Darik and the Funbags
Darik and the FunbagsJune 6
The 12-week Downtown Thursdays series kicks off on June 6 with the high energy rock group Darik and the Funbags, “the one and only, often imitated, never duplicated, creators of music, FUN and mayhem all over the northeast since 1997!”
Darik and the Funbags started playing Connecticut in 1997 and have since grown their territory with gigs in five New England States. Like the Big E, but naughtier. Bringing their style of FUN and the highest energy show around has made Darik and the Funbags New England’s number one party band! Come see why Darik and the Funbags have become a house-hold name!
MOVED TO TWO BOOTS! Mystic Bowie
MOVED TO TWO BOOTS! Mystic BowieJune 13
DUE TO THE RAIN, TONIGHT’S CONCERT WILL BE HELD AT TWO BOOTS OF BRIDGEPORT, 281 FAIRFIELD AVENUE. THANKS TO TWO BOOTS FOR HOSTING US!
Downtown Thursdays keeps the energy high with its June 13 performer, Mystic Bowie! Since the 1980s, Mystic Bowie has been keeping the art of music alive – entertaining audiences from New York to Japan with his vibrant music and high-energy performances. From humble beginnings in Jamaica, Mystic has become one of Reggae’s hardest working independent artists, compared to musical legends Jimmy Cliff, Lucky Dube and Toots and the Maytals.
Mystic’s career to date can only be described as an impressive musical journey. In 2009 alone, he averaged 217 performances, which included headliner appearances at the Tribal Funk Fest (BC, Canada), the New Haven Arts and Ideas Festival (CT, USA), SoNo Arts Festival and the MIMA Music Festival (Brazil).
Bowie has independently released four studio albums on his label, Funky Ska Music – his first, “Funky Reggae” (1992), which was followed by “Rebirth” (2002), and “Nevah Kiss & Tell” (2009), and most recently “Sweet Jamaica” (March 2012) distributed by VP Records. The song “16 Dimples” from “Rebirth” was well received while the title track from the album, “Nevah Kiss & Tell” was nominated for an award by the Okanagan International Film Fest in Canada. In 2011 he was awarded an Outstanding Achievement in Music by Linkage Radio Music Awards. Mystic’s signature style has also been featured on several compilation albums including, “Sharin’ in the Groove: Celebrating the Music of Phish” (2000), “Creole Bred: Tribute to Creole & Zydeco” (2004), and “Occupy This Album: supporting the Occupy Wall Street Movement” (2012).
A testament to his drive to bridge the gap between genres, Mystic has enjoyed the fruits of countless collaborations far beyond his Reggae roots. Since 1992, he has toured as the front man vocalist with the legendary Tom Tom Club; his highly engaging performances have been captured on their “Live At The Clubhouse” CD (2002), “Time to Bounce,” and “In a Bootleg Style” DVDs.
He has performed with a variety of funk and rock units including the B-52s, Trey Anastasio (Phish) and Widespread Panic. His work has also crossed over into film, having been featured on the Tom Tom Club’s remake of the Jimmy Cliff classic, “Many Rivers to Cross” for the movie The Long Kiss Good Night and “Who’s Feelin It” (from “The Good The Bad and the Funky”) featured on the soundtrack for the urban thriller American Psycho.
Mystic Bowie has been committed to sharing the art of music beyond the stage, establishing the Mystic Bowie Cultural Center in 1991. He was awarded two Certificates of Special Recognition from The Overseas Maroon Council and the Accompong Primary and Junior High School in Jamaica for his efforts.
Natural WonderJune 20
Check out two great bands on June 20 that bring you the best of R&B and soul, Natural Wonder and The Chords! Downtown Thursdays is excited to present its first doubleheader of the 2013 season on the longest Thursday night of the year.
Natural Wonder is a brand new band that brings together a wide array of talented musicians, including Bridgeport’s own Michael Dunham of MDIII and Forever Motown. You can’t go wrong, visually and musically, with Natural Wonder bringing you the great hits from American legend Stevie Wonder.
The ChordsJune 20
Check out two great bands on June 20 that bring you the best of doo wop and R&B, The Chords and Natural Wonder! Downtown Thursdays is excited to present its first doubleheader of the 2013 season on the longest Thursday night of the year.
Although many may have performed as The Chords, only this group led by Tito Rivera has been able to continue the authentic sounds of the original Chords of the 1950s: Carl and Clause Fester, Jimmy Kyes, Floyd Buddy McRae and Ricky Edwards. Current members Tito Rivera (Bass), Al Mae Jr. (1st Tenor), Jim Malloy (Lead) and Colby Knight (2nd Tenor) carry on the famous “Sh-Boom” harmonies of The Chords.
Cosmic JibarosJune 27
On June 27, Downtown Thursdays rocks out with the Cosmic Jibaros! The Cosmic Jibaros – a progressive Latin alternative rock group – have effectively changed the idea of a typical Latin rock band.
The Cosmic Jibaros build from Latin and Caribbean rhythms, Rock guitars and World music influences for a sound that is both cross-cultural and highly danceable. There is an irresistible pull of traditional Afro-Caribbean Beats, interplays between the congas and timbales mixed with urban elements in the deep drum and bass and effects-laden guitar work. These songs are laced with social and political overtones, and are sung primarily in Spanish by charismatic front man Ricardo Reyes.
The Cosmic Jibaros name reflects the blending flavors of the music they make. In Puerto Rico, ‘los jibaros’ would be something akin to the American ‘hillbillies’ or ‘mountain men’- historically known for a more simple and honest connection to the earth and the hard work of living, and with musical tradition to reflect that. The ‘cosmic’ part warns of a modern twist on the old traditions. Taking cues from a cross section of the world music and creating an original, Latin progressive sound
As their bandleader Rick Reyes points out, “Young latinos today cross all cultural boundaries. They carry with them the history and the culture of where their parents came from but at the same time have an open mind to what is happening now,” he says. “You can’t be a part of this world without being influenced by it as you go. Our music is very much a product of the evolution of Latinos in the United States”. The Cosmic Jibaros reflect that and their first album, Yo Soy Del Mundo (I Am Of The World) tells that story
As a prelude to this summer’s Gathering of the Vibes music festival at Seaside Park in Bridgeport, these Vibes veterans will be getting the crowd in a celebratory spirit.
Sponsored by Gathering of the Vibes
NO SHOW – See you next week!
NO SHOW – See you next week!July 4
In observance of Independence Day, Downtown Thursdays is taking a break this week. Enjoy your holiday and get ready for more fun on July 11!
To be announced…
To be announced…July 11
Final decisions are being made on the July 11 show… More info soon!
Amy Lynn & The Gun Show
Amy Lynn & The Gun ShowJuly 18
Downtown Thursdays is ready to party on July 18 with Amy Lynn & the Gunshow! If you love soul, sass, and/or sparkles, this is your night!
The vocal gymnastics Amy Lynn Zanetto can pull off in a mini-dress and stilettos would have Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and Mariah Carey on their feet by curtain call. As each of these women has done before her, Amy Lynn brings her own unique flair to the diva tradition, adding a quirky, down-to-earth humor to her front woman role that lands Amy Lynn & The Gunshowin a league of their own.
The Gunshow, lead by lovebirds, Amy & Alex, has a 60′s soul, rock, blues sound marked by powerhouse singers and infectious horn licks as especially fertile ground on which to showcase their combined talents. Together and apart they have played all around the world gracing the stage with Duffy, St. Vincent, Lucy Woodward, Yo La Tengo, Spoon, The Radio City Orchestra and many more.
After the performance, all concertgoers are invited by the sponsoring Bijou Theatre to their venue at 275 Fairfield Avenue for an after party celebrating downtown Bridgeport. Staying true to its roots as the nation’s first movie house, the Bijou Theatre shows independent and classic films along with live entertainment for any audience.
Presented by the Bijou Theatre
Pocket Full of Soul
Pocket Full of SoulJuly 25
You’re always welcome to bring a chair to Downtown Thursdays, but on July 25 you’ll be on your feet dancing all night with Pocket Full of Soul!
Pocket Full of Soul is a tribute to funk, soul and R&B music. Started by Gene Zwicharowski, the band is influenced by the mighty Tower of Power and other great bands from that time period. Their show will take you back in time as you enjoy that funky groove of all your favorites by such great artists you can’t help but “get on up” and dance as we take you to “bump city.”
Cricket Tell the Weather
Cricket Tell the WeatherAugust 1
Downtown Thursdays presents some old styles with a lot of new twists on August 1 with Cricket Tell the Weather and Ada Pasternak! Expect these young string musicians to surprise you with their interpretations of folk, bluegrass and other traditional styles.
Based in the northeast, Cricket Tell the Weather is an acoustic string band featuring adventurous songwriting and authentic interpretations of the bluegrass and old-time repertoire, with tight vocal harmonies and impressive instrumental chops to boot. In 2011, fiddler Andrea Asprelli and guitarist Jason Borisoff were awarded first place in the Podunk Bluegrass Songwriting Competition for their co-written song “Remington”, a story of industrial collapse set to progressive acoustic textures. They have since received a Mayor’s Grant from the Bridgeport Arts & Cultural Council for the song’s recording and archival in the Bridgeport Public Library.
Brought together through a shared love of bluegrass, each member introduces a fresh musical perspective to the band’s sound, merging rock, jazz, classical, folk, and progressive acoustic influences. On the five-string banjo, Doug Goldstein’s clear and concise tone contrasts mandolinist Dan Tressler’s intuitive and soulful rhythmic sense, and at just 18, bassist Hans Bilger contributes a groove and musical breadth that belies his age. The quintet’s voice carries a new spirit that explores a century of influences, owing as much to the traditions that inspired bluegrass to the journey that follows.
Ada PasternakAugust 1
Downtown Thursdays presents some old styles with a lot of new twists on August 1 with Ada Pasternak and Cricket Tell the Weather! Expect these young string musicians to surprise you with their interpretations of folk, bluegrass and other traditional styles.
Ada Pasternak was born in Moscow and immigrated to the United States at the age of six. Classically trained on the violin, she won numerous competitions and awards, and in 2007 Ada was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music.
After experiencing a breakup with her first love, Ada wrote her first song. The next day she wrote her second song and ever since songs have come very naturally to her. Ada plays the violin not only as a melodic instrument but also as a chordal instrument, accompanying herself while singing by strumming the violin like a guitar. Ada has recorded and performed with artists such as Wyclef Jean, Mark O’Connor and Ron Carter.
CFS presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream
CFS presents A Midsummer Night’s DreamAugust 8
Downtown Thursdays is very excited to host Connecticut Free Shakespeare’s summer show on August 8, beginning at 8pm. Directed by Ellen Lieberman, Connecticut Free Shakespeare (CFS) will be performing at McLevy Green in Downtown Bridgeport for five nights beginning Wednesday, August 7 through Sunday, August 11. All shows begin at 8 p.m
Ellen Lieberman, Artistic Director of CFS, says A Midsummer Night’s Dream is “Shakespeare’s most magical and romantic comedy. It’s also the play in which he tells us ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’–and there are many lovers in this play!” The story takes place as festivities are planned for the marriage of Duke Theseus to the Queen of the Amazons. Two lovers elope during the night followed secretly by two lovesick admirers. They cross paths in a nearby forest with town craftsmen rehearsing a celebratory play for the duke and his bride. All are caught up in the disquiet of the fairy world resulting from a fierce falling out between the fairy King Oberon and his queen, Titania. Identities are mistaken. Potions go awry. Mayhem and hilarity ensue. “Ultimately, true love prevails, and all live happily ever after.”
Performances begin at 8:00 pm, but those planning on attending should arrive early and bring blankets or chairs for seating. It is traditional to picnic before the play. Admission and parking are free for all performances. Performances are cancelled when weather conditions are severe. .
American Idol Live and Webster Bank Arena present Karaoke Talent Night
American Idol Live and Webster Bank Arena present Karaoke Talent NightAugust 15
On August 15 at Downtown Thursdays, you take the stage! American Idol® Live! and Webster Bank Arena are hosting a talent night for local stars in a karaoke competition. Pride and prizes are on the line!
If you’re a local karaoke/open mic star, this is literally your night! Information on how to apply coming soon – contact us with any questions.
Webster Bank Arena is bringing American Idol® Live! to Bridgeport on Friday, August 23 to showcase the season’s talented top finalists as part of a 40-show concert tour.
Orquesta AfinkeAugust 22
Brush up on your salsa moves, because August 22 is all about dance at Downtown Thursdays! Orquesta Afinke is bringing their dynamic blend of Latin dance to McLevy Green.
Afinke (correctly spelled “afinque”) is a traditional Spanish slang word utilized by many musicians to indicate a musical group that plays together as a team.
Led by trombonist Tito Planas and percussionist Sammy Diaz Jr., Orquesta Afinke is a Latin musical group featuring a dynamic percussion, a swinging rhythm section and harmonic brass sounds.The band is comprised of seasoned veterans of the musical field who after touring with many notables decided to come together to share their talents of entertaining audiences and educating them about this musical genre.
Afinke’s diverse repertoire includes styles typical to many Latin American countries including: salsa, merengue, cumbia, bolero, plena, Latin jazz, among others. Their swinging sounds will have everyone off their seats and moving to the rhythm.
August 29 is the last Downtown Thursdays concert of the year, and we’re sending you off to enjoy all that downtown Bridgeport has to offer with another crazy party! Lovewhip is going to rock McLevy Green with their unique blend of high energy dance music.
Dancing. Robots. Whips. It’s all fair game for Lovewhip, the Jamaica Plain, MA-based electro group who whip up furiously infectious dance songs for those who love to get on the dancefloor. “Lovewhip may be our answer to Prince, except it’s a funky, electro-jam with a female guitar-slinging mastermind” says Cheap Thrills Boston. Think B-52′s, Talking Heads, MIA, Blondie, and Gwen Stefani all rolled into one. Lovewhip has opened for such national acts as the B-52′s, the Scissor Sisters, the Tom Tom Club, and Third World. Lovewhip’s live show is a combination live DJ set, live band, and cabaret.
Playing a party-starting mix of original disco, rock, dance-pop, reggae and Afrobeat, the energy and presence of Lovewhip’s live shows is infectious. Lovewhip combines the best of world and reggae dance rhythms with 80′s synth and electro beats, creating what The Boston Herald describes as an “irresistible party soundtrack!”
Lovewhip is led by the soulful electro-rock diva/guitarist/frontwoman “Empress Erin” Harpe, a rockstar through and through, looking sexy in her oversized shades while wowing crowds with her mesmerizing over-the-top psychadelic guitar solos, percussion breakdowns, and dance moves. Backing up the Empress of Electro-Rock is her partner in crime “Juicy Jim” Countryman, on bass and sequencer, providing a layered and full sound that includes electronics, synthesizer, and vocoded robot voices. Drummer “Bob Weird” Nisi brings the sexy beats and backup vocals. This 3-piece can rock any crowd and get them dancing!