Friday night out in Lynn

by Seth Albaum

It was time for another “DTL at Night” installment, or something like it. But there were too many things I wanted to do on Friday, June 4th 2010. So, I did all of them. Photo galleries are on the bottom.

Relay for Life

I made it to Red Rock around 7-ish, in time for some Irish step dancing. It just wasn’t possible for me to make the event launch an hour earlier, but there was plenty going on. If you don’t know about the annual Relay for Life, check out the Lynn page on the organization’s web site. It was cool to see tents set up on the ocean-side park and participants getting ready to pull an all-nighter for such a worthy cause. More photos are in the gallery below and on Downtownlynn.com.

Walnut Street Cafe

157 Walnut Street to be exact, this comfy spot in Pine Hill’s main business is coffee in its various forms. It’s a good place to get an honest cup that’ll break your old DD habit at first sip. I know that’s especially hard for a New Englander to believe, but I dare you to try it.  But did I say Walnut Street is comfy? There’s a couch, shelves of books and board games, an indoor fireplace, and an enclosed outdoor courtyard with a fire pit.

Wait! Before you think this place is too trendy, there’s also lottery, a flat panel tv on the wall and a humble selection of affordable beer and wine. Any Lynner would feel comfortable here. They also serve sandwiches, but I have to admit, I just quickly glanced the chalkboard menus because I was there for a free night of original live music, not to eat.

First up was folk artist Kevin G. Moore, who has performed throughout the states. I thought I recognized a local reference here and there in his lyrics, but none more obvious than the song called Downtown Crossing, an engaging but sad tale of the life of a homeless man. Click his name to hear several of his tunes on his MySpace page.

I’ve wanted to see The Mirror Neurons for some time now. I don’t even remember how I initially got that idea in my head, though it may have been from a brief glimpse of them live some past Third Thursday, or maybe from becoming friends with guitarist/vocalist Pete Crowley on Facebook for some reason I no longer recall. This Woburn band has played Walnut Street Cafe several times in the past and have become a favorite for a reason. They’re great. Their other members are Doug MacBride on bass, Daryn Firicano on percussion, Mark Muzeroll on melodica, and missing that night was Mike Feltz on Washboard/Harmonica. I heard fantastically original-sounding roots rock. They cite Robert Johnson, The Velvet Underground and even Alice in Chains as influences. At times I thought I heard a young Tom Waits without the rasp and vocal fry, but Crowley says maybe it’s because they were both at times channeling Howlin’ Wolf. Click their name for more and to hear some tracks on their MySpace. And if you see them live, you might here a wild cover of “Back in the USSR.” (Not trying to plug Rupert Murdock’s MySpace – that’s just where the stuff is!)

I had run into several people I know from Gulu-Gulu Cafe in Salem, where I DJ second-Fridays. They were there for the third act of the evening, Hannah Cranton, also from Salem. Her voice is clear, open and expressive. Her MySpace says she’s unsigned. Perhaps Rounder is out of touch or too full of themselves and their Bluegrass infatuation to know what they’re missing. I only mention Rounder Records because they were once a premier local folk label. Maybe she’s better off going the D.I.Y. route, with folk following punk and indie’s path of the last thirty-some-odd years. Hannah, I’m somewhat sorry for using your paragraph to rip on Rounder. I also would have liked to stay for your whole set, but I had another couple of stops to make.

Turbine

I went to see The Willows. I had done my last “DTL at Night” on Los Retros at the Central Square hangout, and they both share a connection with the The Vic Morrows Band via vocalist Jon Rosen. I also had a hankering for beer, which I can not have at most establishments due to my annoying little gluten-issue. If I have anything with wheat, barley (a key ingredient in beer), or rye, I’m put umm…out of commission I’ll say, for a good while. But besides having a huge wine selection, respectable beers and sangria, Turbine has a gluten free beer made from a sorghum malt and a flourless chocolate cake. Those two things alone are big reasons why I’m a regular. Free live music on some Friday nights is just icing on the gluten-free cake.

The Willows played a mix of originals and covers with conviction. Their music is described as “Maintaining a unique and primitive sound – a little alt-country, americana, rock…” They managed to draw my attention repeatedly even though I was active in several conversations with neighbors. I would later head back to Red Rock Park with one of them, Corey Jackson of Downtownlynn.com, to take 1am photos of the Relay for Life.

The following are image galleries of my Friday night adventure.

Relay for Life

Walnut Street Cafe

Turbine

If you’d like to share your adventures with LynnHappens, drop a message using “CONTACT” above.

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