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There's a scene in Between the Lines, a film about a small, alternative Boston newspaper, in which Max the manic rock critic rambles insanely to a group of rapt college students on the crucial question facing modern civilization.
"Many people have of course suggested that the answer to the question 'Whither rock 'n' roll?' is hither. This is nonsense-obviously the answer to whither? is thither."
Well, rock fans, you needn't get in a dither about it, but Max is right-non-mobile back-beat lovers will find this a summer of pretty slim musical pickings. The best rock around this week is out in the southern hinterlands. Ray Davies and the Kinks will be playing out at the Cape Cod Coliseum on July 2. Tickets are $7.50 in advance, $8.50 the day of the show and are available at the Out of Town Newsstand in the Square. Later in the week, Fleetwood Mac will play their various chartbusters at the Providence, R.I., Civic Center. Tickets for both concerts are available at the Out of Town Ticket Office in the Square.
By contrast, here in Boston the July concert scene looks pretty miserable.
Tuesday, July 12, at 8 p.m., Emerson, Lake, and Palmer will bring their unique brand of hyper-amplified neo-classical schlock to the Boston Garden. Tickets are $7.50 and $8.50, available at the Garden Box Office, Ticketron, the Out-of-Town Newsstand, and Strawberries, which is located right here in Harvard Square.
Saturday July 16, and Sunday July 17, Boz Scaggs rolls into town with special guest stars Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, whom my New York and Jersey friends all listen to between Springsteen concerts. Tickets are $7.50 and $8.50 at the box office, Ticketron, Strawberries, and Out of Town.
Check out the Music Hall again on July 20 for the Commodores and Tavares at 7:30 and 10. Tickets are $3.50, $7.50, and $6.50, and are available starting July 28 at the box office.
The month of the crab's big concert calendar will fittingly be closed out by gentle crooner Alice Cooper, who will also be welcoming special guest stars the Atlanta Rhythm Section to his nightmare. Tickets are $7.50 and $8.50 (surprise!) at the box office, Ticketron, Out of Town and Strawberries.
For those of you who prefer listening to music in an environment more intimate than a converted basketball arena, several local clubs and coffeehouses offer live-and often very good-rock, folk and bluegrass music. There's often no cover, and you can spend your money on a couple of drinks, spiced coffee, or whatever.
Passim's (492-7679), a coffeehouse tucked away on Palmer St. (behind the Coop) will be featuring Chris Smither and Debra Grimsley through July 2. Then on Thursday, July 7, Honkin' Dave Van Ronk takes over, along with Guy Van Duser and Novick.
Mitch Chakour and the Mission Band will be at Jonathan Swift's (30 Boylston St. in the Square, 661-9887, cover charge) through Sunday. The Estes Boys take over on Monday, followed by Orchestra Luna on Tues. and Weds., who yield the stage to the Franconia Notch Band starting Thursday.
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