Things To Do

Slew of ‘70s rockers among best bets of things to do for week of Aug. 7 to 13

The Courant’s art picks for the week of Aug. 7 to 13 want you to want them. One way or another, they’re gonna getcha. It’s a good week to have been in high school or college in the ‘70s because there’s a good chance one of your favorite bands is playing here.

It took two or three albums for some of them to receive the wide acclaim they deserved, so when they first visited Connecticut, acts like Elvis Costello, Blondie and Cheap Trick were playing Toad’s Place or smaller venues. Now they’re playing the state’s resort casinos. The Fleshtones, meanwhile, remain a consummate club band, whipping up their patented “Super Rock” sound at Cafe Nine, where you can see them sweat.


Acts that were already big mainstream draws by the mid-’70s are also in the mix these week, including Rod Stewart, Santana and Steely Dan.

Meanwhile, summer music gatherings run the gamut from the Podunk Bluegrass Festival to the Charles Ives chamber music festival. The performing arts stage at the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival alone offers opera singers, Chinese folk dancing, klezmer, a swing band, puppetry and modern dance.


Steely Dan

Hartford Healthcare Ampitheater, 500 Broad St., Bridgeport

Still reeling in the years, doing it again, and perhaps still unable to buy a thrill, the jazzy soft-rock duo (with sidemen) Steely Dan continues to tour in the summertime. On Aug. 7 they’re at a place they haven’t played before, the Hartford Healthcare Ampitheater in Bridgeport. $54-$250.

Charles Ives Music Festival

Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield

Charles Ives, one of the most important American composers of the 20th, was born in Danbury and cut his teeth as a composer working at churches and schools around the state. He also went to Yale. The annual Charles Ives Music Festival began its summer programming on Aug. 1, but some key events happen this week.

  • A free chamber music festival is held in Ives’ honor at the Ridgefield Playhouse, Aug. 7 at 2 p.m., though the program consists of American composers who are not Charles Ives, including John Williams, Juhi Bansal, Wynton Marsalis, Jared Miller, Patrick O’Malley, Paul Frucht, Han Lash and Christopher Cerrone. There’s an expo in the theater lobby before the show, from noon until 2 p.m., with local vendors and artisans.
  • There’s a separate concert in the Ives Festival Aug. 10 at First Congregational Church, 103 Main St., Ridgefield, titled “The Unanswered Question,” featuring the famous Ives composition of that name as well as works by Mozart, Jonathan Cziner, Will Stackpole, Han Lash, Derek Geary and Vaughan Williams. This concert is also free.

Details on all Charles Ives Music Festival events are at

Dashboard Confessional

Oakdale, 95 S. Turnpike Road, Wallingford

With all the ‘70s and ‘80s bands passing through the state this week, here’s one for the following generation. Dashboard Confessional was a defining emo act of the ‘00s, with such dark soul-wrenching albums as “A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar,” “Dusk and Summer” and “The Shade of Poison Trees.” Chris Carrabba and company hold forth at the Oakdale in Wallingford Aug. 10 at 8 p.m. Opening act Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness was around in the ‘00s as well, as part of the band Jack’s Mannequin. Tickets start at $20.

Podunk Bluegrass Festival

Goshen Fairgrounds, 116 Old Middle St., Goshen

The Podunk Bluegrass Festival brings the best of that hootin’ and hollerin’ genre to the spacious Goshen Fairgrounds, and even offers a camping option for those who like green grass as well as bluegrass. The line-up features two members of Alison Krauss’ band Union Station, fronting their own bands: dobro and lap steel guitarist Jerry Douglas’ band on Friday; and Dan Tyminski (the singing voice of George Clooney in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) and his band on Saturday. Dozens of other acts are also playing, on multiple stages over four days, plus workshops, competitions, kids’ activities, vendors and more. Aug. 11 to 14. Hours are Thursday from 1 to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Admission is $30 on Thursday, $70 on Friday and Saturday and $25 on Sunday. A four-day pass is $165 and a four-day pass with camping and electricity privileges is $500.


Mohegan Sun Arena, 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville




Our picks for things to do and places to go this weekend

Carlos Santana’s been a rock legend for so long, as both the leader of a band that shares his surname and as a solo artist that his comeback album “Supernatural” is now 20 years old. The band’s first album came out in 1969, the same year he played Woodstock. Its 26th album, “Blessings and Miracles,” came out last year. On tour, Santana also plays his solo hits, including songs from “Supernatural.” Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena. $89.50-$199.50.

Blondie and The Damned

Foxwoods Premier Theater, 350 Trolley Line Blvd., Mashantucket

Blondie — a band that formed in 1974, broke up in 1982 (having released six albums) then reformed in 1997, releasing five more albums since then — has been forced to tour without founding member Chris Stein, who has health issues. But drummer Clem Burke (who joined up in 1975) and of course vocalist Debbie Harry are aboard. The opening act is at least as exciting: The Damned, the first ‘70s British punk band to release a full-length album (in 1977), which yielded the instant classics “New Rose” and “Neat Neat Neat.” Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. at Foxwoods Premier Theater. $39-$59.

Elvis Costello and the Imposters

Foxwoods Resort Casino, 350 Trolley Line Blvd., Mashantucket

Elvis Costello first played Connecticut in 1977 at the now long-defunct Oxford Ale House. Since then, he’s performed 16 other times in the state at a dozen different venues. Costello’s musical output is as diverse and exciting as his venue-hopping. His latest album reunites him with the other member of a duo which Elvis (then known as D.P. McManus) performed in shortly before he broke through as a singer/songwriter/angry young man with “My Aim is True.” Live, Elvis Costello and the Imposters can be unpredictable, drawing from dozens of albums. Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. at Foxwoods’ Premier Theater. $45-$75.


Rod Stewart and Cheap Trick

Mohegan Sun, 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville

Rod Stewart was well into his “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” phase when power pop upstart Cheap Trick bereleased its unassailable first three albums (”Cheap Trick,” “In Color” and “Heaven Tonight”) in the late ‘70s. Over four decades later, all are still rocking and share a bill Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at a Mohegan Sun Arena. $99-$149.

The Fleshtones

Cafe Nine, 250 State St., New Haven

New York’s ineffable Fleshtones, supreme garage rockers who’ve pounded their go-go friendly “super rock” sounds since the late 1970s, make another special visit to New Haven’s comfy Cafe Nine Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. The Fleshtones were part of the same NYC scene that begat Blondie and hordes of other bands. Palmyra Delran and the Doppel Gang. $18, $15 in advance.

The Mystic Outdoor Art Festival

Downtown Mystic

A massive juried art show showcasing more than 200 artists that winds around downtown Mystic, this weekend-long open-air art festival also features a concert stage on the Gallery Quad outside the Thompson Exhibition Building at the north entrance to Mystic Seaport Museum (75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic). On Friday, performers include Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, the Mystic Paper Beasts puppet troupe, Klezmenschen, boogie woogie pianist Arthur Migliazza and the As Time Goes By swing band. Performances: Aug. 12 and 13 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Art exhibits: Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.

Christopher Arnott can be reached at