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Vital signs

ArtBeat 2008 hits Davis Square
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  July 15, 2008
La Tuza

Since 2002, the ArtBeat Festival has been giving culture-hungry Davis Square denizens something to do on the weekend besides glower at one another at the Diesel. The fest, arranged by the Somerville ArtsCouncil, is a diverse two-day throwdown of musicians, dancers, artists, crafters, and little kids decorating their bikes. As per usual, this edition combines a sampling of local favorites (Akrobatik, Audrey Ryan, Freezepop among them) with a slew of new talents. The full schedule of performances is available, but here’s four acts you won’t want to miss.

Rota Temporis, “Live At September Fest”
Seven Hills Park | July 18 at 7:15 pm
One thing you might notice while watching Rota Temporis is that it’s almost impossible to say “what the fuck” while slackjawed. Explaining that this mediæval/Italian/Celtic sextet are something like a sexed-up splinter cell of undead Riverdancers can accomplish only so much, so I’m going to default to this somewhat terrifying YouTube clip.

La Tuza, “La Petenera”
Seven Hills Park | July 19 at 1 pm
La Tuza specialize in three varieties of Mexican roots music, or son (jarocho, huasteco, and calentano), and perform with a level of huggable charm typically reserved for indie pop. Hear what they do with one violin, one jarana, three voices, and a cardboard box and just try not dancing. (And then check out La Tuza’s David Wax with his Americana band, David Wax Museum, on the Elm Street Stage at 3:30.)

The Sneaks, “The Price Of Good Advice”
Seven Hills Park | July 19 at 2 pm
Speaking of indie pop: Boston’s still relatively brand spanking new quintet the Sneaks play some of the indiest pop I’ve ever heard, and I’m not even sure what that means. It has something to do with cuteness levels, but the Sneaks never let those levels reach hazardous, favoring noise and volume instead. Where most indie pop is catchy like a cold, this is catchy like a grappling hook.

The Shrinking Islands, “Araby”
Elm Street Stage | July 19 at 4:30 pm
I think it’s about time that everyone in town saw the Shrinking Islands, and there’s probably no better way to take in their breezy, summery brand of pop than, well, in a summer breeze. Thus ArtBeat is ideal. Here they cover a classic Reivers track, and not only does it deliver the pop goods, it mops the floor with the version done by Hootie and his respective Blowfish.

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