is the really big fish here.

What more do you really need to know? Mickey has been one of the Grateful Dead's drummers since dinosaurs walked the Earth ... Chances are if you love The Dead, you've seen him dozens if not hundreds of times and already have your ticket, but if not, you can get one at www.fairfieldtheatre.org for $35, $45 or $50. The Tea Leaf Trio, featuring Tea Leaf Green members Trevor Garrod, Reed Mathis and Cochrane McMillan, opens. Showtime is 8 p.m.

But Kalb, also playing Friday night at The Outer Space in Hamden, has a distinguished pedigree as well, and if your tastes lean more toward blues than jams, you can see him for a mere 15 bucks ($13 in advance.) The Nate Moore Band opens. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets and info at www.theouterspace.net.

The weekend's lineup also includes:

- A return appearance by the great jazz-inflected blues guitarist Duke Robillard, co-founder of Roomful of Blues, Friday night at Cafe Nine in New Haven. Paul Gabriel opens the show, which begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 at www.cafenine.com or at the door.

- Three of Connecticut's better blues 'n' roots bands play on one bill Saturday night at the Spaceland Ballroom in Hamden (www.spacelandballroom.com) with New Haven's soulful upstarts Grit Rhythm Zero, fronted by the powerful pipes of Hamden 911 dispatcher Matt Rhone, opening the show; River City Slim & the Zydeco Hogs -- Connecticut's best zydeco band -- setting the pins up, and New Haven blues veterans The Cobalt Rhythm Kings (yes, that's my band) knocking them down.

That's blues, soul-blues and zydeco all in one danceable show, folks! Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m. and Grit Rhythm Zero goes on at 8:30 p.m.

- Another great show from Fairfield Theatre Company on Saturday, this time at StageOne in Fairfield, is Fishhead Stew, featuring three former members of New Orleans' The Radiators. Show time is 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $50, available at www.fairfieldtheatre.org, or, if any remain, at the door.

- Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band performs in a Manic Productions show at Toad's Place on Sunday night. The Low Anthem and You Won't open. If you missed your chance to see Ritter at The Bushnell in Hartford a few months back, here's another one. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 day of show. The show begins at 8 p.m.

- Yet another great show from FTC on Sunday: Royal Southern Brotherhood -- featuring Cyril Neville of The Neville Brothers, Devon Allman (son of Gregg) on one guitar and blues guitar slinger Mike Zito on the other. This one's also at FTC StageOne in Fairfield, and these guys are smokin'! Tickets are $35 at www.fairfieldtheatre.org. Show starts at 7:45 p.m.

OK, for those of you who need to know more about Mickey Hart: The Mickey Hart Band just released its second album in two years -- titled "SUPERORGANISM" -- on Tuesday, featuring lyrics on some songs by longtime Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.

Hart, just weeks away from his 70th birthday, gets pretty darned deep for a percussionist.

On the band's last record, "Mysterium Tremendum," Hart sonified light waves from space with the help of NASA and scientists from Penn State and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

"Now, with 'SUPERORGANISM,' Hart is going even deeper," his press release says.

Each night of the SUPERORGANISM tour, Hart will perform a piece of music with an EEG cap on his head while he plays the sounds of his brain.

"This time, we journey into the micro, the hidden worlds of rhythm within us, within our bodies," Hart says in a release. "The brain, Rhythm Central, the place of dreams is explored. My brain wave signals are re-imagined in sound using a cap with electrodes that can read the throbs and signals of the brain."

"I have also sonified the sounds of stem cells and heart rhythms for this recording," Hart said. The Mickey Hart Band will also perform other songs from its new album, along with a few tracks from Hart's catalog and a few Grateful Dead favorites.

The Mickey Hart Band includes Grammy-winning percussionist Sikiru Adepoju, Tony Award-winning vocalist Crystal Monee Hall, singer and multi-instrumentalist Joe Bagale, drummer Greg Schutte, guitarist Gawain Mathews, bassist Reed Mathis and keyboardist/sound engineer Jonah Sharp.

Call Mark Zaretsky at 203-789-5722.

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(c)2013 the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.)

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