MASS MoCA Announces Summer Schedule of Concerts & More

March 26th, 2015, 9:30 am by Greg

MASS MoCA in North Adams has announced its summer season of concerts, movies, comedy and other performance events – stretching from Americana favorites the Lone Bellow (who kick off the summer on Saturday, May 23) to Le Tigre’s JD Samson (who wraps up the season with a dance party on Saturday, September 5).

Of course, two of MASS MoCA’s biggest events – the Solid Sound festival curated by the band Wilco) and the bluegrass-and-beyond FreshGrass festival – were announced earlier, but plenty of exciting new performances have been added through the summer season at a variety of the museum campus’ venues – both indoors and out. And the annual outdoor movie screening at North Adams’ Harriman-West Airport will feature a screening of “Top Gun.”

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And as an added incentive, MASS MoCA is offering 25% early discounts on all tickets for Summer 2015 events – except the Solid Sound Festival, “Top Gun” at the airport and FreshGrass – when purchased by Saturday, April 25.

Here’s the lowdown on MASS MoCA’s Summer 2015 performances:

MUSIC: THE LONE BELLOW
Saturday, May 23, 8pm
Hunter Center
$18 in advance; $24 at the door; $40 preferred
On the heels of their sophomore album And Then Came the Morning (produced by Bryce Dessner of the National), FreshGrass alumni and rising stars of Americana bring sublime harmonies and foot-stomping anthems back to North Adams.

MUSIC: NATALIA ZUKERMAN
Saturday, June 6, 8pm
The Dre Waapenaar Pavilion or Club B-10
$12 in advance; $18 at the door; $24 preferred; $12 students
The slide, lap steel and dobro wizard Natalia Zukerman shapes folk, jazz and blues sounds into songs of intense beauty. Her “voice could send an orchid into bloom while her guitar playing can open a beer bottle with its teeth.” (The New Yorker)

KIDS MUSIC: THE POP UPS
Saturday, June 13, 11:30am
Club B-10
$8
This Grammy-nominated electro-acoustic kindie pop duo whips up “Daft Punk quality beats, top-notch musicianship, and not a single instruction for brushing teeth or saying please and thank you” (Huff Post Parents) into songs that carry a positive message while also turning children into dancing maniacs.

FILM: “JAMES BALDWIN: THE PRICE OF THE TICKET”
Friday, June 19, 8pm
Club B-10
$9; $5 students
This emotional portrait of the writer and civil rights activist, delivered mostly in his own words, combines intimate interviews, public speeches, rarely seen archival footage and illuminating contributions from friends and colleagues like Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka and William Styron. Director Karen Thorsen will introduce the film.

FILM: “TOP GUN”
Friday, July 3, 8:30pm
The Harriman-West Airport, North Adams
$14 per carload or bike posse; $7; $3 kids under 12 (cash or check only)
Tom Cruise was never more himself than as Maverick, the brilliant but unstable Navy pilot whose goal is always to be the best. Meet us at the airport for this one. We’ll fire up the grills, transport the taps and butter the popcorn. The first 100 kids get free gliders.

MUSIC: TOSHI REAGON PRESENTS “THE LOVE SESSIONS: MICHAEL JACKSON vs. PRINCE”
Saturday July 11, 8pm
Courtyard C or Hunter Center
$20 in advance; $26 at the door; $36 preferred; $20 students
The soulful singer and guitarist Toshi Reagon’s love-themed concert takes a deep dive into the songbooks of two American pop icons. The show features Reagon and a spectacular group of collaborators – including Ki Ki Hawkins, Tamar-Kali, Morley, Martha Redbone, Xavier Smith, Rachel Eckroth, Ganessa James, Allison Miller, Alex Nolan and Chala Yancy – taking on Prince and MJ’s hits and B-sides alike.

MUSIC: JANKA NABAY & THE BUBU GANG
Saturday, July 18, 8pm
The Dre Waapenaar Pavilion or Club B-10
$12 in advance; $18 at the door; $24 preferred; $12 students
Claiming “Michael Jackson, Bob Marley and God” as inspiration, the Sierra Leonean singer Janka Nabay has almost single-handedly revived the ancient tradition of Bubu, taking it from its 500-year-old roots in witchcraft ceremonies through its use in Ramadan processionals and into a hypnotic dance music that sounds both perfectly modern and perfectly timeless. Nabay’s Bubu Gang includes members of the indie bands Chairlift, Highlife, Saadi and Skeletons.

MUSIC/ART: CLIFFORD ROSS: “LANDSCAPE SEEN & IMAGINED” LIVE FEATURING ONEIDA
Saturday, August 8, 8:30pm
Courtyard D
$20 in advance; $26 at the door; $36 preferred; $20 students
Brooklyn-based band Oneida, Kid Millions and a special guest perform live amidst an enveloping 12-screen video installation by Clifford Ross that transforms the Courtyard into a twisting world of color and light, part of Ross’ multi-part exhibition, “Landscape Seen & Imagined,” which opens on Saturday, May 23

MUSIC: PIGPEN THEATRE CO.
Saturday, August 15, 8pm
The Dre Waapenaar Pavilion or Club B-10
$16 in advance; $22 at the door: $26 preferred
Part innovative theater company and part rollicking indie folk band, PigPen Theatre Co. creates albums that turn into musicals that can be performed as fully staged productions or straight-forward concerts. This time around it’s the latter, as they play material in the works for a new album.

COMEDY: SOLOMON GEORGIO
Saturday, August 22, 8pm
The Dre Waapenaar Pavilion or Club B-10
$14 in advance; $20 at the door; $26 preferred; $14 students
Fresh off a Conan debut that sent a buzz through the stand-up world, Solomon Georgio “keeps it both real and funny” (Splitsider) with a pungent brand of indignant irreverence that has him on a path to certain comedy stardom.

MUSIC: ROOMFUL OF TEETH
Friday, August 28, 8pm
Hunter Center
$16 in advance; $22 at the door; $26 preferred
Exploring new vocal territory and sharing music from their 2015 release, Render, Roomful of Teeth returns home to MASS MoCA celebrating works of composer-in-residence Ted Hearne and harnessing “all sorts of colors, gestures and timbres” as they explore the vast possibilities of the human voice.

MUSIC/DANCE PARTY: JD SAMSON
Saturday, September 5, 8pm
Courtyard C or Hunter Center
$10 in advance; $16 at the door; $5 students
A member of the legendary electro-feminist-punk project Le Tigre, the singer and producer JD Samson is an articulate champion of social causes and a party waiting to erupt. She’s here with a live band set and a DJ set for a summer-ending night of progressive love on the dance floor.