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slides: 10 Must-Hear Hipster Bands in Worcester

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


The music scene in Worcester has long been thriving and many young, hipster artists attribute their success to the inspiration and camaraderie that exists in the city.

Guitarist Kayla Daly said after playing in Boston during school, she’s come to appreciate the Worcester music scene.

“There isn’t the same camaraderie in Boston that there is here,” Daly said. “People want music to grow

Roger Lavallee of Curtain Society agreed saying Worcester has a strong community of musicians and music lovers.

He also noted that Worcester is breaking away from the tradition “rock band in a club” scene.

“The cool and interesting things are not usually found on Friday and Saturday nights at the big clubs,” Lavallee said. “They're often happening on off-nights or at spaces like the Dive, Vincent's, Nick's and the Firehouse. You have to be more proactive about finding stuff, but it's much more rewarding.”

Check out these 10 must-hear Worcester bands.

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Rich Leufstedt

Rich Leufstedt looks to bring the local ukulele scene to the streets of Worcester. Leufstedt, who has been playing the ukulele for seven years, said he’ll often simply take to the streets with his music. He also performs a Uke-A-Palooza once a year at the Hotel Vernon and plays monthly at Beatnik’s with a group of other ukulele players. “My style is covers that you don’t expect to hear on the ukulele, like the Clash or classic Bob Seger,” Leufstedt said.

Photo: Ted Theodore

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Kayla Daly

With singing professionally and working as a music therapist, Kayla Daly’s life has been taken over by music. Daly began playing the guitar when she was 12 and never wanted to do anything else. In college, she burst onto the Worcester music scene in the rock, funk band Miars. Now, Daly says her writing style is different and she’s aiming to take her music to charitable venues with her band Daliaz. “I want to play music for something bigger than myself,” Daly said. She said she now plays mainly at benefits and her church, the New England Dream Center.

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Niki Luparelli

Marilyn Monroe-esque Niki Luparelli brings her vintage sound to Nick’s and other Worcester venues on a regular basis. Starting at age 4, Luparelli always loved to sing. She began in college with operas and quickly shifter her focus to jazz. “My sound is what happens when you abuse a classically-trained opera voice,” Luparelli said. “Mostly, I am husking some Peggy Lee, or belting Patsy Cline.” She’s also Boston’s top Marilyn impersonator, so can adopt her high, wispy voice for those gigs.

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Roger Lavallee

Roger Lavallee, the guitarist and singer for The Curtain Society, says the band aims to stay out of the mainstream while maintaining a sense of melodic song-based pop. “We always want to make something that we, ourselves would want to listen to,” Lavallee said. The band also includes drummer Duncan Arsenault and bassist Ron Mominee. Together since 1988, The Curtain Society has played all over Worcester, particularly Ralph’s and the Lucky Dog. Lavallee has also worked with a number of bands over the years as a recording engineer and producer.

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Frank Inangelo

While you may recognize Frank Inangelo as the man behind the bar at Vincent’s, you’ll also have seen him rocking the drums. Inangelo, who’s been performing live since he was 16, has played with rock bands like “Bear Foot Republic” and, more recently, with “Little Red and Riders” and “Psychobilly Cadillac.” He’s played a wide range of music including 40s style swing to rockabilly and blues of the 50s and 60s.

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Herra Terra

Since 2006, Herra Terra has been rocking Worcester at various venues. What started as a two-piece band with age-old friends John Tonelli and Gregg Kusumah-Atmadja quickly filled out an entire rock band set as demand for live performances increased. They quickly added Shawn Pelkey, to replace their drum machine, and Adrian Bettencourt Andrade as their bassist. “We never really could explain what we sound like,” Andrade said. “We are what we eat and we’ve eaten a lot – inspiration fatties and proud.”

Photo: Molly McGrath

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The Feather Merchants

Cara Brindisi, a solo act on the Worcester music scene for the past year, is now joining up with other area musicians to create a new folk band the Feather Merchants. “We’re still a work in progress, but we’re trying to get a different vibe out there,” Brindisi said. “We do mostly covers now, but we’re looking to start songwriting.” Brindisi said they cover everything from Johnny Cash to the Talking Heads. “We try to put our own spin on it,” Brindisi said. The Feather Merchants can be found most-often playing at Vincent’s and Nick’s.

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The Smile Makers

The Smile Makers bring a little bit of everything to the table with their sounds including indie, rock, folk and a little bit of ska. The trio of Jeff McDonnell on electric, Eric Donaldson on acoustic and Nicole Sutka on the bass and wind instruments plays regularly at Vincent’s, Nick’s and Beatniks. “It is poetry driven with a rock feel,” Donaldson said. “We draw influences from a lot of different groups.”

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Sadie Sloe Gin

Sadie Sloe Gin brings together a mix of soul, reggae, funk and jazz to the Worcester music scene. Sarah Hendrick on vocals and her brother Jon both play in the band and say they come from a very musical family. With the addition of Austin Magnant on bass and backup vocals, Seth Magnant on guitar and Paul Zilioli on drums, they come together to create a unique sound. “Our fans love to have a great time and always provide us with a lot of energy,” Hendricks said.

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Daniel Burke

People may recognize Daniel Burke as the man who brings the classic sound of the piano to Nick’s every Friday night. He also entertains the city as one half of the duo, Gamble & Burke, who bring a electro/nu-disco/funk/soul sound to a variety of venues around the city.


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