An Indie Music Festival – The Provincetown Independent
For this edition of the Indie Playlist, contributors were asked to write about the songs and artists they would bring to a summer music festival in the Outer Cape. The new guy blew our budget for the first bunch, but Ryan Fitzgerald’s only costs a Ouija board. Listen on tinyurl.com/tzk4fe5f.
Red Hot Chili Peppers performing ‘Aquatic Mouth Dance’ (2022)
The Red Hot Chili Peppers don’t have a great track record with music festivals. A fiery end to their finale at Woodstock ’99 and a wrongful death lawsuit from a 2017 show could reflect their punk rock beginnings. But the band members are now old enough to retire from their well-funded Roth IRAs, so it makes sense that they’ve mellowed into their new album. Unlimited love.
I think we can trust this version of the funk-packed, muddled-lyrical RHCP at our upcoming Outer Cape Festival.
On “Aquatic Mouth Dance,” bassist Flea takes center stage with his octave, string-hopping funk line. The welcome presence of John Frusciante, who joined the band in 2019 after a 10-year hiatus, has helped the band rediscover their chart-topping sounds from previous albums. Californication and Arcadium Stadium.
Frontman Anthony Kiedis moans in a rhyming stream of consciousness that never fully explains the meaning of a “watery mouth dance,” but audiences should expect a frenzied live spectacle nonetheless. At the end of the summer, the four members of the group will undoubtedly appear on stage dancing shirtless. Raised on beachside performance, the RHCP can scramble a different ocean with the full range swinging next to each other again. —Thomas Lyons
Certificate of return
Pat Benatar performing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” (1980)
Cape Cod radio stations are stuck in the 80s. And I’m not complaining. My roommate swears she heard Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” three times on the same station in one day. It’s since found its way back into our Spotify rotations, and I think it’s only fitting that Pat Benatar joins the lineup at an Outer Cape music festival.
I heard the first electric guitar staccato chords of Benatar’s 1980 hit (pun intended) while playing Guitar Hero with my cousins early in the last decade. It was the easiest song in the game, and the only one I could follow from a distance (I may have played guitar at the time, but hand-eye coordination wasn’t my strong point) . Growling along with “you’re such a badass…” makes me feel as powerful as Pat watches him with his arms thrown back on stage, microphone in hand, vulnerable to anyone’s best shot. —Dwight Abbey
Fine Wine Act
Irma Thomas performing ‘Please Don’t Mess With My Man’ (1959) and ‘It’s Raining’ (1961)
I first heard Irma Thomas sing on September 24, 1983 at Pontchartrain Beach in New Orleans, and I was hooked. I remember with particular fondness his New Orleans nightclub, the Lion’s Den. A sprinkling of whites came to the club, but it was unmistakably black space. I was welcome, but I clearly felt my outsider status. It was wonderful.
Years later, I took my husband, Christopher, there to test his mettle. The club was small, and from our top we were close enough to Mrs. Irma that we could have touched her. Between sets, she served red beans and rice to patrons in the back of the club, which says a lot about the kind of host she was.
It’s all gone now. Pontchartrain beach closed in 1983 and the lion’s den was swept away by Katrina. But Ms. Irma still sings and still reigns as New Orleans’ queen of soul. Revered in the city, many people – myself included – think she sings better than ever. At 81, her voice is mature, slightly deeper and richer than in decades past; yet it suffered no loss of range, pitch or nuance.
Choosing one of his songs is like admitting to loving one child more than the others. So, I’ll pick two: Released in 1959 as its debut single, “Please Don’t Mess With My Man” is a funny and raunchy R&B anthem. And “It’s Raining” is a regional classic, an iconic example of New Orleans R&B-soul credited to Naomi Neville and produced by Allen Toussaint in 1961. Ms. Irma’s reflective, plaintive voice rises and falls in counterpoint to the piano and backup voices as she sings of love and heartbreak with dignity and sorrow. —Edouard Fontenot
Act from another world
John Denver performing “Rocky Mountain High” (1972)
I’ve never been to the Rockies, but I feel like I’m there every time I hear this song. It might not be the beach theme an Outer Cape music festival is looking for, but it’s what I want to hear. The song itself is about the beauty of nature: Denver is about sitting around a campfire with friends and appreciating the natural beauty around them.
As for the elephant in the room, most people under 30 don’t know that John Denver has been dead for 25 years. His name will make this festival pop.
Denver has a strong, unique vocal that runs through the entire song, pairing perfectly with the laid-back strumming of his guitar. The famous titular chorus line will sound somewhat subdued, of course, when we launch Ed Miller on stage with a guitar and a Warhol wig.
Whether you attend a concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado or an imaginary music festival played by the ghost of John Denver on the Outer Cape, enjoy the nature around you. —Ryan Fitzgerald
act of escape
beabadoobee performing ‘Talk’ (2022)
I’d like to see someone play a short set at the back of the Old Reliable Fish House with the audience members sitting on the old pier pilings facing the building. Of course, in the real world, this building has a lot of baggage. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an imaginary music festival where we could dodge that for a moment?
“Why do you have to be so complicated?” is precisely the question that 21-year-old beabadoobee asks himself in “Talk”, his new pop-rock single earworm. Even as I write this, I don’t know why I love the song so much, but I’m not going to complicate things. I just know she would put on a great show at the Old Reliable Stage. —Cam Blair