It’s that time of year around these parts, and by that I don’t mean mosquito, black fly, tick, or mud season. Well, OK…That doesn’t mean that we haven’t been experiencing those particular joys of New England, it’s just that we’re not exactly in the habit of celebrating them. Though now that I say that, this last winter was so long and nasty that it would not have been surprising to see folks flinging themselves in the mud naked on May Day.
Instead of filthy nudist mud-bathing, we like to partake in an event called The Thing In The Spring. It’s four days of music, readings, art, and general hijinx on the street. We have had musicians playing on rooftops, mini-parades, performance art, kissing booths (which I’m not sure anybody has actually paid for), and all manner of music from delicate and heart-rending folk to free jazz to mind-melting hardcore.
The masterminds behind this event have had tremendous success in growing it lineup over the years. Originally populated with mostly local acts, the roster from recent years has contained names like J. Mascis, Joe McPhee, Peter Brotzmann, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, and Mark Kozelek. This year we have Simone Felice, Bill Orcutt and Chris Corsano, Nat Baldwin (Dirty Projectors), and Sunday’s headliners Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte. I don’t even know what I’m more excited about, the storytelling of Felice, the athleticism of Hunter and Previte, Baldwin’s torch songs, or Orcutt and Corsano’s violent density.
The great thing about all of this isn’t necessarily just the lineup (though that doesn’t hurt). It’s more that there’s a tremendous feeling of a community coming together. The energy at the Saturday art show — named “Broke” because price tags don’t exceed fifty dollars — creates a buzz that infuses the rest of the weekend.
This year the word is that the weather for the weekend is supposed to be beautiful. Honestly, it could rain and it wouldn’t dampen our spirits. It’s been a long winter, bring on The Thing!