Rodfest , an annual music event and fundraiser, was started in memory of Greg ``Rodney'' Moynahan, who died far too young in a car crash. Norwell’s Kier Byrnes, Moynahan’s cousin and also the leader of the punk/bluegrass band Three Day Threshold, has been the driving force behind Rodfest, and he’s always tried to make as much a showcase for South Shore musicians as possible.
The first couple of Rodfests were simply the self-deprecating birthday bashes of an extroverted Scituate college kid with a gift for gab and a penchant for celebrating almost anything.
The last five Rodfests have been the best way his friends and family could think of to remember Greg “Rodney” Moynahan, who died far too young in a car crash, but left a lifetime of memories.
This year’s edition, Saturday night at the Paradise in Boston, will also celebrate a couple of other things. First of all, Rodfest has become a landmark event on the Boston rock calendar every winter, and secondly, the scholarship funds it benefits (at Moynahan’s alma maters, Scituate High School and Stonehill College) are about to award their first scholarship.
Norwell’s Kier Byrnes, Moynahan’s cousin and also the leader of the punk/bluegrass band Three Day Threshold, has been the driving force behind Rodfest, and he’s always tried to make as much a showcase for South Shore musicians as possible.
The year’s Rodfest lineup will include Three Day Threshold – just back from another boffo European tour; Scituate’s own gift to country-rock, Girls Guns and Glory; that half-Boston, half-Texas band of alt-country dudes The Cassavettes; the South Shore-based rockers Rogue Heroes playing their last show ever; popular local club rockers Forgetful Jones; and an opening acoustic segment featuring South Shore rockers Shay’s Rebellion; hot young Scituate band 16 On Center; and the Hingham duo of Colin and Kyle Toomey. The doors open at 8 p.m. with music beginning at 9 p.m., and tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, all for the benefit of the Moynahan Scholarship Fund.
“I don’t know what I thought or expected when we started these Rodfests,” Byrnes said. “Life is too short to worry too far ahead, so I guess we felt they could go on, or maybe just be a one- or two-time thing. ... I think one of the things we are most gratified by – and this would be in Greg’s spirit – is that we’ve tried to build a scene around Rodfest,” said Byrnes. ““
In terms of the scholarship fund, Byrnes reported that the previous four benefits raised more than $45,000, which will provide two annual scholarships. The qualifications are unique. Although the three-person screening committee wants a good student with well-rounded interests, they also seek people who reflect Moynahan’s spirit, love of music and the arts, and basic love of people.
“When you consider the paperwork and meeting the requirements of setting up such a scholarship fund, we have a lot of people donating a lot of man-hours,” Byrnes said. “Playing music at the Paradise is the easy part, compared to the effort so many people put into this. Screening the applicants is a tough challenge, because we want to find someone as close as possible to Greg.” “
Byrnes and his band will be giving free copies of their latest CD, “Lost in Belgium,” to every fan who attends Rodfest 7. The disc is a 16-track live album, documenting their European tours over the past couple years, and including tracks recorded at 11 venues in Belgium and Holland.
“We’ve been to Europe a lot,” Byrnes said, “and it’s really easy to cover a lot of ground, where their countries are the size of some of our states ... They’ve had our stuff on the radio over there for years.”
Three Day Threshold enjoyed everything about their latest European jaunt except the return trip. A snowstorm in Brussels delayed their flight for six hours. They missed their connection from New York to Boston and then rented a van to drive home, exhausted.
“But when we got home, we had good news waiting for us in the mailbox,” Byrnes recalled. “We were notified we had been given one of the Iguana Awards, a program coordinated through Club Passim, recognizing bands that persevere in producing original roots music.”
Up next for the band is a new album.
“We all still have day jobs, so it’s not easy to find the time,” Byrnes said. “We do come up with some ideas on tour. With all those shows, it’s not like we can practice three times a week anymore. But we come up with some stuff on the road, even at sound checks, and we can flesh ’em out in the studio. But things are going well, and it’s nice to be busy.”
BRUCE!: The new Bruce Springsteen tour schedule is out, and tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Monday at ticketmaster.com for two shows at the TD BankNorth Garden, April 21 and 22.
HOT ’DISE: The Paradise in Boston belied the current entertainment business slump, posting its busiest year in a while in 2008. The cozy Commonwealth Avenue club hosted 245 shows last year, up from a recent average of about 180, states a press release.
KILLERS & EDITORS: Here’s an alternative, capsule version of my review of the Killers at Agganis Arena Monday might: The last time I saw them they played for about an hour, and the result was a better, tighter concert than this year’s 90 minutes. The boys from Vegas were good, but they need editing.
HOT DATES: Don’t forget guitar slinger Matt Stubbs, celebrating his all-instrumental album “Soul Bender” tonight at Johnny D’s in Somerville ... OK, one time we got the date wrong, and the Mudskippers will never let me forget it, so don’t forget they play tonight at The Next Page in Weymouth ... Saturday night, Thayer Academy’s own blues brother, Alan Qualtieri, brings his duo to the Chili Head Barbecue in West Bridgewater ... and don’t forget Les Sampou, with a backing band heavy on Steaks, at Dante’s in Quincy.
Jay N. Miller covers popular music on the South Shore and in the Boston area. If you have information or ideas for Jay, send them to him by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Attn: Music Scene in the subject line.