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Sounds Local: Collective of musicians to perform ‘Glamourama Llama’

  • Llama Lasagne, a revolving collective of local musicians, is performing a themed show called “Glamourama Llama” at the Shea Theater Arts Center. Llama Lasagne performs only a couple of shows each year. Contributed photo

  • Don White, an award-winning singer-songwriter, comedian, author and storyteller, will perform at Temple Israel on Saturday. Contributed photo/Larry Peplin

  • HUNTER



For the Recorder
Thursday, November 08, 2018

They’re back! The zany bunch of merry music makers known as Llama Lasagne will return to the Shea Theater Arts Center on Friday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m. with a show called “Glamourama Llama” that promises to be an unforgettable, unique night of music and much more.

In case you’re not sure who or what a Llama Lasagne is, it’s a revolving collective of local musicians who come together a couple times a year to present shows that are built around a particular theme. And while there is always great music being created at these shows, a Llama Lasagne show is more than a concert. It’s an event.

When the musicians take the stage, they dress up in crazy costumes, use stage props and enlist the talents of other performers like circus artists and dancers. For this show, they promise paparazzi, film crews and, of course, a red carpet.

The group is all about having fun, being creative and letting loose — the audience included.

“It’s ridiculously silly,” is how keyboardist Jay Metcalf, one of the driving forces behind the project and one of the group’s founding members, described the shows.

And while having a good time is the main objective, the musicians use their shows as an opportunity to help out those in need. The “Glamourama Llama” show will donate some of its proceeds to the Franklin Area Survival Center. There will also be a food drive at the door.

As for the theme, that’s always been a focus of the group, which formed in 2004. All the musicians must play songs that revolve around the theme — that is what makes each Llama show unique. Earlier this year, Llama Lasagne played a space-themed show at the SrangeCreek Campout in Greenfield, and last Halloween, the collective hosted a spooky “Night of the Living Dead” show at the Shea.

Metcalf, who plays keyboards with Rhythm Inc. and various other local bands, said the group loved playing at the Shea and enjoyed playing on such a large stage. They can’t wait to get back there with the Glamourama show.

So who decided on the Glamourama theme?

“During the making of the space-themed show that we did at StrangeCreek, one of the Llamas said, ‘A fashion Llama would be great because there are so many great songs about fashion,’” Metcalf said. “So we have a Facebook page for Llamas, and I posted that suggestion on there and people started listing song after song.”

Metcalf put together a playlist of some of the suggested songs and, sure enough, there were more than enough to build a show around. Together, the musicians came up with 60 songs from a variety of genres, and have now pared it down to 28.

“Fashion” by David Bowie was the only song that I could think of, but Metcalf quickly rattled off a list.

“There’s ‘Vogue,’ ‘Blue Suede Shoes,’ Joe Cocker has a tune, Steely Dan does, Christina Aguilera and there are so many more,” he said.

There will be 38 musicians participating, making this quite the Pioneer Valley super group. You’ll find musicians from such bands as rice: An American Band, Dave Noonan’s Green Island, Fat, Home Body, Mamma’s Marmalade, LuxDeluxe, Rhythm Inc., Joystick, The Mary Jane Jones, Shokazoba, Soultree, Rodd Cummings & The Vibrators, The Medicinal Purpose, Tidwell’s Treasure, Fat Bradley, Outer Stylie, DPR, Eyes, Rebel Base and Total Collision.

There is always a core group of musicians who play every Llama show. Some, like Metcalf, have been with the collective since the beginning. But since this is an always evolving project, there are always newcomers, and the Glamourama show will welcome first timers Peter Newland from Fat, Lily Sexton of Mamma’s Marmalade and Hayley Morgan of Home Body.

The logistics of putting together a show of this magnitude are rather daunting, what with so many people and details involved, which is why Llama Lasagne only does a couple of shows a year. The musicians and many of the behind-the-scenes workers donate their time.

For this show, the organizers are going all out, especially with costumer designers. Project Runway designer Kelly Dempsey from the deli has donated some fanny packs to be auctioned off.

You, too, can join in the fun as there will be a runway competition with a golden llama trophy being given to the most glamorous. If you are ready to get your glam on and want to be in the competition, email Metcalf at llamalasagne@gmail.com. But you don’t have to walk home with the golden llama or even wear your finest attire to enjoy this one-of-a-kind night of music.

Tickets are $12 in advance and are available at sheatheater.org, or can be purchased directly from your favorite Llama. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with tickets at the door costing $15.

Don White to perform at Temple Israel

During its many years of operation, singer-songwriter Don White was a popular presence at the St. James Coffeehouse in Greenfield. He made the trek from his home in Lynn to Greenfield every year and made many fans in the area.

The St. James Coffeehouse is no more, but White hasn’t forgotten his fans in Greenfield, and will come to town on Saturday for a show at Temple Israel, 27 Pierce St., at 7 p.m.

White is a folk-based singer-songwriter, but he’s also a master storyteller and humorist. His stories about family life in between songs are both heartwarming and hilarious. Nobody can tell a story about raising teenagers better than he can. White has been delighting audience for more than 20 years and once you’ve attended one of his shows, you are a fan for life.

Tickets are $20. For more information, call 413-773-0201.

Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at soundslocal@yahoo.com.