Don’t forget to check out our day four video recap!
Ok, so we won’t bore you with a full weather report today – let’s just say that despite the heat, so many of you made it out to experience another day of Outside The Box. Your support means the world to us!
Children came in droves for the active playtime that Knucklebones was offering up, featuring bouncy balls, a jungle gym, a maypole, basketball hoops, and various activities that even had the grown-ups joining in. Knucklebones is located by the Park Street Stage and will be here all week, so you have more chances to bring the kids (and sneak in a climb on that jungle gym).
The Spiegeltent has been a magical oasis since the start of Outside The Box, and on day four the magic continued – The Magic Fish, to be exact. The family-friendly physical comedy show about greed and devotion is based on the Grimm fairytale of “The Fisherman and His Wife.” It turned the Spiegeltent into a cool, breezy ocean, where fishes really WERE wishes…and slyly humorous, to boot.
Over on the Beacon Stage, the Jan & Dean Show (featuring Jan & Dean founder Dean Torrance, members of The Beach Boys, and members of the Brian Wilson band) got the crowd going with classic surf hits like “Little Surfer Girl”, “Do You Wanna Dance”, “California Girls”, and “Little Old Lady From Pasadena” (with Dean giving a shout-out to all the grandmas in the audience). Today at Outside The Box it was all about connection, with Dean leading an audience sing-along to “Help Me Rhonda”. A woman told us, “I’m on my way back to work, but I had to stop because I recognize all the songs! This is great!”
The Dunwells have a great audience connection too, with their sound that’s evolved into powerful rock a la Muse. Hailing from Leeds, singer and guitarist David Dunwell said, “It’s very English of me to keep talking about the weather, but it really is very hot!” before launching into new tunes like “This Time” and leading an audience sing-along to “So Beautiful.” We still can’t get that chorus out of our heads! People on their lunch hours, many of them solo, gathered in the shade to experience the luxury of checking out a live band – for free! – during the middle of the day. Music is truly a uniting force.
Children’s band Karen K & the Jitterbugs was also big on audience connection, joining the kids on the lawn after their performance for hugs. And it’s not just music that unites and connects with audiences - The Black-Jew Dialogues, while polar opposite of the very kid-friendly Karen K, was nevertheless an important performance for older children and adults. Emmy-award winner Ron Jones and veteran performer Larry Jay Tish took the audience on a hysterical and poignant ride through three days they spent together in a cheap hotel room discussing their own experiences, the history of their people, and why there has been a growing rift between the two groups since the early ’70s. Through their dialogue and a takeaway pamphlet, the audience gained insight to the true nature of prejudice and how our inability to face our own biases separate us in ways we may not even think about.
Winners of the New England Music Awards Hip Hop Act of the Year, The Urban Nerdz (“With a ‘Z’!” they encouraged the audience to yell) hit the Commonwealth Stage with a sound that’s sort of like Ghostface Killah backed by ‘80s ska-funk pioneers Fishbone. They played songs from their latest album La Naissance De Jezebel (“The Birth of Jezebel”), about a girl who throws convention to the wind. So powerful was their music that it drew onlookers from across the lawn all the way down to the front of the stage!
Up next on the Beacon Stage was Caroline Kole. We hate to draw the obvious comparisons, but we just can’t help it – the young country singer is the next Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood. With a poise that belied her sixteen (yes, as in 1-6!) years, Caroline engaged the crowd in conversations about her new shirt (“Do you like it? There are two malls connected to our hotel!”) and how awesome she thought Outside The Box was (“You gonna come back next year? Yes!”) before launching into tunes like new single “Money To Me” and a rocking cover of Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep.” Mark our words – you’ll be hearing a lot from this girl, and you saw her first right here at Outside The Box.
Dance more your thing? We had you covered over on the Park Street Stage with the back-to-back performances of Prometheus Dance and BoSoma Dance Company.
Named “One of the Year’s Ten Best in Dance“ four times by prominent Boston news organizations, Prometheus opened with a line of dancers dressed in formalwear, moving slowly across the stage to a Chemical Brothers soundtrack, before stripping down (signifying the stripping off of conventions, perhaps?) to undergarments, figuratively baring their souls in dance. At least, those are our pedestrian observations. What did you think?
BoSoma, a company of mostly women, featured three performances set to modern soundtracks like Dirty Doering and John Talabot. They brought Street HYpE founder Tony Tucker to the stage for both a solo and group performance, and closed with a quiet, fluid, traditional piece called “Moments” that encouraged the audience to reflect on important moments in their lives.
In between the dance companies, funk-electro group The Rebel Ship rocked it at the Commonwealth Stage, while Boston escape artist Jason Escape roamed the Common, impressing onlookers with his physical and mental feats. Back at the Beacon Stage, country greats Lonestar celebrated their 20th anniversary in one the best ways possible: by reuniting with original lead singer Richie McDonald. The band has amassed RIAA-certified sales in excess of ten million album units since their national launch in 1995, and achieved ten #1 country hits – which they played to a clapping, vocal audience.
McDonald said to the crowd, “Is this an awesome event or what? I see another Woodstock right here. We’ve been to Boston many times, and it’s one of my favorite places. After last night, I don’t drink anymore – but I don’t drink any less, either. Boston’s got some great places!” They sold autographed copies of their new album Life As We Know It and incorporated the Red Sox into their hit tune “Pretty Good Day.” Thanks for all the love, Lonestar!
But the day wasn’t over yet – well, technically it was, since evening had fallen. As a light rain cooled everyone down, the line grew at the Spiegeltent for the one-night only premiere of 2012 Broadway World Boston award winner and sold-out hit of last summer Hedwig and the Angry Inch, presented by Rose Tinted Productions. The “glam-rock gala of big wigs, big hearts, and plenty of attitude” (Outlook Columbus) couldn’t have been a more perfect end to the day. The cult classic is alternately hilarious and heartbreaking; JJ Parkey embodies the gender-bending Hedwig to perfection, while Ruthie Stephens and her amazing vocals breathe new life into Yitzhak. After a standing ovation for the duo (and, of course, the Angry Inch backing band), the audience left the Spiegeltent with wet eyes and huge smiles, feeling connected to Hedwig, one another, and the arts.
Come connect with us today as Outside The Box continues on the Common! Coming up this week: local band Bearstronaut, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and the Fork Lift Food Fest from Thursday-Sunday on City Hall Plaza. Check out our full schedule HERE!