The Beat Goes On: Rock rules on Oct. 22, while jazz, Americana, and classical music are also on the way

  • Indie/punk rockers Titus Andronicus play Race Street Live in Holyoke Oct. 22. The band has just released a new album, “The Will to Live.” Image from Facebook

  • Brother and sister rockers (and Harvard grads) Jocelyn & Chris bring their retro-rock sound to The Parlor Room in Northampton. Signature Sounds website

  • Amherst ska-flavored band Crash the Owl Party will be at the Drake in Amherst Oct. 22, one of three bands at the club that night. Image from the Drake website


  • Americana singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault will join with some musical friends for an Oct. 15 show at The Parlor Room. Image from Signature Sounds website

  • The power of 22 strings: Peter Blanchette, right, and Mané Larregla will play matching archguitars on Oct. 14 at the Drake. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/ANNA WEBBER

  • Alfredo Rodríguez (piano) and Pedrito Martinez (percussion) bring their Afro-Cuban jazz to Bowker Auditorium at UMass Amherst Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Image from UMass Fine Arts Center website

  • Legendary and iconoclastic singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman comes to Northampton’s Academy of Music Oct. 21. Gazette file photo

Staff Writer
Monday, October 17, 2022

Pete Townshend of The Who once described his 1972 song “Long Live Rock” as one of many “self-conscious hymns” written about the glory of rock and roll, though there was a nice bit of self-deprecating humor in his tune that made it fun.

Now, in an area where singer-songwriters and Americana-flavored groups often hold court, a number of bands are converging to offer a fresh dose of the “Long Live Rock” spirit. However, they’re all appearing on the same night, Oct. 22, so rock fans will have some tough choices to make.

Titus Andronicus, which takes its name from Shakespeare, comes to Race Street Live in Holyoke at 8 p.m., and the New Jersey indie/punk band will bring along songs from a just-released album, “The Will To Live” — songs that explore personal loss, fears of climate apocalypse, general alienation and more.

Consider the opening cut, “My Mother Is Going to Kill Me,” which includes the line “Single mother/Deadbeat dad/Bastard baby/Boy gone bad.” Or how about the band’s new single, “(I’m) Screwed,” on which lead singer/guitarist Patrick Stickles sings“I find myself surrounded by wild-eyed men/I strike one down, two of them rise again.”

Yet “The Will To Live” isn’t all Sturm und Drang, Pitchfork says, noting that by the end of the album, “the torment of the first and second acts gives way fully to hard-won serenity … It’s a rollicking good time and their best record in years.”

Jocelyn & Chris, who come The Parlor Room in Northampton at 7 p.m. on Oct. 22, are sister and brother rockers who first started seriously gigging when they were students at Harvard (singer Jocelyn Arndt is class of 2017, guitarist Chris Arndt class of 2018).

Now the two, with some backing members, are channeling a host of retro influences in their original rock, and Jocelyn Arndt, with her long, straight hair and powerful vocals, could easily pass for a late 1960s/early to mid -’70s singer: think Grace Slick, Michelle Phillips or Ann Wilson.

They’ve already had a number of radio hits with songs such as “Sugar and Spice,” appeared on NBC’s Today Show, and been featured in the Huffington Post, Paste, and The Daily Beast, among other publications.

“Think rock is dead?” their tagline reads. “Meet Jocelyn & Chris. Two analog souls hell-bent on inciting a new rock revival.”

Young Greenfield singer-songwriter Wallace Field opens the show.

Rounding out the Oct. 22 rock-fest are three bands appearing at the Drake in Amherst beginning at 8 p.m. Amherst-based Crash the Owl Party, which specializes in ska, punk and funk, will release a new EP. Indie rockers My Friend Tony are also based in Amherst, while the hardcore band Fracture Type hails from Boston.


The Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble, the Valley chamber chorus, formed in 2013 with the goal of bringing professional and skilled part-time singers together to perform a variety of choral pieces from all periods.

Earlier this year, the group’s founding artistic director, Tony Thorton — he also directed choral studies at UMass Amherst — left the area for a position at Oklahoma State University. So now the Illuminati Ensemble has begun its new season under interim Director Arianne Abela.

For the group’s first concert, on Oct. 15 at Our Lady of the Valley parish in Easthampton, Abela will conduct performances of music by Bach, Victoria and Monteverdi beginning at 7:30 p.m. For Abela, it’s another gig in a busy schedule that includes her work as director of choral programs at Amherst College.

A 2008 graduate of Smith College, Abela also directs the Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, a chamber group that celebrates racial, ethnic and gender diversity. She founded a women’s chorus in Detroit, has appeared on “America’s Got Talent” with another group she directs, 3Penny Chorus, and she’s a singer herself.

As she told the Gazette a few years ago, she got involved in music at Smith with the encouragement of the then-assistant director of choral activities, Deanna Joseph, and others in the Smith music department, as well as singers in the Valley.

Due to a congenital condition, Abela is missing several fingers and has a prosthetic left leg, which she said initially made her hesitant about performing, and especially conducting; she had originally planned on majoring in government at Smith.

But the support she received at the college and in the Valley helped her overcome her insecurities, she said, and she went on to get a masters and doctorate in conducting.

Her time at Smith “was so life-changing for me because it showed me the power of community and coming together through music,” Abela said. 

Tickets for the Oct. 15 Illuminati Ensemble concert, “In Illo Tempore” (At That Time), range from $11.50 to $21.50 and can be purchased in advance at illuminatiensemble.org.


The Parlor Room will host a number of singer-songwriters over the next 10 days, including local hero Jeffrey Foucault, who plays Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. alongside his friends Jim Fitting and Dave Champagne; the latter are former members of the iconic 1980s bluesy Boston band Treat Her Right (THR).

On his website, Foucault calls this ad-hoc grouping “Smokestack Lightning” and says the show will be in part a recognition of the late drummer Billy Conway, a THR member who played with many other musicians over the years.

“Jimmy, Dave and I got together on stage at a memorial for Billy back in June, and hearing them light it up was like having a direct pipeline to the first music I ever loved,” Foucault says. “We’re going to get up (at The Parlor Room) and put on a clinic.”

More music on tap

The Valley’s Peter Blanchette, inventor of the 11-string archguitar, will perform the music of Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, John Dowland and more with his friend Mané Larregla Oct. 14 (tonight) at the Drake at 7 p.m.

The Reggie Nicholson Brass Concept will play the Community Music School of Springfield on Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares program.

Soulful singer-songwriter Pamela Means will be at the Wendell Meetinghouse on Oct. 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. to present “The Power of the Protest Song,” a mix of music and discussion about the history of protest songs.

The Afro-Cuban jazz duo of Alfredo Rodríguez (piano) and Pedrito Martinez (drums and percussion) comes to Bowker Auditorium at UMass Amherst on Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. It’s part of the university’s Fine Arts Center 2022-2023 performance series.

Legendary songwriter Jonathan Richman, now into this eighth decade (he was born in 1951) comes to Northampton’s Academy of Music on Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. He’ll be backed by drummer Tommy Larkins.

Valley multi-instrumentalist Chris Devine and his band will offer a tribute to British rock giants Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull in the show “Minstrels In The Gallery,” on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.