Utica’s Weekend Unwind returns this summer

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 10, 2021

 Acoustic Madness will be playing at the Weekend Unwind concert series in Utica June 11.

Acoustic Madness will be playing at the Weekend Unwind concert series in Utica June 11.

Photo provided by Bob Monteleone

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UTICA — Utica’s Weekend Unwind has returned once again for its fifth year of fun and live music.

On Fridays from 7 to 10 p.m. now through Sept. 24, the Weekend Unwind concert series will once again take place at Jacqueline K. Noonan Riverwalk Park/Memorial Park, 7530 Auburn Road, next to the Utica Public Library in downtown Utica. The first night of free, live music took place June 4.

Utica Mayor Gus Calandrino said that the city had received many phone calls about the Weekend Unwind music series.

“With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted for outdoor events, I’m pleased that residents are excited to get outside and enjoy great music,” he said.

He said he would like to give a shout out to the former mayor for taking the time to set up this year’s live music events.

“I’d like to thank Councilman, former Mayor, and friend Thom Dionne for organizing this summer’s events. He did a great job with the music events while he was mayor and graciously volunteered to continue his good work. Residents and visitors love the beautiful setting at Utica’s Memorial Park, along the Clinton River, and we’re glad to be able to provide this for everyone’s enjoyment,” he said in an email.

Each event features a band that plays music throughout the night while attendees relax and have fun. This year’s music lineup includes some favorites from previous years and some new artists.

The next event will be held June 11 and will feature Acoustic Madness. Acoustic Madness has played at the event for many years.

The band is a versatile trio with Bob Monteleone on guitars and vocals; Jorian Olk-Szost on upright and electric bass; and Mitch Purdy on mandolin and cajón.

There will be many different bands, and many bands will play twice during the summer. On June 18, DC/Marx Band will play, and on June 25, Kenny Spear will perform.

Bob Monteleone said this is the fourth or fifth year in a row that Acoustic Madness will be performing at the Weekend Unwind concert series. He said he usually does it a couple of times a year.

“We always look forward to it, and being a longtime resident of Utica, I’m proud to be a part of it. Last year’s event was particularly poignant as it was the first time many of the folks had ventured to a concert in a long time. This year will feel similar as well,” he said in an email interview.

Monteleone said it’s nice to play for a wide-ranging audience of little kids to senior citizens.

“We are usually augmented at special shows like this with my wife, April Monteleone, on vocals and my 16-year old son (a sophomore at Utica High) on guitar and vocals. Our music is wide ranging with our own spin on classic rock, country, jazz and reggae. We’ll sprinkle in some of our original songs from our full length releases “Acoustic Madness” (2014) and “Surrounded in Big Town” (2016) on Hanzie Records; both are available on all the streaming platforms. Our newest release will be out before the end of this summer. We are usually nominated for Outstanding Americana Group in the Detroit Music Awards (not this year, however, me and Jorian were each nominated for Outstanding Instrumentalist in the Americana category),” he said.

The band’s website is acousticmadnessband.com.

The schedule for Weekend Unwind is posted on the city’s website, www.cityofutica.org.

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