Don’t forget about our day six video recap!
Day five may have been about the kids at Outside The Box, but day six was about BOSTON – from the kick-off of the Fork Lift Food Fest featuring Boston-area restaurants and chefs, to the Boston-centric music lineup at City Hall Plaza, to Boston-based dance and theater companies on the Common.
And while every day of Outside The Box has featured local talent, the best our city has to offer was on prominent display yesterday. It kicked off a little early with Lowell’s The Tall Boys and their fun funk-rock at 11:00am on City Hall Plaza. (By the way, everything will be starting at 11:00am on the Plaza from now until Sunday, so if you’re reading this right now, you’re already late – get over there!)
We here at Outside The Box love to eat (who doesn’t?!) and believe that the culinary arts are just as much a part of our vibrant arts scene as the performing arts. Local eateries were already set up and ready to go for the lunch crowd that soon swarmed the Plaza. Aquitaine Bar & Vin Bistrot, Aura at Seaport Hotel, Davios, and the Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel (among many others) sold small plates of their excellent dishes for tasting tickets, which you can purchase onsite. Each dish usually costs between 3-5 tickets, and since tickets are only $1 each, it’s a great way to try some high-end restaurants for only $3-5! And not just high-end – hello, Boston Shuckin’ Truck and Shake Shack, we’re talking about you.
James Beard Award winning chef Jody Adams (Rialto/TRADE) took the stage at City Hall Plaza with a surprise guest sous chef – Chef Gordon Hamersley (Hamersley’s Bistro) – for the first educational cooking demonstration of the day. Homemade pasta with scallops? Yes, please! Important demo takeaways: let your pasta rest before cooking, and introduce fitness into your cooking. Says Adams, “When you’re kneading [your pasta dough] stand in your Pilates stance and work your core back and forth.” Good way to preemptively burn off that delicious pasta, perhaps?
Next up at the Plaza was Berklee graduate and Boston’s own Shea Rose, winner of the 2012 Boston Music Award for Artist of the Year, Pop/R&B and the SESAC Award for collaboration on Grammy Winning Jazz Album The Mosaic Project. Shea brought her next-level hip hop/rock/funk/R&B to the plaza; singing about diversity and acceptance, she completely “danced this mess around” while performing, well, “D.T.M.A.” and other hits. And it’s worth noting that her D.T.M.A. (Dance This Mess Around) EP was successfully funded via Kickstarter. You may have also caught her last Saturday at the opening night ceremony performing with ROTU, or judging the Outside The Box A Cappella Contest on Monday!
Meanwhile, over at the Common, Jo-Mé Dance Company hit the Park Street Stage with an emotionally charged performance that combined modern and traditional moves. Founded in 2011 by Joe Gonzalez and May-Lisa Chandler, Jo-Mé believes that dance is one of the most powerful ways to connect and communicate with an audience. A piece set to an interview with May-Lisa in which she talks about her background and her family was especially powerful; in it, she says her mother told her to “…find a place. And I found a place. And here I am.” If that doesn’t speak to you, whether you’re an artist or not, then we don’t know what does.
Back at City Hall Plaza, Chef Gordon Hamersley was done with his sous chef duties, and took the stage to demo lobster salad with his OWN special guest sous chef – Jody Adams! The duo signed books for eager audience members afterwards at the book tent right next to the demo stage.
WERS local faves Bearstronaut rocked the plaza with their super upbeat electro “tank top pop” – think Hot Chip meets retro pop/funk meets ‘80s vocals (someone in the crowd likened singer Dave Martineau to “that guy from Spandau Ballet”). Playing tunes from their latest EP Paradice (Vanya Records) like “Painted in the Dark” while dedicating hit “Moniker” to “all the ladies at Outside The Box today – we wrote this for you!”, they kept the hot, sweaty dance party going their entire set.
Chef Roger Berkowitz of Legal Seafood empire gave one of the most instructive demos of the day, with a history lesson on the Legal legacy and tips on the best way to cook lobster at home: in the microwave! Yep, you heard the man – the microwave cooks from the inside out, allowing the lobster to hold in all its delicious juices. Just five minutes per pound and you can make your own lobster rolls, like Berkowitz did for the audience.
Over at the Park Street Stage on the Common, Worchester group Nemes brought their unique rock/folk to a dancing audience, with new songs like “Whiskey” and a unique violin-heavy cover of Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven.” Singer Dave Anthony even gave out his phone number onstage so people could call him after the show – at least, we think it was his phone number…call us back, Dave?
Just off their Northside Festival performance in Brooklyn and First Fridays’ Surfin’ USA at the ICA, Allston band Abadabad’s quirky, jangly retro-reverb rock cooled down the afternoon with tracks like “Will She Remember Me” and “Take It Slow.” They made us want to stretch out on a blanket and soak up the sun – well, if we wouldn’t have gotten cooked like an egg. Keep your eye on these guys – they’d be equally comfortable opening for bands like Black Lips OR The Beach Boys!
On the Beacon Stage, things were just getting started in preparation for an Americana/country-heavy bill that, in the spirit of Outside The Box, would be a true collaboration. 2013 NEMA nominee McAlister Drive (described as rock for people who like folk, soul, blues and pop – we think that’s particularly accurate!) was first up with a set of Americana tunes and a surprisingly hard-rocking cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” that got the crowd cheering and on their feet.
Grammy winning country artist Bryan White then took the stage for a brief set that included a guest spot from amazing local singer and winner of OTB’s Opening Singing Competition (which Bryan judged – you see how this collaboration thing works here?) Kristen Merlin performing her own original song “Confusion.” McAlister Drive later joined Bryan and kicked it up a notch with classic country anthem “Sweet Home Alabama” and Bob Dylan’s “Rock Me Mama.”
As Outside The Box’s managing director said, “How do we cram over 100 number one country hits into an hour time slot?” Why, by booking the Frontmen of Country Music, of course! Singers Randy Owen (Alabama), Tim Rushlow (Little Texas) and Larry Stewart (Restless Heart) pulled out the big guns for the audience crowded on the lawn, running through a set of huge hits like the opening trio of classics “Tennessee River” (Alabama), “Amy’s Back In Austin” (Little Texas) and “Why Does It Have To Be [Wrong Or Right).” Randy touched the audience with his heartfelt stories about paying respect to our troops, as well as his first public confession that he is now cancer-free (congratulations, Randy!), while encouraging everyone to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which provides care free of charge to children with life-threatening illnesses.
Little Texas is releasing an album for the first time in nine years, so Tim played the audience a new song he’s considering recording in the hopes of getting a little good old-fashioned feedback. “Pick it or flick it, smash or trash!” he said, before launching into an un-named tune that we’d guess is titled “What I’m For.” After rousing support from the crowd, he announced, “It’s going on the album!” So Boston, you just chose another (hopefully) number one single! The Frontmen closed out with Alabama’s “Mountain Music,” welcoming McAlister Drive fiddle player Laura onto the stage for a song that got everyone on their feet.
But the party wasn’t over yet! At City Hall Plaza, David Wax Museum and Gentlemen Hall were just getting started. The first band fuses traditional Mexican folk with American roots and indie rock, while the latter (fresh off a two week tour of the west coast – welcome home, guys!) walk the line between the anthemic choruses of the Killers and the retro synth melodies of MGMT, with a dash of wild-man flutist antics thrown in for good measure.
And if that wasn’t wild enough for you, Boston’s Liars & Believers were performing their version of Icarus over at the Spiegeltent, featuring the sideshow madness of Minnie’s Menagerie and genius Daedalus, his son Icarus and his love for Minnie’s daughter, the beautiful Passionate Penny. Puppets, burlesque, and machinations – oh my!
Come get crazy (from the heat) with us today, and find out if it’s true that chefs are the new rock stars at the Fork Lift Food Fest at City Hall Plaza. And don’t forget about the amazing performances by Boston acts like the Lemonheads, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Buffalo Tom coming up tomorrow on the Common. See you there, Boston!