Boston music news: September 8, 2006

Notes on Tracy Bonham and the Blue Man Group
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  September 5, 2006

TRACY BONHAM: teaming up with the Blue Man Group
Singer/violinist TRACY BONHAM was a local favorite long before “Mother, Mother” hit the alt-rock charts in 1996, and she remained one even after her burst of fame dissipated and she resettled in LA. Meanwhile, the BLUE MAN GROUP were getting a lot of love here in Boston long before they became a Vegas item — they set up shop at the Charles Playhouse in 1995. What does one have to do with the other? Well, soon the two will be one. They’ve collaborated in the past, most notably to perform the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” on America’s Got Talent last month. And Bonham played violin on the group’s 2003 album The Complex. But starting September 26, Bonham and the Blues begin a 42-date tour that will take them to Mohegan Sun (September 27), the Cumberland Civic Center in Portland (September 28), and the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester (October 5).

Bassist Mike Rivard’s brainchild CLUB D’ELF, the Boston-based collective who often set up shop at the Lizard Lounge (September 21 and October 12 are the next two Lizard gigs), have seven live CDs to their name, but on September 26 their debut studio album, Now I Understand, will finally drop. Eight years in the making, the CD includes John Medeski, Billy Martin, Matt Maneri, Dave Tronzo, Reeves Gabrels, and Duke Levine. Rivard: “The crux of what we do live is spontaneous and improvised, so in taking the band in the studio I wanted to retain that element, while at the same time bringing in a level of arrangement and attention to detail that would reward multiple listenings.” His reference points: Pink Floyd’s Animals, Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, XTC, Radiohead. He likens the album to “free-funk produced by someone like Brian Wilson or Brian Eno.”

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