October 2011

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 LIVE REVIEWS OCTOBER 2011

Live315Dropkick.jpg

 

DROPKICK MURPHYS,

MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES

Fenway Park, Boston,
MA
9/9/11

I can hear the music from a half mile
away as I walk down to Gate B of Fenway Park. The anticipation builds
as I emerge deep in Fenway’s right field stands. The big screen announces
“Welcome to the bleacher theater.” The stage is set up right in
front of us and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones are kicking it hard. Sitting
here, all I can think is what a cool place this is to see a concert.
I’ve heard horror stories about concerts here and at least where the
stage is set up today, the sound isn’t too bad for a big show. Looking
at the field behind him, Dicky Barrett, the lead singer of the Bosstones,
exclaims that Boston is the best city in the whole world and the 9,000
plus in attendance agree loudly. The band does a bunch of signature
hits blending hardcore, punk, and reggae rhythms into one delicious
shiny brass horn ska-filled cocktail with so much energy that even the
Bosstone himself, Ben Carr, seems a bit winded by the end of the set.

The fans in the crowd don so much Dropkicks merchandise, it rivals the
fanaticism often seen in crowds following professional sports. Though
many of the shirts’ designs cannibalize the Bruins and Sox logos,
the fans of the Dropkicks are diehard as any group of sports fans. Ken
Casey, bassist and founder of the band, takes time between punk rock
anthems to tell a story about last night’s show. He tells how after
he drives up to the ballpark, he gives the keys of his wife’s car
to the valet, only to find out later there was no valet and the car
was actually stolen. He jokingly wonders if the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith
had the same problems when they played in the hallowed grounds of Fenway.
Maybe there is still a curse that exists somewhere in this ballpark.
(Kier Byrnes)

ENTRAIN,

SUN JONES,

SARAH BLACKER

Rock and Blues
Cruise aboard the Provincetown II
, Boston Harbor, MA

8/21/11

One of the greatest
things our scene has to offer is the opportunity to see great music
on a cruise ship while floating aimlessly for a couple of hours around
Boston Harbor. And this show is no exception with three of the most
popular local bands kicking up a huge wake and allowing all the people
on the packed deck to escape their dry land problems. All hands are
on deck and really enjoying Sarah’s acoustic music. Her songs are
hummable, she has a great voice and delivery, and later on she even
joins Sun Jones for a rocking version of the Band’s “The Weight”
and then Entrain for “Dancing in the Night.” Jon Vanderpool from
Sun Jones also goes onstage with Entrain to perform on this song. Sun
Jones plays a bunch of tunes from their upcoming fall release but I
really dig their version of the Stones’ “Monkey Man” and you should
hear everyone scream “I’m a monkey” while guzzling grog and watching
the planes take off from the runway that faces us as we pass by. We
even float by the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument as the
music roars. How Americana is that? And when Entrain plays there is
a whole boatload of people dancing and I hope the movement doesn’t
sink us down to Davy Jones’ locker. How cool is this? Their Huey Lewis
& the News/Jimmy Buffet style music is the icing on the cake. This
Vineyard band, who once jammed with President Clinton, doesn’t let
up for a measure in their funky and powerful set. Hard pounder Tom Major,
trombone player/percussionist Sam Holmstock, and the rest of the band
know how to please the large fan base on the ship and they do; song
after song, leading up to the night’s final melody “Letter To The
World,” where members from all the bands go onstage to crank it out.
Aye, aye matey, this cruise is a blast. (A.J. Wachtel)

ADAM EZRA GROUP

Summer Music Series,
Salisbury Beach, MA
8/20/11

After first seeing
the Adam Ezra Group at this Summer Music Series last year, I excitedly
return on this beautiful warm August night. The stage is set up right
in front of the beach, the night is entirely AEG’s, and will be followed
with a stupendous fireworks display. I’m quite sure this isn’t the
band’s typical crowd. It’s a great mix that includes everyone from
toddlers to senior citizens to cool AEG followers. This is one of the
great things about their music—it appeals to all ages and it doesn’t
hurt that Adam is a wonderful frontman—personable, charming, completely
at ease on a stage, which in turn makes the audience feel welcome. The
band performs two sets that feature a mix of their original rootsy/earthy/acoustic-y
rock pop with a few jams and AEG-styled covers. I hate genre-izing this
so I’ll just say Adam and his group emanate vibrant, percussive feel-good
vibes. Adam’s voice is just as warm and inspiring live as it is in
his recordings; the songs are well-written, upbeat, and memorable; and
the musical spirit in general fills the soul with an energy that can’t
help put a smile on my face. (Debbie Catalano)

YOUNG TREMORS

Cantab Lounge, Cambridge,
MA
9/1/11

So there I was on the
far end of Pleasant Street delivering a large “Meatlover’s Deluxe,”
when I got word that Young Tremors were preparing to shake and quake
the Cantab. Dropping the pizza and making a short detour (Malden Center
to Central Square in 15 minutes or it’s free), I’m instantly rewarded
for the effort. Sporting a fresh lineup, YT sound better than ever—same
funk flavored rock ’n’ roll as before only bigger. They’ve
added horns (Ben Janos on sax and Eric Ortiz on trumpet), which pump
up the bombast. Not that Rich Gentile (bass), Joe Polevy (drums), Bob
Gampert (guitar) and Dave Kichen (vocals) are lacking any bombast in
their own genetic makeup, of course. While by no means a ska-punk
band, they could almost appeal to that audience (it’s the horns
and the tempo). Whole lotta good material with “Red Dress” and “US
Steel” being standouts. They’ll be moving the earth again at Rosebud
Bar on October 1, so be prepared. (Frank Strom)

JULIANA HATFIELD,

AUNT MARTHA

Brighton Music Hall, Allston MA
8/27/11

Aunt Martha is on stage
when I walk in the club. I’m hooked instantly; the singer’s voice
is haunting and smooth. The club is pretty full—most of them are centered
directly in front of the stage. The singer stops briefly to thank all
for “coming out during Irene.” He closes his eyes and belts away
the lyrics of the next song. The emotions flow from the stage in tsunami
sized waves affecting us all. The last song ends and the crowd starts
cheering “one more song”—“Sorry guys” the singer says. Some
one in the crowd yells, “Juliana won’t mind!” The singer apologizes
again. “Please,” a persistent fan yells out but the band continues
to break down the stage, and then leave it.

The club is near empty by the time Juliana hits the stage. I had the
chance to see her way back in the ’90s. That concert was a huge highlight
of my young concert going years, so I am anxious to see her again. Juliana
walks out—“Hey. Hi, thanks for coming out in the weather.” She
immediately starts playing, stumbling through the first song clumsily
missing chords. The next song is actually worse—she forgets the lyrics
it seems, so she just walks away from the mic. The song ends, the drummer
stands up trying to get some applause out of the audience, but all he
musters up is a few half-hearted claps. The fact that I’m excited
when she starts playing an Ace of Base cover tells you how the night
is going. I’m so disappointed in this performance. Just when I think
the night has reached the hight of awful, she surprises me—she stops
playing music, picks up a notebook that is sitting on the stage, and
starts reading a very long list of songs she wants to cover. The little
crowd that is left, myself included, is not interested in the least.
The only time the crowd seems interested is when she comes back for
her encore to play “Sister.” This is the only time the majority
of the crowd claps and cheers. (Melvin O)

FIDDLEHEAD, CHROMA CONCEPTS, THE
TREES, PEOPLE WITH INSTRUMENTS

The Mill Street Brews,
Southbridge, MA
9/9/11

The Mill Street Brews
is a fun establishment with a great atmosphere, nice people and cheap
drinks. There are two stages and two bars on either side of a long hallway
that connects to the entrance. There is a gift shop with T-shirts and
even a green room backstage for the bands. This is a very accommodating
venue and probably one of the best I’ve been to this far outside Boston.

People With Instruments is the first band to play this evening. I’ve
seen them play before and thought they were pretty good, but tonight’s
show is a lot better. They have a really great tone and good melodies
backed up by a solid rhythm section. Their guitar player uses a pretty
extensive pedal rig, including a custom made multi-effects box. They
are definitely a groovy band I plan to hear more of.

The next band up is a local band I couldn’t really get into—they
are pretty heavy/loud rock. So I take a spin over to the other room
to find another band, the Trees, playing an abnormal acoustic set. I
think they didn’t have a drum kit to use or their drummer didn’t
show up. They play a lot of covers but while they please the crowd,
I much prefer the originals they throw in. I don’t think this band
is used to playing acoustically but they did a good job anyway.

After the Trees finish up, Chroma Concept takes the stage. They are
comprised of guitar, bass, drums, keys, and sax. The bassist plays a
six string and is incredibly talented. The guitarist uses a bit too
many pedals for my taste, but he makes his Strat sound crazy. The drummer
and keys are both very solid rhythm players and the sax is a great soloist.
Overall this band is very tight, melodic, and upbeat. They attract a
lot of people from the other side, especially during the band switchover.
I suspect I will see this band playing with Fiddlehead again in the
future.

Last but not least, Fiddlehead takes the main stage after getting their
drum kit back from Chroma Concept. Along with the usual suspects, Pat
Nelson, Kevin Maestranzi, Michael Strakus, and Tim Johnson, they also
add special guests Vincente on congas and Doug from the Big Old Dirty
Bucket on Kaossilator. The set is good even though it’s really late
at this point. I think Fiddlehead didn’t even take the stage until
12:30. A lot of their material tonight is sort of “made up” with
a lot of inventive accents added and a couple jams no one has heard
before. At the end of the night some rappers came up and did some improv
with the band. Tim was quite impressive keeping the beat with so much
going on and Pat’s solos sound especially hot tonight. I think it’s
great when Fiddlehead adds other elements to their performance. Keep
up the good work, guys! (Patrick
Fitzpatrick)

PURGATORY, GOREALITY, UNTOMBED

KC’s Tap, Pawtucket, RI
8/19/11

I’m attending this
show for two reasons. The first is that New York Death Militia is putting
on a benefit show where all the profits are going to Protect.org. Protect.org
is a wonderful organization that works to ensure children are protected
from abuse. The other reason is I heard that Andy Jones’s (formerly
of Phlegm) new band would be performing tonight. I’m not going to
bash on anybody too hard, because every one who shows up, does so to
support a worthy cause. I’ve realized that I’ve long outgrown the
anger most metal kids seem to carry. I left my leather patched vest
and all my black clothes at home. If you’ve never been, KC’s Tap
is separated into two rooms. The front half is a normal bar atmosphere.
You have to walk through two swinging doors to get into the back room
where the stage is. The bar is brightly lit, but as you walk down the
hall to the double doors, it gets dark quickly. The stage is very dark,
a Budweiser sign is pretty much all the only light over the merch table.
The stage is illuminated by a few small spotlights.

Untombed takes the stage. The dual singers get the crowd moving. Their
vocals complement each other, one growls in a deep voice, while the
other screams loudly. Both singers thank the crowd repeatedly during
the performance. The fans like them.

The singer of Goreality is very short; the speaker stacks tower above
him. The guitar starts up. It is very fast, but sounds muffled. It’s
hard to understand what the singer is saying. Most metal doesn’t seem
to have words. These guys seem to string along a series of grunts, growls,
and screams. The crowd, however, must have a special translation device
because they’re eating it up. At every pause the crowd collectively
screams back at the stage, which propels the stage to scream louder
back at the crowd. This interaction seems to be a favorable one, but
it is hard to tell because most of the kids in the audience have a “who
farted” scowl on their face.

The band I came to see is finally coming to the stage. Purgatory wants
to be the best Iron Maiden tribute band out there. Above the stage is
a very large tapestry with Eddie in a straight- jacket and the Purgatory
logo blazes across the bottom. A large Eddie also reaches out from behind
the drums looking to grab Andy from behind. The set opens with “Wrathchild.”
The room is full of people showing off their vintage Iron Maiden shirts.
Most don’t fit quite as they did 15 years ago. Bob, the singer, steps
out to center stage—I’m highly skeptical instantly. Bob looks like
Jonathan Davis, singer of Korn, complete with ridiculously fashionable
glasses. The second he hits the first note, all my skepticism drains
away. These guys are putting on a true heavy metal show. The bass and
guitar stand to the side of the stage, doing the metal synchronized
head banging moves. Bob’s vocals faltered a few times. He doesn’t
quite hit the right notes, but the force of the band more than makes
up for it. I’m impressed, and I recommend this for all fans of Maiden
but you don’t have to be a die-hard to appreciate the experience.
(Melvin O)

MANIFEST,

DAVE CRESPO’S AFTER PARTY,
MIGHTY TINY,
THE FROG

Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge,
MA
9/3/11

The circus is in town.
No red-striped tent, though. Instead, it dwells in the Middle East Downstairs
and they call it Manifestival II. There’s free cotton candy,
clowns, and carnival games. I think there’s some carny folk here,
too. Yup, this is the circus alright. Let the revelry begin.

The Frog (a.k.a. Froggy and Friends) are the night’s openers, and
make one helluva first impression as they take the stage. Frog, the
frontman, is a sight to behold. He looks like he just stepped out of
Braveheart
ready for battle: green plaid kilt, epic beard, and war
paint. His weapon of choice is a cigar-box ukelele that he brandishes
like a hatchet. The band’s music is deviant indie pop. It’s chock-full
of whimsical hooks, jaunty grooves, sparkling uke, with a backdrop of
keytar and trombone. The frontman is all over the place, running offstage
through the crowd and back. He sings in a nasally tenor about things
like killing zombies and eating your veggies. They don’t take themselves
too seriously, if at all. The highpoint of their set: a “sexy slow”
waltz accompanied by a pretty gal in knee-high argyle socks contorting
herself through a hula hoop and a tennis racket. Hummina, hummina.

Ironically, the weirdest band of the night is the second act, Dave Crespo’s
After Party, precisely because they are, well, so normal in comparison
to the other acts. They don’t wear outlandish costumes, but instead
keep things casual with well-worn T-shirts and faded jeans. No bizarre
instrumentation either. They prefer the more standard indie lineup.
But, there’s nothing remotely casual or standard about their music.
They dish out hook-heavy power-pop by the gallon. DCAP’s set includes
the tracks off their latest EP, B Street—each one a flaming
cocktail of gritty guitars and wild basslines all doped up on funk.
When frontman Dave isn’t churning out heart-on-sleeve lyrics, he’s
warming up the audience with clever little anecdotes. The ace up DCAP’s
sleeve is, without a doubt, the supporting vocalist Nicole D’Amico
and the orgiastic wailing of her smoky soul-powered voice.

Then Mighty Tiny takes the stage. They look like the kind of band you’d
find carousing at the sideshow of some Euro-circus run by Salvador Dalí
or playing into the wee hours at a masquerade ball thrown by Edgar Allan
Poe. Tonight this sexed-up sextet comes bearing new material to unleash
upon the unsuspecting crowd. Yes, some of the songs are new, but it’s
still the same ol’ Mighty Tiny we’ve all come to know and love and
fear. Their music is still a grotesque conglomeration of gypsy tunes,
Primus-style prog-rock, and pretty much any other style of music you
can think of thrown in there for good measure. Onstage, the band is
still a broiling font of psychosexual energy. They dance, skulk, and
even seize to the sounds of their own twisted music. A cannibal feast
for the eyes and the ears.

The headliner and ringmaster of tonight’s festivities is the band
Manifest. They are the scourge of the North Shore and have come on this
fateful night for a single purpose: to pillage and plunder the city
of Cambridge. Actually, they’ve come to release their first album.
The pillaging and plundering, that’s just an added benefit. Their
music is as eclectic as their ensemble. The plaintive acoustic guitar
strumming is swathed in raunchy lead guitar, pounding bass, and rock-steady
drumming with some trombone honking here and there. But it’s the feisty
female vocal tag-team that stands out most amidst all the wondrous noise
erupting from the rest of the band. Well, Manifest, you’re late-night
set has caused me to miss the last Red Line train. I hope you’re happy!
I know I am. (Will Barry)

GREG LOFTUS,

KIERAN RIDGE,

BRIAN CARROLL (with WARD
HAYDEN
)

Lizard Lounge, Cambridge, MA
9/2/11

It’s Greg Loftus’s
final show in Boston before he makes his way down south to Texas. Hell,
in a few months, I’ll probably wish I had gone with him. But in the
here and now, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Brian Carroll’s up first, and he plays a fast-paced and upbeat set.
I’ve never seen this guy stress before a set, and seeing him on stage,
I know why. He’s got a great singing voice with a nice Americana twang
to it, and the tunes can catch any audience, large or small. In this
case it’s large, with the lounge packed. One of the songs, “Let
Me In,” is an homage to all the times he played late at Porter Belly’s
and had to explain it to his wife. Later on in the set, Ward Hayden
of Girls Guns & Glory joins Brian for a few tunes. Loftus makes
it a trio for the final song of the set, a Johnny Cash cover.

Kieran Ridge is kind of new to me. This is probably the second time
I’ve heard this Americana band. They take the tone down a few octaves,
with some mellow vocals and a deep, strumming rhythm. Kieran’s got
the kind of voice that reaches all corners like he’s not even trying.
I get the impression he could be heard just fine even if the mics were
off. Scott O’Grady accompanies on the dobro. Karl Grohmann (drums)
and Alan Uhler (upright bass) are absent, but the duo does just fine
on their own, getting the crowd’s hands clapping in tune with the
music.

Greg Loftus takes the stage and the listeners go silent. He sings with
an intense passion and the crowd is hooked, moving to the high-energy.
Greg’s got the voice of the traveling bard singing from experience,
his voice flowing with the memories of the story behind the tunes. Hopefully
he’ll play a return show someday, as the local scene is definitely
missing something without him. Brian comes back on stage, harmonica
in hand, to give Greg the kind of sendoff that only a musician can.
(Max Bowen)

TOM HAMBRIDGE & THE RATTLESNAKES

Johnny D’s, Somerville,
MA
8/27/11

Tom Hambridge spent
years touring and performing with many of the biggest names in the business.
He worked with and has written songs for many major blues artists including
Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, B.B. King, George Thorogood, Shemekia Copeland,
and Susan Tedeschi. Tonight Tom Hambridge & the Rattlesnakes are
celebrating the release of their latest combustible product, Boom,
and the walls of the club shake as the music explodes. Guitarist Jimmy
Scoppa and bassist Tom MacDonald are veterans from the ’80s Boston
band T.H. & the Wreckage and guitarist Sal Baglio (the Stompers)
joins drummer David Fox and catches fire behind Hambridge’s vocals.
Tom even goes behind the kit for a few songs to remind everyone just
how well he can still pound. Songs like “Sweet Mama,” a melody he
wrote for Lynyrd Skynyrd, “The Fixer,” a song he wrote for George
Thorogood, and “It Hurt So Bad,” a tune he penned for Susan Tedeschi
scream in their virtuosity. They also play “Living Proof,” which
Tom wrote for Buddy Guy’s Grammy-winning album. The music has hands
and those hands grab everyone in the club and shake them up. But the
songs that really show the heights of T.H.’s talent are from his new
CD, Boom. Those songs include “I Had A Real Good Time” that
he co-wrote with Delbert McClinton, “Upside Of Lonely” with it’s
quirky take on the good side of being alone, or “Happy Blues” as
he laughed and introduced the song onstage and “I Got Your Country
Right Here” which was a big hit for Gretchen Wilson. (A.J. Wachtel)

TYLER ARNOTT,

THE WASHINGTONS

UMass Lowell Concordia Common Room,
Lowell, MA
8/31/11

The evening begins
with the funky guitar licks of Tyler Arnott of Pongo’s Groove, a psychedelic,
jam band. Unfortunately, Tyler stands alone on this particular night,
but having seen the group before, I know he has a few tricks up his
sleeve to secure a fun show for the UMass Lowell students in attendance.
While not as exciting as the full band’s set, Tyler’s groove is
no less entertaining. Tyler sings and shreds on the guitar with incredible
passion, making every second worthwhile. The axe that is nestled gently
between his arms looks perfectly at home, spreading Tyler’s own enthusiasm
into the audience. Tyler’s set includes a brief rendition of
the off-season, but certainly apropos tune, “Auld Lang Syne,” to
kick off the new school year. Throughout the set, I can tell the musician
is at ease, and in fact it looks like he is having the time of his life.
He has a few humorous interactions with his audience, even tossing in
a reference to throw back Pepsi, one of the beverages being served to
the students. The set reaches its conclusion with a cover of the classic
White Album
Beatles number, “I’m So Tired.” Tyler captures
the emotionally drained, yet sentimental nature of the song in a nearly
flawless fashion.



Next up are the Washingtons, a Providence, RI, based quartet.
The Washingtons continue the trend of positive, jam-oriented music that
Tyler initiated in the first act, except, now with a full band rocking,
the volume is naturally taken up a few notches. Indeed, the group
rocks pretty hard with a lot of high energy. Their music is fairly
accessible and straightforward, which is not a bad thing. The songs
are not hard to get into and a warm, welcoming feeling is brewing in
the air. I get the impression that the Washingtons are not a band
you can pigeonhole, as various styles and approaches are evident.
On one hand, I feel as though these are songs you could hear on the
radio, almost Hootie & the Blowfish-esque, and then on the complete
opposite end of the spectrum, there are moments that remind me of the
sing-along, shout-out vocals and instrumental breakdowns found in a
Fugazi anthem. Grateful Dead also comes to mind when the band reaches
their mellowest. Whichever it may be, the Washingtons are a fun,
diverse group. (Chris DeCarlo)


OSAKA
STREET CUTTER,

PUBLIC BEACH

Church, Boston, MA
8/20/11

It’s and early show
at Church as daylight pours into the room. It’s tough to be in a rock
club at 3:00pm on one of the nicest weekends of the summer, but Public
Beach, an organic electronic band reminiscent of Freezepop, is on stage
rocking out at full speed nonetheless. The music combined with the club’s
air conditioning is a welcome addition to my weekend. The guys play
a very cool version of a Doors cover that is trippy and wild enough
to make even Jim Morrison proud. Their fans look on wondering if it’s
too early to start drinking. I decide that there’s no time like the
present and head to the bar.

The next band, Osaka Street Cutter, has gathered quite a lively crowd,
which is an impressive feat, considering how early it still is in the
afternoon. The band mentions something about an after party and I have
to smile, as I look at my watch; will that mean the “late night”
party will begin at 7:00pm? Osaka Street Cutter has a distinctive, post-grunge,
late ’90s sound to them. Bandmates trade instruments and humbly nod
in appreciation as the crowd applauds. They play a song named after
some liquor store, and the crowd looks like they are on the verge of
a dance party. By the end, the house is shouting for an encore; the
bassist, John Godfrey, replies that’s his favorite cable channel too.
You can’t help smile. These kids put on a great show.
(Kier Byrnes)

THE 10 FOOT POLECATS

Geezer’s Garage
Night

The Granite Rail, Quincy, MA
8/26/11

This three-piece has
a big sound for only thirty fingers and their style is north Mississippi
hill country with punk overtones. Guitarist Jim Chilson, vocalist/harpist
Jim Scheffler, and drummer Chad Rousseau have a very unique sound—and
this is an understatement. Chilson plays a five-string guitar in open
tuning (the guitar is built by M.J. Sullivan Guitars in South Boston)
where the groove relies heavily on repetitive riffs and a droning bass
play with his thumb. He picks the melody with his other fingers and
creates a very primitive and raw sound. The other two musicians add
a more aggressive, no-holds-barred approach and the combination makes
them very original. The set includes mostly original tunes from their
latest CD, I Get Blamed For Everything I Do, like “Tears on
My Windshield” and “So Good to Me” and even a superb version of
Johnny Cash’s “Big River” done nothing like the original. If you
dig R.L Burnside, Son House, and John Lee Hooker, this is a band for
you. It’s a very enjoyable foot-tapping night. I can’t wait to see
them again. (A.J. Wachtel)

 

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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