BlackRock Center for the Arts’ annual free summer concert series returns to the BlackRock outdoor stage Saturdays from July 2 to July 30, starting with a Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds on Saturday, July 2.
The summer’s concert series will kick-off with a special family performance by Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players at 6:00 pm on Saturday, July 2. Followed later that same evening, starting at 7:30pm, the nine-piece powerhouse group Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds will take the stage to put their modern spin on classic soul.
The remainder of the free summer concert series includes performances by the Country band Sweetback Sisters, the western swing of Quebe Sisters, the Carribean fusion of Empresarios, and classic rock and pop from the US Navy Cruisers.
Should inclement weather occur, all performances will move indoors to the BlackRock Main Stage. Tickets to the summer concerts at BlackRock are free of charge, and no reservations are required. Audiences are encouraged to check the BlackRock website, Facebook Page, and Twitter feed for the most up-to-date performance information. More information can be found at blackrockcenter.org.
Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players
Saturday, July 2 at 6:00 pm
Toss the blankies, kiddos! Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players return to BlackRock this summer. These Grammy-nominated all-stars of the indie family music scene will take the stage on BlackRock’s lawn for an hour-long performance that’ll get kids and their parents alike springing to their feet; jumping, dancing and bouncing off each other like bumper cars. The group dishes out unexpectedly intelligent and whimsically rocking music that raises the bar for family music.
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds
Saturday, July 2 at 7:30pm
This nine-piece powerhouse group puts a modern spin on classic soul. The band is led by Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow), whose astoundingly powerful voice and sly demeanor make for a spellbinding presence onstage. She is backed by the mighty force of The Dirty Birds, a flock of eight men who masterfully lay down thundering grooves and soaring melodies. While each of the Birds is capable of lighting up the stage with jaw-dropping displays of musicianship, it’s clear they’re focused on delivering the band’s infectious blend of rock, soul, and funk music as a single entity. Simply put, the band’s live show is explosive.
The Sweetback Sisters
Saturday, July 9 at 7:00 pm
The rollicking country swing of the Sweetback Sisters is as infectious as it is heartbreaking. Their charismatic charm harkens back to the golden era of both the silver screen cowgirl and the ersatz cowboy stars of local UHF TV kiddie shows. That whimsical exterior is wrapped around a core of deeply felt love for traditional country music styles and a palpable joy in playing and singing together. Like their pseudo-sister role models, the Davis Sisters, the Sweetback Sisters sing country songs in close, surrogate-sister harmony and matching dresses. Their repertoire combines several of the Sisters' passions—country music from before they were born and new interpretations of those traditions—to create a fresh take on what it means to be country.
The Quebe Sisters
Saturday, July 16 at 7:00 pm
When the Quebe (rhymes with “maybe”) Sisters from Texas take a stage, and the triple-threat fiddle champions start playing and singing in multi-part close harmony, audiences are usually transfixed, then blown away. It’s partly because the trio’s vocal and instrumental performances are authentic all-Americana, all the time, respectful of the artists that inspired them the most. Today, after more than a decade of traveling the US and the world, and recording three acclaimed albums, the Quebe Sisters’ unbridled passion for American music has turned them into a widely-acclaimed, smokin’-hot, young adult Americana band.
Saturday, July 23 at 7:00 pm
The Empresarios' sound is best described as “Tropicaliente,” a lively and unique blend of salsa, reggae, cumbia, dub, and house full of great fun and good vibes. Every time they take the stage a lively party forms on the dancefloor. Mixing together the warm sounds of the Caribbean comes with ease for this group of talented musicians whose leader Javier Miranda and lead singers Frankie Rosado and Felix Perez all hail from Puerto Rico. The Empresarios have toured the US and their global fan base is growing. Their album title track “Sabor Tropical” placed prominently on EA Sports’ FIFA 2012 video game. Get ready to hit the dance floor and let the Empresario’s sun-drenched sounds warm up your body and soul.
US Navy Cruisers
Saturday, July 30 at 7:00 pm
As the US Navy's premier contemporary entertainment ensemble, the Cruisers feature eight of the Navy's most dynamic performers. Formed in 1999 as a specialty unit of the United States Navy Band, the Cruisers are under the leadership of drummer, Senior Chief Musician Leon Alexander. The group takes its name from the Navy's versatile, flexible, multi-missioned ship – the Cruiser – and the band lives up to their namesake by having the capabilities of playing genres of music ranging from jazz and standards, rhythm and blues, classic rock, adult contemporary and pop, as well as original material. This elite group has engaged and excited audiences of all ages throughout the US and abroad with world-class musicianship and high-energy, fun-filled performances.
Caption: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds.
Photo courtesy BlackRock Center for the Arts.