We're not even going to pretend this is an original idea. In context, there was "MTV Unplugged" — remember when that network still played music? — and, of course, more recently, we enjoy the oft-brilliant "Tiny Desk" concert series on National Public Radio.
You know the drill: artists play stripped-down, intimate and abbreviated performances that are streamed live and then archived for eternal enjoyment.
In that spirit, and given the almost criminal abundance of great and stylistically varied musicans and bands right here in our little part of the world, let me introduce "Live Lunch Break."
Each Thursday at noon, streaming live from a baronial office right here inside The Day complex, we're going to feature a different local artist in performance and conversation. I'm going to be the host and chief interrogator, while my pal and visionary colleague Pete Huoppi will handle video, sound and technical nuances.
We'll kick off this week with the amazingly talented John Fries & the Heat - appropriately time-pegged since the official release party for their new EP, "US 50," takes place Saturday.
I can't take credit for the "Live Lunch Break" idea, though I wish I could. It was Huoppi, speculating on the Tiny Desk construct, who said, "Dude! What's to stop us from cashing-in on this 'in-house' concert-y stuff?"
Actually, that's not what he said. Huoppi is a prep school kid who graduated from Middlebury College - (thanks for showing me how to spell Middlebury, Pete!) — and the idea of "cashing-in" never occurred to him. In that spirit, the only "cashing-in" I'm familiar with is lugging my empty Keystone Light cans to the aluminum folks so I can score more beer money.
No. We're music freaks, is what we are. "Live Lunch Break" is going to be a lot of fun and we're going to showcase a lot of terrific local music and artists in a new way — one that should also dovetail nicely with our "Song Spinner" print and video series, where Huoppi and I feature musicians performing and analyzing how a specific song came to be. Now in its third year, "Song Spinner" has only confirmed what I said up top: for a relative small sample size, New London, southeastern Connecticut and the westerly parameters of Rhode Island comprise an amazing source for original music.
The tentative "Live Lunch Break" schedule: Thursday - John Fries & the Heat; May 17 - Jon Young (Hind Legs, Straight to VHS); May 24 - Bobby Crash & Pete Barrera (Burnouts From Outer Space); May 31 - Jim Carpenter/Hoolios; June 7 - the Rivergods; June 14 - Steve Elci and Friends; June 21 - Daphne Lee Martin and Raise the Rent; June 28 - TBA; July 5 - Sue Menhart.
Here, then, is your recipe: Grab a grinder and some chips, apply ear buds, go to theday.com at noon on Thursday, prop your feet up on your desk - and rock!
To any artists who might want to participate in "Live Lunch Break," we'd love to hear from you. Send an email with an artist bio, song sample(s), and contact info to: email@example.com.