Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hard Rain In Duluth: After The Flood Benefit Concert

Armory post card, courtesy Nelson French
During last May's Duluth Dylan Fest an exciting announcement was made. The Duluth Arts and Music Center took another step forward toward becoming a reality when it purchased the property adjacent to the Armory on London Road. Nelson French, newest member of the board, made the announcement at UMD's Weber Hall at the kickoff event for the week of Dylan-related festivities, a concert featuring Scarlet Rivera along with Gene LaFond and the Wild Unknown.

The group's playlist concluded with an encore involving all of the musicians of that evening singing "Watching the River Flow." Little did they know the irony of ending with such a song, because less than two months later the Northland would be hit with a superstorm bringing nine inches of water overnight, and at one point four inches of rain in an hour. Being a city comprised of one long hillside, the damage produced by all that runoff was momentous. All the streams in town, and there are many, became torrents. One of these flows right beneath the Armory, a damaging blow.

A lot of people watched the rising area rivers flow that night, right through their houses. Mayor Ness succeeded in obtaining federal disaster relief but as is nearly always the case, it's never enough.

In May Scarlet Rivera will return again, accompanied by Gene Lafond and his band, for Hard Rain In Duluth - After The Flood Benefit Concert. Scarlet wrote the Armory Arts & Music Center board to say, "It is an honor and my pleasure to return to Duluth, in support of the full restoration of the historic Duluth Armory... rest assured it will be a memorable musical event not to be missed.... and the community's opportunity to participate in the return of a major historic treasure."

The concert, like last year's event, is the kickoff for another week of Dylan-themed events. Here's an outline of the week:

5.17  7 pm: "Hard Rain In Duluth--After the Flood" Concert @Weber Hall
5.18  10 pm: Duluth Does Dylan @ Tycoons
5.19  8 pm: Dylan Trivia @ Carmody's Irish Pub
5.20  7 pm: Open Mic Night @ Beaners Central
5.21  7 pm: Dylan Movie and Music Night @ RedStar Lounge
5.22  7 pm: Dylan's 72nd Birthday Bash @ RedStar Lounge
5.23  6 pm: Blood on the Tracks Express  (Meet @ Fitgers Complex)
5.24  1 pm: Creative Writing Workshop and Literary Showcase @ Hibbing Memorial Building
         7 pm: Dylan Days Singer/Songwriter Contest, Day 1 @ Zimmy's
5.25  Bus Tour and U.S. Postal Cancellation Day // Hibbing
         5 pm: Dylan Days Singer/Songwriter Contest, Day 2 @ Zimmy's
         7 pm: The Adjustments, Live Music @ Zimmy's
5.26  10 am: Dylan Days Farewell Brunch @ Zimmy's

It's never too soon to start making plans. May will be chock full of arts and happenings, so it's time to begin writing things in, getting tickets, organizing your time. Homegrown Music Fest will kick off the month followed by numerous visual arts happenings, theater, poetry and the fourth annual film festival.

As regards the concert, Gene LaFond sent this note: "Can't wait to head for the north country and play with Scarlet & my band at the Weber. River songs, flood songs, recovery songs, songs of renewal and songs of hope! All for a great cause - the restoration of the historic Armory. Soon we may be able to do a concert on the Armory stage where many of the greatest have played in the past. Thanks for supporting this effort. Make a plan - May 17!!"

Weber Hall is such an acoustically sublime music venue that it's impossible to get a bad seat. For a memorable event that also supports a great cause, visit Ticketworks.

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