You can’t have a Rock ‘N Race without tunes

The Fletchtones perform as runners pass by during the Rock ‘N Race last year.
The Fletchtones perform as runners pass by during the Rock ‘N Race last year.

The Rock ‘N Race is a peculiar event for musicians. On one hand, it’s a great opportunity to showcase your skills in the heart of the capital city for thousands of people.

But on the other hand, most of those people are running in a race and therefore won’t really be able to stop and listen to the music.

For Matt Poirier, a musician who plays in Concord all the time – including the past six Rock ‘N Races and the upcoming one – that’s just fine.

“Runners probably only hear a few seconds or a minute, but the real fun is when the walkers come by,” Poirier said.

Poirier is used to commanding the attention of an entire audience at places like Penuche’s and Area 23, but he’s no stranger to moving crowds, either. This will be his seventh appearance at Rock ‘N Race, and he said he’s had a blast at every one so far.

“It’s a charity thing, so you’re doing something good for the community,” he said.

Poirier will be joined at his School and Tahanto streets location by percussionist Conrad Labracque, who Poirier called a mainstay of the show. They’ll try to play some pretty light and happy stuff for this family-friendly daytime event.

“For these types of things, I go sort of off the cuff, but I try to be really upbeat,” Poirier said. “Plus, people that have never heard us before are only gonna hear us for a few minutes, so we might as well play some upbeat stuff.”

Playing on a makeshift stage off the side of the road has logistical challenges, such as power. Poirier said the people who live in the houses closest to the stages are considered volunteers, as they donate power from their houses for the musicians to power their gear.

So now that you know what it’s like to play out there, here’s the lineup:

National Anthem: Brian Waldron

On the Main Stage: Stray Dogs

Along the Course:

Bow Junction at Golden Gese (22 Liberty St.)

Granite State Revival at 54 School St.

Mad Dog at 24 S. Spring St.

Matt Poirer at Tahanto and School streets

Occasional Piracy at Parker Academy

Shaker Road School Rock Band at N.H. Hospital

Supernothing at Londergan Drive

The Fletchtones at Centennial Inn

The Floor is Lava at Granite State Pharmacy

The River Band at NEA on South Spring Street

Author: Jon Bodell

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