Home grown

The Viva La Vinal Fest blooms again
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  September 2, 2008

Samuel Kirk

Audrey Ryan may travel a lot (see: “Road Worriers” in News + Features), but girl sometimes just needs to kick back. Where better than the Growing Center on Somerville’s Vinal Street, a lush community-run garden and site for all sorts of after-school programs, concerts, socials, and naps? To maximize summer fun before winter comes in and ruins everything for everybody, Ryan and a committee have organized the 3rd Annual Viva La Vinal Festival — a/k/a the sleeper Boston fest of the year. It’s free (not counting your generous donations, of course), open to the public, and jammed with low-key goodness. You can eye the full schedule at www.myspace.com/vivalavinalfestival. Here are some highlights.

Samuel Kirk [September 5 at 4:30 pm], “Seaside Towns”
Ryan’s Folkwit labelmate Samuel Kirk is in from Nottingham this week, patiently awaiting his chance to bust out his little banjo uke and blow local minds. At times as maudlin as the Midlands but alive with a sort of miniature exuberance, Kirk is worth seeing soon — especially at Vinal, where he’ll be joined by Boston marvel Chris Wilhelm.

The Rex Complex [September 5 at 6 pm], “Dirty Eyeball Moment”
Because flowers have the most delicate ears in the world, the majority of what will rock the Vinal festival will do so very gently. Behold the exceptions: Somerville’s the Rex Complex appear to specialize in voodoo psych-blues tantrums (with a smidge of Primus). Somebody shield the begonias.

Bridget and the Squares [September 6 at 5 pm], “Winter”As much as I love the tweeny stylings of Girl Authority (who kick off Saturday’s festivities at 4 pm), I’ll take us some Bridget and the Squares. Laura Bridget Regan’s swaying melodies and lilting, soulful voice are together a bit addictive, and here, a lament on the encroaching chill of winter positively spins with positive spin.

Thunderpants Johnson’s Hillbilly Orchestra [September, 6 at 5:45 pm], “Rag Mama”
The great thing about a band named Thunderpants Johnson’s Hillbilly Orchestra is that it seems to require no further explanation. Sure, the fact that they’re from Lowell might be interesting to throw in — but they’re called Thunderpants Johnson’s Hillbilly Orchestra. So expect jugs, washboards, kazoos, block-rockin’ washtub bass, and (sayeth the band) plenty of “shit-talking.”

Related: Road worriers, Getting to know Audrey Ryan, What's love got to do with it, More more >
  Topics: Download , GIRL AUTHORITY, Audrey Ryan, Rex Complex
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