Apparently, the writers of The Simpsons don’t think upstate New York is a fun place to visit.
Fortunately, the organizers of The Levitt AMP Utica Music Series have a different view.
For the fourth year in a row, Utica has been awarded a nationwide competitive grant that will enable local music fans to enjoy free concerts every Monday in the beautiful park setting at Kopernik Park in the Oneida Square district.
This music series has become well-known for its diversity of musical styles, and this year will be no different.
Kicking off the series on June 24 will be The Claudettes from Chicago, fusing Windy City piano blues with rockabilly, jazz and ’60s pop-soul. The Fabulous Mojos will open the show.
On July 1, world music comes to the Levitt AMP stage in the person of Ghana-born drummer and composer Paa Kow, who travels the world presenting his Afro-fusion blend of pop, jazz, and blues. Opening the show will be Annie in the Water.
Sons of Mystro – a pair of classically trained violin virtuoso brothers – bring their amalgam of reggae and American pop to Kopernik Park on July 8. Local violin/mandolin duo Nick and Jay will start off the night.
Winners of New England Music Awards for “Band of the Year” and “Album of the Year,” the Adam Ezra Group takes center stage on July 15, bringing their passionate, high-energy roots/rock show. The opener for this week will be The POORtIM Band.
The journey continues on July 22 with the funk styling of Jamil Rashad, a/k/a Boulevards from Raleigh, North Carolina, seamlessly delivering cheeky, party-themed jams that range from raw to soulful. The opening set will feature Lillie Ruth, who wowed the Kopernik Park audience last year as an intermission act.
The July 29 headliner, wunderkind Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, has built a reputation as a fiery guitar gunslinger at the ripe old age of 16, sharing the stage with such artists as the Allman Brothers Band, Buddy Guy, Stevie Nicks and Lady Gaga. Opening for Taz is local classic rockers Mersey Side 5.
August 5 will feature Grammy-winners Rebirth Brass Band, combining traditional New Orleans brass band music with funk, jazz, soul and hip hop. D’Funk’D will open the concert.
Brooklyn’s Kaleta & Super Yamba Band will present their afro-funk show on August 12, following a set by the Ladies of Soul – Zainep “Zz” Abdelaal, Astena Smith and Tracy Bowens along with Grady Faulkner.
August 19 will offer up-and-coming country singer Angela Meyer, with Grit N Grace getting things underway.
Closing out the series on August 26 will be La Misa Negra, delivering infectious dance grooves and punk rock energy. Opening will be Grupo Pagan.
All of these 6 to 9 p.m. concerts are free. Rain site will be at MWPAI.
Mark Sisti is an experienced performer who writes about local music for the Observer-Dispatch. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.