Soak up some sunny rays, then cool down at a local music venue. Concert venues and stages across the Ocean State have numerous events happening, both massive and extravagant and mellow and low-key. Here are some spots around Rhode Island to get your music fix for the rest of the summer.
301 Harris Ave., Providence, 401-714-0444, duskprovidence.com, facebook.com/DuskProvidence
This dark and moody venue is known for its hardcore, metalcore, deathcore and black metal — need we say more? Sometimes there’s a little punk and hip-hop mixed in, or Soul Power dance parties on select Fridays. The intimate, bricklaid venue has a small stage, a full bar, and a decidedly macabre look and feel with medieval-style chandeliers and skulls and a gothic pinup dame painted on the ceiling. This summer, it’s hosting Summer Fest, formerly known as RevivalFest, which starts on July 1. There will be two stages, one indoors and one outdoors, with numerous local bands taking part, including alt-rock acts Eclectic Electric and Ash and Bone, powerpop punks the Moodrunners, the ‘70s style classic progressive rock of the David Tessier All Star Stars, hip hop artist Jesse the Tree and hardcore punks the Hammer Party just to name a few. There will also be plenty of brews on tap along with food from Taino Treats and Puggles Grilled Cheese.
1119 North Main St., Providence, 401-383-5858, theparlourri.com
The Parlour prioritizes staging a variety of music genres ranging from reggae, rock and jazz to folk, metal and hip-hop. Live music happens on a daily basis. Foundation Mondays showcase the finest reggae bands in the area, Tuesdays get amplified with Metal Night and you never know who’s going to show up to play the open mic on Wednesdays. There’s also karaoke on Fridays, and when you’re looking to wind down the weekend, check out the jazz jam on Sundays.
150 Chestnut St., Providence, askewprov.com
Right near the heart of downtown Providence, Askew always features a mix of underground and established talent in a slick basement-like crash pad with a stage that faces cozy booths, couches and upholstered armchairs, high-top tables and a pool table. “We have some great music with national acts coming through as well as some great local shows,” says Michael Panico, who handles the venue’s booking and marketing. “As always, we also have an eclectic calendar with comedy, variety shows and other events.” A little later in the summer, the Combs Brothers and Mary McAvoy will perform on July 14, and Billy Keane and the Waking Dream will also perform with Jake Hunsinger and the Rock Bottom Band and Leah Guanipa on July 16, Panico adds. “Nashville’s Thelma and the Sleaze will return with Cherry Pit on July 21 as well.” Mondays feature open mic night with music at 8 p.m.; Tuesdays are open mic night for comedy, starting at 7 p.m. Shows are posted monthly on the website.
1005 Main St., Pawtucket, 401-729-1005, themetri.com
Nestled within Hope Artiste Village, the Met continues the legacy of both the old Met Cafe and Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, with both Rich Lupo and Jack Reich at the helm. Stellar headliners perform in one of the finest-sounding rooms in Rhode Island, which is also air conditioned. They have a busy summer with plenty of music gracing the stage. “The Met will continue its mix of local bands, tribute bands and national touring bands,” Reich says. “July highlights include a local School of Rock show on July 7 and the national School of Rock All-Stars on July 26, national act Grandson on July 10 and blues guitarist Albert Cummings on July 29. August 5 will bring the Warped Tour Band making their debut at the Met, Bearly Dead will return on August 11 and a benefit show featuring the Hollow Sound will take place on August 19.”
270 Broadway, Providence, 401-621-9660, columbustheatre.com
Ever since the Columbus Theatre’s revival in 2012, the marquee has glowed with both local and national acts on a steady basis. From our favorite haunts from the Huntress and Holder of Hands and Nova One to touring acts like Deer Tick and Guster, this historic theater is one of the most iconic music venues in Rhode Island. It’s also gearing up for more film premieres and national comedy acts, with a schedule that is frequently updated on its website.
43 Broad St., Pawtucket, thenewscaferi.com, facebook.com/newscafe.ri
Right in the heart of downtown Pawtucket is the News Cafe, a swanky little dive that has bands and musicians playing on its black-and-white checkered floor on a regular basis. It’s a one-of-a-kind spot with cheap drinks and a friendly vibe. “If you’re into seeing live music in a dark bar with air conditioning, then the News is the place to be,” says head bartender and live music booker Hana K.O. “Our outdoor patio with a charming city view is open again so you can enjoy beers in the Pawtucket sunshine.”
267 Main St., Woonsocket, 401-765-1900, chanseggrollsandjazz.com
Located in downtown Woonsocket for more than 120 years, Chan’s is a destination for blues and jazz in Rhode Island. It’s also the only place in the state where you can get some of the best Chinese food while enjoying live music. “Chan’s is geared up for our sizzling ‘Egg Rolls, Cool Jazz and Hot Blues Summer Series,’” says owner John Chan. The venue has a lot going on this summer with blues phenoms Popa Chubby and Selwyn Birchwood performing there on July 1 and July 14, respectively. Local jazz legend Greg Abate will play his trademark jazz with Paul DelNero on July 8, and another Rhode Island jazz legend, Dan Moretti, will perform with former “American Idol” contestant Elise Testone, as part of his Soul Jazz Collaborative on August 18.
59 Main St., East Greenwich, 401-885-4000, greenwichodeum.com
East Greenwich’s Main Street is one of the quaintest roadways in Rhode Island. A part of that charm is the historic Greenwich Odeum where national acts take the stage. “We’re looking forward to another summer of great entertainment,” says general manager Amanda Ronchi. “Whether you’re a fan of rock, roots, jazz, pop or reggae, we have something for everyone.” In July, the lineup includes acts like the Legendary Wailers on July 16; the Weight Band on July 21; and Andy Summers, the legendary guitarist from the Police, on July 22. The Odeum will continue to host “Upstairs at the Odeum,” a curated night of jazz performed by local artists in the balcony lounge, every third Wednesday.
440 Main St., Warren, galactictheatre.com
Upholding the “Keep Warren Weird,” promise, owner David Podsnap knows how to reel in city and small-town folks with open mic nights, live bands and impromptu comedy acts. The Galactic Theatre started out softly by showing silent movies and acoustic acts, followed by the steadily increasing volume of bluegrass, rock and blues musicians, and bands with genre-defying sets. The bar is known for quirky kitchen concoctions like $3 hot dogs and grilled cheese, plus potent $8 craft cocktails and beer. There’s never a cover charge and you might just see Sasquatch and Sickabillys (whose frontman is Podnsap himself) take the stage.
Newport Blues Cafe
286 Thames St., Newport, 401-841-5510, newportblues.com
The circa-1892 brownstone and former Aquidneck National Bank has hosted live bands and national acts since 1995, when entrepreneur Brian Foley took it over. The two-level live music and restaurant venue covers genres from classic, progressive and indie rock to rhythm and blues, jazz, funk and hip-hop. The iconic spot has hosted acts like Jackson Browne, the Neville Brothers, Dicky Betts, Joe Bonnamassa, Johnny and Edgar Winter, Roomful of Blues, the Cowsills, Deer Tick and more. This summer includes Never in Vegas on July 1, 2 and 8, Angelus Hall on June 30 and July 6, and Zenith on July 3.
895 Matunuck Beach Rd., Wakefield, 401-782-3740, oceanmist.net
There really isn’t anywhere else in New England where you can see top-tier talent perform with a view of the ocean under your feet. The Ocean Mist has plenty happening for late summer. “Our calendar is chock full with weekly scheduled programming and one-off large-scale events,” says owner Kevin Finnegan. Sundays start with the Ocean Mist brunch followed by Sunday Fundays featuring local bands. Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays feature a suite of live music; national sell-out ticketed bands, local walk-up groups, smaller musician groups and everything in between. On Tuesdays, there’s a dance party for the late-night crowd. The Pub offers a late-night menu until midnight, as well as sunset solo sessions on the top deck Thursday evenings.
Pump House Music Works
1464 Kingstown Rd., Wakefield, 401-824-9971, pumphousemusicworks.com
Right on the border of the villages of Wakefield and Peace Dale is Pump House Music Works, a gorgeous venue with stone walls and an abundance of music. It hosts a variety of genres and styles along with weekly events. “Jazz, rock, reggae, jam bands, funk and classical with all of the bands that you’ve come to know and love, some new local and regional acts as well as a number of touring bands that have never played here before are coming through,” says audio engineer and booking agent Brendon Bjorness-Murano. A new electric jam session happens every Tuesday with a weekly acoustic open mic on Wednesdays. There are also monthly comedy nights with Poppy Champlin, a first Sunday Jazz run with Dan Moretti and “PotLuck” open mics on the last Sunday of the month.
Knickerbocker Music Center
35 Railroad Ave., Westerly, 401-315-507, knickmusic.com
This year marks ninety years of the Knickerbocker. It’s a place that’s always been a haven for music excellence with blues, jazz and folk musicians and bands playing the hallowed room. “Our summer schedule ends with Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys [a kick-off party for the Rhythm and Roots Festival on Aug. 31],” says Executive Director Mark Connolly. The center will also celebrate its ninetieth anniversary with performances by the Collective and the Knickerbocker All-Stars.
5 Canal St., Westerly, 401-388-8208, unitedtheatre.org
Ever since it reopened in 2021 after extensive renovations, the United Theatre has become a symbol of reinvigoration in downtown Westerly. It’s also a beautiful place to see live music as well as hit movies, stand-up comedy and other types of entertainment. “Over the past year, we hosted a total of fifty-five live events, fifteen gallery shows, 110 films, and more than 270 students per week, with 33,000 community members visiting us in 2022,” says the United Theatre’s Executive Director Carly Callahan. It will next host Devon Allman and Donavon Frankenreiter on Aug. 7. “We are also excited to reinvent our gallery space as a place for friends and neighbors to casually congregate at non-ticketed events in a series called ‘Post Credit Scene,’” Callahan says. “This series will feature live music, tabletop gaming, poetry and spoken word.”
Research assistance provided by Jamie Coelho.
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