LIVE REVIEWS: April 2010

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T.T. the
Bear’s, Cambridge MA

Yep, here’s another
one of those “hit the jackpot” line-ups! Gush-gush-gush, etc, etc,
etc. Let’s get to it…

there’s a whole lotta talent in this town, but what’s especially
noticeable to me is that we’ve got four incredible vocalists: Andrea
Gillis, Jen D’Angora, Barrence Whitfield and Jordan Valentine. And
three out of four of them on one bill—again, jackpot! JV & the
Sunday Saints are really just an update on Jordan’s previous outfit,
World’s Greatest Sinners (that’s good) but armed and loaded with
more original material rather than covers (and that’s better), still
in that old fashioned soul music vein. While I’m sure Jordan could
equally convince with the blues, her almost laughing/smiling voice is
probably best suited to what she’s already doing. And what she’s
doing tonight is some serious damage: pounding, demanding, smashing
everything not nailed down! Her voice is only comparable to Godzilla’s
atomic blast.

show is intended as a CD release and showcase for Jenny Dee & the
Deelinquents and they very much pull off a showcase performance, which
is a real trick given the bombastic monsters playing before
after them! New additions to the set include the two best cuts from
the CD: “Mama Told Me” and “Our Love In Ruins”—both of ’em
exquisite gems of high melodrama and teen angst! But even with an album
full of new material to draw from, JD&TD pull out even
material, the show-stopper being a version of the oft-covered “All
The Way From Memphis.” This is not the same bolt of inspiration that
their reading of “Shake Some Action” is, but it’s a smart choice
that allows them to go to town in a big way and show off the skills
of the entire band.

& the Monkeyhips are the unlucky losers who have to follow those
big bad mamas. But it’s Barrence Whitfield—
he can do it! Last time I saw Barrence, he was
tearing apart an empty room on a Tuesday night and it was amazing. It’s
that same amazing quality in action tonight—the T.T.’s audience
(spent and exhausted) are calling it a night and leaving… but Barrence’s
sheer magnetic force draws almost all of them back. The moment of complete
joy and perfection comes when he shouts, “It’s clobberin’ time!”
Brother, that
has to be on his business card—it’s the only
phrase that does him justice.
(Frank Strom)


Somerville Armory,
Somerville, MA

This is a nice change
of pace from the usual rock show where I find myself. The Somerville
Armory is a sweet spot for intimate, off-the-beaten path performances
and the folks at have put together a stellar bill.
First up is the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, which is part band, part
performance art. The “co-workers” stumble up to the front of the
room where there’s about eight typewriters on two long tables. They
literally punch in to a time clock and ask each other about their weekends
before launching into a percussion-based set with covers such as “Wipe
Out” as “White Out.” The banter between the songs is all based
on oppressive office environments and is ultimately hilarious.

up is Kevin Micka, a.k.a. Animal Hospital, who plays drums, guitar,
and anything else that can make a sound. All his instruments feed back
and loop through various gadgets. It’s amazing to hear soundscapes
come from one guy and a ton of gear perhaps ripped off from a
Star Trek
convention. Walter Sickert & the Army of Toys played as well, but
I missed them. Sorry guys.   (Duncan Wilder Johnson)


Cantab Lounge, Cambridge MA

Confusion reigns supreme
tonight—concert listings on the radio has this opening band as “Sticky
Fingers,” and the sign outside the Cantab door has them as “Stick
Fingers,” but in reality they are Sticky Business—a far, far better
name for a bubblegum cover band. I believe this is their first-ever
gig, and much to my surprise, they’ve got a sizable crowd in attendance…
which could mean either Nancy Neon’s a hell of a promotions specialist
or there’s just a lot of goofy music geeks in this town. Except for
drummer Lenny (a dealer at the monthly record collectors show), I don’t
know any of these guys. They’ve got some serious chops, though—sounding
to my ears like T Rex, who was nothing if not a hard-edged bubblegum
act. Appropriately, they handle T Rex (“Wig Wam Bam”) as well as
a hoary host of other late ’60s and early ’70s AM radio favorites.
It’s a pretty good mix, but there is such a rich wealth of material
to be mined that I’m disappointed the band chooses to go to the Monkees
and the Archies catalogues
twice each! They should include a curve ball—something
more far out, man! God knows there’s gold to be found in some of the
first few Sid & Marty Krofft TV productions.
for sure, but I’m
thinking the theme to
Lidsville (“Lidsville is the living end…”).
(Frank Strom)



Church, Boston MA

The energy is high
as I enter Church for the New England Americana Festival. I can tell
this is no mere house show—a lot of time, effort, and energy has gone
into this, and those running the event are all over the place, making
sure it all goes according to plan.

stages have been set up, with American flags and Western memorabilia
on the stages. Ian Fitzgerald takes the smaller stage, a converted pool
table, in between the other bands’ sets. As his folk/Americana tunes
like “Lillian,” “The One on the Black Horse,” and “Arizona
Bound” fill the air, I can almost picture a lonely wanderer, striding
down a dusty trail, reminiscent of the tunes of Johnny Cash. He sets
the stage for the music to come, a blend of rock and country tunes.

up are the Brooklyns, a Southern rock/country foursome, and they set
the bar high for the rest of the night. Lead singer Maureen Kavanaugh’s
is the voice of a seasoned traveler, someone who’s been on many a
stage, while Tom Leger, fellow vocalist and guitarist, captures the
audience through his instrument, even using a beer bottle at one point.
(Guess his pick went missing.) The music hits all the emotional chords,
at times making me want to move my feet, and at others making me think
of the one that got away.

the award for the widest array of instruments on the stage goes to Route
.44, including a viola, upright bass and saxophone. From Providence,
Rhode Island, this rock/roots band plays a combination of polka and
swing music, and more than a few people hit the dance floor. Ian “Lefty”
Lacombe (guitar/vocals) and Jessica Powers are the perfect vocal duo—Jessica’s
hypnotic voice blends perfectly with the music, while Ian’s deeper
tone is the perfect vocal companion. Saxophone player Matt Swanton gets
a little solo time during the set too, and makes his presence felt the
rest of the time. If you ever catch these guys live, be in the mood
to move.

Colvert starts his set with a sad, mournful tune backed by the strumming
of the banjo. I think we’ve covered every instrument under the sun
tonight. I’m pretty sure I saw someone playing the spoons earlier.
No shit, the spoons. Later on, John picks up the pace, and the emotion
behind his music is barely contained within his frame, telling all in
the audience that there’s a story behind his singing, and he’s here
to share it with all of us. For these sets he breaks out the harmonica.
Okay, I think that covers everything on my list.

Golden West Motor Lodge takes the stage with a little humor, as vocalist
Jeremy O’Neill jokes that they’ll get started as soon as he can
recall the words. It’s worth the wait, as the group breaks out into
pure Americana rock music, passionate and strong. Later on he quips
that the next song makes no sense. Not sure if that’s true or not,
but hey, I’ll give it a listen.

this point Ian steps down from the second stage and the duo of Eric
Royer & Dan Fram take over. These guys have really gotten into the
Americana feel, dressed in an old-west style. This blues/bluegrass duo
keeps the energy up as the night wanes on, stopping in between songs
to give the audience a little history lesson on the Americana style.

Mirabella, frontman for the classic rock/Americana band the Rationales,
is a presence on stage, both physically and through the band’s music.
The smooth, country tunes convey a story about the risks of leaving
everything to chance. These are lyrics we can all relate to, and the
music reaches out to all, with easygoing tunes that carry the best of
classic rock music.

band Koyote Colb brings up the tail end of the evening, keeping the
crowd glued to the stage and moving, with songs like the fast-paced,
foot-tapping “See for Yourself.” I’d say they’re doing a damned
good job, judging by the dozens of people clustered near the stage.

Ward Hayden, lead singer of Girls, Guns & Glory, in a solo performance
a few months ago, and I’ve been dying to see the full band in action.
I’m not disappointed as the group plays an upbeat set with a little
bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll. Cliché, but it works here.
Much of the music has a quick tempo to it, strongly indicative of the
country roots, but slower tunes like “Suzie” bring the tone back
a few steps. Later on, they do a Johnny Cash tune, in honor of the departed
singer’s birthday. Now, if only we had some guns and girls on the
stage, we’d be all set.

quartet Highway Ghosts end the evening on a high note, blending roots
and rock music to create a melody that you can’t help but move your
ass to, and the audience gets this message loud and clear. The crowd
has remained strong throughout the evening, and though they’re beginning
to thin out a little, enough remain that it’s safe to say they were
among the bands that the crowd came to see. I know I’ll be looking
for them the next time I’m scanning the show listings.
(Max Bowen)


Club Hell, Providence,

Righteous starts out
a cold night in hell. There is no heat in the club tonight, so I have
to rub up against strange girls in an attempt to keep warm. It is a
five slap night. Righteous channels the Bad Brains, playing only the
metal and hardcore leanings, and leaving the reggae at home. The band
is very good. I guess they think they need some kind of a stage show.
They have one of their chubby male friends dance on stage with his shirt
off almost the entire show. Tomahawk did this a decade ago, and it was
gross then. Thank God for drugs. I hope if I see the band again, they
leave the tubby white dude in his road case. I can’t wait to hear
this band in the studio.

up is Judo Heirs. Do the words “kick ass” mean anything to you?
The band includes the singer of Boston’s the Hidden and members of
All Chrome and Beyond the Embrace (Metal Blade Records). The song “Total
Power International Incorporated” gives a hint at what’s going on.
The garden of unearthly delights they unleashed on the crowd is massive.
Reminiscent of Converge, Snapcase, Fugazi, and at times those pesky
Bad Brains again, they destroy the audience at Club Hell, a very tough
act to follow.

some mechanical difficulties, Sick Electric has to abandon their background
movies on the night of the their CD release show. You know what, guys?
You don’t need any films or heavyset men to accentuate the show. Sick
Electric wears matching outfits, which isn’t too distracting. A Providence
band with matching outfits may beg comparisons to the legendary Arab
On Radar and Six Finger Satellite, so maybe they should stay in the
closet until they go on tour. The band is wicked good, as Tip O’Neill
used to say. They remind me of the Trans Am songs that focus more on
guitars than keyboards. They sound like a combination of two of my favorite
post rock Providence bands ever, Miniwatt and Hya Kcha (Keith from Machines
With Magnets Studios). Sick Electric may be too weird for the rock club
kids, but too mainstream for the Building 16 crowd. What’s a poor
Providence band to do? Please come to Boston.   (Eric Baylies)


Crossroads Coffeehouse,
North Andover, MA

Looks like nasty weather
will keep a mob from the comfortable feel of the Crossroads Coffeehouse
tonight but enough brave souls make it out to keep the show respectable.
Corin Ashley, known for his work with one of my favorite Boston bands
ever—the Pills, climbs the steps up to the theatre-type stage. He
picks up an acoustic guitar (he played bass in the Pills) and starts
in with the humorous/melodic “Inappropriate Fashion.” Then he’s
shows off his wide vocal range with covers of Hall & Oats (“Sarah
Smile”) and Van Morrison (“Brown Eyed Girl”). When he’s
almost done with his own lovely “Foolproof” other members of his
band (Dave Aaronoff on acoustic guitar, Matt Burwell on drums, and Brian
Kink on keys) join in to beef up the ending. The show has an unexpected
loosie goosey (Corin’s expression) to it, but it doesn’t hide the
fact that Corin’s is a swell songwriter, even if he does admit to
excessive borrowing from the masters. He’s well in tune to what has
come before him. The sound of the Wurlitzer electric piano alone has
him referencing songs from the past (right in the middle of one of his
songs he starts singing Three Dog Night’s “One”–and then quickly
returns like nothing happened). This keen awareness keeps his material
well rooted and fresh. The band encores with the Kink’s “Picture
Book.” Though Corin performs half covers and half his own, his own
material stands tall alongside the proven hits. (T Max)


Precinct, Somerville

Gasp… pant… wheeze…!
Was worried I couldn’t sprint all the way from the Cantab to Precinct
for the Young Tremors set, but I’m in better condition than I thought.
Plenty of time to spare, too, unless… oh, my god… there’s a
waiting line?!?!?
Lemme through, assholes—I’m a
NOISE writer! (Sweet jumpin’ catfish! That actually
worked! No, wait—they think I’m the UPS guy.) Ahem. Whatever self-promotion
this band is doing is obviously working, as is evident by the veritable
swollen throng of humanity here tonight. Of course the fine-as-paint
new CD and radio airplay definitely clinch the deal. Dave, Alan, Bob
and Joe (who should all use “Tremor” or “Young” as a surname)
sounded plenty exciting, funky and furious a few months ago, but have
now gotten
slick, too. And that’s a good deal—gives ’em
a serious up-and-coming vibe. Their website rattles off numerous influences,
and the one that’s closest to target is probably the Mooney Suzuki,
though Young Tremors are slightly less ’60s retro, and thus possibly
more marketable. They say a major label is sniffing around, so we’ll
likely get to see if that theory holds water. And if not, well… they’re
hot stuff!   
(Frank Strom)


Tammany Hall, Worcester, MA

1476, from the Salem,
MA area, was founded by Robb Kavjian and Neil DeRosa as an experiment.
Song’s subject matters include Luciferian philosophy, occultism, demonology,
neo-paganism, European and New England folklore, sexuality, and spirituality
deeply intertwined with personal experiences and feelings. The duo collaborated
with Argyle Goolsby of the band Blitzkid to record their first release,
A Wolf’s Age.

post-punk flavored set list includes “Herne’s Oak” (my personal
favorite)—“As the roots begin to shake/ Deep beneath the tragic
oak/ I wrap myself in midnight’s cloak and it won’t be long until
the hunt breaks free and the blade of my broad axe smiles…” It’s
partly metaphorical, based on the old European tradition of the Wild

will tour the U.S. to promote
Wolf’s Age
. They’re playing
an all-ages show on 4/11 with Black Tape For A Blue Girl, at the Middle
East. It’s Anderson Mar’s Birthday Bash!   (DJ Mätthew Griffin)

We get a lot of
calls and emails from bands requesting coverage of their live shows.
Please be advised that shows are never assigned for review. Noise writers
cover what they choose to attend. It’s logistically impossible for
us to honor or acknowledge these requests. The Noise has always had
its ears close to the ground in Greater Boston. If you’re doing something
even remotely exceptional, we’ll be the first to tell the world. If
you’re horrible, same thing.

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