Fête and Dusk are stepping it up

Class acts
By CHRIS CONTI  |  January 26, 2012

MUST-SEE VulGarrity will be at Fête on February 11.

While Providence clubs and live venues seem to come and go "in this economy" (RIP Club Hell and the 201), two band- and fan-friendly venues are stepping up as viable outlets focused on delivering a wide array of artists and musical styles, from heavy metal to sultry singer/songwriters. From the grand styling of Fête's spacious ballroom to the cozy and sleek (but not too sleek) hideaway Dusk, there's pretty much something for everyone just about every day of the week.

Fête's mission is to "rejuvenate the relationship between music and revelry; create a haven where both artists and audience engage in a unique and gratifying cultural experience, and actively participate in the revitalization of Olneyville, a unique and historic Providence neighborhood." In local jargon, Fête (n: party, festival) is located behind the Olneyville NY System and quickly made its mark on the local live circuit when rapper Mos Def took the stage to an energetic, sold-out room (the ballroom holds more than 700) in December. The 15,000-square-foot site boasts a second-to-none sound system. Associate program manager Jess Powers has found a permanent home for her Chanteuse music series, a bimonthly showcase focused on presenting a diverse gathering of the region's best female singer/songwriters; the 1-Year Anniversary Bash on February 11 includes Tig & Bean, the Sugar Honey Iced Tea, Miss Wensday, and must-see sibling rock duo VulGarrity. Fête promoter/booking agent Dennis Rochefort is the man behind their General Assembly series, integrating musicians, promoters, and fans. Catch the next General Assembly show (free!) on January 31 with the Down and Outs, Red Line Rebels, and Machine Gun Etiquette (and $2 'Gansett tallboys!). Fête's adjacent lounge area hosts area acts, and it should be plenty fun come February 4 when Tallahassee headlines.

FÊTE | 103 Dike St, Providence| 401.383.1112 | fetemusic.com | Booking inquiries:  booking@fetemusic.com

Pat Butler and Rick Sunderland are the brain trust behind Dusk, a lounge/bar hybrid tucked away behind Atwells Avenue (choose your geographical reference point — Club Fantasies or "the old traffic court") which recently began booking live music (Mother of Dylan, Tevellus, Torn Shorts, VulGarrity) on a regular basis. They're not to be confused with the Pauly D. fist-pumping going on down the street at Monet. "We're not looking for that type of crowd," Sunderland told me when the club opened in August 2010.

The best $3 I've ever spent on a live show went down at Dusk last week when Thrillhouse, Villainer, and Lolita Black filled the room to capacity — on a Wednesday, no less. Villainer took the stage a little after 10 pm to an already packed house and dished out their brand of technical thunder. The PVD trio sounded razor-sharp and loud — like really fucking loud — but the house soundsystem handled the Marshall stacks all night long. Villainer is a supremely-talented unit, like the local bastard child of Mastodon and the Black Keys — only grimier. Lolita Black's lead singer Scarlett Delgado worked the room and had the crowd in a full lather during new tunes "Fireheart" and their reworked version of "Tightrope." Local metal icon and LB founder Bob Otis (also of Dropdead) commended the Dusk staff for their hospitality (which goes a long way with a veteran musician like Otis). By the time Thrillhouse took the small stage, ears were ringing and heads were bobbing.

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