Rock-loving Salem-area families will likely be flocking to Riverfront Park this summer for Northwest Events and Marketing’s “River Rock” four-part concert series. The Wednesday-evening series kicks off July 10 with Northwest blues legend (and real-life inspiration for the Blues Brothers) Curtis Salgado. Each concert begins at 7 p.m.
“This is something that I have been thinking about for 10 years,” said Northwest Events and Marketing President Tom Fohn. “There’s quite a bit of momentum building downtown, and we have a beautiful, underused amphitheater [at Riverfront Park].”
Fohn said that he was tired of hearing people talk about some band they checked out in Portland, or some event they attended in Bend. “Why not Salem?” said Fohn. “I believe the time is right now.”
The series includes popular Journey tribute band and festival regular “Stone in Love” on July 17, up-and-comers “Vintage Trouble” on July 31, and Texas roots-rockers and former Grammy nominee Reckless Kelly on August 7.
Besides the lore surrounding Curtis Salgado as the inspiration for John Belushi’s character in the popular comedy “The Blues Brothers,” the singer and blues harpist also served as the singer for Santana for a stint. However, in the Northwest, his solo efforts alone have given him top stature amongst his peers and blues fans.
“I wanted to start with Curtis because I know how popular he is, how big of a draw he can be,” said Fohn.
“Stone in Love” is one of the more popular tribute bands in Oregon, paying tribute to one of the most popular pop rock bands of all time. They recently headlined the “Rock the Mountain” tribute band showcase at Spirit Mountain. Journey, of course, is known for the expansive catalogue of arena-chanting hits, like “Don’t Stop Believing,” and “Wheel in The Sky.”
Though Vintage Trouble may be the least familiar name out of the bunch, the classic rock-revival act is supporting The Who and The Rolling Stones this Summer, was featured on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and is slated to be featured on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien before the end of the year. The band is an obvious nod to the rock greats of the 60’s and early 70’s, when bands like The Rolling Stones and The Animals injected soul into gritty rock n’ roll.
Series cappers Reckless Kelly actually formed in Bend, but moved to Texas in 1997 to begin a career which eventually became one of the most successful independent roots-rock runs of its generation. The band – which is named after famous bank robber Ned Kelly – has had its past three albums on the U.S. Country Top 40.
“Reckless Kelly is one of my favorites,” said Fohn. “I’ve known them for 15 or 16 years, have booked them a lot, and they have those Oregon roots.”
Besides rock n’ roll, the evenings feature family-friendly activities organized by A.C. Gilbert House Museum, food by Loustic Marche and Jonathan’s Publick House, beer by Santiam Brewing and wine from Santiam Wine & Bistro.
Tickets are $10 for each show or $25 for the series (only available at riverrock.ticketleap.com). Children 10-and-under are admitted free.
Besides the aforementioned Web site, tickets may also be purchased at Jonathan’s Publick House (136 High St. SE), Withnell Motor Company (2650 Commercial St. SE), Santiam Wine & Bistro (1555 12th St. SE), U.S. Bank (302 State St. SE), or Gallagher Fitness (135 Commercial St. NE). Each concert begins at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $10 each, or $25 for the series. Children 10-and-under are admitted free. For tickets, visit http://riverrock.ticketleap.com. For more information, visit RiverRockSalem.com.