EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 6, 2007

Sounds of summer: 10 places to check out concerts North of Boston

By Rebecca Schoonmaker , Staff writer

Summer is the ultimate concert season - it's sunny, it's warm, it's light out late. But as you're thinking about all the shows you want to see this summer, you may start to realize that going to a concert can be a costly, time-consuming endeavor.

This summer, save some cash and some time by checking out a concert that's local. There are a slew of venues in the region offering summer lineups including big names as well as up-and-comers. Here's a look at 10 North of Boston spots to see live music this summer.

Tupelo Music Hall

Location: 2 Young Road, Londonderry, N.H.

The lowdown: The Tupelo's lineup is mainly folk music, including traditional and contemporary artists. The venue has an intimate setting with table seating and food available.

Summer highlights: Charlie Farren on Saturday, May 19; Rickie Lee Jones on Thursday, June 21; Johnny A on Friday, June 29; Johnny Winter on Friday, Aug. 24 and Saturday, Aug. 25.

Bonus: Tickets to most shows are $20.

For more: Call 603-437-5100 or visit www.tupelohall.com.

The Music Hall

Location: 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, N.H.

The lowdown: The Music Hall's "Intimately Yours" concert series offers audiences an up-close listen in a historic hall. The venue, built in 1878, is the oldest theater in New Hampshire. Recent performers include everyone from Ziggy Marley to up-and-coming country/pop artist Brandi Carlile.

Summer highlights: Tony winner Patti LuPone performs on Friday, May 18; and Dr. John on Sunday, May 20.

For more: Call 603-436-2400 or visit www.themusichall.org.

Firehouse Center for the Arts

Location: 1 Market Square, Newburyport

The lowdown: The Firehouse brings folk, rock, and pop artists from around the region to a historic waterfront theater in downtown Newburyport.

Summer highlights: Classical guitarist Brad Richter performs on Wednesday May 9; country, pop, and jazz singer Meg Rayne on Tuesday, May 15; pop/country singer/songwriter Maia Sharp, who's written songs for Bonnie Raitt, performs on Sunday, June 3.

For more: Call 978-462-7336 or visit www.firehouse.org.

North Shore Music Theatre

Location: 62 Dunham Road, Beverly

The lowdown: The music theater's summer concert series offers audiences a variety of acts, from R&B; to rock to pop to country with some old favorites thrown in. And the round stage means you'll have a good view of the artists no matter where you're sitting.

Summer highlights: The Charlie Daniels Band on Thursday, June 21; En Vogue on Saturday, Aug. 4; Smokey Robinson on Monday, Aug. 6; Weird Al on Saturday, Aug. 11; and Eddie Money on Sunday, Aug. 12.

Bonus: There is plenty of free parking. Premium parking is also available for $10.

For more: Call 978-232-7200 or visit www.nsmt.org.

Stone Church

Location: 5 Granite St., Newmarket, N.H.

The lowdown: It's been a meetinghouse, a Catholic church, a skating rink, and a shoe-assembly plant; now, the Stone Church is a venue for live music that hosts local talent and has featured some big names like Phish and Joan Osbourne.

Summer highlights: Entrain on Saturday, May 12; Shawn Mullins on Wednesday, May 16; The Sam Kininger Band on Friday, June 15.

For more: Call 603-659-6321 or visit www.thestonechurch.com.

Lowell Summer Music Series, Boarding House Park

Location: 40 French St., Lowell

The lowdown: Every weekend from June 29 through Sept. 8, Lowell hosts outdoor summer concerts in Boarding House Park. Hear a little of everything - rock, country, jazz, zydeco, pop, and more. And see some notable artists; this isn't your typical summer series.

Summer highlights: 10,000 Maniacs and Milagro Saints on Saturday, July 7; Don McLean on Saturday, July 14, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on Thursday, Aug. 16; The Indigo Girls and Melissa Ferrick on Friday, Aug. 17; Bela Fleck and the Flecktones on Friday, Aug. 31.

Bonus: Get a season pass for $210; that's admission to two dozen concerts.

For more: Call 978-275-1783 or visit www.lowellsummermusic.org.

Seashell Stage

Location: Hampton Beach, N.H.

The lowdown: The shell-shaped stage hosts live music right on the beach from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. The concerts are free and you can come and go as you please as you're walking the beach.

Summer highlights: The schedule is being finalized and is expected to be set this week, but expect to see around 80 acts perform during the season.

Bonus: See fireworks on Wednesdays after the performances.

For more: Call the Hampton Beach Village District, 603-926-8717, or visit www.hamptonbeach.org.

Somerville Theatre

Location: 55 Davis Square, Somerville

The lowdown: Built in the early 1900s, the theater hosts mostly film screenings but offers the occasional concert as well in vaudeville-style theater setting.

Summer highlights: Wailin' Jennys and Kris Delmhorst with Anais Mitchell on Sunday, May 13; Cowboy Junkies on Wednesday, May 16; French artist Keren Ann on Saturday, June 2.

Bonus: Volunteer as an usher and see the show for free.

For more: Call 617-625-5700 or visit www.somervilletheatreonline.com.

Factory Jazz Project

Location: The Stage, 60 Island St., Lawrence

The lowdown: A group of Boston-area jazz musicians gather to perform in listening concerts throughout the summer in a series of free shows at The Stage in an effort to spread the word about jazz music.

Summer highlights: Regular performers include John Lockwood, Osmany Paredes, Charlie Kohlhase and Bruce Ferrara.

For more: Visit www.bruceferrara.com.

The Sad Cafe

Location: 148 Plaistow Road, Plaistow, N.H.

The lowdown: No tears - the Sad Cafe is an outlet for music and the arts offering local acts to gain some exposure. Rock bands from all over New England and beyond play at the cafe. And tickets to most shows are $8.

Summer highlights: Lowell ska band In The Face on Saturday, May 12, Haverhill funk band King Clam on Friday, May 25

For more: Call 603-382-8893 or visit www.thesadcafe.com.