Bang + Train + Shrek = Varied Berkshire Pops Week
This is the weekend that Bang on a Can, the pioneering new-music collaborative from New York City, brings its imagination to Mass MoCA. Meanwhile, Train makes a stop at Tanglewood, and the musical "Shrek" bounds joyfully into Pittsfield.
Since 1987, Bang on a Can, the New York collaborative, has offered its followers all manner of cutting-edge contemporary music. Since 2002, Mass MoCA, itself a cutting edge museum and events venue, has been a Bang summer home. This weekend, Aug. 2-4, the group ups the ante. The weekend is dubbed "LOUD," and its schedule includes the Sun Ra Arkestra, Philip Glass's "Dracula" with film, Brian Eno's "Discreet Music" and performances of works by founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. The full schedule is on the Mass MoCA website.
Tonight, Wednesday, July 31, at Ozawa Hall, is a chance to hear American baritone Thomas Hampson dip into the American Songbook, a change from his usual classical duties. Hampson, pianist Lara Downes and the Beyond Liberty Players perform "Songs of America: Beyond Liberty," described by Tanglewood as an exploration "with personal anecdotes and readings" of the "influential people and monumental events that helped create and define ‘the land of the free."
On Monday, Aug. 5, the rock band Train rumbles into the Shed, along with another big group, the Goo Goo Dolls, for the latest Tanglewood pops special. Train, on the go for 25 years, has put the Berkshires on its timetable — this is its fifth appearance here. For the Goo Goo Dolls, it's a debut. For info and tickets, go online.
Berkshire Theatre Group
The green monster hero Shrek takes up residence at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield starting Thursday, Aug. 1. “Shrek the Musical,” a Tony Award-winning fairy tale, is based on the animated film. The cast features a donkey, a princess, and 100 Berkshire young people. Music is by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. It will run through Aug. 17. Tickets and info are online.
One of the best of the Beatles tribute bands comes to Great Barrington on Friday, Aug. 2: the Fab Faux. It will be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of "Abbey Road," the final studio album released by the original Fab Four.
On Saturday, Aug. 3, Sweet Honey in the Rock is the featured attraction at the Mahaiwe. The a capella group has been devoted for decades to African American socially conscious music.
On Tuesday, Aug. 6, Natalie Merchant, the solo singer-songwriter who began her career as lead singer for 10,000 Maniacs, is at the Mahaiwe but as of this writing, the hall is sold out.
For more info and tickets, check out the website.
The Old Trinity Church is the setting for the Guthrie's Troubadour series, which features the folk duo Ryanhood, made up of Cameron Hood and Ryan Green. This acoustic duo reminds some of the work of Dan Fogelberg and Simon & Garfunkel.
Don White performs Saturday, Aug. 3. He is a singer-songwriter who is also funny, says a reviewer at the Boston Globe. This appearance will be filmed for use in a future mini documentary. Find more info and tickets online.
The Ted Shawn Theatre at the Pillow from Wednesday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 4, will be occupied by a first-timer here, Kyle Abraham, a MacArthur "genius" fellow and Pillow Dance Award winner. His troupe A.I.M. offers a mixed repertory in a range of styles.
During the same period at the smaller Doris Duke Theatre, there's an amazing constellation of stars — cellist Maya Beiser, dancer Wendy Whelan, choreographer Lucinda Childs and composer David Lang. They collaborate on the world premiere of "The Day," a work exploring "life's journey and resilience through the shared language of music and dance," according to an announcement.
Wait, there's more!
Head for Bascom Lodge on Mt. Greylock tonight, Wednesday, July 31, at 6 p.m. for a free concert by Oakes & Smith.
This is the weekend for the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival at Dodd's Farm off Route 22 in Hillsdale, N.Y. Friday features a tribute to Pete Seeger at 100; Saturday a leading act is the Bo Deans and Sunday Michael Allman, son of Gregg, and his Mile High Band are featured performers. Info online.
Catch the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow this evening from 6 to 8 p.m. as part of the Trailside Music Series at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, the Massachusetts Audubon Society's lovely hangout. Check out the website for all the details.
Friday and Saturday evenings, as always, Music After Hours features a variety of artists at the Terrace at the Mount. Jazz guitarist Jason Ennis and Chilean vocalist Natalia Bernal play Friday. Jeanne Laurin and John Sauer present jazz standards on Saturday. More info online.
And on Saturday night at 8 p.m., jazz bassist Larry Grenadier is in residence at the West Stockbridge Historical Society. Check out the website.