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MailTribune.com
  • Young Dubliners show the value of free

    The Irish jammers bring the Celtic thunder in Bear Creek Park
  • Not sure whether you realize this, but Medford is giving away free music these days. Quality free music, too.
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  • Not sure whether you realize this, but Medford is giving away free music these days. Quality free music, too.
    God bless you, Parks and Rec Department.
    I'm writing this having just returned from the Young Dubliners show at Bear Creek Park, or that pleasant patch of trees and grass marred on one side by that useless concrete death hole of juvenile delinquency known as the skate park.
    Did I mention the show was free?
    Hell, for all I know you might have been there. It was an impressive turnout for a Wednesday night in Medford.
    I've seen the Young Dubs a few times, mostly in my younger college years in Chicago. The Dubs came through once or twice a year, usually in the springtime.
    I've never had the honor of seeing my favorite Celtic rock band The Pogues, though the Dubs are a more than capable substitute.
    The Dubs shows I've seen are remarkable for their boundless energy and the often violent jig mosh pits (jig pits?) that swirl and rumble like Midwest funnel clouds before all hell breaks loose and harp-soaked mayhem ensues.
    Wednesday was a much, much lower-key scene, though not lesser of a show for it.
    The jig pit that developed Wednesday was packed with toddlers and pre-teens, often careening into each other at full force, splatting to the ground and jumping immediately up to continue jigging.
    My takeaway was the reach of rock 'n' roll knows no age limit and humans were born to mosh.
    The Dubs played two strong sets and an extended encore, punctuated by their new single, "Rosie," which you might have caught on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" a few weeks back.
    It's fashionable to trash your town's leadership, but hats off to the city for choosing wisely with the Dubs. You really can't ask for a better band and music genre for a free concert in a park.
    Celtic rock, if done correctly, is artsy enough for the smarty-pants hip crowd, raw enough for the punker crowd, jammy enough for the hippies, cultural enough for the smarty-pants hippies, loud enough for the kiddies and non-threatening enough for the terrified shut-ins who rarely leave their homes for fear of having a good time.
    There are plenty of reasons why it's a good idea for the city to funnel cash into free entertainment. Two of which are:
    1. It gets people out of their homes.
    Did you notice the social media revolt when Netflix announced what amounts to a $3 to $8 per month price hike for its vast array of ultra convenient services? I've never seen so much hate and acrimony spit onto the Internet in such a short period of time.
    This tells me that Americans are spending waaaaay too much time indoors hooked into the Netflix morphine drip. Perhaps booking free gigs in a park will take the dazed minds of the masses off their Netflix woes for a few hours and get them outside. In nature. Under the sun. Where humans are meant to spend at least a few minutes of their day.
    2. It's good for the local economy.
    I witnessed this immediate benefit following the Dubs set. My friend and I, not feeling like packing it in for the evening after a rocking show, strayed into Cold Stone Creamery for a scoop of ice cream.
    As I was waiting for my coffee and french vanilla shake, I overheard at least five people in line discussing the show. Imagine that, once people peel themselves off the La-Z-Boy and turn away from the lives of cretins who reside 2,000 miles away on the Jersey Shore, they tend to spend money in local businesses.
    Who would have thought that free stuff leads to economic bounty for businesses? Again, it's all about getting folks on their feet and moving.
    The Bear Creek free gig series continues throughout the summer. The upcoming shows look promising.
    They include country troubadours Jason Johnston and Michael Boren (July 27); a Musician's Friend Jam Session (Aug. 3); acoustic pop duo Kris Orlowski and Dawn Mitschele (Aug. 10); and folk rocker Jakob Martin (Aug. 17).
    The series was best summed up by Dubs singer Keith Roberts on Wednesday when he looked over the ample Bear Creek crowd with a smile on his face.
    "Thank you, Medford, for coming to rock out on a Wednesday night," he said.
    Agreed, lad.
    Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.
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