Boarding House Park Scuttlebutt

Huge show last night with Indigo Girls. Can you say “the” Indigo Girls? I have a memory that they say “Indigo Girls,” not “the” for some reason. Can anyone clarify? Indigo dye was used to dye cloth blue in the Lowell mills. Anyway… huge show last night. The blankets and chairs were out in force by 7 a.m. yesterday morning. The show was sold out; no tickets at the gate.  Unusual for BHP. By 7 p.m., the park was wall-to-wall fans. People were walking toward the park down John Street carrying bags of take-out food from the restaurants on Merrimack. I heard the performers, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, arrived early as they have in the past for Lowell shows to walk around and eat downtown. The musicians said good things about the city from the stage. One guy who was at the show said it was the best performance by them that he had ever experienced.

This morning, the folding chairs and blankets were out by 6.30 a.m. on Boarding House Beach. One woman sat in her chair reading as the sun did its chin up over the Boott Cotton Mills. A steady stream of cars and trucks pulled up alongside BHP to let out runners with quilts and towels and old flannel blankets, whatever can be used to stake out a patch of grass. The Lowell Summer Music Series has its own culture now, which includes the polite land rush to claim prime viewing space. Pity the folks from Acton who don’t have a pal in Lowell to lay out a blanket early but just waltz in with their picnic basket at 7.10 p.m. Third tier in the rear, I’m afraid, is what’s left for hot acts. Maybe that reality will cause a behavior shift, and concert-goers from out of town will start to arrive by noon to take in the museums, shops, and architectural sights. That would be good.

Marc “Walking in Memphis” Cohn tonight at 7.30 p.m. I remember first hearing Marc Cohn music on the radio, probably “The River” from Haverhill/Boston. He struck me as a good writer as well as a musician. Critic Dave Marsh praised “Walking in Memphis”  as “a perfectly written narrative.” Marc’s got a compelling personal story also, having survived being shot in the head during a random carjack in Denver. The weather should be near perfect for an outdoor show.

Marc Cohn