published Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Riverfront Nights lineup introduces future favorites

Ana Popovic
Ana Popovic
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

About Riverfront Nights

Friends of the Festival presents this free six-show series over seven Saturday nights beginning Aug. 3 at the 21st Century Waterfront.

Performance schedule

Aug. 3 -- Cody Canada & The Departed. Canada formerly fronted Cross Canadian Ragweed and has gone solo with his countrified Southern-rock chops. Or, maybe it's Southern-fried country chops.

* Opener: No Big Deal. These guys have been local favorites for years, playing a mix of covers and originals.

Aug. 10 -- New Orleans Suspects. A New Orleans supergroup featuring members of the Neville Brothers, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Radiators, Outformation and sax player Kevin Harris, who was a founding member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

* Opener: The Stratoblasters. Another local favorite on the dance and party circuit for almost two decades.

Aug. 17 -- Desert Noises. Folks on this side of the Mississippi River may not know them, but they've been described as what Coldplay or Radiohead might have sounded like if they'd grown up in the Rocky Mountains.

* Opener: The Power Players. In keeping with the night's mystery theme, these guys might not be as well known locally as they should be, given the power of their horn-infused sonic funk-punch.

Aug. 24 -- Off for Southern Brewer's Festival (See Friday's Times Free Press for more, including the musical lineup).

Aug. 31 -- Ana Popovic. She's big in her native Serbia and throughout Europe, and now lives in Memphis.

* Opener: Rick Rushing and the Blues Strangers. Local blues fans already know about Rushing and his band.

Sept. 1 -- Seven Handle Circus. These Georgia boys approach bluegrass music with the attitude of a rock or punk band. Nightfall fans will remember them as the group that filled in when the legendary Wanda Jackson had to back out.

* Opener: 27 South. These guys will remind all the "long-haired country boys" out there that Southern rock is not dead.

Sept. 14 -- Alan Evans Trio. Soulive fans will recognize Evans as the co-founder of that group along with brother Neal. The group plays jazz-infused funk.

* Opener: Smooth Dialects. Imagine if "Gwen Stefani dressed more like Marilyn Monroe but sounded more like Mae West and had a punk streak that spread to her band's attitude" -- or at least that's how the group has been described.

From a rock band that is big out West to a singer who's a star in her native Poland, the Riverfront Nights lineup is rife with quality acts that might not yet be on your playlist.

At least that is what organizers tried to put together when they made out the list.

"I feel real good about the series," says Jeff Styles, event organizer with Friends of the Festival, which produces Riverfront Nights.

While the list includes some artists who are not radio mainstays here, they are well-known in certain music circles, he says. Ana Popovic, for example, is a leading blues artist in Europe, where the genre is very popular.

"Every blues act in the region wanted to be the opening act," he says. "Ana will blow people away, and so will the [New Orleans] Suspects. They do some of the most interesting covers I've ever heard. Some really cool versions of obscure songs."

The Suspects feature members of the Neville Brothers, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Radiators while the rest of the Riverfront lineup includes the former lead singer of Cross Canadian Ragweed and the founder of Soulive.

The concerts for the eighth annual series are always family and dog-friendly with an outdoor and eco-friendly theme.

Businesses and charities that promote healthy lifestyles, outdoor activities and green-friendly ideas will talk about what they do, Styles says.

Comcast, through its On Demand service, will present the "Riverfront Nights-Get Local" channel featuring all the musical acts, charities and sponsors spotlighted each week.

"The Dog Pound," which originally was almost an afterthought, according to Styles, has become a popular place to hang out with your dog. "Do Good Chattanooga" and "Good Dog" have teamed with Tennessee American Water and its oversized water bowl to create a "VIP" area just for four-legged friends.

All Riverfront Nights shows are child and pet friendly. Coolers are not allowed. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Local opening bands start around 7 p.m. Headliners hit their first note about 8 p.m.

Contact staff writer Barry Courter at bcourter@times or at 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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