Student Survival Guide: Have some fun!

Live music and laffs aplenty
By CHRIS CONTI  |  January 22, 2014

ENDLESS SUMMER Surfer Blood hits the Met on February 24.

Sure, the Hoth-like conditions outside can provide an easy fallback excuse to stay cooped up next to the space heater until finals, but we’re here to help balance the Work Hard/Party Harder ethos that is the college life with a stacked lineup of live music and laffs at reasonable prices. Polar vortexes and subsequent National Grid heating bill be damned — get out there and, in the words of George Costanza, “Live, dammit, live!


In case you transplants haven’t noticed, we RIers are natural-born ballbusters. So it’s only fitting we have one of the best comedy clubs in the region for local and national comedians to woof it up — the Comedy Connection (, 401.438.8383). Take in the lunacy of Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central Presents, Adult Swim) this weekend (18+, $15). Every Sunday, the Connection hosts a comedy showcase ($10) featuring up-and-coming comics from around the region. And some big names round out the CC’s schedule over the next few months, with Charlie Murphy returning on January 30; veteran comedian Robert Kelly performing February 21-22; Tracy Morgan stops by on February 27 ($50 and sure to sell out in advance); Steve Rannazisi (Kevin from The League) makes his Rhody debut on March 2; and April highlights include, SNL’s Jay Pharaoh , Upright Citizens Brigade , and Bobcat Goldthwait .

Catch a Rising Star at Twin River Casino (, 401.475.8520) hosts the mind-bending mayhem of Frank Santos Jr. every Friday (everyone knows someone who was “hypnotized” by his dad way back in the day). Mike Hanley visits on February 14 and 15, Vo Dilun’s favorite crowd-slayer John Perrotta headlines on February 21, and NYC stand-up king Bobby Collins returns to the Ocean State on March 1. Sign up for the Rising Star’s LOL Club to receive info and discounts on upcoming gigs.

Speaking of Perrotta, he’s the man to thank for spearheading the Comedy Factory (, with more than 50 New England-based comedians on board working rooms big and small across the state, including Dan’s Place in West Greenwich, Twin Oaks and Chelo’s, and Mr. Bigg’s Saloon in Johnston. And Perrotta hosts the weekly open mic night held every Sunday at the Comedy Connection, in case you’re tempted to ditch the post-grad cubicle life in favor of fame and fortune as a stand-up.


For our DIY musicmakers out there, hit up and strut your stuff at venues statewide, including the next installment of Is This Jazz? on February 7 at AS220 (, 401.831.9327) and the open mic every Thursday at the Knickerbocker Cafe (, 401.315.5070), where aspiring artists play a three-song set and receive a CD of the performance, with no cover charge!

The next step toward superstardom (and forever avoiding the 9-to-5 grind) would entail a session at a top-shelf recording studio like Machines With Magnets (, 401.475.2655) in Pawtucket. MWM is a full-service operation ably guided by engineers/producers Keith Souza and Seth Manchester, offering reasonable prices for studio sessions as well as on-site guitar repairs. Music lovers should map out the killer live shows held in the adjacent art space; I implore you to look up PVD post-punk trio Gertrude Atherton , headlining on January 25 with Cool World , Feeds , and What Now . And on February 6, Providence locals Mouni and Mothertongue join avant-garde Chicago act the Hummingbird .

Let’s stay in Le Bucket and salute the News Cafe (, 401.728.6475), a consistent purveyor of quality $5 shows (and usually all ages); on January 31 The Sweet Release andPoint Street Bridge join must-hear local duo Nymphidels , and a Valentine’s night double-header features Austin Hevey & the Heavies with Julius Earthling . The Met (1005 Main St, remains the state’s most beloved venue for local and national acts, with assorted action going down just about every night of the week; on January 31, 95.5 WBRU comes through with another solid show featuring Sleeper Agent , Magic Man , and New Politics ($15, all ages); celebrate Bob Marley’s birthday with show-stopping wordsmith Chachi Carvalho on February 7; Providence rap brethren Zumo Kollie leads a thick roster on February 13; and check out these back-to-back badass shows: Boston’s Bad Rabbits on February 14, followed by Roky Erickson with the Black Angels on the 15th. Expect a packed room for Earl Sweatshirt on February 21; Surfer Blood will alleviate a bad case of the Mondays when the Florida quartet blows through on February 24; and be on the lookout for the WBRU Rock Hunt finals taking place in mid-March.

The Met’s big brother, Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel (, rules the Downcity roost when it comes to live shows. Every father’s worst nightmare, the Barstool Blackout Tour , returns on January 31, followed by alt-pop quintet Yellowcard on February 1. Rapper Meek Mill swings through on February 12; Deer Tick will host a hometown throwdown on March 14; and blues legend B.B. King will work his magic on April 12.

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