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The Granite Rail, Quincy, MA 1/28/11

O'Brien's, Allston, MA 1/28/11
I feel like I am Gulliver going to see a show in mythical Lilliput because I am taller then all the performers in the Stoughton Rock Ensemble by at least a foot. This collection of South Shore high school artists are running around and organizing themselves under the skillful guidance of teacher/mentor Mike Rubin, who during the night has his hands full conducting, jumping onstage and playing bass, and directing the parents and grandparents in the audience to the scarce available seats. These three unnamed bands are made up of a group of very talented and passionate teenagers, some performing onstage for the first time and getting their initial taste of the exciting world of entertainment. Band one, with eighth graders Mike Dozois, Adam Ross, and Brian Crosby, and Mackenzie Lachkey on vocals, do a cool version of "Can't Stop" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I laugh when I notice how little the bassist looks holding his instrument. Mackenzie follows with a nice acoustic version of her original "Time," showcasing her sweet voice. Band two contains Mackenzie again on vocals, Jay and Ariel Elois, Brett Guaraldi, Mike Dozois, and Matt Garcia. Ariel blows a nice sax with "TNT" by AC/DC and "Ball and Chain" by Social Distortion, rocking the house. Band three consists of a very, very talented 14-year-old freshman Kassandra Melo singing, with Dylan Wilbar, David Elmowitz, and Brett Guaraldi. They do tight versions of "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi, "Wild Horses' by the Stones and "Don’t Stop Believing" by Journey. It's sorta cute to see the small drummer looking over the kit as he pounds, and the bass player chomping down on his gum as he focuses on the bottom line. Youthful passion is wonderful. Later, Preacher Jack comes on with his legendary set of boogie-woogie while all the kids sit in their seats and watch as age and experience mesmerize the house.
On to O'Briens, where I get a chance to see a Rod Stewart cover band the Rods, which includes Tom and Maureen Kavanaugh Leger (the Brooklyns), Jon Metters, Scott Bressler, and David Weiser. These guys rock. It's neat to hear Rod's macho lyrics sung by a great female vocalist, and the gender-blending really makes this band interesting. That, and the fact that their versions of "Too Bad" and "Stay With Me" shake the foundation of the club. And then David Hull (Joe Perry Project, Aerosmith, Farrenheit) comes onstage and treats us all to music from his brand-new Soul In Motion CD. I really like "Dark World," "All Gonna Die," and "Soul In Motion." David even throws in a torrid version of his original "Buzz Buzz" originally done in his Joe Perry Project days. It’s still a great song. His music is tight, power pop with great grooves. Band mates George McCann (James Montgomery, Blue Hornets), Steve Hart (the Outlets, the Peasants), Jim Gambino, (Swinging Steaks) and brother Chris Hull (the Shivers, Loonatics) play like they've been in a band together since diaper days. Special thanks go to wildman extraordinaire Jim Healey for a great night. (A.J. Wachtel)


The Lighthouse, Twin River Lincoln, RI 1/30/11
Niki and crew play well over three hours of music, spread over three sets. So I’m really not going to try and give a blow-by-blow, but rather a quick recap of everything I experienced. Niki is stunning in a tight-fitting dress, showing ample amounts of cleavage and legs. She sings into a lighted old-fashioned microphone, her lips are bright red, her smile is full off ultra-white teeth, and the bleached-blonde curls make her an almost spitting image of Marilyn. The stage is also something that needs mentioning, it is a huge lighthouse, which sits in the middle of the Twin River’s casino. A large open space is left in front of the stage for the masses of senior citizens that are dancing cheek to cheek to congregate. The other interesting thing, which some might not like, but I think it adds to the atmosphere nicely, is that the patrons are allowed to smoke indoors here. So imagine, Niki is dressed like Marilyn singing classics from the past 60 years to swing beats, the band is dressed all in dark suits, people are dancing contentedly, clouds of smoke from cigars and cigarettes drift through the air hanging thickly overhead. Short of having Frank Sinatra himself walk out on stage I couldn’t have asked for a more 1950s-era Vegas night out.
Now onto the performance itself. Niki has a horn section, a stand-up bass player, drummer, and Dapper Dan Burke on piano. The music is very big band and lounge, with a little swing thrown in to keep it interesting. The songs they play are very well thought out, playing very well together. The opener of the second set, which Niki calls her “Gold Digger Trilogy,” has “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friends,” “Material Girl,” and “Hey Big Spender.” They play the standard audience attention-grabber “Minnie the Moocher,” which I have never actually seen performed live, but it was fun hearing everybody sing along. Dan sings a few songs throughout the night. My favorite Dapper Dan performance of the night is his version of “With a Little Help from My Friends” to which the Luparelli Sisters provide the backing vocals. When the sisters, Niki, Rosanna, and Honey, take to the stage, they provide beautifully harmonized parts to any and all songs. One of the sister’s numbers is “Mr. Sandman,” which has the audience clapping loudly, cheering for more. I’m in love with this crowd, the men float across the dance floor in between songs to the various women seated around the stage asking for dances. The smiles on their faces, and the energy they bring is contagious, I even catch myself wrapped up in the vibe during The Jungle Book’s “I Want to Be Like You” dancing in my seat, and singing along loudly. My all-time favorite song of the whole night is the final duet between Niki and Dan—they nail “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” I will never have the chance to see the Rat Pack, or to go to the Vegas from the picture books when it was still new and fresh, but I’m thankful that performers like this exists, so I can at least get a taste of what it was like. (Melvin O)


the Noise 30th anniversary party
Precinct, Somerville, MA 1/15/11
Who’s on first, What’s on second, and “car accident/no instruments/kitchen flood” is on third. Keith provides a lift, Saint Jay’s got the instruments and the Precinct staff assures me no one will get electrocuted. We didn’t advertise fireworks or a wienie roast. Noise 30th anniversary or not, let’s not set our expectations too high…
Those fine rock ’n’ roll mamas Corolla DeVille get us started in high fashion—after just a few songs, even JJ Rassler is impressed with them. And it’s not like he doesn’t know they’re great, but Corolla so infrequently play outside the Salem/Beverly area that one tends to forget. Other than myself, Nancy Neon and Mickey Bliss, that is. It’s very classic, traditional Boston rock—no surprise given the pedigree of singer Lisa Connolly (call her “Miss Monoman”?). But it’s definitely the musicianship of the whole band that makes them worthy of notice. More gigs, please!
Next up are JJ & Thee Cuban Heels, who are of course part of the whole Downbeat 5 experience (see Jenny Dee, as well). This is the second Heels show in a row where it becomes plain to see that a large portion of the crowd is here to see them. A positive development for our otherwise sagging society. The set is heavy on cover material, and it’s all choice (nobody picks ’em better than JJ Rassler). My favorite is “Cadillac,” a Bo Diddley song they shake the room with. Though JJ’s the frontman, Julian Hammond (second guitar) and Mike Yocco (bass) get their shots as well, and topping it off is guest vocalist Nikki Fleury from the Furiousity. Nothing but fine-fine-fine. Band couldn’t sound better. Deep in my foolish heart, though, I wish they’d tackle more country tunes—I’m absolutely convinced JJ’s got Hank Williams in his soul and he’s wanting to go for a spin!
Up come the Coffin Lids, who take advantage of the kitchen’s water leakage and convert the room into a veritable swamp rock-a-go-go. Congrats and big props to keyboard kween Melissa Gibbs for doing the rock ‘n’ roll thing instead of staying home with the new baby! Typically fun/sweaty/stompin’ Coffin Lids set with the highlight being their newest original, “Sick and Tired of Rock ’n’ Roll”—a misty-eyed (for me, anyway) grousing about the local music scene. While it does seem like nothing much is going on, not many shows happening, and way too many DJ nights, that makes bands like the Coffin Lids continuing to soldier on all the more vital.
Closing out the night are Jay Allen & the Archcriminals, which is a switch from all those years (and shows) where Jay was always opening. Jay, Henry, and Larry put in an energetic performance for the faithful and finish this hoedown on a high note. As written previously (and previously), while Jay’s existing song catalogue was mighty fine to begin with, the material sounds so wonderful beefed out by a full band. I hate thinking of the Abbey Lounge days—when all these bands in whole or part plugged away week after week—as “time gone by.” We gotta keep this family alive. (Frank Strom)

Dog Bar, Gloucester, MA 1/28/11
I bop down the stairs to the Dog Bar hearing the band wrapping up their first set, which is perfect timing to get settled in, reacquaint, and meet some of the people of Gloucester. Noise photographer Louise acts as my personal party host. She gets me a seat six feet from the stage and soon the five-piece band, dressed in black and red and led by two female vocalists, begins their second set. The two attractive gals, Ann Marie and Renee Dupulis, each have their right knee snapping in time to “Bad Girls” and sing together like this 10-month-old band has been around for years. Ann Marie dominates the show with her physical presence and spot-on vocals that can dig down into a lower register when called upon to do so. Renee fills the perfect supporting role, following Ann Marie’s every syllable and supplying keys when appropriate. The backing band plays in the shadows but is none the less worthy contributors to a renewed classic style driven by the Vibrolux Reverb sound from Dan King on guitar, and the locked-in-time companions of Joe Cardoza and Dennis Monagle on bass and drums, respectively. The songs have a familiar yet unique feel to them, ranging from jangly ‘60s pop to ‘80s new wave. Their own “Motorcycle” proves to be as familiar as “Orange Crush” (REM), and their “Hide Your Eyes” with semi-choreographed fun is as engaging as the Pretender’s “Message of Love.” Light-hearted star potential is oozing. (T Max)


The Church of Love and Rain
The Met, Pawtucket, RI 2/12/11
B. Dolan has been working on The Church of Love and Rain concept for over two years. He has said that this is the best representation of love that he could amass. He gathered performers from across the United States to help him out. Local musician Shane Hall best describes the show as “burlesque on PCP. Super sexy and weird.” B. Dolan didn’t want to just throw a musical show—he wanted an event. The whole night has a circus feel to it. There are burlesque performers, comedy skits, and various games like Toilet Paper Dodgeball, that make the audience a part of the show. The entertainment between the performances is just as colorful as the musical performers themselves.
Nicholle Pride, a drag queen from Boston, comes out periodically and lip-synchs to various popular songs. She dances around the stage interacting fully with the crowd. At the end of her last song, she full-on stage dives into the crowd’s open arms.
What Cheer Brigade is a 16-piece marching band that has too many players to fit on stage, so the drums just mix into the crowd. The band is full of energy, the tuba players’ stand to the back of the stage, spinning in circles, high fiving on each pass. The trombone players violently throw their slides into the crowd, as the other players on stage dodge them by jumping up and down out of the way. The music is loud, What Cheer brings out a primal need to move, the drums get deep into you, and the energy is just fantastic. The temperature change in the room is instantly noticeable, as the crowd exerts energy dancing.
B. Dolan comes out, thanking everyone for not being homophobic and running out. He tells us he isn’t trying to make a statement, he just “happened to learn a secret handshake by mistake” which let him into the group. He says he realized shortly after that “the gays know how to party. They always have a good time.” Sage Francis walks out, about halfway through B. Dolan’s set and provides backing vocals. Dolan and Sage bounce off each other playfully, both delivering thought-provoking intelligent raps. After they play two songs together, B. Dolan stops, turns to Sage and says, “You know you came out too early right? I have other friends you know, I can’t always hang out with just you.” Sage smiles, “I know, I know, I’ll go.” Sage is replaced on stage by Nicholle, to whom B. Dolan hands a bouquet of roses and kisses her cheek. She clears the stage, and What Cheer Brigade takes it. B. Dolan raps over the blasts of brass instruments that fill the air. The last song has every performer of the night on or near the stage. As the song starts to come to a close, B. Dolan thanks everybody again for making his dream a reality. (Melvin O)


Johnny D’s, Somerville, MA 1/26/11
Yikes, another snowstorm has descended, but the lights are ablaze in Johnny D’s. Tonight, two siblings share the stage in an evening of vintage bluegrass and folk rock. The twins, Yani and Brook Batteau, are the younger sister and brother of local acoustic talent Robin Batteau (Buskin & Batteau). The twins are not as prominent, but in Yani’s case, just give it a little time. She is sensational. A gracious, charming banjo picker, her choice of classic cover tunes is impeccable. “Ring of Fire,” “Your Cheating Heart,” and “Banks of the Ohio” are from her great new album, Fearless, and these tunes enchant the partially full house. Yani’s sweet, rustic voice carries no pretense, as does her backing band, Steve Sidhly on fabulous rockabilly guitar (think Albert Lee!) and Marty White on rock-solid bass. On several tunes, they have a few guests sit in on drums and harmonica. A rousing ovation does her justice.
Her brother’s band, Brook & the New Cosmology, are from western Massachusetts, where they are local faves with their semi-original folk rock. Their danceable grooves soon have people filling the floor with swaying and slinky delight. This is a surprising night of intimate, wonderful music. (Harry C. Tuniese)


The Lizard Lounge, Cambridge, MA 1/19/11
What could be better on a chilly and overcast New England winter night than a concert in a setting so warm and intimate the only thing missing is chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Jennifer on uke and acoustic guitar and Brittany on violin kick off a set of songs showcasing both Kimball's expressive vocals and her melodic and memorable original compositions. Brittany's strings add a country flavor to the mood, which gets even more enjoyable as the music continues from song to song. The last two tunes, "Saturday Day" and "Don’t Take Your Love Away" end this sweet country folk set on a high note and when Kate comes onstage with her huge smile the excitement level of this small room gets even bigger then her grin. Backed by Steve Mayone on guitar and vocals and Sam Zucchini on percussion and vocals, Kate treats the crowd with tunes from her great new CD, Fair Time!, and some of her other older favorites. "King of the Pond" and "Sun Did Shine" (about James, Alex, Livingston, and Hughie) are my favorite new songs she performs, while past tunes "Country Comfort" and "Look at Granny Run" really knock me out. What a voice. What a lady. What an artist. How cool is it for two of the area's best folk acts to play in such a low-key club? Very cool. Special thanks go to Lizard Lounge God-Emperor Gabe Fabricant for a great night. (A.J.Wachtel)


The Fox Common, Lowell, MA 2/10/11
Hailing from Springfield, MA, Maker brings their brand of punk rock to the students of UMass Lowell. The band’s set is characterized by the chugging guitar rhythms, relentless drums, and the singer stomping around and swinging the microphone. As for the crowd, most stand with arms crossed, soaking in the music and nodding their heads while a few of the most energetic fans thrash in their own private space. They perform a number of their original songs that are fast and spirited including “Stand By Me” and even one that they announce is a new creation. All in all, their performance is able to stir the audience with their anthems and get the adrenaline pumping to satisfactory levels.
Then Transit takes the stage. Having established a firm fanbase in the local area, the Stoneham quintet have released a new record and are touring with Man Overboard, Senses Fail, and the Ghost Inside. Continuing the atmosphere set by the previous act, the audience members are scattering like bees from a disturbed hive, stomping their way across the floor or rushing to the stage in an untamed wave and barking the lyrics back at the band. The voices of both the singer and the crowd are raw but strong and swell into a bellow that is felt everywhere. Their performance consists of recent anthems such as “Dear: Anyone,” “P.S.,” and “Love, ____” as well as some older favorites like “For the World.” (Michael O. Linehan)


T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge, MA 2/3/11
At the first Queer Bonanza, I chat with one of the performers, Roni Pillischer, before meeting Tina Lafluer, who helped organize the event. No worries if you missed this one, many more will be a-coming.
Betty Widerski’s got the dry wit of a veteran of the stage, at ease on the microphone as she gives a little background on her music and from whence it came. She starts with a few instrumental tunes on the violin, joking between sets that being a solo performer, you’re basically playing with herself. She moves on to the lyrical portion of the night. “The Drama Llama,” has the audience laughing, and why not? Odds are we all have a melodramatic asshole in our lives. In fact, I think I know three.
Odds are Jordan Clements doesn’t top five feet, but every inch of her is packed with a love for her music. She’s clearly excited about being on the T.T.’s stage, but it’s as much for the evening’s lineup as it is for the audience. She works hard throughout the set to connect with the fans, and it seems to work.
Brief Awakenings get my vote for the band of the night. Their energy and joy at being at the show are infectious, and the crowd gets as close as they can without getting whacked by the guitarist. The tunes are of the folk/rock variety, and they come close to drowning out the entertainment at the nearby Middle East. Lead singer and keyboardist Kat’s instrument blends seamlessly with the rest of the band, and songs like “Foot Prints” and “Little Hills” keep the night going strong.
Roni Pillischer’s no stranger to the stage, as I’m already well aware from past performances. She speaks her mind, and if someone get offended, don’t expect her to apologize. Hell, she’ll probably give you another tongue-lashing. Her rock music is a melodic cornucopia, ranging from intense jams to more laid-back serenades.
The rock duo of Happy Clouds are perfectly placed as the final act. Those considering an early departure are probably thinking twice as this punchy pair keep the volume high and the crowd rooted to the spot. A few folks hit the road, perhaps to make the mad dash for the final Red Line trip, but so many more go nowhere, intent on seeing this night through to the very end. (Max Bowen)


Lynn Auditorium, Lynn, MA 2/4/11
James Montgomery is gigging now to build excitement for the greatly anticipated release of his new CD due out this summer. And what better way to create combustion then to be on a bill with Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer in a small venue right outside of Boston? Opening with his normal red-hot band: George McCann on guitar, David Hull on bass and Seth Pappas on drums, Montgomery quickly calls up guest artists Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) and gunslinger Johnny A for a set that includes a bunch of new songs, including "Same Thing" and then a killer ZZ Top inspired "Who Do You Love?" He tells the packed house that Run (Run DMC) plays on this song on his new CD before inviting Brad's blazing-guitarist son Harrison, and Gary Hoey and Brookes Young, the young guns from the Brookes Young Band onstage for an explosive jam on the Stones classic "Miss You"; the disco beat now an R&B shuffle. The three youths all play Strats while the older-generation all have Les Pauls. Hmmm. Later in the evening, Edgar calls Derringer, Whitford, Montgomery, McCann, and Johnny A up to join him for a torrid rendition of "Tobacco Road" where he scats in a call-and-response manner and goes from musician to musician pointing for their dueling electric responses. This is the stuff dreams are made of. (A.J. Wachtel)

T.T. the Bears, Cambridge MA 1/23/11
A bit of confusion for the scholars here. According to the prophesies of Nostradamus, 2011 is the year of the big reunion show for the Dents… meanwhile the Mayan calendar clearly states it’s time for the annual Queers show. Not that I’m calling Nostradamus a fraud, but the billboard out front of T.T.’s says it’s definitely the Queers. For years I’ve worried about Joe and the boys falling into the Ramones’ trap—’round about 1988, the Ramones live set became very fixed and boring in an effort to always include everyone’s favorites from their catalogue. Queers sets had started to feel similar to that, but tonight they mix it up to great effect, incorporating new material (new CD on Asian Man Records!) as well as less frequently heard faves, like, “I Didn’t Get Invited to the Prom” and “Hawaii.” But let’s be real here—nobody’s gonna be happy if they don’t play “Love Love Love”! No worries there. The Queers line-up this time around features Lurch Nobody (from the Nobodys) on drums, who does an amazing job driving the songs along with velocity and fury. (Frank Strom)


T.T.’s the Bear’s, Cambridge MA 1/23/11
Joel Reader from the Mr. T Experience and Pansy Division has a new band, the Fatal Flaw. I was surprised how much I enjoyed his new band. Joel does his best Billy Zoom stance as he bangs away on his bass. His vocals are very poppy, but he is fun to watch. Joel stops to ask, “Has any one ever seen the movie Angus? This is off that soundtrack.” They play Green Day’s “J.A.R.”, doing a better job at it than Green Day ever has. The song ends, Joel asks, “is there any Guns N’ Roses fans here? This song is for all the sad Guns N’ Roses fans.” He laughs, apologizing for so many references to the ’90s. Someone in the crowd yells out, “I was just a baby in the ’90s,” Joel smiles “Good for you, I’m very proud of you.” They play a few more songs, and right before “Don’t Start Believin,’” Joel says, “There are too many songs about making it, and following your dreams. This song is about just giving up.” The band was upbeat for the whole performance, definitely a great opener.
The Queers close out this show. I was happy to see that Lurch was on the drums. Joe Queer jumps onto the stage, he is looking old these days, but his “I Heart Black People” T-shirt shows he hasn’t grown up at all. The show seems endless. They easily play 30 songs in a little over an hour. I’m not complaining, not in the least, they played all the songs that would be considered their “greatest hits.” When they broke into Black Flag’s “White Minority,” I’m amazed how great it sounds. They barely stop between songs; they do take a minute to dedicate “Tit Fuck” to the Pity Whores. My first impression of Joe getting old has long been squashed by this point, I’m further impressed when Wimpy jumps on stage. The mood goes from a poppy playful place to a hard, dark, and dirty one very quickly. The first words out of Wimpy’s mouth are, “We’re on heroin.” The tempo speeds up. Joe bounces around the stage as Wimpy sways, snarling out unintelligible words. Wimpy leaves during the Ramone’s “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker.” The band rips out a few more, then head over to their merch table to hang with fans. (Melvin O)

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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