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Music in the Park

Dog days of summer go by quicker with good bands

Swing 49 is just one of many bands set to play Olympia’s Music in the Park. Courtesy photo

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Things are heating up in the South Sound, with summer officially kicking off and a bevy of outdoor events begins to loom on the horizon. For their part, Olympia is bringing back their annual Music in the Park series of concerts, lasting all summer long. Beginning in July, Music in the Park will be offering one show each week in Sylvester Park, up through the end of August. It's an embarrassment of riches, to say the least, with participating bands running the gamut from jazz to swing to funk to country and all places in between. Here's a rundown of what you can expect to find this summer in Olympia.

Kicking off the 37th season of Music in the Park, July 6, is the Randy Linder Band. A classic rock tribute act, the Randy Linder Band covers a lot of ground, including songs by The Doors, Bob Seger, Tom Petty, ZZ Top, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and many more. The Randy Linder Band also devotes an entire show to Creedence Clearwater Revival, which is ideal music for these hot summer months. July 13 finds the Olson Brothers Band performing. The country trio has been playing a lot on the summer festival circuit, and their light, melodic country is the kind of stuff that would sound great played in the open air of Sylvester Park.

The following week, Pumphouse, another tribute band, will be performing. Unlike the Randy Linder Band, Pumphouse ventures into more recent rock territory, hitting Elvis Costello, the B-52s, and Gretchen Wilson, but still covering classics from the Doobie Brothers, the Temptations, Wild Cherry, and Ray Charles. Things get a little more adventurous the following week, with Swing 49 bringing their gypsy jazz to Music in the Park. Anchored by Jackie Schafer's nimble voice, Swing 49 draws on influences like Edith Piaf, Django Reinhardt, Thelonious Monk for an intoxicatingly cosmopolitan brew. This is music that begs to be listened to as it flutters through the air on a hot summer night.

Blind Facsimile is credited as being a classic rock act, and I'm going to go ahead and take Music in the Park's word for it, because the band seems to have absolutely no online presence. Perhaps they're just super in character as a band that existed in the days before Google and Facebook. See them on Aug. 3 and judge for yourself. Aug. 5 features the only performance not at Sylvester Park, with Blues County Sheriff bringing their old school blues to Port Plaza.

The slinky electro-funk of DBST comes to Music in the Park Aug. 10, bringing high-energy and engaging hooks to Sylvester Park. DBST have established themselves over the years as a fantastic live act, the live setting drawing out the best aspects of their day-glo soul. On the following week, the Tickled Pinks take the stage. Originally starting as an Andrews Sisters tribute act, the Tickled Pinks have since expanded their purview to cover all aspects of swing, even taking popular songs and transporting them back to the ‘40s.

Music in the Park closes out on Aug. 24 with the 56th Army Band performing jazz in the waning days of summer. With your summer concert options now carefully mapped out, you have no reason not to venture out in the dog days. Every show starts at 7 p.m., and should be appropriate for the full family, so bring a car load. Oh, and if you hit up Sylvester Park on Aug. 3, do tell me if Blind Facsimile truly does exist. I'd hate for that mystery to go unsolved.

Music in the Park, July 6 - Aug. 24, 7 p.m., Sylvester Park (except for Aug. 5 at Port Plaza), free,

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