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John Miles of Newport sings the song 'Mustang Sally' with the live karaoke band Maxxtone Thursday night at Newport Blues Cafe. (Jacqueline Marque/Daily News staff)

Sing with the Band at Newport Blues Cafe

By James J. Gillis/Daily News staff

September 20, 2008

NEWPORT — Are you one of those kids who sang in front of the mirror, a hairbrush as microphone, imagining yourself as Mick Jagger, Robert Plant or Gwen Stefani, with the surge of a hardrocking band behind you?

Those youthful fantasies offer a touch of reality when Maxxtone is in town.

Maxxtone is a four-piece band from Springfield, Mass., that provides the music for aspiring karaoke singers. Taking up residence most Thursday nights at the Newport Blues Café, Maxxtone can play about 400 tunes, ranging from punk (Ramones) to classic rock (Beatles), country (Keith Urban), hair bands (Motley Crue) and even disco (Gloria Gaynor).......







The Neville Brothers from New Orleans perform

Tuesday at The Newport Blues Cafe. (David

Hansen/Daily News staff)

Neville Brothers have it covered at Blues Cafe

By James J. Gillis/Daily News staff

August 6, 2008

NEWPORT — The Neville Brothers took the Newport Blues Cafe stage Tuesday night and never let up for an hour and 45 minutes.

The tiny club holds 355 people, and they packed the house, getting up close and personal with one of America’s great bands. Countless people were turned away at the door — the show sold out on Monday — and a few danced on the sidewalk anyway.

The Nevilles — Aaron, Art, Cyril and Charles — essentially are the country’s greatest cover band......







Three Cowsill siblings hit the road

By James J. Gillis/Daily News staff

July 22, 2008

NEWPORT — More than 40 years since their heyday, The Cowsills are more in demand than they’ve been in years.

The group — minus brothers John and Richard — plays the Newport Blues Cafe on Thursday night, kicking off a small tour that includes gigs in Boston and New York City.

“There are all these venues, these festivals and casinos that are looking for bands,” Bob Cowsill said by phone this week. “We’d be crazy not to take advantage of it. We’re finding that people like good songs, good singing and good performances.”........







Blues men Johnny Winter, right, and James Montgomery share the stage Wednesday night at the Newport Blues Cafe. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Daily News staff)

Winter can still turn up the heat

By James J. Gillis/Daily News staff

July 20, 2006

NEWPORT - Johnny Winter still kicks up a storm.  Offstage, he looks a bit

frail, until he plugs in his guitar. Then, the fireworks start.

Winter played the Newport Blues Cafe - which is bringing in name acts this

summer - Wednesday night before a packed house of more than 200. In his

1970s heyday, Winter traded fierce guitar licks with Rick Derringer.

These days, his sidekick is blues harp player/singer James Montgomery, the local lad who's toured with Winter for four years.  Like B.B. King, Winter plays sitting down these days. But if you're tempted to call him "Old Man Winter," listen to his blistering take on Freddie King's "Hideway" first....







Rachel Dratch performs with the Upright Citizens Brigade on Wednesday at the Newport Blues Cafe. (T.J. Kirkpatrick, Daily News staff)

Something Downright Funny at the Film Festival

By James J. Gillis/Daily News staff

June 16, 2006

NEWPORT - If it's film festival season, there's a good chance Rachel Dratch is in town.

For four out of the past five years, Dratch has starred with the Upright Citizens Brigade in nights of improvisation as part of the Newport International Film Festival.

With "Saturday Night Live" on hiatus, Dratch and co-star Horatio Sanz took to the stage at the Newport Blues Cafe before a full house Wednesday and Thursday nights, working on the fly.

For Dratch, who grew up in Lexington, Mass., Newport is a built-in early summer vacation.......







Film Festival Honors Actor Brian Dennehy

By James J. Gillis/Daily News staff

June 10, 2006

NEWPORT - Give an actor an award at a film festival, and he speaks eloquently about the thrill of the theater.

The Newport International Film Festival honored Brian Dennehy at the Newport Blues Cafe Friday night with the Claiborne Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement. The 67-year-old actor touched on his film career but expounded on his love of the theater, considering himself more a stage actor at this point......







From left, Paul Childs, Paula Forger, Yvonne Childs and Erne Campe, all of Boston, sing along with Abbey Rhode during the band's show last month at Newport Blues Cafe. (David Hansen/Daily News Photo)

Love of The Beatles bands them together

By James J. Gillis/Daily News staff

May 24, 2004

NEWPORT - Abbey Rhode is not Beatlemania - no collarless white shirts, no shiny Sgt. Pepper suits. "We're people who happen to love The Beatles and want to play their music as well as we can," said guitarist John Flanders of Portsmouth. "We're not a tribute band." The four members of Abbey Rhode are Flanders, Kevin Sullivan, Ray Davis and Paddy Higgins. Each has logged decades playing in bands, and all are older than 50.

So why do they feel re-energized in this new band?........

The real after-party, however, has become Deer Tick's tradition of cramming capacity crowds into the Newport Blues Café downtown and raging late with a selection of friends and family. This year all three nights sold out "in a matter of minutes," according to the band's manager. Highlights included antifolk OG Langhorne Slim playing from within the crowd's sweaty mass; a surprise set from Phosphorescent (who covered a Willie Nelson's "Reasons to Quit"); free Cutty Sark; Jason Isbell opening for and sitting in with the band; Deer Tick playing their new album, Negativity, from start to finish; Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith joining for a Dylan cover, and, well, to be honest, the rest is a haze of yelling and dancing and sweating.

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