It feels like we were just bidding the 2017 season of Live on the Green farewell, but, here we are again, ready to kick off another exciting year of the annual free outdoor fest this Thursday, Aug. 9 at Public Square Park. Per the format adopted a few years back, Live on the Green will run four consecutive Thursdays and culminate with an epic three-day, two-stage finale. Once again boasting an exciting and stacked lineup, this season will feature performances from the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Matt & Kim, Cold War Kids, Dr. Dog, Car Seat Headrest, X Ambassadors, ZZ Ward, Parquet Courts, and more! This week’s inaugural installment is set to include Dispatch, The Wood Brothers, Mt. Joy, and Roscoe & Etta, expanding to four artists a week the first three Thursdays, up from the three of years past (but with a couple shorter sets and quicker changes to mostly keep the same schedule). Clearly, LOTG is geared up to hit the ground running, and you can find out more about all four performers and why you absolutely don’t want to miss them, after the jump!
Per usual, LOTG is free and all ages, and music will run from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m., and there will be plenty of food and alcohol vendors on site to meet your needs. Parking is $10 at the Public Square Park Garage below the festival site and $5 at Nissan E and F lots across the Woodland St Bridge, and various other garages and street parking options are available on the surrounding blocks (also, ride share is relatively simple with designated drop off and pick up spots). If you’re looking to up the ante on your LOTG experience, VIP tickets and backstage passes are typically available for purchase, however they generally sell out in advance. And finally, the tradition of an official LOTG after party returns this year beginning each week at 11 p.m. at The Valentine on Broadway. Find out more about this week’s installment below, and find out more about the entire season on Live on the Green’s site.
Northeastern jammy roots trio Dispatch have been performing off and on (through a few hiatuses during the ’00s) since 1996, and have maintained a loyal following throughout New England and beyond since their early days at Vermont’s Middlebury College and home base of Boston. Their mixture of reggae, pop, funk, and melodic indie rock providing a backbone for top notch vocal harmonics, the band have been a perfect fit on tour with the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Guster, and Jack Johnson, and they’ve increasingly became a beloved and prolific fixture in the festival scene. We first got acquainted with Dispatch at their appearance at Bonnaroo 2012, when they returned from hiatus with their first LP in more than a decade, Circles Around the Sun, and now we’re excited to hear some live cuts from their most recent release, America, Location 12, which dropped last year (and, hopefully, new tunes from their forthcoming followup, Location 13, set to arrive this fall). Originally set to support John Butler Trio at the beginning of last year’s LOTG finale, Dispatch were among several artists unfortunately rained out, so it’s fitting that they return to help kick of the 2018 season!
THE WOOD BROTHERS
Americana and folk group The Wood Brothers were formed by brothers Chris and Oliver Wood, drawn to the storytelling aspect of traditional folk music from an early age. The two grew up and pursued solo careers of their own for 15 years before joining forces, and managed to snag a record deal with Bluenote after recording a few demos, ahead of their their full-length debut, Ways Not To Lose, in 2006. They spent most of the next few years jumping between tours and the recording studio, releasing their follow-up Loaded in 2008. After a short break, they relocated to Nashville in 2012, inked a deal with Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Records, and added multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix to the mix. For the first time, the pair were able to easily write and record together, which spurred a slew of creative output. Within a year, they released Smoke Ring Halo, as well as two live albums, and, in 2013, finally broke onto the charts with their celebrated record The Muse, produced by Buddy Miller. Their eclectic mix of acoustic folk and ’70s-era electric guitar connected with listeners looking for something other than a simple ballad, and has only been further honed with 2015’s Paradise, and their latest, One Drop of Truth.
While they only formally came together as Mt. Joy two years ago, bandleaders Sam Cooper and Matt Quinn’s musical collaborations can be traced back more than decade, when the pair met in high school, in their native Philadelphia, and made music together until college took them down separate paths, continuing to collaborate, but unsure that music would ever become a serious career path. After they both wound up in Los Angeles several years later for work, they began collaborating more seriously once more, recording some songs in early 2016 and choosing the moniker Mt. Joy, after a real mountain near where they grew up, before being split again by circumstance, as Cooper returned to Philly for a job, and Quinn enrolled in law school in LA. The unexpected success of their first single, “Astrovan,” forced the duo to reconsider, and they put career and school projects on hold to make Mt. Joy their full-time focus, recruiting Michael Byrnes, Sotiris Eliopoulos, and Jackie Miclau to complete their lineup. After a string of buzzy singles and live dates, the group dropped their eponymous debut LP earlier this year, honing their folky, indie, and timeless sound a la Bob Dylan or Alabama Shakes, and becoming a must-know rising act in the process.
ROSCOE & ETTA
Named for the “cranky” old guitars they used to record their forthcoming eponymous debut, duo Roscoe & Etta are a great example of how their new four-band LOTG format leaves room for more up and comers. Only “new” as a formal duo though, Maia Sharp and Anna Schulze, the singer-songwriters who make up Roscoe & Etta, are incredibly accomplished on their own. Sharp has had her songs recorded by The Dixie Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, Lisa Loeb, and countless others, produced for Edwin McCain, Art Garfunkel, and Crystal Bowersox, and made appearances on World Cafe, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and the Today Show. Shulze has had her songs featured in film and television, has released five acclaimed solo records, and learned her way around the studio under famed producers Justin Meldal-Johnsen and Glen Ballard. Both have shared the stages with some huge names as well, and, together, they’ve found an incredible collaborative style, with debut single “Broken Highlights” highlighting their earnest, impassioned songwriting chops and penchant for layered, alternative and folk-tinged tones. Show up early and see what they’re all about!