LNT Page Banner_The SuffersUPDATEDLAAward-winning 8-piece band, The Suffers, kicked off the 2017 Levitt National Tour at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles last Saturday with an outstanding turnout coming from all walks of life. The Suffers performed an upbeat, groovy set enabling Levitteers to get on their feet and dance the night away to the sounds of Gulf Coast Soul. The fun continues tomorrow night when the next leg of the tour stops in Memphis at Levitt Shell, followed by Arlington, Texas this Saturday night at Levitt Pavilion Arlington. Here’s 5 fun facts about The Suffers:

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The first four minutes of Ben Sollee’s 2013 Tedx Talk is a spontaneous, collaborative jam session with just him and a drummer. What you see Sollee playing is indeed a conventional cello, but the sounds coming out of it are anything but. While singing about modern society, he stretches the instrument to its limits, creating a soundscape of languid strings and futuristic, percussive notes. Whatever shape or form the music takes, it is undeniably dazzling, virtuosic and intriguing. It gives one a glimpse of the innovative spirit of Ben Sollee, a multi-instrumentalist and composer who takes the Levitt AMP Berea stage in Kentucky tonight at 7:30pm.

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Sounds of Summer playlistSummer is well underway and there’s so much to love about this time of the year—the kids are out of school, the smell of bbq fills the air and free Levitt concerts are in full swing! As we return to the work week after the long festive weekend, we thought we’d keep the fun going strong with this mid-week “Sounds of Summer” playlist, featuring some of our favorite summer tunes. Enjoy! Continue reading

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Singer-songwriter Daphne Willis’ sincere and eclectic blend of soul, rock, electronic and pop has delighted music lovers across the nation—including the legendary John Oates, of Hall and Oates. This evening, this rising star will take the Levitt AMP Denison stage and treat audiences to the honest and infectious melodies that inspired Oates to approach her about co-writing a song together.

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Calling all small to mid-sized towns and cities across America: show us how you’ll transform an underused public space through the power of free, live music! Now in its fourth year, the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards is an exciting matching grant opportunity that supports impactful creative placemaking projects around the country.

Up to 15 nonprofits serving small to mid-sized towns and cities will receive $25K each in matching funds to produce their own Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series—an outdoor, free concert series featuring a diverse lineup of high caliber entertainment. And just like in previous years, the public will decide the Top 25 finalists through an online voting process taking place this November. So get ready to rally your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors to vote and bring free, live music to your community!

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Hailing from their hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, members of electronic rock band Kinky have consistently pushed the boundaries of the Mexican pop music scene, earning worldwide acclaim and a devoted fan base. Emerging from the underground Monterrey scene of the 1990s, Kinky members Gilberto Cerezo, Ulises Lozano, and Carlos Chairez brought their diverse musical backgrounds together to create their own eclectic sound, distinguishing themselves from mainstream pop, which at the time was dominated mostly by Mexican folk music. Drummer Omar Gongora and bassist Cesar Pliego later joined the band, turning the trio into a five-piece group. Kinky gained international recognition after performing at Latin Alternative Music Conference’s (LAMC) Battle of Bands in New York City in 2000. The musicians’ vibrant energy caught the attention of British producer Chris Allison (Coldplay, the Beta Band, Fila Brazilia), who went on to release the band’s self-titled debut album, Kinky (2002), on his Sonic360 label. The album received rave reviews and a Nissan Altima commercial spot, breaking them out of their underground desert music scene to reach international success.

Today, Kinky has continued to build its global following, and its music has been featured widely from commercials to the FIFA 2006 video game to TV shows such as Nip/Tuck, Gossip Girl and Dexter, to name a few. True to their experimental spirit, Kinky’s follow up albums reveal a thoughtful progression in the band’s style, as its members sought out fresh surroundings to nurture their ideas. For the production of its second release, Atlas (2003), Kinky traveled to an isolated ranch in Quitana Roo, Mexico, surrounded by nothing but wildlife and nature. The band finished up the rest of the album in the more urban environment of Los Angeles, cutting back on electronics and focusing on a more raw rock sound. Kinky recorded their third album, Reina (2006) in a Southern Californian mountain cabin. Their fourth and most recent album, Barracuda, was released in 2008 – lead singer Gil Cerezos describes it as “the dark side of Kinky.”

In almost 20 years since Kinky’s conception, the once underground group has infiltrated and challenged mainstream pop music; they’ve appeared on NPR’s Studio 4A, earned several MTV Music Award nominations and have worked with music greats such as producers Howie Weinberg (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, U2), Dust Brother John King (Beck, Rolling Stones, Beastie Boys) and Money Mark (Beastie Boys). Kinky’s palpable dynamism and drive attract fans to festivals and shows worldwide. Kinky’s innovative and evolving sound is difficult to label, and it’s clear the band intends to keep it that way.

 

Yesterday, more than 750 cities (and 120 countries!) filled the air with free, live music, in celebration of Make Music Day. This one-of-a-kind free annual festival is open to all people—regardless of their age, background or musical ability. As passionate supporters of free outdoor concerts across the country, many of which are happening now, we’re sharing a few of our favorite pics from yesterday’s global music-making event.

The festival can be traced back to 1982, when it was launched in France as the Fête de la Musique. Fun fact: In French, “Fête de la Musique” means both “festival of music” and “make music.” To date, almost 8 percent of France’s population (approximately 5 million people) have reportedly played an instrument or sang in public as part of Fête de la Musique.

Now an international phenomenon, amateur and professional musicians across the globe spend the first day of the annual summer solstice making free, live music with and for their communities.

Didn’t get a chance to celebrate yesterday? You’re in luck—making music is free and joyous activity we can enjoy all year ‘round!

  • West African Percussion group Umoja celebrating MakeMusicDay in Rochester, NY. Image courtesy of @makemusicroc.

Welcome to the first installment in a series of blog posts that delve into our recently published impact study, examining how creative placemaking builds social capital in communities, using permanent outdoor Levitt venues as case studies. This multi-year study and resulting white paper was led by Slover Linett Audience Research, and this afternoon President Sarah Lee is presenting the study’s key findings at the Americans for the Arts’ 2017 Annual Convention in San Francisco!

With next Tuesday marking the official first day of summer—a season when many people spend more time outside than other times of year—today we‘re focusing on the study’s findings in relation to being outside and in an open lawn setting. Based on hundreds of audience surveys and interviews in Memphis and Pasadena, each home to a permanent Levitt venue, a majority of people find being outdoors and in an open lawn setting “extremely satisfying” (see graph below). Continue reading

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Powerhouse vocalist Dana Fuchs brings her raspy blues-rock vocals to Levitt AMP Ocala tomorrow night. The edgy singer/songwriter is known and beloved for her electric stage presence and heartfelt, compelling albums, many of which are dedicated to late loved ones. Born in New Jersey and raised in Wildwood, Fla.—where she performed as a child in a Baptist Choir—Fuchs always knew she wanted to broaden her horizons and make the leap to The Big Apple. She made her dream a reality when she packed her bags and moved to New York City at 19 to pursue a singing career. It was there that she formed and fronted the soulful, rocking Dana Fuchs Band, which gained a reputation as one of the best blues acts in the city’s music scene.

Today, audiences might recognize this multitalented artist’s strong and distinctive voice from her leading roles in the off-Broadway tribute musical, Love, Janis, and the Golden Globe-nominated film, Across the Universe (2007). Continue reading

The 2017 Levitt concert season is finally upon us!

Concert season is by far our favorite time of the year here at Levitt. What better way to welcome in the summer season than by enjoying an evening of free, live music under the stars?

The sound of free Levitt concerts is already filling the air in nine communities across the country: Arlington, Texas; Bethlehem, Pa.; Denison, Texas, where veteran Levitt performer Brave Combo (the GRAMMY-winning mosh-pit polka band pictured above) delighted Levitt AMP Denison audiences last weekend; Greensboro, N.C.; Jacksonville, Ill.; Memphis, Tenn.Ocala, Fla.; Santa Fe, NM; and Stevens Point, Wis.

Get ready for the 2017 concert season at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles, which begins next Saturday, and stay tuned for more lineup announcements!