Music News & Reviews

Go to 'Africa' with Weezer at Riverbend, then start making plans for next week

Scott Shriner, left, and Rivers Cuomo of Weezer will be on stage at Riverbend in Cincinnati July 6.
Scott Shriner, left, and Rivers Cuomo of Weezer will be on stage at Riverbend in Cincinnati July 6. Invision/AP

Weezer and the Pixies

7:30 p.m. July 6 at Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave. in Cincinnati. $25-$79.50. 513-232-6220.

You would think the pairing of two renegade rock troupes — in this case, Weezer and the Pixies — would be enough to ensure steady ticket sales for a summer tour. But, no. Weezer had to go to Africa.

In one of the odder pop twists of the season, Rivers Cuomo and company recorded, at the behest of an online fan campaign on Twitter, two early 1980s hits by Toto: “Rosanna”and a very faithful rendition of the pop staple “Africa.” So that was that. Nothing more than a diversionary novelty, right? Well, it was, until the “Africa” became Weezer’s biggest hit in a decade. That prompted a limited-edition vinyl pressing of the tune, which became an immediate sellout. So enjoy Weezer and the Pixies tonight in Cincinnati. Know, though, that the eyes of“Africa” are upon them.

Krugers in the Castle

The Concerts at the Castle series is back for round three at the Kentucky Castle, 230 Pisgah Pike, next week. On the heels of performances by John McEuen (staged on the Castle lawn due to storms) and Jerry Douglas (held on the roof under a picture perfect summer sunset) will be a July 12 outing by the Kruger Brothers (7 p.m., $35). Rooted in the folk, bluegrass and pre-bluegrass country music of Doc Watson and Bill Monroe, the group’s beginnings stem back to when Swiss-born banjoist Jens Kruger and sibling guitarist Uwe Kruger began busking on streets throughout Europe. New York bassist Joel Landsberg joined in 1995. The trio eventually relocated to North Wilkesboro, North Carolina and has been touring and recording continually. Its roadwork has made the group a regular guest of the Lexington-based "WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour" throughout the program’s two-decade history. The Krugers have also made a few high-profile pals in that time. In September 2013, Jens Kruger was awarded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music and wound up performing with the comedian and musician on "The Late Show with David Letterman."

Recent recording projects include 2017’s “Roan Mountain Suite,” a commissioned work honoring Roan Mountain in Tennessee. The record is also the Krugers’ latest collaboration with the Chicago-based, multi-genre Kontras Quartet.

For tickets to Thursday’s performance, call 859-256-0322 or go to

Dobro player Jerry Douglas performed at a Concert at the Castle event this summer, an ongoing Thursday night concert series on the rooftop of the Kentucky Castle organized by local folk singer and songwriter Michael Johnathon.

Coming attractions

Strange as this may sound, one of the most advisable activities this weekend will be planning for next weekend. That’s when three of the major summer festivals will converge in three regional cities.

In Louisville, it’s the biggest of the seasonal summits, Forecastle. The weekend event takes over Waterfront Park for a three-day adventure headlined by Modest Mouse and Father John Misty (July 13), Chris Stapleton and Houndmouth (July 14) along with Arcade Fire and Jason Isbell (July 15). Info is at

Meanwhile, the Master Musicians Festival settles in for its annual two-day run at Somerset Community College. Headliners include JD McPherson and The Dead South (July 13) followed by John Prine and Amanda Shires (July 14). For info, go to .

Finally, the Harry Dean Stanton Fest will play out here in Lexington with assorted film screenings honoring the late Kentucky actor as well as a pair of performances at The Burl by Dennis Quaid and the Sharks (July 13) and Donnie Fritts (July 14). Details are at

We will be previewing all of this within the coming week. Watch for interview pieces with Louisville Orchestra conductor and music director Teddy Abrams, who will be curating an entire stage of music as well as performing at Forecastle with regional artists such as Lexington's own Ben Sollee; Amanda Shires, who will discuss a new and very different sounding album as well as her work with fellow Master Musicians Festival mate John Prine; and Dennis Quaid with Sharks co-pilot Jamie James. Both will offer remembrances of Stanton ahead of the festival that bears his name.

Stay tuned.