Big weekend

Northlands Music & Arts Fest is a packed affair

An effort that began as crisis management in the pandemic’s early days is poised to be a highlight of this summer and many more. The Northlands Music & Arts Festival is a cultural buffet sure to please many palates. It includes five heavy hitters at the top of the bill: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Twiddle, Lotus, Lettuce and Melvin Seals’ Grateful Revue, a collaboration that promoters believe might not happen again. There’s also a stellar undercard.

After indoor venues shuttered in the dark spring of 2020, Seth McNally and Mike Chadinha of M.E. Productions launched socially distanced Drive-In Live shows at Cheshire Fairgrounds. As restrictions eased the next year, it became Northlands, with audience pods and close to two dozen more events.

This time around, they’re packing an entire season into one weekend. They hope to do two festivals in 2023.

Starting with Russo as a linchpin, the duo built a blend of big-name anchors and curated support acts, like buzzy Jersey jam band Dogs In A Pile, who kick off the show on Friday, June 24, and Blue Star Radiation, a supergroup that includes moe. members Rob Derhak and Vinnie Amico alongside Tim Palmieri of Lotus, and Percy Hill’s Nate Wilson.

Also eagerly anticipated are sets from progressive bluegrass stalwarts Yonder Mountain String Band, and Haley Jane & The Primates playing together for the first time following a long hiatus. Local favorites Dopapod, Lespecial, Pink Talking Fish and Joe Samba — the latter debuting a new album — are other highlights.

Chadinha brought experience organizing the charity-based Uplift Festival in his hometown of Peterborough for several years, and playing drums with circuit veterans Roots of Creation. McNally’s resume includes booking the Flying Monkey in Plymouth and a few other facilities. Professional chemistry is a big part of their success, the two stated in a recent videoconference interview.

“Our dynamic works because we bounce a lot of things off one another,” Chadinha said. “I have the artist angle, he has the back of the house booking angle, and somewhere in the middle of those two, we make things work perfectly for artists and the venue.”

The hope that doing only one event would mean a quicker process turned out to be over-optimistic. “I thought it was going to be maybe a little less work, but it’s the same amount as an entire season,” McNally said. “A hundred times harder than I thought, and 1,000 times more than anybody in the audience knows.”

In an inverse of horn-honking concerts necessitated by the Covid-19 outbreak, scaling back became the only option when the Swanzey facility returned to its normal schedule of fairs and agricultural events. But both McNally and Chadinha are glad things are returning to normal, as they’ve thought about doing an event like this for a while.

“It was the perfect time to take the leap, because a season wasn’t an option,” McNally said. “We decided to pull the trigger almost right after the end of last season and it’s good…. We needed every moment to prepare. Booking alone took four months at least before we got it fully wrapped up. It’s a long process.”

Along with music, there will be a caravan of food trucks, far more than at last year’s Northlands concerts, and more than a dozen craft artisan vendors. There’s also tent and RV camping available. “A lot of unique things are going to be happening for campers; some of them are going to be surprises,” McNally said. “We’re going to keep them occupied and happy the whole time. It’s going to be 24/7 for us as a crew.”

Music will be nonstop, as setup teams quickly transition between two main stages, different from big festivals that force fans to inevitably skip an act or two. “We like being boutique,” Chadinha said. “The stages aren’t far from each other, so you can do a quick shift. With no overlapping sets, there’s no chance you’ll miss anyone.”

The fans in both of them are eager for everything to begin.

“I can’t wait for the music to actually play,” Chadinha said, adding, “I know Dogs In A Pile are going to come out of the gate smoking, because I know the feeling of being the first band on a big festival and thinking, ‘We’re going to get out there and with the first note we’re going to hit it, we’re going to get this started.’ So get there early, and make sure you see them.”

Northlands Music & Arts Festival
When: Friday, June 24, 1 p.m. and Saturday, June 25, 11 a.m.
Where: Northlands (Cheshire Fairgrounds), 247 Monadnock Hwy., Swanzey
June 24 – Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Lotus, Lettuce, Dopapod, Dogs In A Pile, Blue Star Radiation
June 25 – Twiddle, Melvin Seals Grateful Revue, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Movement, Lespecial, Pink Talking Fish, Haley Jane & The Primates, The Trichomes, Joe Samba Band
Two-day: general admission $166.35, VIP $254.95, children $43.76
One-day: general admission $95.62, VIP $201.71, children $25.77
Add-ons: Two-day on-site camping $220.75 (RV or tow $237.07), parking $20 and up

Featured photo: Northlands Music & Arts Fest 2021. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 22/06/16

Local music news & events

String thing: Mandolin wizard Jacob Joliff left the West Coast for Berklee College of Music in the early 2000s and has captivated roots fans ever since, winning a national championship, then playing in Joy Kills Sorrow and Yonder Mountain String Band, then kicking off a solo career and releasing Instrumentals Vol. 1 in 2018. He’s worked with Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, John Popper and Widespread Panic. Thursday, June 16, 8 p.m., The Press Room, 77 Daniel St., Portsmouth, tickets $12 to $15 at

Blues crew: A pared-down version of Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers with Harpe and her husband Jim Countryman performing as a duo appears at a new tapas, craft beer and wine bar. Their sound is inspired by the likes of Memphis Minnie and Sippie Wallace, along with newer contemporaries like Bonnie Raitt and Rory Block. In 2020, Harpe released Meet Me In The Middle, her first all-acoustic album in a dozen years. Friday, June 17, 6 p.m., Luna Bistro, 254 N. Broadway, Salem,

Family act: The inevitable musical career of The Brubeck Brothers Quartet began seven years after their father, Dave Brubeck, released “Take Five,” a song that would become the greatest selling jazz single of all time. Drummer Dan and bassist, trombonist and composer Chris Brubeck made their first album in 1966, and accompanied their dad onstage for years in the Two Generations of Brubeck group. Saturday, June 18, 7:30 p.m., Rex Theatre, 23 Amherst St., Manchester, tickets $39 to $49 at

Funny fathers: An all-inclusive comedy brunch dubbed Dads Gone Rogue will likely include a few eye roll-inducing jokes like “I thought the dryer was shrinking my clothes, but it turns out it was the refrigerator all along.” The four-comic lineup includes Boston standup Joe Flynn, support from Robbie Partridge and Bryan Muenzer, with Ben Davis hosting, and a deluxe spread of food. Sunday, June 19, 10:30 a.m., Backyard Brewery and Kitchen, 1211 S. Mammoth Road, Manchester, $75

Classic echo: A free al fresco concert from the Brian Maes Band has support from guitarist Barry Goudreau, who’s best known for his time in Boston. Though sometimes dismissed as corporate rock, the group was anything but — founder and tech wizard Tom Scholtz made their chart-smashing debut record in his basement, then duped the label into believing that a re-do was recorded in an L.A. studio. Wednesday, June 22, 7 p.m., Londonderry Town Common, 265 Mammoth Road, Londonderry,

Jurassic World Dominion

Jurassic World Dominion (PG-13)

Original Jurassic cast and new Jurassic cast collide in the underwhelming Jurassic World Dominion, the final movie in the Jurassic World trilogy and the conclusion of the six total Jurassic movies.

Wikipedia and other sources report that filmmakers say this is the final film of these two trilogies, but I have a hard time believing this is “The End” of this franchise. Something this long-running, and with CGI dinosaurs and not specific actors as the principal attraction, feels like it will always have reboot potential. You know — life finds a way.

Previous movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ended on a dark but interesting note (spoiler alert for that 2018 film): What if dinosaurs were suddenly reintroduced to the planet, not just in some controlled theme park but out in the wild with other animals and soft, squishable humans. Dominion takes that idea and, well, basically does nothing with it. Dinosaurs are out there running around on land and swimming in the world’s oceans. And there is also an illegal market in dinosaurs — but somehow none of that really seems to matter. Like, at the end of this movie, we see a kid just feeding a small dinosaur in the park, like it’s a friendly duck, and it’s no big whoop.

The big whoop of Dominion is actually an infestation of particularly large, aggressive locusts that are destroying huge chunks of farmland. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern!) figures out that these locusts have Cretaceous DNA and gets her old friend Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to go with her to Biosyn, the company that has the government contract to deal with all the loose dinos in the world and that, totally coincidentally, is the source of the seeds used in the only fields that the locusts won’t eat. Their colleague Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) works for Biosyn and has invited them to come visit him at the Biosyn facility in Italy where they have their dino preserve and also a building with multiple underground levels where you can do all sorts of shady DNA stuff.

Meanwhile, out in The Wilderness, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt), one-time coworkers at the revived but now-re-defunct Jurassic World theme park, are now an official couple and co-parents to Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), a clone or something who they rescued in the last movie. In addition to being some kind of scientific marvel who is being hunted by poachers, Maisie is a sulky teen who wants to ride her bike wherever I want, Mom, because you can’t hide me in this off-the-grid cabin forever. Naturally, after one such tantrum, she is kidnapped, along with Beta, the small baby raptor of Blue, Owen’s raptor buddy who lives in the nearby wilderness. I’ll bring back your baby, Owen tells Blue — and to this movie’s credit, they do let Ian make fun of this later.

Eventually, all of these characters — along with bad-ass pilot Kayla (DeWanda Wise); scientist Henry Wu (BD Wong), who is always messing with DNA in these movies and, like, never learns, and Biosyn flunky Ramsay (Mamoudou Athie) — wind up at the Biosyn facility in Italy run by cartoonishly evil Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott, who never seems to completely land on which tech CEO he’s parodying).

There are, of course, plenty of scenes of dinosaurs chasing our characters — trained attack dinosaurs chasing a motorcycle-riding Owen through the streets of Malta, those dino-locusts swarming on a farm, a T-Rex on the hunt for meat. But there are also enough scenes of not-dinosaurs in this nearly two-and-a- half-hour movie that I found myself thinking “it’s been a while since we’ve seen any dinosaurs in this dinosaur movie.” There’s a lot of very goopy talk about genetics and humanity, a scene of people listening to Ian Malcolm just sorta riff in a lecture hall, a whole undercurrent about Ellie and Alan’s relationship that I think we’re supposed to find nostalgic and cute, the parenting dynamics of Owen and Claire, the genetically engineered Maisie dealing with the nature of herself (which the movie confuses more than it explains). When dinosaurs show up, it is at least nice to break away from these plots and people that I could never really bring myself to care about. But the dinosaur action also felt sort of muted; there was kind of an amusement park ride quality to some of the dinosaur scenes, as though we were riding through little tableaus about dinosaurs in the world without really engaging with them.

I’m sure that, side by side, these 2022 dinosaurs would look realer than the 1990s dinosaurs of the original movies, but this movie isn’t presenting them in any way that is significantly more exciting or visually arresting than back then. We don’t get any “clever girl” or raptors testing the fences moments here. And I felt nothing but eye-roll-y about the movie wanting me to root for the underdog T-Rex in a fight against the bigger badder Giganotosaurus. Yep, cool, I feel a really strong emotional connection to this one section of the green screen over this other section of the green screen.

Jurassic World Dominion was probably never going to be great but it had a setup that could have found its way to fun if it had built itself on the “dinosaurs in the human world” idea instead of getting all Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker about smooshing together separate trilogies and then basically putting the big climax back in a Jurassic Park-like setting. C-

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action, some violence and language, according to the MPA on Directed by Colin Trevorrow with a screenplay by Emily Carmichael & Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World Dominion is an unnecessary two hours and 26 minutes long and is distributed by Universal Studios.

Featured photo: Jurassic World Dominion.

Two Nights in Lisbon, by Chris Pavone

Two Nights in Lisbon, by Chris Pavone (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 436 pages)

As perhaps the only semi-literate person on the planet who hasn’t read or seen Gone Girl, I still know enough about Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster novel to know that her fans would like Two Nights in Lisbon. In fact, but for the pesky laws of copyright, Chris Pavone could have called his fifth novel “Gone Guy.”

The thriller is set in Portugal, where a bookstore owner named Ariel Pryce is on a business trip with her husband, John. On their third night there, she wakes up alone and when he doesn’t immediately respond to her texts she starts to panic. Everyone she consults, from the housekeeping and wait staff at their luxury hotel to the local police, assures her that it’s premature to worry, that John probably went on a long run or is meeting with one of his clients. That’s why they are here, after all — for business.

Even as the hours tick by (in Jack Bauer-ish 24 fashion), unconcerned detectives and embassy staff are more inclined to think that John is off with another woman, or maybe even left his older wife permanently; it’s far too early to worry that anything criminal has occurred, they say. (“Senhora, I hope you understand that it is not possible for the police to search for every man whose wife cannot find him in the morning. We would never do anything else.”)

Ariel, however, is insistent from the start that John, her husband for only a year, isn’t like that, especially since he insisted she accompany him on the trip. (What married man wants his wife to come along if his planned activities include a tryst?) Her fears grow as she starts to think someone is following her, and seem to be confirmed when a hotel maid finds a note under her bed that indicates John intended to be away for only a few minutes and planned to meet her for breakfast.

From the start, though, there are suggestions that Ariel may be an especially unreliable narrator, or at the least, a woman prone to unusually high levels of anxiety that could distort her view of what is happening.

The local police she repeatedly contacts are suspicious not only about John (they ask if he uses drugs, among other things) but also about Ariel herself, to the point that they have a detective follow her when she leaves the station. Meanwhile, we get hints of former identities for both Ariel and John, who seem to not know very much about each other. There are flashbacks to earlier times in Ariel’s life, when she went by another name and apparently lived a life much higher on the socioeconomic ladder.

Then there’s the question of her teenage son, George, an increasingly moody kid with whom she lives on a ramshackle farm a couple of hours from New York. It’s unclear who the boy’s father is, and why Ariel walked away from her former life for one that seemingly has a lot more troubles and goats.

Pavone boasts a roster of heavyweight endorsements from John Grisham — who says “I defy anyone to read the first twenty pages of this breakneck novel, then try to put it down for five minutes. It can’t be done.” — to Stephen King, who seems to be trolling Grisham when he says, “There’s no such thing as a book you can’t put down, but this one was close.”

This may be because, in addition to his own writing career, Pavone has worked for 33 years in publishing. In other words, he’s hardly a supernova who burst out of nowhere; he’s as establishment in the business of words as you can get. As such, he is a craftsman when it comes to the construction of a made-for-Hollywood thriller. The foreshadowing is a bit too heavy-handed in places — particularly with regard to news going on in the U.S. that is constantly on TV screens in Portugal.

But the twist that turns the story on its head at the end is deftly done. In fact, Two Nights in Lisbon may require two readings: the second to see how the story changes once you finally learn what was really going on.

To be sure, Pavone injects a generous amount of moralizing, which was interesting at first but grew a bit tiresome as the story developed. Here he is on college degrees: “oversold, overpriced, undervalued educational achievements that turn out to be almost meaningless on the job market,” and on the internet: “The magic of the internet. It’s easy to forget this, looking at the toxic effects of social media, at the economic devastation wrought by online retail and the tech-driven gig economy and the decline of Main Street, at the mis- and disinformation that threatens the integrity of democracy, in fact the integrity of everything.”

Cultural asides are useful when lobbying for prizes or stretching a thin story to novel length, but the frequent digressions seem so much overreach, similar to its bloated, self-important final paragraph that tries to give the novel more authority than it earned.

Two Nights in Lisbon is actually a misnomer, as the book spans six days (six days and three months, if you count the epilogue). It could have been satisfyingly shorter, and will be in a screenwriter’s hands.

Some Amazon reviewers have noted the resemblance of a pivotal character to a certain former president who has been unusually divisive. Meh. That’s surely the author’s intent, but the parallel is not heavy-handed enough to make this book political. More radical is the age-old question the novel offers about whether an end justifies a means. As cultural commentary Two Nights in Lisbon comes up short, but it’s an excellent beach read. B+

Book Notes

Even without a print magazine and daily talk show, Oprah Winfrey still wields power in the world of publishing. She still has a book club through her website,, where she recently guaranteed the publishing success of Leila Mottley, the 19-year-old author of the new novel Nightcrawling (Knopf, 288 pages).

Mottley began writing the book when she was 16. It’s set in Oakland, California, where she lives, and it’s about a high-school dropout named Kiara who has to work to support her family and a neighbor child, but gets embroiled in a scandal involving the Oakland Police Department.

The last book Winfrey recommended before this was the memoir of actress Viola Davis, called Finding Me (HarperOne, 304 pages). Released in April, it has 3,800 ratings on Amazon, most of them five stars.

Can Bill Gates crown an author like Oprah can? He keeps trying. His summer recommendations for fiction are weirdly dated: last year’s The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Viking, 592 pages) and Naomi Alderman’s The Power, published in 2016 (Penguin paperback, 352 pages).

More current is actress Reese Witherspoon, whose Reese’s Book Club features only books with female protagonists. Her pick this month is Counterfeit (William Morrow, 288 pages) by Kirstin Chen. It’s about a Chinese American lawyer and mom who gets inadvertently sucked into a counterfeit purse scheme run by an old friend. And actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop book club is recommending Circa by Devi S. Laskar (Mariner, 192 pages), a coming-of-age story of an Indian American girl.

“Celebrity” book clubs may be pushing the bounds of celebrity when they include Jenna Bush Hager, who some people may not recall is the daughter of former President George W. Bush. But I like her recent pick, Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (Ecco, 368 pages), a novel about a lonely janitor who makes friends with an octopus at the aquarium where she works.

Book Events

Author events

ANDREA PAQUETTE Author presents Loveable: How Women Can Heal Their Sensitive Hearts and Live and Love as Their True Selves. Sat., June 18, 6 p.m. Toadstool Bookstore, Somerset Plaza, 375 Amherst St., Nashua. Visit

PAUL DOIRON Author presents Hatchet Island. Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 S. Main St., Concord. Wed., June 29, 6:30 p.m. Visit or call 224-0562.

PAUL BROGAN Author presents A Sprinkling of Stardust Over the Outhouse. Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 S. Main St., Concord. Thurs., June 30, 6:30 p.m. Visit or call 224-0562.

SARAH MCCRAW CROW Author presents The Wrong Kind of Woman. Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 S. Main St., Concord. Tues., July 19, 6:30 p.m. Visit or call 224-0562.

CASEY SHERMAN Author presents Helltown. Bookery, 844 Elm St., Manchester. Sun., Aug. 14, 1:30 p.m. Visit or call 836-6600.


DOWN CELLAR POETRY SALON Poetry event series presented by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire. Monthly. First Sunday. Visit

Writers groups

MERRIMACK VALLEY WRITERS’ GROUP All published and unpublished local writers who are interested in sharing their work with other writers and giving and receiving constructive feedback are invited to join. The group meets regularly Email

Writer submissions

UNDER THE MADNESS Magazine designed and managed by an editorial board of New Hampshire teens under the mentorship of New Hampshire State Poet Laureate Alexandria Peary. features creative writing by teens ages 13 to 19 from all over the world, including poetry and short fiction and creative nonfiction. Published monthly. Submissions must be written in or translated into English and must be previously unpublished. Visit for full submission guidelines.

Book Clubs

BOOKERY Monthly. Third Thursday, 6 p.m. 844 Elm St., Manchester. Visit or call 836-6600.

GIBSON’S BOOKSTORE Online, via Zoom. Monthly. First Monday, 5:30 p.m. Bookstore based in Concord. Visit or call 224-0562.

TO SHARE BREWING CO. 720 Union St., Manchester. Monthly. Second Thursday, 6 p.m. RSVP required. Visit or call 836-6947.

GOFFSTOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY 2 High St., Goffstown. Monthly. Third Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. Call 497-2102, email or visit

BELKNAP MILL Online. Monthly. Last Wednesday, 6 p.m. Based in Laconia. Email

NASHUA PUBLIC LIBRARY Online. Monthly. Second Friday, 3 p.m. Call 589-4611, email or visit



Offered remotely by the Franco-American Centre. Six-week session with classes held Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. $225. Visit or call 623-1093.

Album Reviews 22/06/16

Ironflame, Where Madness Dwells (High Roller Records)

As you may have noticed, I’ve ignored all the bleating from our Baby Iron Maiden Band desk for months now, but my luck ran out today when this one refused to be denied. It’s the fourth full-length from the straight-up project led by Ohio’s Andrew D’Cagna, who, as you probably don’t know, is still involved with the bands Brimstone Coven and Icarus Witch (in case you thought he was some boring old normie, he says he’s got a black metal thing going at the moment as well). D’Cagna apparently liked Maiden’s Number Of The Beast album a lot, as we hear on “Everlasting Fire,” which is too much like that aforementioned LP’s title track to chalk it up to coincidence. But wait, he loves him some late-’80s power metal too, as the Savatage-ish “Under The Spell” attests; that one’s a more energetic headbanger. It goes on uneventfully from there (trust me when I say I looked for something that proved he really did want to add some “fun” parts), a dreary yowling metal moaner played in a minor key, etc., etc. B-

John Carpenter, Firestarter Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Sacred Bones Records)

Boy, this has become a tradition in this space, hasn’t it, another soundtrack from horror filmmaker Carpenter, who redefined the meaning of “bad movie soundtracks” with the eternally dated-sounding music he contributed to such 80s classics as Halloween and The Fog. But I’ll admit, this has more going for it than the last few Carpenter-backgrounding records we talked about (and if you can remember what those were, I congratulate you for being blessed with a memory like Krazy glue). Don’t get me wrong, there’s still stupid stuff here, like the Rockman-plugged guitar on ther title theme, which is right out of “Danger Zone” from the original Top Gun’s soundtrack, but this time it looks as if Carpenter really wanted to have the creeps set in. There are Omen-like monk-choir things but they’re not at all overdone, the melodies actually have some heft, and, best of all, there’s a welcome paucity of that old Casio keyboard he used to love. I haven’t seen the movie and don’t plan to, but at least I can spoil that the soundtrack is fine. A


• Yikes, folks, we’re staring down the barrel of June 17, which, like every Friday, is a perfect Friday for new releases, hopefully good ones! So let’s start with British art-punk/math-rock/indie-rock trio Foals and their seventh album, Life is Yours, just to get it out of the way, because there’s nothing I look forward to messing up each week more than trying to grok the intentions of a band that wants to fall under every category except schottisches played on kazoo and trumpet. No, I’m kidding, for all I know I’ll like this record as much as I have the last few Al Jolson albums. By the by, 1930s Jolson records are really all I’ve really listened to in the car for the last two weeks. When he messes with the lyrics of “Is It True What They Say About Dixie” and changes it to “Is it true what they say about Swanee,” it lights up my heart, reminding me that our species was in fact pretty neat at one short point in history, unlike now. Right. OK, what was I talking about again, oh, yes, Foals. OK, OK, right, these guys, the ones who did “Mountain At My Gates.” That was actually a really good song, like, if you heard it at a sports bar, you’d know it wasn’t the typical sleepy rawk fare you’d hear in such a place; in fact there’s a good chance you’d kind of bob your head along to it while you chew your cheeseburger. What does this mean? It means the hipster press probably didn’t like it, because it’s an actual good song, you know how this goes by now. Right, where were we, OK, the new single “2am.” I see, they’re trying to revive the Black Eyed Peas or LMFAO, whatever, because the beat is bloopy and crunchy, it’s a cross between The Weeknd and some tedious Aughts indie band like Shins or something. People will like this a lot but I really don’t. And yes, I’m being that difficult on purpose, I’m finally admitting it to the world right here, today.

• Dum de dum, how bad will it get this week, gang, how freaking bad could it possibly — wait, what do we have here, it’s Ugly Season, the new album from indie-popper Perfume Genius, real-named Michael Hadreas, whose most popular tune so far has been 2020’s “On The Floor,” a Wham!-style bump-and-grind disco thing. The new album features songs Hadreas wrote for “The Sun Still Burns Here,” an immersive dance project with choreographer Kate Wallich, a show that played in a few American cities in 2019. One of those songs, “Eye In The Wall,” is an unnerving, understated techno thing with wub-wub bits and other weird things. It’s OK.

• Brooklyn, N.Y.-based rapper/singer/actor Joey Bada$$ has done it all: gotten arrested for breaking some poor security guard’s nose; started a really stupid and apparently never-ending Twitter beef with Troy Ave, and landed a role in a cable TV series, Power Book III: Raising Kanan on the Starz network. His new LP, 2000, is coming out imminently and will feature a bunch of songs that are only available in snippet form at this writing, stuff that was inspired by Tupac and all Bada$$’s other rather conventional influences, including an R&B tune that’s chill and sexy enough.

• We’ll wrap up this week with Farm To Table, the second album from indie-rock/jazz-rap dude Bartees Strange, who was born in Britain and forced to grow up in Mustang, Oklahoma, where the population is about 85 percent white, which made for a decidedly miserable experience for Strange, who’s Black. His debut LP, Live Forever, received universal acclaim for its odd mix of influences, which appear again here in the gorgeous new single “Heavy Heart,” a rap-decorated mixture of Hootie and The Blowfish and Coldplay. You should really give this a listen, folks.

If you’re in a local band, now’s a great time to let me know about your EP, your single, whatever’s on your mind. Let me know how you’re holding yourself together without being able to play shows or jam with your homies. Send a recipe for keema matar. Message me on Twitter (@esaeger) or Facebook (eric.saeger.9).

Refreshing the love for IPAs

We all keep coming back to them

Sure, I go through spells, often even prolonged spells, where I’m focused more on Pilsners or stouts, or brown ales or just trying new things.

Then I take my first sip of an IPA in a while, and it’s like that moment in a murder mystery when the detective puts all the pieces together — sort of an explosive epiphany. A classic “a-ha” moment.

It’s hard to describe that first sip but I think all IPA enthusiasts appreciate that moment after taking a break from the style. And I think we all have to take a break from time to time.

After a recent hiatus, I took a sip of an IPA called Lucidity by Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co. in Worcester, a brewery that is well-worth seeking out if you’re a fan of big IPAs, and it blew me away. The beer is super juicy up front but fades away into a clean, crisp and almost dry finish — it’s the kind of beer that refreshes any beer-drinkers’ love for IPAs.

IPAs greet your taste buds with bright, exciting flavors that seem to jump around in your mouth, providing almost like a cascade of flavor. The style can feature a wide range of flavors, including tropical fruits, citrus, pine, floral notes and so on, along with a bitterness that can run from mild to full-on bracing.

It’s also a style that perhaps stands to benefit the most from being enjoyed fresh, preferably right at the brewery or poured from a growler filled right at the tap. You can taste the freshness.

Yes, IPAs are a dime a dozen right now, and sometimes that’s frustrating when you’re looking for literally anything else at your local beer store, but there’s a reason why that’s the case.

Here are four New Hampshire IPAs to refresh your devotion to the style:

Safe Space by Concord Craft Brewing (Concord)

This is your classic New England IPA: juicy, hazy and smooth. With big notes of tropical fruit and citrus, this is a crowd-pleaser for sure. One of the things I like about the New England-style IPA is that it tends to come in at a bit lower ABV, just making it more approachable. This one sits at 6 percent ABV, which seems to be a very nice sweet spot for this style of IPAs.

Dwayne’s World by Stoneface Brewing Co. (Newington)

This is another New England IPA but this hits a different end of the spectrum, featuring big, bold flavors of mango, grapefruit and orange, in a package that comes in at 9 percent ABV. Go easy on this exciting brew, because it absolutely does not drink like it’s 9 percent ABV.

Long Brothers American IPA by Flying Goose Brew Pub (New London)

It’s difficult to describe styles within the IPA realm — seems to me there’s a good bit of overlap — but this is an American IPA, which I think tend to be a bit more intense on the palate. You’re still going to get big flavor notes from the hops but it’s a little more bracing and a little less what you might call juicy. This is extremely well-balanced and features some nice complexity.

Miles and Miles by Henniker Brewing Co. (Henniker)

This is a perfect session IPA, giving you just enough IPA character to satisfy your taste buds, in a lighter, lower ABV package. It’s drinkable, it’s tasty and you can have more than one.

What’s in My Fridge
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Framinghammer by Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers (Framingham, Mass.)
This Baltic porter is luscious, rich, decadent — pick your descriptor. This is a beer worth savoring. It’s also super boozy (12 percent ABV) and filled with deep notes of bourbon, chocolate, oak and maybe some vanilla. The brew is quite complex, boasting layers upon layers of flavor. The brewery puts out a number of versions of its barrel-aged Framinghammer, including salted caramel, French toast, coffee and tiramisu versions; every version I’ve tried has been delicious. Cheers.

Featured photo. Lucidity by Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co. Courtesy photo.

Portobellos with wine poached lobster

This week’s dish is truly one for a celebration. Not only does it incorporate lobster, but this recipe also utilizes wine, Parmesan cheese and heavy cream. While these are indulgent stuffed mushrooms, it is a memorable dish, well worth the splurge when grocery shopping.

This is a luxurious dish, but it is quite simple to make. In 30 minutes you will have transformed all the ingredients into a lavish dish. I noted that this recipe serves four, which works when offering it as an appetizer. However, it also would work well as an entrée for two.

This recipe’s ingredients do require a bit of a breakdown. I used lobster tails to make this dish, as it is a faster way to get to the meat. If you want to use a whole lobster, you probably need one that is about two pounds. Next is the wine. While I use the general term “white wine,” I’d suggest using one that is not aromatic, such as an unoaked chardonnay or a pinot grigio. Finally, the recipe calls for two tablespoons of heavy cream. You may think that you can use whatever milk you have on hand. I would recommend buying the heavy cream. It lends to the unctuous nature of the dish.

This is not an everyday sort of dish. Set this recipe aside for a special occasion. It definitely will make the day more memorable.

Portobellos with wine poached lobster
Serves 4

4 portobello mushrooms
¾ cup white wine
2 cups uncooked lobster meat*
⅓ cup panko
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Remove stems from portobellos; chop and set aside.
Remove the gills from the portobellos, using a spoon; discard.
In a small saucepan, bring wine to a boil.
Chop lobster into bite-sized pieces.
Add lobster meat to wine, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat.
Stir in panko, ¼ cup Parmesan and chopped mushroom stems until fully combined.
Add heavy cream and mix well.
Spoon stuffing into the mushroom caps and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan.
Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

*I used 2 lobster tails, which equaled that amount.

Featured Photo: Broccoli, apple and bacon salad. Photo by Michele Pesula Kuegler.

In the kitchen with Dan Lloyd

Dan Lloyd of Hillsborough is the owner and founder of the Big Dog Sauce Co. (, and on Facebook and TikTok), a producer of all-natural barbecue sauces that launched earlier this spring. Originally from the Denver area, Lloyd moved east about five years ago. The company, which currently offers three bottled products and has a fourth on the way, stemmed from Lloyd’s longtime interest in barbecuing and making his own sauces at home. Big Dog Sauce Co.’s lineup includes a maple barbecue sauce, a mango habanero barbecue sauce, and a green chile barbecue sauce made with Anaheim chile peppers — the latter, Lloyd said, was inspired by his desire to bring an authentic taste of the Southwest to New England. A blackberry ginger barbecue sauce is also in the works, likely to be bottled and available in the coming weeks. Find 12-ounce bottles of Big Dog Sauce in multiple stores and farm stands across the state, including at the Osborne’s Agway locations in Hooksett (16 Cinemagic Way) and Concord (258 Sheep Davis Road), as well as at Lull Farm in Milford (615 Route 13), Goffstown Ace Hardware (5 Depot Road, Goffstown) and several others.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

I have to have an emulsion blender. It’s absolutely crucial for me to make sure that my sauces are blended properly.

What would you have for your last meal?

I would have to go with a really good Coney Island hot dog, with chili, onions and mustard.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

Locally, I think it would be Taco Beyondo [in Hillsborough], hands down. I think [owner and chef] Adam [Mosher] does a great job over there. … I love the stuffed chimichanga, extra crispy, with a queso sauce that they put over the top of it.

What celebrity would you like to see trying one of your sauces?

Guy Fieri [is] the person I would really like to have try my sauces. … He would be very down to earth and humble, and I think my sauce would be well-received.

What is your favorite sauce that you offer?

I like our mango habanero. It’s hands down our No. 1 seller. You have the sweetness of the mango, then all of a sudden you get a little bit of the heat and you get the flavor of the habanero. It’s not spicy, but it’s just enough to give you that zing that you need, and then as soon as it comes it goes away and you get more sweetness on the back of your palate. … I love to marinate it in some chicken and then cook it on the grill.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?

Popping up all over is ghost kitchens. They are a great way for people to introduce their product without having the overhead. … The other thing is it allows businesses that they rent from to be able to generate revenue.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

I love a good rack of ribs.

Pork belly burnt ends
From the kitchen of Dan Lloyd of Big Dog Sauce Co.

1 whole pork belly (about 8 to 10 pounds)
1 stick cold butter
2 cups of your favorite seasoning
1 bottle Big Dog Sauce Co. mango habanero sauce

Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees. Slice the pork belly into 1½-inch cubes and place into a large gallon zip-lock bag. Pour your seasoning into the bag and coat the pork belly liberally. Take pork belly and place on a wire rack about a half-inch apart, then place inside the smoker for three hours. Remove from the smoker and place all of the pork belly pieces in a deep aluminum pan. Take one stick of cold butter and cut into slices. Place inside the pork belly and then take the bottle of mango habanero sauce and a sprinkle of brown sugar over the top, and mix it together in the pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook for an additional hour and a half.

Featured photo: Dan Lloyd of the Big Dog Sauce Co. in Hillsborough. Courtesy photo.

Popping the cork

LaBelle Winery unveils new sparkling wine barn in Derry

Last year was quite a busy one for LaBelle Winery — in 2021 alone, the company introduced a farm-to-table restaurant, a retail market, performance and event spaces and even a golf course, all on a 45-acre property on Route 111 in Derry acquired the previous December. The expansions have continued in the form of an on-site sparkling wine tasting barn and vineyard wedding ceremony space, brand new additions that recently began welcoming visitors. Following a June 8 ribbon cutting with the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, a grand opening celebration is planned for Wednesday, June 22, and will include a cocktail reception, hors d’oeuvres, tours of the new property, an interactive sparkling wine display and more.

Construction on the 3,448-square-foot barn broke ground last October. A short walking path from the northeast end of the parking lot leads to the front doors of the tasting room.

Amy LaBelle, who founded LaBelle Winery in 2005, said building the barn was always part of the plan since she and her husband, Cesar Arboleda, took over the Derry property. Its chief purpose will be a production facility for new sparkling wine varieties created via Méthode Champenoise, a classic French technique only a few New England area wineries are known for.

“We have all these interesting businesses now under the LaBelle umbrella, but we can’t ever forget that the core of LaBelle is wine,” LaBelle said. “Real French-style Champagne is something that I’ve always wanted to make but just didn’t have enough production space for. … So we’ll be able to do that, and I’m really excited to use New England grapes for that process.”

The wines

Plans are currently underway to soon begin producing red, white and rosé sparkling wines out of the new barn. The building features a retail area and tasting room in the front and a production space in the back, plus a covered outdoor patio and an open-air terrace overlooking the vineyard.

Méthode Champenoise sparkling wines are characterized by a second fermentation inside the bottle during the production process. Bottles are intentionally filled with a lower percent ABV wine before yeast is added, as well as a dosage, or a new small amount of wine and sugar, for the yeast to eat. The bottle is then secured with a crown cap for the yeast to go to work.

“It starts breaking down the sugars, creating that extra one or two percent alcohol from what you’ve put in, and creating carbon dioxide as a byproduct,” LaBelle said. “So that’s how that wine gets bubbly. It’s created in the bottle that you’ll eventually drink from. … It also adds these beautiful bread-y notes, which is one reason why I love this method.”

The yeast eventually causes a residual substance called lees to form at the bottom of the bottle. After the second fermentation, LaBelle said, the next step of Méthode Champenoise involves removing the lees through a gradual process known as riddling.

“There are A-frame riddling racks and we place the neck of the bottle into them so that they’re at an angle … and then we turn those bottles every week, maybe just like an eighth of a turn, and that causes the lees to eventually make its way all into the neck,” she said. “That takes a long time, and I never had the space for all these racks before now. I could’ve put them out, but I would’ve had to move them too many times, and that would’ve disturbed the whole process.”

When the lees reaches the bottleneck, it’s flash frozen with nitrogen so it can be removed.

“When the plug goes out, [the bottle] gets a little low, so we fill it back up, pop in the cork and we’re off to the races,” LaBelle said.

LaBelle’s new sparkling wines created using this method will join its dozens of other wines and handcrafted artisan products available for sale out of the barn’s retail area, which include everything from jams, jellies and infused syrups to cooking oils, seasonings and more.

The vineyard

At about 3 acres, LaBelle’s newly planted vineyard in Derry is roughly the same size as its Amherst predecessor. It spans across a former golf course driving range adjacent to the wine barn, with a direct path from there to a central wedding ceremony space among the vines.

“In the middle of the vineyard, we’ve created an arbor built largely out of wine barrel materials,” LaBelle said. “So the idea is that if you want to get married in the vineyard, that space is available to you, and then you would recess up the path to the terrace, which fits 200 people for your cocktail hour. … Then you can go over to our ballroom for your dinner.”

Three grape varieties that have been planted in the vineyard — known as itasca, petit pear and cayuga — are all cold-hardy varieties suitable to withstand the cold winter climate. It will take about two years for the new vines to produce fruit that can be used for winemaking, LaBelle said, and until then the winery is expected to use grapes grown by local farmers.

“We’ll also be planting at the other side of the barn … so when you stand in the tasting room, you’ll literally be surrounded by vineyards, and you won’t be able to see the outside world,” she said. “We really wanted to give people that sense of being transported to wine country.”

The celebration

If you missed last week’s ribbon cutting ceremony for the wine barn, a ticketed grand opening celebration on June 22 will feature a uniquely intimate opportunity to experience the new space.

Attendees will get a chance to tour the property and learn more about the Méthode Champenoise process of making sparkling wine, as well as enjoy hors d’oeuvres and hear future plans for the barn. All ticket holders will also receive a complimentary signed copy of With a Twist, LaBelle’s own cocktail recipe book. The evening will even feature an interactive sparkling wine display.

“We have a performer coming who has a Champagne dress, so you’ll be served Champagne glasses from her dress, which is a whole thing,” LaBelle said. “It will be a lot of fun.”

LaBelle Winery Derry sparkling wine barn
A grand opening celebration is happening on Wednesday, June 22, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person and can be purchased online.

Where: 14 Route 111, Derry
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (the barn stays open an hour later on Thursdays, until 6 p.m., during LaBelle Winery’s concert nights)
Cost: Tastings are six for $14 or 10 for $20
More info: Visit, find them on Facebook and Instagram or call 672-9898

Featured photo: Sparkling wines are placed on riddling racks during the production process to remove excess yeast. Photo by Matt Ingersoll.

The Weekly Dish 22/06/16

News from the local food scene

Greek for a day: Join St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church (1160 Bridge St., Manchester) for the return of its annual lamb barbecue and food festival on Saturday, June 18 — the deadline to pre-order online may have passed, but walk-ups will still be welcome beginning at noon and while supplies last. As with previous barbecues, the lamb is prepared using a recipe from the late George Moulis, one of the co-founders of the church. It will be available as a dinner with rice and a Greek salad, while other items will include marinated Greek chicken, Greek-style meatballs, pastitsio (Greek lasagna with a bechamel sauce), dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) and spanakopita (spinach pie). For sweeter indulgences, there will be baklava, as well as koulourakia (butter cookies) and kourambiethes (powdered sugar cookies). Admission and parking is free and all foods are priced per item. Visit

Strawberry fever: J&F Farms (124 Chester Road, Derry) will hold a strawberry festival on Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring pick-your-own strawberries, free samples, a petting farm, food trucks, live music and more. Farm-fresh strawberries over vanilla ice cream will be available from noon to as long as they last. Parking is $10 per car. Visit More local strawberry festivals are also being planned in the coming weeks, including the Hollis Strawberry Festival, returning on Sunday, June 26, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Outdoor barbecueing: Farm-a-Q: A Juneteenth Celebration returns to Tuckaway Farm (36 Captain Smith Emerson Road, Lee) on Sunday, June 19, from noon to 5 p.m. The event is a collaboration celebration with the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, Indonesian Community Connect, the Cowasuck Band of the Penacook Abenaki People and other local community groups, and features foraging walks, craft brews, barbecue options and more. The cost is $35 per person, $25 for students and seniors and free for kids under 5. Find Tuckaway Farm on Facebook @tuckawayfarmnh.

Tapas and wines: A new eatery now open in Salem features a wide array of wines and locally sourced tapas, along with lounge seating, live music and comedy shows. Luna Bistro, which opened June 10 in the Breckenridge Plaza on North Broadway, is the brainchild of owner Kori Doherty, whose goal is to create a space with a relaxing vibe with good drinks and quality shareable plates. “It’s … more of a night-out type of experience as opposed to just somewhere you would go to eat and then leave,” Doherty told the Hippo earlier this year. “I really want it to be a place where you can have a good glass of wine or a beer and a bunch of really good appetizers, maybe watch a show or listen to a band, and just not feel rushed.” The food menu features everything from meat and seafood options to dips, spreads and flatbreads, and there is also an extensive wine list and craft beer selection. Visit

Stay in the loop!

Get FREE weekly briefs on local food, music,

arts, and more across southern New Hampshire!