(BRIDGEPORT, CT May 15, 2013) – It’s almost time for another full summer of fun at Downtown Thursdays – back for a fourth year at McLevy Green in downtown Bridgeport and running throughout the summer with 12 events. The concert series, organized by the City of Bridgeport and the Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District, begins June 6 and runs through Aug. 29, providing 12 weeks of music and entertainment from rock to reggae, funk to folk.
“Downtown Thursdays brings top local acts from a variety of musical genres to the heart of our walkable, vibrant downtown neighborhood in historic McLevy Green,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “The crowds for our free concert series have grown each year. I invite Bridgeport residents and visitors from our neighboring towns to check out a concert this summer, have dinner at one of our excellent restaurants and enjoy a Thursday evening in downtown.”
The concert series runs on Thursday evenings from June 6 to August 29 starting at 6 p.m. The shows are family friendly and admission is free. In addition to their dancing shoes, concertgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets and get comfortable on the green. The Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District will be handing out information on restaurants within walking distance.
“As warm weather returns to Bridgeport, I look forward to the Downtown Thursdays Concert Series and fun on McLevy Green. The DSSD is proud to partner with Mayor Finch and the City of Bridgeport to provide this annual rite of summer. Downtown Thursdays represents a celebration of the Park City’s rich musical tradition and serves as an opportunity to host music-lovers to our emerging downtown. We look forward to seeing you this summer,” said Michael Moore, President/CEO - Downtown Special Services District.
The 12-week Downtown Thursdays series kicks off on June 6 with the high energy rock group Darik and the Funbags, “the one and only, often imitated, never duplicated, creators of music, FUN and mayhem all over the northeast since 1997!”
The full lineup:
June 6 – Darik and the Funbags
June 13 – Mystic Bowie
June 20 – Natural Wonder + The Chords
June 27 – Cosmic Jibaros, sponsored by the Gathering of the Vibes
July 11 – Special guest to be announced…
July 18 – Amy Lynn & The Gun Show, sponsored by the Bijou Theatre
July 25 – Pocket Full of Soul
August 1 – Cricket Tell the Weather + Ada Pasternak
August 8 – Connecticut Free Shakespeare
August 15 – American Idol® Live! and Webster Bank Arena present Karaoke Talent Night
August 22 – Orquesta Afinke
August 29 – Lovewhip
For more information about Downtown Thursdays log on to www.downtownthursdays.com, follow Downtown Thursdays on Twitter @downtownthurs and ‘Like” Downtown Thursdays on Facebook.
In case of inclement weather, concerts will be cancelled. Check the Downtown Thursdays website, Facebook page and Twitter, or listen to WICC 600AM for cancellation announcements.
Downtown Thursdays band bios follow:
Since the 1980s, Mystic Bowie has been keeping the art of music alive – entertaining audiences from New York to Japan with his vibrant music and high-energy performances. From humble beginnings in Jamaica, Mystic has become one of Reggae’s hardest working independent artists, compared to musical legends Jimmy Cliff, Lucky Dube and Toots and the Maytals.
Natural Wonder is a brand new band that brings together a wide array of talented musicians, including Bridgeport’s own Michael Dunham. You can’t go wrong, visually and musically, with Natural Wonder bringing you the great hits from Motown legend Stevie Wonder.
Although many may have performed as The Chords, only this group led by Tito Rivera has been able to continue the authentic sounds of the original Chords of the 1950s: Carl and Clause Fester, Jimmy Kyes, Floyd Buddy McRae and Ricky Edwards. Current members Tito Rivera (Bass), Al Mae Jr. (1st Tenor), Jim Malloy (Lead) and Richard Rivera (2nd Tenor) carry on the famous “Sh-Boom” harmonies of The Chords.
The Cosmic Jibaros have effectively changed the idea of a typical Latin rock band.
The band builds from Latin and Caribbean rhythms, Rock guitars and World music influences for a sound that’s both cross-cultural and highly danceable. There’s an irresistible pull of traditional Afro-Caribbean Beats, interplays between the congas and timbales mixed with urban elements in the deep drum and bass and effects-laden guitar work. These songs are laced with social and political overtones, and are sung primarily in Spanish by charismatic front man Ricardo Reyes. As a prelude to this summer’s Gathering of the Vibes music festival at Seaside Park in Bridgeport, these Vibes veterans will be getting the crowd in a celebratory spirit.
Yet to be announced, July 11’s performer will be an exciting addition to the Downtown Thursdays lineup.
Amy Lynn & The Gun Show
The vocal gymnastics Amy Lynn Zanetto can pull off in a mini-dress and stilettos would have Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and Mariah Carey on their feet by curtain call. As each of these women has done before her, Amy Lynn brings her own unique flair to the diva tradition, adding a quirky, down-to-earth humor to her front woman role that lands Amy Lynn and Gunshow in a league of their own. The Gunshow, lead by lovebirds, Amy & Alex, has a 60's soul, rock, blues sound marked by powerhouse singers and infectious horn licks as especially fertile ground on which to showcase their combined talents. Together and apart they have played all around the world gracing the stage with Duffy, St. Vincent, Lucy Woodward, Yo La Tengo, Spoon, The Radio City Orchestra and many more. After the performance, all concertgoers are invited by the sponsoring Bijou Theatre to their venue at 275 Fairfield Avenue for an after party celebrating downtown Bridgeport.
Pocket Full of Soul
Pocket Full of Soul is a tribute to funk, soul and R&B music. Started by Gene Zwicharowski, the band is influenced by the mighty Tower of Power and other great bands from that time period. Their show will take you back in time as you enjoy that funky groove of all your favorites by such great artists you can’t help but “get on up” and dance as we take you to “bump city.”
Cricket Tell the Weather
Based in the northeast, Cricket Tell the Weather is an acoustic string band featuring adventurous songwriting and authentic interpretations of the bluegrass and old-time repertoire, with tight vocal harmonies and impressive instrumental chops to boot. In 2011, fiddler Andrea Asprelli and guitarist Jason Borisoff were awarded first place in the Podunk Bluegrass Songwriting Competition for their co-written song “Remington”, a story of industrial collapse set to progressive acoustic textures. They have since received a Mayor’s Grant from the Bridgeport Arts & Cultural Council for the song’s recording and archival in the Bridgeport Public Library.
Ada was born in Moscow and immigrated to the United States at the age of six. Classically trained on the Violin, she won numerous competitions and awards, and in 2007 Ada was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. After experiencing a breakup with her first love, Ada wrote her first song. The next day she wrote her second song and ever since songs have come very naturally to her. Ada plays the violin not only as a melodic instrument but also as a chordal instrument, accompanying herself while singing by strumming the violin like a guitar. Ada has recorded and performed with artists such as Wyclef Jean, Mark O’Connor and Ron Carter.
Connecticut Free Shakespeare
Downtown Thursdays is very excited to host Connecticut Free Shakespeare’s summer show directed by Ellen Lieberman. CT Free Shakespeare (CFS) will be performing at McLevy Green in Downtown Bridgeport for five nights beginning Wednesday, August 7 through Sunday, August 11. All shows begin at 8 p.m.
American Idol® Live! and Webster Bank Arena present Karaoke Talent Night
This week at Downtown Thursdays, you take the stage! American Idol® Live! and Webster Bank Arena are hosting a talent night for local stars in a karaoke competition. Pride and prizes are on the line! Applications for performers will be available soon at local music venues and on www.downtownthursdays.com.
Afinke (correctly spelled “afinque”) is a traditional Spanish slang word utilized by many musicians to indicate a musical group that plays together as a team. The 9-piece Latin band is comprised of seasoned veterans of the musical field who after touring with many notables decided to come together to share their talents of entertaining audiences and educating them about this musical genre. Afinke’s diverse repertoire includes styles typical to many Latin American countries including: salsa, merengue, cumbia, boleros, plena, latin jazz, among others. Orquesta Afinke is led by Tito Planas and Samuel Diaz Jr., two Bridgeport educators who have had the pleasure to share the stage with many well known artists of the Latin music field.
Dancing. Robots. Whips. It's all fair game for Lovewhip, the Jamaica Plain, MA-based electro group who whip up furiously infectious dance songs for those who love to get on the dancefloor. "Lovewhip may be our answer to Prince, except it's a funky, electro-jam with a female guitar-slinging mastermind" says Cheap Thrills Boston. Playing a party-starting mix of original disco, rock, dance-pop, reggae and Afrobeat, the energy and presence of Lovewhip's live shows is infectious. Lovewhip combines the best of world and reggae dance rhythms with 80's synth and electro beats, creating what The Boston Herald describes as an "irresistible party soundtrack!" Think B-52's, Talking Heads, MIA, Blondie, and Gwen Stefani all rolled into one. Playing over 1,500 shows throughout the US, Lovewhip has opened for such national acts as the B-52's, the Scissor Sisters, the Tom Tom Club, and Third World.