November 2011




Great Scott, Allston, MA 9/13/11

I’m at Great Scott on a Tuesday, but the crowd is, surprisingly, a decent size. I’m a little bit distracted by all the burlesque madness that’s going on in between bands. The guy I’m talking to actually says, “It’s been great talking to you, but... boobs,” a quote which aptly sums up the first hour of this show. Sarah RabDAU is the first band to take the stage, and they sound pretty good, and Sarah’s style meshes well with the burlesque theme. Maybe it’s the two strongbows and the kamikaze shot that I felt it would be prudent to drink, but I don’t remember much of Sarah’s set—she sounds great but I couldn’t tell you which songs she plays.

Aloud goes on 45 minutes late or something ridiculous like that, but it’s worth the wait. Have I mentioned that I love Aloud, like a lot? I didn’t know they even played out anymore but here we are. In fact, Henry mentions to the crowd that they haven’t played since January, but you wouldn’t know from listening to them. They sound tight and I’m pretty sure this is the closest one can get to having one’s face rocked off by a male/female jointly-fronted rock band on a Tuesday night. These guys (and girl) just have swagger and I’m into it. They’re playing mostly newer stuff (not much from Leave Your Light On, which is the best Aloud album in my opinion) and when I call, “Godspeed”! at the end of the set, the announcer-lady says, “Someone just requested ‘Godspeed’... that’s like the ‘Freebird’ of Boston rock!” Well, that is an accurate analogy if I ever heard one. (Emily Diggins)


Radio, Somerville, MA 10/7/11

So I’m at the grand opening night of Radio! It’s a cold October evening, but damn, is it hot inside. No, literally. I guess there’s no AC or ventilation in the place yet, and it’s like, one hundred goddamn degrees inside, and the place is at capacity. I immediately don’t like that you have to walk by the stage with the audience facing you to get inside. However, I’d say this show has “Noiseboard reunion” status—I just saw T-Rav, the other dave, What’s Undead Lobster Tamale?, and I heard Jody the Pig was outside. Other good things about this place include: a quiet downstairs/bathroom area where you can escape the madness for a while, a $5 cover, cheap PBRs, and fairly easy parking. Anyway, oh yeah, the music. The sound is pretty good, though I heard the PA system is a rental. The Organ Beats were already playing when I arrived, and they sound pretty amazing. The last time I saw them was at the Scamper/Aloud mustache show at Hennessey’s in 2007, and they were underwhelming at the time, but I suppose they’ve had just a little time to improve since then. And improve they have, seeing as tonight they sound like a mixture of Christmas morning, rainbows, and Damone. They finish up their set, and as it turns out I still have a massive girl-crush on Noelle. I hear some ex-boyfriends’ bands’ songs play over the PA between sets, which is always fun! Then Sidewalk Driver takes the stage, and for some reason, the fact that I saw them less than a week ago makes their set seem extra fun. Despite the fact that it’s like, a million goddamn degrees in here, people are dancing like crazy to “She Goes Out Dancing” and “Jenny.” At this point I realize that I have sweat dripping down my back though, and that’s kinda gross, so I head towards the door. I stop for a smoke outside and realize that half the crowd inside seems to have the same sentiment, which sure sucks for the headlining band, but I’d say the opening night is a success, and I look forward to seeing more shows here. (As of press time, I have attended another show at Radio where it was not 100 goddamn degrees. Huzzah!). (Emily Diggins)



Rosebud Bar, Cambridge, MA 10/1/11

The summer doldrums are still with us—all the bands are either waiting for the right gig, on vacation, having babies, or off to the UK yet again. We’re gonna lose all the newly arrived students to club DJ nights!

Thank god the Rosebud says, “Oh, hell no!” They’ve had to import some acts from the Deep South (Worcester area), but we have our rock ’n’ roll! When I spot Myra Ghoul and Amy Von Eerie hanging around, I’m expecting a Ghouls Night Out reunion but I soon give up on that idea. The Evil Streaks open the show with a fine blend of surf, hotrod, and punk. I keep forgetting how great they look with Myra in evening dress and the guys in suits—not quite the Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow fashions you’d expect. The detailed surf guitar sound is a gasser on brand new material like “Pumpkin Carving Party” and “Zombie Love Doll” as well as Myra’s GNO back catalogue (“Bully,” “Stitch You Up”…).

Taking over from there, the Skeleton Beats (Amy Von Eerie, Joey Two-Fingers, K-Rock, and Mike Rancid) continue in the classic R&R vein, though jumping ahead a good decade. It’s a very energetic performance, which draws in and charges up the crowd—no surprise given these musicians. While there are some slight meanderings, they’re completely entrenched in late ’70s punk rock (soundtrack of my teenage years). But I’m disappointed they’re doing so many covers of that era (Runaways, Generation X, etc). In past bands GNO and Pulp 45, Amy served up the rock with a 1950s flavor and I was really hoping she’d continue here. At the very least she shouldn’t abandon her strong old material (“Monster Love”!). Skeleton Beats are in that early formative stage, though, so there’s no reason to doubt they’ll hop from good to great any moment now. (Frank Strom)


Lisa Gourley’s Punk Rock Show

Firehouse 13, Providence, RI 10/8/11 and 10/9/11

It would take way too much space to write about every band that came out to support Lisa. So in the interest of time and space, I’m going to give an overview of the event itself. Lisa Gourley has been documenting the Providence music scene for the last 15 years. It’s not uncommon to see her standing in the front row, several cameras hanging around her neck, in one hand a video camera filming the performance, in the other hand a digital camera snaps away. This weekend the Firehouse 13 is dedicated to Lisa and her photos. As you walk into the room the walls are covered from floor to ceiling in snapshots showcasing the fans, the performers, and the clubs of Providence throughout the years. Almost thirty bands signed up to play, making a solid twenty hours of music this weekend. It always amazes me how tight-knit a music scene can be. The show was meant to help Lisa out by selling her artwork. Some of the bands took it even further by donating their profits from merchandise. I’m proud of all the people that gave back to someone that would never ask for it. Lisa does what she does because she loves the music, and people of Providence. (Melvin O)


Middle East Upstairs Cambridge, MA 10/01/11

I think it is a cosmic joke that no matter how hard I try, I always miss the majority of the Snipe’s set. Today is no exception. I walk in on their last song. The energy is great, the people in front of the stage are dancing around.

The music stops, a group of people led by a guy holding tightly to a mug of beer gather in front of the stage. “Hey boys, we’re The Old Edison” yells out Will (the guy with the beer/ singer). The band behind him has a violin, guitars, and an acoustic bass. They go completely acoustic, even the singer stays unmic’d. The band yells out the lyrics, the crowd closes around them singing loudly along. The Pity Whores are done setting up, standing there waiting for The Old Edison to finish up. The music stops. The house lights come up a bit, and Wyatt (singer) sings out, “Happy birthday fuckface,” to his brother Rory. Matt (drums) interrupts him by asking for more bass in the monitor. “What a needy bitch,” Wyatt replies. They start playing. Out of nowhere Midway Dave comes barrelling through the crowd knocking people aside. These guys are pumped up today, their set is flying by. The crowd is singing along to every song. It is hilarious hearing a whole room sing out “you can go fuck yourself”. Wyatt briefly stops to thank his dad for “prematurely ejaculating” so he and Rory could celebrate birthdays. Midway Dave jumps on stage to sing along. They pull up Squally from Old Edison to help finish their set. The club drops down into darkness, as The Old Edison takes up in front of the stage again. This time Rory joins them, singing along as loud as he can. The lights come back on. Jeff Rowe stands alone with just his acoustic guitar. I’m not sure what purpose this is suppose to serve. Initially I think it is a transition to prepare us for the Swaggering Growlers, but rather than slow down the mood gradually, the show hits a wall stopping everything dead. The crowd gets loud, Jeff responds by saying, “I can play another song, maybe a sing along, but it seems the talking won’t stop.” He chooses to play the sing along anyway, the Growlers, Wyatt, and Squallie dance onto the stage singing along behind Jeff. It wouldn’t matter if someone were still talking, all the people singing aloud defiantly drown out any other noise. This is the release party for the Growler’s new CD Outlaw Waltz. The club is really packed for a matinee show. Johnny thanks everybody for coming out, saying “we are a group of vagabonds that call Boston home.” The music starts, Johnny jumps off the stage into the crowd. The band’s energy is very infective. The crowd is moving wildly dancing non-stop. The Growler’s have an amazing intensity on stage that never slows through out the whole performance. (Melvin O)


All Asia, Cambridge, MA 10/16/11

For a three-piece ensemble, Of The Sun has a massive sound. The creators of aural tableaus are Adam Blake on bass and vocals, Tom Fahey on percussion and vocals, and C.J. Carr on lead vocals and percussion. They describe their sound as “ritual music from future shamen.” Moreover their sound has elements of electronica, psychedelia, and drone. Fahey primarily plays an African drum called a djimbe, but Carr occasionally joins in on djimbe as well. The band creates sonic landscapes that take you out of this place and time to an ancient world far away. To enhance this sensory experience, Of The Sun adds visuals of kaleidoscopic patterns that are usually projected directly upon them for a trippy effect. Tonight they are having some projector difficulties and the visuals are projected onto a screen to their left. The highlight of their set is the transporting “Light.” The band has been writing new material and experimenting with distorting time perception by creating rhythms within rhythms. Intriquing! (Nancy Neon)


Old Sloop Coffeehouse, Rockport, MA 10/14/11

Old Sloop Coffeehouse sits within the First Congregational Church of Rockport and seats a maximum of 150. Geoff Lyons makes the naturally dead-sounding room come to life with his audio skills. And it does sound good. On stage, Somerville-based Jenee Halstead is a sweet looking gal who must be older than her early 20s appearance with her high level of confidence. She slips out a cocky comment: “Livingston Taylor is playing in town tonight—too bad for him. This is where it’s happening.” And the audience loves it. Her hair is pulled back into a bun with medium bangs. Colorful dream-catcher-like earrings dangle while her white lacy blouse hangs off one shoulder. Her acoustic guitar is nice and chunky sounding with smooth bottom round tones. She plays a murder ballad and uses a cool technique of singing part of it away from the mic to create a greater sense of distance. Her pleasing alto voice can slide up high when she wants. She picks up a ukulele and mentions how she’s raised $7500 from her fans for her upcoming CD. She ends with “Rodeo Sadness” that includes a vocal trumpet section. She’s a talented performer. (T Max)



Plectrum Entertainment Singer Songwriter Showcase

Johnny D’s, Somerville, MA 10/4/11

The night starts with the trademark of the Singer Songwriter Showcase, a trio of solo artists playing together on stage, each performing their own music, sort of a musical roundtable. Jason Labbe’s a young performer, but he’s got the chops of a pro, with a great voice that carries through the din of the crowded Somerville nightspot. With songs like “Angel’s Wings” and “Don’t Go,” he demonstrates precise vocal and guitar control. He’s also got good between song banter, keeping the crowd hooked with jokes and stories about his music.

Scott Veroczi’s got a different tone than Jason, quicker paced with an Americana twang. While his voice doesn’t fill the club quite like Jason’s, he’s got everyone’s attention, picking up the energy with each song. His tune, “Gone But Not Forgiven,” talks about that one that left, a theme for each of the singers that night. James Houlahan adds some more Americana styles to the evening. He falls in between Jason and Scott musically, with a more measured tone, a deep baritone perfect for a traveling storyteller. Sure enough, he takes a break to tell the crowd that he likes his songs to tell a tale. “Ben Reilly,” one of the songs he plays, is about landscaper who wants to live his dream of sailing. The three performers are a good blend of styles, and perfect for the venue. Next up is the Jeff Michaels Band, a folk/rock quartet. During their set, they play three different songs about imaginary girls. We’ve all been there. The set’s got great energy, adding some jazz elements to the evening. Looking around the club, I’m seeing quite a few cameras flashing, and some folks moving to the music. Jeff rocks the keyboard with precision and style, and fellow band members Ben Reynolds (bass), Chris Teffner (guitar/ mandolin), Joe Stephen (sax/ horns/ clarinet/ guitar) combine for an easy-going night with a lot of lively music, even trying out some new material not yet finished and a cover of “Daydream Believer.” I’ve been waiting to hear the Bridgebuilders, and the band does not disappoint. Rumored to have been exiled from the folk scene of Boston, this six-piece band blends a mix of Irish, Scottish, and American influences, and the result is an eclectic music experience not easily found or duplicated. The influences aren’t the only mixed bag-their instrumentation combines fiddles, the mandolin, bass, Hammond organ and the bouzouki. Not sure what the hell that last one is, but it sounds great. They’ve got a jam band sound with a seamless flow, and vocalist Chris Murray has real passion in voice during each song.   (Max Bowen)  


Topsfield Fair - Trianon Stage, Topsfield, MA 10/4/11

It’s a Monday night at the wonderful Topsfield Fair and the regular weekend mob is not in attendance. The Rationales have played the fair the past two years and both times it rained. The usual five-piece band is a six tonight as they’ve added Davina Yanetty on ukulele to strum along with their well-written power pop tunes. Leader Dave Mirabella on guitar and vocals is a song designer, most evident in “Drunk,” which brings craftsman Jules Shear to mind. The tune “Braedon” has a They Might Be Giants feel with some strange catchy lyrics about a bee dressed in an army suit stealing popcorn. Then “Tongue Tied” blends the Grateful Dead and Tom Petty, with a Neil Young-style guitar solo supplied by Pete Zeigler, thrown in to solidify the band’s good taste. The meshing of the many influences creates the band’s own gritty rock sound. Halfway through their set the rain gods baptize us to extend the band’s consistency of weather to a third year. By the end of the set bubbles are floating around me—the gods must be happy. (T Max)


Dog Bar, Gloucester, MA 10/11/11

Every Tuesday night at nine the patrons of Dog Bar in Gloucester are treated to the delightful sound of Steve Caraway… followed by the ear piercing sound of the weekly open mic crowd (just kidding!). Steve has been playing for a long time, not to give away his age or anything, but he certainly knows how to host a show. Along with one of the best hosts around, you have the recently remodeled décor of the Dog Bar adding to the ambiance of the experience.

Speaking of the bar, the Dog Bar, which is also a restaurant, is named for the famous Dog Bar breakwater near historic Gloucester’s Eastern Point. The bar itself has a very welcoming atmosphere and the dining room is quite comfortable. These features along with the enclosed patio (complete with heaters for the winter!) make the Dogbar one of the coziest places to check out live music and have a good meal. As for the music, the entertainment starts off as always with Steve Caraway and his solo power-pop 12-string extravaganza. I’m pretty sure he is playing an entire original set this evening such as his new song, “Home Fires,” about a two soldier household. As always, Steve sounds great and makes the sacrifice of making sure all the equipment sounds good before the open mic crowd take the stage. He even has a “Gloucestercentric” song titled, “On the Corner of Prospect and Washington.” Also playing this evening is local favorite James “Goodeye” Buhrendorf who, despite a broken foot and several other disadvantages, manages to make it to the open mic almost every week to entertain. His song choices are fantastic and his beautiful antique Guild guitar always fills the room with its beautiful tone. Jim is a unique and rare individual with a big heart and a lot to say. The best thing is he is always having fun on the stage. There were several other performers during the evening including someone who sounded like he was from the 16th century and another guy singing acoustic punk rock filtered through Metallica. All in all, it is always an eclectic and eccentric night at the Dog Bar, with a wide range of performers. Heck, they even let me get up and sing a few songs, and anyplace that lets me play has to be welcoming! You might even see a local celebrity like Chelsea Berry, or maybe Inge Berge if I can convince him to leave his fortified fallout shelter. Come check out the Dog Bar, every Tuesday night, or every night, for your drinking pleasure! (Patrick Fitzpatrick)


Dirty Douglas, Lowell, MA 10/1/11

Thick Shakes ignite their performance with that great garage inspired punk rock they have become known for. On the other hand, I hate to pigeonhole their music to one genre; there are definitely noise vibes, the sheer volume of their performance is a top indicator of this. I have seen Thick Shakes before and once again they are fairly loud and certainly this sonic cacophony complements their dirty, straight-to-the-point, punk songwriting. It is hard to decipher the vocals, but honestly I cannot say that affects their performance. Thick Shakes do not appear to be a band you sing along to; instead it is more of a cathartic, bestial experience. Admittedly, I am not too familiar with their material, but I do see quite a bit of Thee Oh Sees in their performance and perhaps aesthetic, so for fans of that band, I will highly recommend Thick Shakes.

The Dirty Douglas is a small intimate venue, and when Fat History Month emerges it becomes even smaller, maybe even a little too close for comfort. Singer/guitarist, Sean invites the crowd to surround him and drummer Jeff, while they blast away into their weird, little world. I saw Fat History about a month ago and I am still thinking about what I witnessed. Seeing them now, brings me back to where I left off. These guys are truly hard to describe, but I will take a shot. Songs often begin with strong, almost conventional pop build-ups only to sink into a bizarre, off kilter, mish- mash of ramblings and noise. I am sure to some this sounds too strange, but it is actually perfectly coherent and accomplishes real emotional moments that I rarely see other groups achieve. And just like last time, I am positive this performance will stay with me for quite some time. (Chris DeCarlo)


The Freedom Rally Boston Common, Boston, MA 9/17/11

I am backstage talking to old friend/headliner David Peel when the music starts and I am immediately drawn to the front to catch everything up close. Charlie Farren, Jon Butcher, bassist Joe Holliday (the Fools) and Muzzy (Beatlejuice) on drums are playing their tight power-pop and I recognize some of the music from many moons ago. “Got The Rock and Roll Again” from Farren’s Joe Perry Project days, and past Farrenheit hits “Lost in Loveland” and “East Coast West Coast” please the crowd as does the Jon Butcher Axis anthem “Ocean In Motion” and I immediately react: my body starts moving and keeping time and my mind races to remember the lyrics to these great songs. What a pleasure it is to hear that these songs have survived and are still being unleashed on audiences today. This is not a reunion band. This is a great band playing memorable songs and behind all the music is the confidence of all the past performances. Only now these tunes are being played to the younger brothers and sisters and even children of the original listeners. It doesn’t get any better than this onstage and outdoors on a beautiful day in Boston. (A.J. Wachtel)


T.T. the Bear’s Cambridge, MA 9/30/11

Even though I actually show up in time for a band with an earlier set time for once in my goddamn life, I’m going to fast-forward through about 150 words of talking about American Water’s set. [*fast forwards*]Okay, sweet, that was informative and well-written, right?

Right then, onto the Fatal Flaw. As we all know, I am a huge fan of these dudes! I am really sad because there are only about 10 people watching the band (almost everyone else is around the bar) and that is lame because the Fatal Flaw is the best! They play all their greatest hits, including “Lord, I’m Bored,” “Don’t Start Believin,” “The Last Cassingle,” “California Evergreen,” and then they finish up with “Narrow Hours.” I know all the words to all the songs, and it looks like the blonde chick in front of me does too, so that’s cool. Also, Joel Reader’s pants are kinda tight and I think that’s a crucial quality in a frontman—just sayin’. Also, guitarist Aaron Spransy (I looked up his name on Facebook, I’m not that big of a fan) is hilarious to watch because he has silly onstage guitar-playing antics, so there’s that. Anyway these guys sound awesome and everyone should love them, please and thanks. So, the Appreciation Post is onstage shortly later, and the number of people inside T.T.’s seems to have approximately quadrupled almost instantly. One thing I like about seeing TAP live is that they use less synth than they do on their recordings, and I absolutely dig the slightly grittier versions of these giddy synth-pop anthems. I’m totally singing along to “I’m No Sure Thing” (sweet trivia fact: the music video for this song was filmed in my hometown. Cool right?) and so is pretty much everyone else in the crowd because TAP is really good and apparently a lot of other people in Boston think so too because here they are at the show singing along, Yay! The end. (Emily Diggins)  


Radio, Somerville, MA 10/13/11

New rock club Radio has only been open a week now and they’re already the best venue in town. Okay, that’s an unfair overstatement but it’s really obvious they mean business and want to be the rock ’n’ roll hot spot (previous owners of that title: Elvis Room and Abbey Lounge). Tonight’s line-up is sure proof.

Lucky Dragon is new to me but given certain clues (like the Slim Jim drum set), I suspect they’re veterans. They’re a stripped down three-piece with a big sound. The first few numbers are straightforward rock but as the set progresses, they go from quasi-country to psych and drone music. Lucky Dragon could easily fill a gap on a stoner show (though being so heavy duty in the rock department, they might scare that audience). Definitely intriguing. Playing for the first time in five months, the Curses sound phenomenal—better than ever. I dunno if it’s the excitement of having a new venue, the time off rejuvenating them or only my imagination after the long Curseless stretch. They are the classic punk rock act, with little camp or goofiness. Not to say that they’re dire and serious, just focused on the power. The melodies don’t get obfuscated, though, as favorites “All Hail the Chief,” “Atomic Bomb,” and “Cocaine Love” attest. It’s wonderful to have them back. Refusing to be outdone, the Tampoffs seem determined to get that “better than ever” label as well. In the past I’ve called them one of those dependable bands who deliver the goods but despite that, you take them for granted. No more (at least not the taking for granted part). Tonight they’re tuneful as usual but playing at what seems to be an even faster tempo! While speeding up an already hyper tempo ruined many late day Ramones shows, it’s working magic for the Tampoffs! Hope they keep it up. I am awestruck. Capping off this bill of Abbey All-Stars is Triple Thick. When last I saw them, they were doing another creative shift (every couple years for them it seems) plus introducing all new material. Tonight I see they’re still tinkering with it, now incorporating keyboards. With that addition, they achieve that 1960s garage sound on some of the songs but on others, the keyboards get overpowered and lost in the sturm and drang. As far as the new material goes, they stick to the signature style I love about them (artfully primitive, 45-second long songs). I’m not always copacetic with change for the sake of change, but I am happy and impressed how Triple Thick is continuously thinking and rethinking what they do. They are vital. (Frank Strom)  


Renaissance Hotel, Boston, MA 10/7/11

The Gentlemen Outfit kicks things off with their soothing acoustic music. Jesse McCullagh strums away on the guitar while the other half of Gentlemen Outfit, Jim LeSuer, takes care of percussion; both simultaneously share vocal duties, creating a noteworthy harmony section. Throughout their performance, the duo integrates both original compositions as well as covers into the set. For my money, their rendition of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” stands out the most. The Gentlemen are able to capture the song’s sunny lyrics and upbeat attitude in a seemingly effortless manner. The term “gentlemen” should be taken quite literally, Jesse and Jim interact with the audience with a kind, welcoming spirit that is sure to make even the worst curmudgeon smile and sing along. This is my second time seeing the Gentlemen Outfit and this performance builds on what they started before: creating a fun, engaging aura for everyone in the room to enjoy.

Silhouette Rising unleashes an invigoratingly rocking set that makes the audience’s eyes light up. The band, seven years into their music career, is as electrifying as ever; this time opening up with their new classic, “Sex in the City.” While the Gentlemen Outfit plays soft mellow music, Silhouette Rising brings a louder sonic experience to the hotel. Speaking of the Gentlemen, both Jesse and Jim return to the frontline as members of Silhouette. Jesse employs his energetic, free flowing skills as a front man, those of which he championed earlier in his career as an American Idol contestant. Gazing through the crowd, I notice that people of all ages are appreciating the band’s diverse music and it is not hard to see why. The group injects fun, rock ’n’ roll songs with solemn, and acoustic ballads—all with wide spread appeal. Another solid show for the history books; I plan on seeing the band again in the near future. (Chris DeCarlo)  


Precinct Bar, Somerville, MA 9/14/11

While the current variation of Triple Thick is a total thumbs-up, it’s still a pity that it no longer includes Elias Carlston. Elias is a fine musician with a fine rock ’n’ roll voice (both on display in Triple Thick as well as Starry Crown Nightstick and 66 Breakout). Tonight he’s solo, though supported on drums by T-Thick’s Jim Seary (plus the rest of the band in the audience). Genre-wise, he’s sticking with traditional American country blues—mostly covers of John Lee Hooker, Blind Willie Johnson, Lightnin Hopkins, etc. I’m dubious of the Morphine number (“Buena”) but he makes it work. The one original (“Persephone”) is tasty enough to make you wish for more. Honestly, I don’t really see Elias as a grizzled old blues man—my imagination has him doing a mean Gene Vincent—but his love for the style is honest and clear as crystal. Ditto the fact that he’s a talented guy. (Frank Strom)



T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge, MA 9/23/11

You know, I miss T.T.’s. It’s probably my favorite venue, as well as the first cool stage I ever played on. It just seems like nobody I know or like plays there these days, so when I saw that cool band Soccer Mom was having a record release party there, I was psyched! So here I am, it’s pissing down rain, and Autochrome has already started. Other than Soccer Mom, this was the band I really wanted to see—I raved about them already when I reviewed their previous show at Great Scott. They’re a talented post-punk quartet who have only played out a handful of times, but they’re already a favorite of mine. If you like the Chameleons, the Bunnymen, and early New Order, these guys and girl are your cup of Earl Grey. The thing is, they haven’t released anything yet. When is your 10-inch release party, huh Autochrome?

Marconi is up next. (Hey, I wonder if they’ve already got a gig booked at new club Radio yet—wouldn’t that be a great fit?) If I can dream up a genre name for Marconi’s music, I’d call it librarian rock. Don’t think I’m slagging them—onstage, they’re cool, confident, comfortable, and collegiate. All five of them are really good musicians, the singer has a hell of a baritone voice, and they have hooks galore, but there’s something rather bookish, stuffy, and sneering about them. I envision their fans as avid This American Life listeners who Netflix more than their fair share of indie comedies with the hand-drawn covers, know what I mean? I will not deny that Marconi is talented—hell, I’d probably enjoy them more had they not followed Autochrome. When they play another show, I wouldn’t avoid them like the plague. It just didn’t work for me in this context. The volume goes up, the energy intensifies—yes, boys and girls, Soccer Mom is here! Celebrating the release of their new 10-inch record, the night belongs to them, and so do my eardrums. No question that SM will be making my head ring all the way home, and the cries of the dying hair cells in my inner ear will serenade me to sleep. Not a bad way for those cells to go out, though! The wild abandon of the singer/guitarist and the sick interaction with second guitarist, the spastic kinetics of the drummer, and the monolithic bass once again make for a good time! Nice to see the members of Autochrome in the crowd supporting and cheering on SM as music fans—bands need to support each other like this way more often. Sound-wise, there are traces of Sonic Youth, Swervedriver, Swirlies, Dinosaur Jr, and some obscure stuff I’ve never heard. With a name like Emergency Music, you’d think the Soccer Mom momentum would continue, but alas and alack, things get taken down a notch. The fact is, this show should have been split into two different nights: Soccer Mom, Autochrome, and another band (maybe Night Fruit?) one night, with Emergency Music, Marconi, and some other like-minded band on the other night. It only would have been fair. As good as Emergency Music is, they were simply a letdown after the ragged glory of SM. It’s all about context! These guys look like teachers out late for a school night, At least their wives up front didn’t mind. Piss-taking aside, Emergency Music delivers solid indie-pop of the Beatles/Beach Boys/Shins crystal blue persuasion. The frontman’s got his moves down, and the slightly out of tune Rickenbacker passed between the singer and the keyboardist aside, is a faultless attempt at snatching harmony from the jaws of dissonance. (Tony Mellor)


The Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA 9/24/11

Someone told me about this whole One Night Band thing and I decided to attend, purely based on the event’s sweet guitar-pick-condom logo. I arrive in Central Square on a sultry September Saturday night to find a hot, sweaty, crowded Middle Down. I know I say this about like, every show, but really, it is like a Noise Board reunion in here, which is always fun. Plus, eight one-night-bands are performing and I don’t remember a single one sucking too badly! My favorite bands of the night include Motorboat (Wayne Whittaker, Dave Jarvis, Leesa Coyne, Meff, Rodrigo van Stoli) and Wagon Battle (Mary Flatley, TJ Horn, Chrissy Vaccaro, John Brookhouse, and Daniel McNair), who are not only a one-night-band, but also the inventors of a one-night-genre: “pioneercore.” After all eight of the one-night-bands have performed their three one-night-songs and one cover each, all of the participants get onstage to perform a cover of “Cum on Feel the Noize,” which is so bad that it’s good. All in all, the whole night is really fun, and it is absolutely a testament to all the impressive talent we have in Boston. I heard someone describe One Night Band as a “scene-building event,” and I’d say that is pretty accurate. I hope Boston Band Crush continues to put on this event, because it was a really great time and even raised some money for a good cause. (Emily Diggins)


Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA 10/1/11

Soooo, I’m at Brighton Music Hall and the place is the most packed I’ve ever seen it. I mean, realistically, I’ve only ever seen the place like five times, but it’s the most packed out of those five times, so that’s saying something, right? Anyway, I come in during Andrea Gillis’s set, but I don’t feel like I saw enough of it to make career-making-or-breaking judgments in the Noise, so I’ll skip right to Sidewalk Driver. I reviewed these dudes’ album back in like, 2009, which basically means I’m an expert on their music. I even know some of the words to their songs! These guys seem to have a pretty impressive following, because I see lots of hot chicks dancing around to “She Goes Out Dancing.” So thanks to Sidewalk Driver for getting some babes to come out to a metal show, for real. They sound pretty good and I even find myself dancing with my friends a little bit, like the song says. Anyway these dudes are putting on an awesome energetic show and my favorite is when Tad takes off his little top hat. That’s when shit starts to get crazy.

Okay, so Sidewalk Driver finishes, and then the room gets all dark and a big screen comes down out of nowhere and there’s this completely ridiculous spoof documentary about modern music or something. I don’t even know. I go to the bathroom to fix my hair for like 10 minutes and I come back out and this video is still going, and people were starting to be all, “Ugh, less video more rock.” Eventually Township complies with the crowd’s communal desire for rock by stopping their mockumentary and picking up their instruments. These dudes totally shred with crowd favorites like “Sinister Minister,” “Gunning Through the Night,” and “Warrior Chief.” Like, I’m headbanging so much that I’m pretty sure my neck is going to be sore tomorrow. Also, I don’t know what kind of madness comes over everyone, but the crowd actually complies when asked to provide some wolf howls. Awesome. So, in addition to being totally entranced by Mark Pinansky’s beard for like an hour, I feel like I have been sufficiently rocked tonight, so I’d say this show was a smashing success. (Emily Diggins)  


UMass Lowell Fox Hall Common, Lowell, MA 9/22/11

Twin Cyclist is a local duo consisting of two vocalists, one taking care of guitar duties and the other commanding the drums. Standing next to the PA, I can safely say Twin Cyclist is a loud band, but not too diabolical to the degree that it pushes audience members away. The vocals mainly consist of shouting and screaming, reminding me of early Hüsker Dü; in fact I will go out on a limb to suggest these boys have studied Michael Azzerad’s ’80s, “indie rock” bible, Our Band Could Be Your Life at some point in their past. To make a more current comparison, I would say the band is a nice middle ground between the noise bands No Age, and Lightning Bolt. Not as poppy as the former and not as menacing as the latter. Whether you call it punk, noise, or anything else, Twin Cyclist definitely sets the bar for the rest of the concert.

I have seen Big Mess before and just like my previous experience, they are nothing short of exhilarating. Contrary to their moniker, this instrumental trio creates a consistent thunderous wall of noise that is anything but a mess. Their thick guitar riffs seem to have roots in classic rock and/or early heavy metal groups such as AC/DC and Black Sabbath. The band’s attention to detail and assurance that the audience hears every nuance of each instrument reminds me of the work of Steve Albini and in particular, his band Shellac. Big Mess’s music sounds like it would be the soundtrack to a horrifying slasher film of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween variety. It is slow, eerie, perhaps within the right context maybe even unsettling, but perfect for that moment when you think the killer is down for the count and then he rises to strike again. Surely, I plan on seeing Big Mess strike again in the near future. While Big Mess focuses on slow menacing build-ups, Atlas the Atom Smasher plays unabashedly fast heavy punk songs; everything is taken up a few notches. This is reflected in the audience’s reaction. During the first two acts, most fans bob their heads in approval, sometimes awe, but during Atlas’s set I start to see fans enthusiastically singing along, head banging, and pogoing. Indeed the local, Lowell-based trio is highly energetic themselves and it is nearly impossible not to react in a similar manner. Their short but sweet set is loud, and on top of that certainly melodic and consists of several pop hooks beneath the volume. The band makes a point to articulate to the audience how lucky the students are for having such a terrific music scene surrounding them, a privilege few can boast. Fugue is the headliner for tonight and before I even hear a single lick from them I am bombarded with praise for their work. Fugue is from Southern Connecticut and they make the long drive to Lowell because they love the city and all the support it has given them over the years. This time around they are just a four-piece instrumental act, minus their usual keyboards. The quartet plays modest math rock, often lingering on musical moments instead of flashing through them. Their on stage presence is different from any other band I have seen, most notably with the fact that they are playing with their backs to the audience, for the most part. I do not completely understand this and it kills some of my vibes, but not too badly. Alas, this is one of their last shows, much to the chagrin of most folks in attendance. (Chris DeCarlo)  

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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