There is no doubt about it. The pools of sweat building under my winter-fed chest tell the whole story: summers here, the nights are getting longer, and by-God, the streets are bathed in music.
Really, they are.
Right here in town, four nights strong, some fantastic performance is taking place, delivered in a cover song, a windy original or rollicking mix of musk and “farm funk,“ as the DoBros from Warner do so well.
Pick a place, any place. The True Brew. Good room, great acts, tasty beverages, and I think there’s food. Coffee for sure. And beer. Plenty of that. And the music you’ll witness might have you saying to yourself, as I often do, “Where do these people come from? And how do they do that?”
Oh, it’s great to be outside this time of year, evenings after dark specifically. Myself, I was standing in an alley in downtown Manchester recently. It was late but not trouble late. Just late enough to see the wobble in the eyes of the growlers. We were heading to see the Hornitz, a deliriously fun band from Boston, at Penuche’s and I couldn’t help but stand and marvel at the evening. Brass and breeze, green lights and sweaty streets. The night had that “dive your face onto the dance floor” feel to it.
I took a big gulp of air and announced to the other travelers as we strolled comfortably into the midnight, “Dang, this feels good.” Their swollen eyes agreed. And how could they not. Just look around, feel the heat coming off the revelers. A hundred or more, trolling around in all styles of garb, from hot mess to gutter glamour. Everyone heading to feast on adult portions of elation.
An earned escape after the winter haul.
But that’s not just happening in the city, no. It’s happening everywhere. A month back I was in Chattanooga, Tennessee watching the great Sturgill Simpson at the Tivoli Theatre and let me tell you, there is beauty in those hills too people. A shocking level of beauty comes out of the south. Inside and out — the music, the food, the people themselves, the weather that allow you to walk casually all year round, inspired by the history of sound and culture.
Back in Granite State, I have no problem sitting in a smokey private club four months straight watching old cats rip into Grateful Dead songs. My lungs cry on the inside, but my heart is with those musicians on stage, working as if their playing to a sold out Silver Dome.
Still, as these next few months hustle towards winter, I really just want to park my back against the grass at “Jim Mitchell Park” in Warner and listen to some folk songs. Or bake outside in the heat wearing jeans, watching the blues maestros take over in New Boston at this years “Barn Full of Blues Festival”.
I plan to sit with a Guinness in hand and let the salt eat my face at Hampton Beach. Heck, I’ll happily, yet under protest, sing along to a set of Jimmy Buffet songs and pick my teeth with an tiny umbrella anywhere in Laconia. No sweat.
Think of this time of year as one long snow day. Feel giddy and get out and make snow angels in a field of green. Tap a glass with a stranger. Hit that dance floor. Shake what you got. Let that winter chest fly.
Who cares if it’s a Wednesday. Go make it feel like it’s a Saturday night.
Which is where this all started. And I suppose, where it all must end.
– Rob Azevedo
Rob Azevedo, from Manchester, has been hosting a weekly radio show called “Granite State of Mind” for the past three and a half years which showcases musicians from around New Hampshire and beyond. “Granite State of Mind” is an hour long program that features artists performing live in-studio each week, now exclusively on WKXL. Azevedo also writes a weekly music column called “Sound Check” for the Concord Monitor and hosts a monthly “Artist in the Round” style series at New England College in Concord.