MANCHESTER — The free summer concert series at Veterans Parks opens this week with a blast of brass and old-time entertainment from Vaud and the Villains, an old-style New Orleans orchestra and cabaret billed as a wild show that takes the audience back to the roaring days of the early 20th Century.
The 19-member ensemble was founded by New Hampshire native Andy Comeau, who takes the stage as Vaud Overstreet, a derby-wearing saxophonist that leads the “smoking hot” five-piece horn section.
Comeau and Dawn Lewis, who goes by Peaches Mahoney during the shows, based the group on the variety and sounds coming from vaudeville shows that were the premier form of entertainment when radio had yet to hit the airwaves. The musicians, singers and dancers all don period costumes to add an authentic flare and view to the past.
“They're more of a show than a band. That's kind of new to the concert series that we've had,” said Sara Beaudry, public relations and marketing director for Intown Manchester. “I think they're just going to be a trip. They just sound like they have a lot of energy.”
Vaud and the Villains headline the first of five free concerts in the 2012 TD Bank Summer Concert Series, which opens Thursday at the park. Opening will be local musicians Josh Logan and Paul Costley.
Beaudry said this will be the first summer since 2007 to feature five shows in the annual series. The first four Thursday nights are consecutive, then after a one-week hiatus, Boston alternative rockers Mission Hill close out the summer with a show on Aug. 16,
“We were just able to make it work on the 16th,” Beaudry said. “We like that consistency. We want people to say 'It's Thursday night. We have the free concert series.'”
The series goes local in the second week when, on July 19, the Manchester Community School Summer Community Band takes the stage. The band features members of the Manchester residents, students, teachers and parents and will be preceded by opening act MB Padfield, a New Hampshire singer/songwriter who is gaining notice on the New England music scene while still in high school.
The 39th Army Band of the Manchester-based National Guard is the featured act for July 26, with opener Alli Beaudry.
On Aug. 2, the B Street Bombers make their way north from Boston with a huge catalogue of songs, ranging from Duke Ellington to Dexy's Midnight Runners. The 10-piece group is well known throughout the Boston area, touring for years and playing favorites from various decades and genres.
After a week off on Aug. 9, the series wraps up on the 16th with Mission Hill and opening act Andrew Sterling, a singer/songwriter from Bedford.
The shows begin at 7 p.m. and the public is welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets. More information can be found at http://www.intownmanchester.com/.