Top 20 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Black Potatoe Music Festival, Warped Tour, more

Black Potatoe 2018 preview

Radney Foster performs at the Black Potatoe Music Festival, July 12.

A guide to notable arts events taking place around the state through July 17.


Radney Foster, Willy Porter, The Matt Angus Thing, Ellis Paul, the Grace Morrison Trio and Nalani & Sarina will be among the performers at this year’s 22nd annual Black Potatoe Music Festival, taking place July 12-15 on two stages on the grounds of the Red Mill Museum in Clinton. As has always been the case, the festival is devoted to independent music in styles ranging from rock to folk, pop, blues, gospel, country and jazz.

The long-running Vans Warped Tour — an annual, massive celebration of punk, metal, indie-rock and more — has announced that its current tour will be its “final, full cross-country run.” This means that a more limited Warped presence is possible in future summers, but this weekend will see what will very possibly be the last Warped shows ever in New Jersey. They’ll take place at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, July 13, and the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, July 14. Acts will include Hatebreed, Senses Fail, Issues, Unearth, Four Year Strong, The Maine, Crown the Empire, 3OH!3, Bowling for Soup, Mayday Parade, Reel Big Fish, Simple Plan, We the Kings, Twiztid, Every Time I Die, Knuckle Puck, State Champs, Falling in Reverse, Motionless in White and dozens of others. Doors will open at 11 a.m. at both venues.

For those with eclectic tastes … Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Styx and Tesla — three groups that I don’t really view as having much in common, musically — are touring together this summer and will be at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, July 15 at 7 p.m.

Maplewoodstock 2018


Performers at this year’s Maplewoodstock festival will include singer-songwriter Josh Ritter (headlining July 13) and the reggae group Third World (headlining July 14) as well as Danielia Cotton, The Suffers, Jane Lee Hooker, Sister Monk, Woodfish and many others. The free, annual, musically eclectic event takes place in Memorial Park in Maplewood, and also features food and art vendors, and children’s activities. Musicians are scheduled to perform from noon to 10 p.m. each day.

As most Yes fans know, the pioneering progressive-rock band has split into two factions. The one featuring guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes, bassist Billy Sherwood and singer Jon Davison — along with Howe’s son Dylan on additional drums — comes to the Tropicana Showroom in Atlantic City, July 14 at 8 p.m. The tour celebrates the 50th anniversary of the band’s formation.

• The dependably dynamic R&B belter Darlene Love performs at Cape May Convention Hall, July 11 at 8 p.m., as part of the Cape May Summer Concert Series.

The annual series of free, outdoor Sounds of the City shows at NJPAC in Newark gets underway July 12 at 5 p.m., with a dance party featuring classic soul and R&B songs, played by DJ Felix Hernandez. The shows will continue on Thursdays, throughout the summer.


• Gov’t Mule is billing its 6:30 p.m. July 13 concert at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel as a Dark Side of the Mule show, which means there will be lots of Pink Floyd covers and “their most ambitious and advanced live production and light show yet,” according to a press release. This will be the second of six Dark Side of the Mule shows the band will present this summer; there have previously been only two, in 2008 and 2015. Machan Taylor — a singer who has worked with Pink Floyd itself, and is married to Gov’t Mule keyboardist Danny Louis — will join the band for these shows. The Avett Brothers and The Magpie Salute (featuring former members of The Black Crowes) will open in Holmdel.

Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker died in September, but the band is out on the road again this summer, touring with The Doobie Brothers, with dates including the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, July 11 at 7:30 p.m.; and the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. (postponed from July 6 due to illness). There is no replacement for Becker per se; Jon Herington, who previously split the guitar work with Becker at the group’s concerts, will now handle it all himself. Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers share some joint history, with singer-keyboardist Michael McDonald and guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter being associated with both in the ’70s and early ’80s (though neither musician is expected to perform on this tour).

• Billy Gilman — who had a country hit (“One Voice”) when he was just 11 years old, in 2000, and more recently competed on the television series “The Voice” in 2016 — will present free shows throughout the state this week. He’ll be at Veterans Park in Bayville, July 11 at 6 p.m.; Overpeck Park in Ridgefield, July 12 at 7 p.m.; Brookdale Park in Montclair/Bloomfield, July 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Town Park in Lyndhurst, July 14 at 7 p.m.; and Duke Island Park in Bridgewater, July 15 at 7 p.m.

As he did at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair in June, Marshall Crenshaw will join Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken and Mike Mesaros of The Smithereens for shows at The Iridium in New York, July 14 at 8 and 10 p.m.

The 6 p.m. July 14 show in the Makin Waves Summer Concert Series at Asbury Park Brewery has a Trenton Makes Takeover theme, with all the bands — The Cryptkeeper Five, Hub City Stompers, Molly Rhythm, Experiment 34 and Chalk & the Beige Americans — having strong connections to the Trenton rock scene.

WCBS (101.1 FM) will present an ’80s Rock Celebration at BergenPAC in Englewood, July 14 at 8 p.m., with Belinda Carlisle (of The Go-Go’s), ABC, Modern English, The Outfield’s Tony Lewis and Kajagoogoo’s Limahl.



The Summer Jazzfest series at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum in Morris Township begins July 12 at 7:30 p.m., with a show by Danny Bacher and his All-Star Band. The show will draw from his past tribute to the three Louises — Armstrong, Jordan and Prima — and also feature songs from his upcoming album, Still Happy. Bacher, who sings and plays saxophone, will be joined by Harry Allen on tenor sax, Charlie Caranicas on trumpet, Allen Farnham on piano, Bill Moring on bass and Alvester Garnett on drums. Dinner will be available from food trucks that will be outside the museum, starting at 5:30 p.m.

As part of the annual Jazz in the Garden series at the Newark Museum, saxophonist Mark Gross will perform songs from his most recent album, Mark Gross + Strings, as well as other material, outdoors at the museum’s Alice Ransom Dreyfuss Memorial Garden, July 12 at 12:15 p.m. The show is free for museum members and Newark residents.


The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will premiere new works by Jonathan Cziner, Brian Shank, Aaron Hendrix, Natalie Dietterich and Steven Mackey, with David Robertson conducting and Mackey hosting, at the Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University, July 14 at 8 p.m.



Storyteller and comedian Mike Birbiglia will present “The New One,” his new one-man show about becoming a father, at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, July 12 at 7 p.m.; July 13 at 9 p.m.; July 14 at 6:30 and 9 p.m. and July 15 at 3 and 7 p.m.

Light Opera of New Jersey will present “Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame” July 13-14 and 20-21 at 8 p.m. and July 15 and 22 at 2 p.m. at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. Featuring music by Alan Menken (“The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Newsies”) and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked,” “Pippin,” “Godspell”), the adaptation is based on the 1996 animated film; there was also a production at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn in 2015.

Premiere Stages will present “Linger,” a new play by Craig Garcia, at the Bauer Boucher Theater Center at Kean University in Union, with a preview on July 12, the official opening on July 13, and the last performance on July 29. The play — about a teenager who may have committed a terrible crime, and the impact this has on the rest of his family — won this year’s Premiere Stages New Play Festival.


Artie Lange will sign copies of his third book, “Wanna Bet? A Degenerate Gambler’s Guide to Living on the Edge,” at 6:30 p.m. on July 17 (the day of its release) at Bookends in Ridgewood. The New Jersey-bred comedian and actor’s two previous two memoirs, “Too Fat to Fish” (2009) and “Crash and Burn” (2014), were both best-sellers.

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