A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including a terrific up-and-coming indie rock band; a concert of Eastern European works for violin; a juried art show in Pittsfield; an intrepid bluegrass group, and a whole lot more.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — Brooklyn-based indie-rock group Big Thief brings its ethereal guitar-rock – think Cowboy Junkies crossed with Sonic Youth – to Club B-10 at MASS MoCA on Saturday, November 5, at 8pm. The group also performs at BSP Kingston in Kingston, N.Y., on Thursday, November 3, at 7pm, in support of Damien Jurado.
Led by singer-guitarist-songwriter Adrianne Lenker, the band shifts nimbly between lo-fi acoustic and throwback rock hooks. Lenker and guitarist-singer Buck Meek began their creative friendship after meeting in Brooklyn, culminating in a pair of collaborative albums titled “A-Sides” and “B-Sides.” Lenker and Meek took the show on the road, spending years performing in backyards, barns, and basements, and living the rubber-tramping road life together. On this journey, they gained a couple partners and Big Thief was born.
Meek’s single-line leads curl around Lenker’s achy, vulnerable, high-pitched vocals and anxiety-laden lyrics (“real love is a heart attack”) for a kind of beauty-and-the-beast effect that recalls Nico and the Velvet Underground.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Violinist Joanna Kurkowicz, together with pianist Doris Stevenson, will explore “Mystical Voices of Eastern Europe” in a free concert in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall at Williams College on Saturday, November 5, at 8pm. The program includes violin works by Khachaturian, Prokofiev, Kulenty, Silvestrov, Szymanowski, and Auerbach, among others.
The program is inspired by ranges of emotion – from reflection, to mystery, to sadness and lamentation, to ecstatic virtuosity and passion. Starting with the soulful Adagio from the opera Gayane for solo violin by Khachaturian, and ending with Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 2 in D Major, the program deepens to include works by lesser known, but no less musically significant composers such as Kulenty (b. 1961) Still Life with a Violin; Barkauskas (b. 1931) Partita; Gubaidulina (b. 1931) Dancer on the Tightrope for violin and piano; Szymanowski (1882 – 1937) Notturna e Tarantella for violin and piano; Silvestrov (b. 1937) Postludium for solo violin; and Auerbach (b. 1973) T’filah (Prayer) for solo violin.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – “Othering,” a juried exhibition featuring works by a diverse mix of nearly three dozen artists from around the Northeast, opens at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts on Friday, November 4, with a free reception from 5pm to 8pm. The reception takes place during Pittsfield’s monthly First Fridays Artswalk.
Over a dozen local Berkshire County artists are included in the show, including Jeanet Ingalls, Stephen Lussier, Carrie Converse, Nate Massari, Jared Gelormino, Katherine Haig, Michael King, Dorothy Martell, Nate Massari, Merudjina Normil, Wilma Rifkin, Joan Rooks, Freya Segal, Marcelene Mosca, and Ilene Spiewak.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – North Carolina acoustic country-folk quartet Chatham County Line performs at Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday, November 5, at 9pm. The group can do the high-lonesome sound with the best of them, but then turn around and stretch out on an improvisation that takes the audience on a ride into jazz or jam-band territory. Country-rock singer-songwriter Johnny Irion – in the news lately for his new version of “Old Man Trump,” a song written about Donald Trump’s racist landlord father by none other than Woody Guthrie (Johnny’s grandfather-in-law) – warms up the crowd for the quartet.