Local acts are heating up the live music scene now, before the influx of big-name bands floods the clubs and pubs.
Sugarbowl, the rock and blues trio formed by bassist Kim Hilliard, guitarist Slim Bob, and drummer Chris Seidel, begins a string of performances at The Ritz and Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs. The band performs Ms. Hilliard's original songs, traversing the musical landscape from punk rock and blues to alternative ballads. Ms. Hilliard recently recorded a dozen original tracks with the outfit, which will be appearing on an upcoming CD. In addition, she has several CDs of solo material and often incorporates these songs into Sugarbowl's sets.
A trio of debut albums will make their splash at the CD release party hosted by Anthony Esposito at the Arts District Exchange building in Oak Bluffs. Nina Violet, the 23-year-old singer/instrumentalist currently on tour with Radiohead and Willy Mason, will perform tracks like "Painted on the Sky" and "Banged up Boxes" from her debut album, "Nina Violet and the Invisible Orchestra." Colin Ruel, a musician who has performed with local artists Jemima James and Maynard Silva, takes time off from his stint in Willy Mason's touring band to perform with his personal project, The Cruel Hum. The band has performed tracks from the debut disc, "Home In This World," featuring the tracks "Om Ah Hum," "Just Read Between," and "It's Fine" in New York and Boston. Alex Karalekas, 26- year-old singer/songwriter/poet, performs songs of peace and protest on his album "Let Me Live," which features the tracks "My Time," "You Would," and "Wasted Away."
Sugarbowl performs at the Ritz May 25 and Offshore Ale on May 26. The Offshore performance is for all ages. Nina Violet, Colin Ruel, and Alex Karalekas perform at the Arts District Exchange on May 28. Doors open at 7 pm. The all-ages show is free of charge.
Julian Wise is a frequent contributor to The Times, specializing in music, film, and the performing arts.