Block-rocking beats

By CHRIS CONTI  |  July 14, 2010

A head-spinning barrage of talent will entertain citywide on FRIDAY (the 23rd), starting with a Waterplace Park freebie with ’10 WBRU Rock Hunt winners THE WANDAS at 7 pm, followed by the FRIDAY NIGHT BLOCK PARTY at the Black Rep ($10 cover, $20 for VIP mezzanine), with two stages inside and out, a live band performing a Rick James tribute, and deejays spinning hip-hop all night. If your swaggin’ is a bit laggin,’ Providence-based Rock & Flow crew AUDIO MCSWAGGER are here to help, debuting at the Black Rep’s backlot stage on Friday night. Lead MC Armande Milhouse and his band specialize in incorporating rock riffs into their rap-meets-R&B formula (see standout cuts “Under the Stars” and “When It Rains”). He dropped us a line regarding “The McSwagger Movement”: “McSwagger Music isn’t about where we’re going, it’s about enjoying the ride on our way there.” This year’s Random Throwback R&B Featured Act is NEXT, who may have coined the term “Wifey” some 10 years ago with their #1 hit. Your wifey will be squealing when the duo take the stage at Jovan’s. Firehouse 13 will host an unplugged session benefiting Haiti relief efforts, led by the SoundSession return of WUNMI, as well as JESS POWERS of Route .44, AFROSONIC COLLECTIVE, and plenty more. Thank the folks at Narragansett Brewing for curating the Grant’s Block stage on Friday evening, with alt-rockers THE COMING WEAK headlining an excellent varied bill with THE COBRA-MATICS, THE ’MERICANS, and more. “The quieter stuff doesn’t translate as well in the outdoor festival setting, so our set will be as energetic and sonically full as we can make it,” ’Mericans lead singer Chris Daltry reports. “We can’t wait to play this show, with all the great old buildings of downtown Providence as our backdrop.”

Return to Grant’s Block on SATURDAY (the 24) for a vaudeville-themed afternoon that includes THE BOURBON BOYS, JOHNNY CARLEVALE & THE ROLLING PINS, and MISS WENSDAY & THE NEW MEDICINALS. It looks like this could be a hotspot following the parade, with ’Gansett’s “Miss Hi Neighbor!” pageant and a sexy revue featuring SPARKLES MCTITSY from Boston’s Thru the Keyhole burlesque troupe. Electro-sex rock trio TRIANGLE FOREST, reggae master JAHDAN BLAKKAMOORE & NOBLE SOCIETY, and the funky SAUCE FEATURING CHELSY LAU are among the acts who will provide 12 hours of music at the Bank of America Skating Rink in Kennedy Plaza, while PPAC will host R&B singer THE-DREAM, the self-anointed “Love King” who landed a deal with Def Jam following a Grammy nom for Rhianna’s monster hit “Umbrella.” Audio McSwagger opens. Tickets are $20 and $30 at And no matter where you find yourself Saturday night, there will be ample opportunity to hitch your wagon to the Festival Parade that will sweep through Downcity beginning around 10 pm, led by SAMBA TREMATTERA, THE DIVINE SECOND LINE BRASS BAND and, of course, the 19-piece marching band/acid trip known as THE WHAT CHEER? BRIGADE.

This is just a taste of what’s in store. Check out the complete SoundSession ’10 info at See you there.

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