ryan’s forecast

by Ryan Snyder

upcoming shows you should check out

International food and music at the Second Annual Mosaic Festival

Whether some are appreciative of it or not is beside the point, but more than 150 different languages are spoken in Greensboro. Our immigrant community includes displaced Iraqis who fought for the United States in both Gulf wars, Montagnards who fought on our side in Vietnam and refugees from some of the worst places on Earth, with cultures both beautiful and exotic. This Saturday in Greensboro’s downtown Festival Park, you can taste, see and hear some of it as the Mosaic Festival returns for its second year. On top of more than a dozen food vendors from all over the world, this year’s music lineup has expanded profoundly from last year, and will include sets by an array of immigrant performers and some of Greensboro’s own artists of international flavor. Funk-fusionists the Brand New Life close out the festival in the late afternoon, and they’ll be preceded by afro-folk string group Diali Cissohko & Kairaba!, vigorous Latin rockers Braco and a folk-singing newcomer named Kwesi Immanuel. Food and beer come cheap, though there’s no cover for the festival itself, which runs from 2 to 8 p.m.

Boney James is smoother than a cashmere codpiece

As exciting as sitting in a waiting room, riding an elevator or being put on hold is by itself, it’s the soundtrack that makes inertia memorable. Players like Kenny G, Dave Koz and Boney James take Grover Washington Jr.’s sound, wash out the color, robotize the sidemen and plant themselves on low-band FM to fill empty spaces with nondescript but inoffensive melodies that linger. Smooth jazz is the earworm that digs in and tickles your cochlea. It’s the soulless, estranged cousin of real jazz, suspiciously agreeable and only after your paper. Sound like your kind of thing? You can see Boney himself this Saturday when he pays the High Point Theatre a visit. The saxophonist has sold over 3 million records without taking so much as a single artistic risk, but what sounds smooth and sexy to some can sound bland and cloying to others. Give the man his due though. He’s got his audience pegged: namely, a lot of people who have forgotten that jazz is supposed to be a little challenging and, sometimes, a little bit abrasive. Maybe live, Boney is a little bit more than a “waiting” experience. Tickets for the show run from $35 to $45, and the music starts flowing at 8 p.m.

Party on the Plank closes out its season

It reads like something from those ’80s commercials for thematic compilation CDs: “Eric and The Chill Tones are a high energy party band that leans to the Carolina beach music, Motown and ’70s and ’80s songs you grew up with!” That’s the promo copy on the homemade website for Eric & the Chill Tones. With such na’ve sincerity, how can they be refused? Party on the Plank gives you one last opportunity to accept this olive branch this Friday in downtown High Point, in the Char-Grill parking lot, as the concert series brief season draws to a close. The music starts at 6:30 p.m. and admission is only $5.