July is usually peak music festival season, no matter where you live, but Rhode Island takes that to another level. Everyone knows Newport’s folk and jazz festivals, but a few Providence locations are hosting their own festivals, including two happening on the same day this year.
Some shows will provide serious amplification, while others make up for previous postponements due to COVID-19. If you want to know where to go, here are five shows to check out in the city in July.
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Bachfest is a stacked performance
Where: Askew, 150 Chestnut St.
When: July 2, 7 p.m. (18+)
The first of three festivals that take place in the city in July, Bachfest has a stacked bill falling on the first Saturday of the month. Local artists including garage rock phenoms Atlantic Thrills, melodic psychedelic rock vibes Viking Jesus, funky reggae rockers They Were Robots and indie rock supergroup Happiness, along with members of Deer Tick & Ravi Shavi, will be joined by Boston punk rock pirates Jonee Earthquake Band and Worcester sleaze rock ensemble Westside Rats. It’s unlikely that former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach will make an appearance, or that any of the bands will do a rendition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music, so I don’t know where this festival got its name, but it seems like a really fun time.
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Revival Fest: a massive event with many bands to see
Where: July 3 @ Twilight 301 Harris Ave.
When: July 3, 2 p.m. (18+)
Information: On Facebook
On the eve of July 4, there are not one but two festivals in Providence, and one of them is Revival Fest, which takes place in Dusk. The seventh edition of this massive event will run all day and all night, featuring local bands Hammer Party, Midnight Creeps, The David Tessier All-Star Stars, Corinne Southern & The Constellation, She Rides and Gnarnia, as well as hip-hop artist Jesse The Tree, and that’s only half the acts. Food will be provided by Taino Treats & Puggles Grilled Cheese, and there will be plenty of drinks available for purchase, so show up hungry and thirsty.
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FX4 Fest: a counter-cultural music festival
Where: AS220, 115 Empire Street.
When: July 3, 3 p.m. (all ages)
Information: (401) 831-3663
The other festival taking place on the eve of Independence Day has a more counter-cultural vibe, while also celebrating the birthday of British punk icon Poly Styrene of 70s band X-Ray Spex. Soul-prog dynamos Bochek, punk rock shredders Challenger, hardcore noise duo Cabaret and experimental artist Dave Public are part of a 19-act lineup. Although the official admission price is $20, the festival adopts a “pay what you can” policy for those who cannot afford the full amount.
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Cave In is a talented rock band from Boston
Where: Music Festival, 103 Dike St.
Where: July 21, 7 p.m. (all ages)
Tickets: $20 in advance, $22 at the door
I’ve been a fan of the Boston rock band Cave In since I was a teenager, because of their fusion of early 90s alternative rock with the metal and hardcore styles that were prevalent in their home country during the 90s and the early 2000s. Their seventh album, “Heavy Pendulum”, which was released in May, is one of my favorite records so far this year. San Diego’s Author & Punisher, which is solo metal band Tristan Shone, will be getting things started, so come early.
Indie rocker Lucy Dacus plays The Strand
Where: Strand Ballroom and Theater, 79 Washington St.
When: July 24, 9 p.m. (all ages)
Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door, $37.50 reserved mezzanine
Ahead of her originally scheduled show at The Strand on March 3, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lucy, and she’s a mean, cool, down-to-earth person, as well as an amazing songwriter. Then, on the day of the show, someone from his support group tested positive for COVID-19 and everything was postponed. It’s only fair to mention her in this column because she’s awesome live and her approach to indie rock music is awesome, so check out the show when it arrives in a few weeks.