Block-rocking beats

Get ready for Providence SoundSession ’10
By CHRIS CONTI  |  July 14, 2010


The sweltering summer of 2010 (quit crying — summer was nonexistent last year) is about to get even hotter with the return of the capital city’s biggest bash, the annual “genre-defying music festival” known as Providence SoundSession, thanks in large part to the city’s Department of Art, Culture & Tourism, Black Rep director Donald King, and a bevy of sponsors who are determined to keep the fest alive (seven years strong now), despite the state’s ongoing financial woes.

Phoenix news editor David Scharfenberg recently interviewed King, who proclaimed, “Locals should never wonder whether or not SoundSession is going to happen, because it is a product of will — the will of the people.”

Some budget-saving measures include smaller stages around Kennedy Plaza for the big Saturday finale (in place of the enormous stage on Westminster Street), as well as an increase in the number of participating clubs citywide, including Jovan’s, Firehouse 13, and Cuban Revolution.

SoundSession ’10 boasts a particularly flavorful roster spread out from July 18-24, with more than 60 acts scheduled. The-Dream, the Occidental Brothers, Wunmi, Venissa Santi, and Tito El Bambino are among the international headliners; on the local front, SS’10 will provide prime opportunities to catch some of Rhody’s finest, such as Mary Bee, Santa Mamba, the Wrong Reasons, and the ‘Mericans, as well as homegrown rap artists like Jahpan, CR the Beast, and Chachi Carvalho.

From Triangle Forest to Trombone Shorty, Audio McSwagger to Sparkles McTitsy — we’re here to help map out a manic week of sonic debauchery. Pace yourself.

ASS-SHAKING Santa Mamba.

You need not live in a van to join the "DOWN BY THE RIVER" morning gathering and communal prayer kickoff on South Water Street on SUNDAY (the 18th) at 7 am. Twelve hours later, there will be sinfully-seductive ass-shaking when the veteran Latin-funk-salsa collective SANTA MAMBA take the stage at the Black Rep’s Xxodus Café (reopening its doors for SS’10), with DJ PAPO and MANOLO & HIS SALSA ORCHESTRA. Last year Santa Mamba won the SoundSession Sound Search competition, which included an automatic SS’10 slot. I checked in with SM keyboardist Aaron Wade: “With a shorter festival slot, we keep the energy high throughout,” he told me. “We slam the crowd from start to finish.” Wade ain’t kidding, as anyone who caught their recent set at the  ’BRU Rock Hunt Finals set can attest.

MONDAY (the 19th) marks the SoundSession return of N’awlins native TROMBONE SHORTY, who also will have no problem steaming up the Xxodus dance floor.

THE SOUND OF N’AWLINS Trombone Shorty.

On TUESDAY (the 20th), the Xxodus Café hosts REFLECTION 20/10, a fashion show with creations by local designers, music by CHACHI, STARRZ & MURPH, BOO THE BUTLER, and more, and the DRAZTIK dance team ($15).

Local 121 ramps up the midweek action with a $5 show featuring “some of the finest singer-songwriters in Providence” on WEDNESDAY (the 21st), followed by the SPOKEN WORD WARRIORS on THURSDAY (the 22nd, $10 at the door). Cuban Revolution kicks off a jazz weekend on Thursday with the ERIC BLOOM TRIO.

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