RANDY BLACK & THE HEATHCROPPERS/
KINGDOM OF LOVE
T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge MA
I get to T.T.’s nice and early for what is billed as a 6:00 show, and as I enter Kingdom of Love is playing to an empty room. Turns out it’s just their soundcheck—the show doesn’t start ’til 7:00. Being that it’s a record release party for Randy Black & the Heathcroppers, T.T.’s owner Bonney Bouley lays out a spread of food for all to enjoy. Skip ahead an hour and we’re back to the beginning of the review. Richard Lamphear and Linda Viens make up Kingdom of Love and they’ve got something going: cool songs that have a modern underground sound with enough commercial elements to make them a radio-friendly acoustic band. They accompany themselves with some basic studio tracks (light drums and bass here and there), and a little extra booming sound ruminating from below (It’s The Whiskey Boys downstairs at the Middle East—that show is also reviewed in this issue). The songs feel personal, frequently leading me to believe they are about this couple, with titles “Starmates,” “Two Souls,” and “My Lady Day.” Visually, they move like they each could be leading their own band. Linda says it’s fun playing with the computer tracks, but what she really means is that it’s not as easy as they make it look. Their fans show them love.
During the break I notice lots of familiar faces from my past, including Bonney Bouley, Bob Colby, Tim & Judy Sprague, Doug Vargas, Tris Lowzaw, Blowfish & Miss Lyn, Dave Duncan, Bo Barringer, Ron Scarlet, Gary Mondello, Matt Burns, and I think that was Sue Safton way across the room.
The break is over quickly—Willie Alexander is all set up on stage with his sticker-splattered keyboard. A few badges hang on Willie’s open black jacket covering his classic horizontal stripped, 3/4 sleeve shirt. And his body language says he’s ready to perform. By his second song, “Som, Som, Somerville” he loses the jacket and Mark Chenervert is blowing the sax. Larry Dersch hops up to add drums and Willie is set to run the show—a quick point to his left and Mark slides into a solo. Willie gets sarcastic introducing the beautiful ballad of Dirty Eddie, but follows it up with the real deal in the most moving song of the night—”The Gold.” Now Randy Black and Matt Gruenberg are called to the stage and Willie’s band has expanded. The sound is big and the lack of rehearsal doesn’t hurt the performance. The big band ends with “You Look So Pretty” from Willie’s Boom Boom days. I get to see Willie pretty often, but I have to say that tonight his show is outstanding.
The CD release party boys (Randy, Matt, and Larry) are up Heathcropping us. Randy talks about his sister owning a life-size cardboard cutout of Trini Lopez and the band hits hard with “Simple Things,” a very catchy song with rhythmic play of the title. Then it’s “The Lover I Can’t Get Over” and Randy jokingly ends with a big arena “Thank you Cambridge.” He points out that Anne Rearick (Willie’s wife) shot the beautiful cover photo on the CD we’re celebrating—Sky Goes Clear. Linda Viens joins the band on “Trying” a song about learning how to love—we have to practice ’til we get it right. Randy’s old bandmate from Limbo Race, Mark Chenervert, jumps up to add some sax that get’s pretty frantic on “Annabel.” Then we swing from limb to limb through an addiction song, “Monkey”—this is one of their best. Clara Wellons (see this month’s Big Shot on page 20) is invited up to do some singing on “Green Dress” and by the following song she is captivating the entire crowd with her natural high energetic moves. She shares some vocals with Linda and the energy (and volume) of the show keep climbing. Randy’s lyrics are too good to be lost in the volume—pick up Sky Goes Clear for the full lyrical effect. (T Max)
CRADLE TO THE GRAVE/
THE WARNING SHOTS
The Middle East, Cambridge, MA
and later on the same night…
POST MODERN AUTHORS
Great Scott, Allston MA
Much like the amazing Ernie Banks, I’m always up for pulling a double-header. With my wife, Monica, in tow, the first stop is The Middle East for a rare 7:30 start. The Warning Shots are up first, a relatively new band that is basically a mash-up of The Ducky Boys and The Morgan Knockers. Therefore, it’s not surprising that they play punk-based rock that is equal parts hummability and grit. All of Mark Lind’s 400 projects sound just a little different from each other, with this one seeming to push the melodies further up front. I especially dig the harmonies that guitarists Rich and Nick add. They help make the songs instantly catchy. The evening is off to a good start.
OC45 is up next, and they either squeeze 97 songs into their set or only manage to get in three. It’s hard to tell as they only gasp for air about twice in the span of 30 minutes. On the one hand, it’s refreshing how well-prepared these guys are. There’s no downtime, no arguing over what song to play next, etc., but on the other hand, their approach is a bit overwhelming. The songs are frenetic and well-constructed, but by about the halfway point, I feel like I’m being smashed in the head with a large boulder. The band is young, so I’m hoping in time they find a happy medium.
Cradle to the Grave gets off to an auspicious start as bassist Julie Two Times is transformed into Julie Zero Sound for the first song. Other than that, everything goes perfectly. Usually, this band confounds sound people, most likely because of Joe Wyatt’s electric fiddle, but whoever is manning the board tonight is truly putting in an MVP performance (much like Ernie Banks in 1958 and 1959). Each part comes through crystal clear, and given how ridiculously talented each member of the band is, that is a very good thing. They take a more cerebral and nuanced approach to punk rock than most bands, but one look at Paul’s pantheon-level guitar faces and you know they aren’t afraid to have a good time either.
The always pleasing Burning Streets are set to finish things up, but after a song or two, Monica and I are on our way to Allston for round two, the Girls Rock Camp fundraiser at Great Scott. We barely make it through the door before being blinded by the amazing raffle table. We buy some tickets and cross our fingers that we’ll win some new Dr. Martens, a Puma or Guitar Center gift card or perhaps even a drum lesson.
The first band we catch is Post Modern Authors. I’ll admit to kind of cringing when I see the banjo and a mustachioed man in a vest because I’m afraid they are going to sound like Mumford & Sons, and don’t we have enough of that in the world already? Fortunately, my fears are allayed, as the inclusion of the banjo doesn’t seem forced or gimmicky at all. This is a very new band, and you can tell that different members are at vastly different places in their musical journey. But the frontman and frontwoman, Andrew and Meghan, are both quietly commanding and jovial presences. The music has both folk and rock aspects. It’s introspective and upbeat, and they do a great job of taking the show to the crowd. The only real downside is that guitarist Dominic’s tone is distractingly cheesy in its dad blues-ness. Overall, I think they’re on to something. I’d be curious to check back in a few months and see how they’ve progressed.
Petty Morals is one of my favorite bands in town, and they become more so as they get stronger and stronger with each show. Their mix of punk, soul and ’80 synth-pop gets the crowd dancing joyously. Berlin and Prince covers mix in nicely with their expanding repertoire of original numbers. The band seems super enthused to be playing to this particular audience, and their energy is infectious. Hopefully, if Kathleen Hanna ever brings The Julie Ruin to Boston, these ladies will be asked to open, and it can be one badass dance party.
It’s raffle time, and a couple of wonderful GRCB staffers jump on stage to pull out the names. First up is the drum lesson, and the winner is… Monica! She is beside herself with excitement. When I tell her that her teacher, Alison, plays in Shepherdess she gets even more excited. Speaking of Shepherdess, Hilken is up next with her other band, The Monsieurs. The trio stands in front of a wall of amps, and they sound like Johnny Thunders or Richard Hell playing noisy and dissonant, yet slyly infectious punk. Unfortunately, after a few songs, Monica and I realize that we’re both a bit tapped out, but we take note that we will have to catch the next Monsieurs show as they definitely intrigued us.
Kudos to everyone who came out to support the Girls Rock Camp! (Kevin Finn)
DAN & THE WILDFIRE/
The Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge MA
The Middle East Downstairs is crowded. The weather is awful outside, so I am surprised to see so many people braving the weather to see one of Boston’s up and coming folk bands, The Whiskey Boys. The lads dive right into it. The Middle East, which recently was honored with a listing as one of the nation’s best venues by Rolling Stone magazine, demonstrates why they have achieved such recognition, as the band sparkles through the house PA system. Fiddler David Delaney and bassist Jon Polit captivate the audience with songs like “Ain’t No Grave” and their original composition, “Playing the Fool.” If you like smoking banjo and breathtaking fiddle, The Whiskey boys are for you.
With the crowd all warmed up, Dan & the Wildfire take the stage. The audience is electric with anticipation. The band dives right in and fires song after song, spreading folk-inspired pop songs laced with trumpet melodies like wildfire (pun intended). My friend comments that the tightly knitted vocal harmonies and overall pleasant sounds remind her of another Boston band, Jackopierce. I think of them like a Mumford & Sons with horns. The show is fun and full of energy and there are smiles on just about everybody’s face. That, my friend, is a good night of music. (Kier Byrnes)
THE REAL KIDS
The Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge MA
After much anticipation, the crowd erupts when Real Kids’ John Felice announces “If you’re wonderin’ what you paid your fifteen dollars to see, we’re The Real Kids.” The Real Kids’ set kicks off with “All Kindsa Girls,” a fave to RKS aficionados and newbies alike. Felice tears into overdrive with his percussive guitar power and impassioned vocal on “She Don’t Take It.” Felice dedicates The Modern Lovers’ “Fly Into the Mystery” to former Real Kids’ guitarist Billy Borgioli (who is in the audience) and bassist Allen “Alpo” Paulino (who passed in 2006, but whose presence is strongly felt). “Mystery” brings to mind the heartache of Felice’s “Nothing Pretty.” Randall Lee Gibson IV (drums) and Dicky Oaks (bass) are rock solid and especially formidable at enhancing the dynamics of the slower, moodier songs like “Just Like Darts” and “Common At Noon.” Having been hospitalized the previous night, Felice is obviously in pain and has a stool handy if he needs steadying. John soldiers on, delivering a well chosen mix of selections from their first album The Real Kids (Red Star), Grown Up Wrong (Norton Records), and their upcoming Ace of Hearts recording (featuring faves like “Tell Me” and “Can’t Shake That Girl”). Felice’s and Billy Cole’s unspoken communication and guitar interplay never fail to impress. Moreover, seeing The Real Kids’ rock ’n’ roll purity and integrity win the hearts of new generations is always a thrill! (Nancy Neon)
One Longfellow Square, Portland ME
It’s such a Christmas blessing to get to see Celtic priestess Patty Larkin live and up close! One Longfellow Square is packed to the gills and we can’t wait to hear her two set performance. She comes out wearing tight jeans, a jacket and little red ankle boots. She looks fabulous, and all I can say is that people over sixty look different than when I was a kid! She says, “Holidays mean you have to choose a religion!” She starts with an impressive, very fast piece on the guitar, then sings “Lately,” with the line, “I used to analyze my love, wonder where it came from, but no more.” She switches to her blue electric guitar and plays “Dear Heart” with beautiful reverb, and then with a kind of Chris Isaak sound with an effects pedal, plays it with a violin bow. Her guitar playing is mesmerizing, and her vocal phrasing is both passionate and gentle. She says, “Where does old love go?” She’s funny; she tells us about her cigar box guitar. We hear the droll humor of “New Hotel,” the Roy Orbison feeling of “Nature Lover,” intense songs like “Too Bad” and “Johnny was a Pyro.” She ends this dazzling evening of nonstop greatness with a soul tingling rendition of “O Come Emmanuel” she learned from Jim Olson by way of David Wilcox. It is so sensitive and pretty that the whole place is lifted to the stars. We’re still up here. (Kimmy Sophia Brown)
KENNE HIGHLAND CLAN/
THE REAL REAL BAYOU BAND/
THE STOUGHTON ROCK ENSEMBLE
Geezer’s Garage Night —Kenne Highland Benefit
The Granite Rail, Quincy MA
This is a regular monthly showcase in Quincy, but tonight’s gig is a benefit for old friend and incredible singer Kenne Highland who regularly performs here; it seems like there are more people in attendance tonight to see this star-studded line-up and to help out a friend than normal. The Stoughton Rock Ensemble is a group of very talented South Shore teenagers mentored by Mike Rubin who is also a regular bass player in Geezer’s monthly series. They play well, with Mackenzie’s great singing impressing everyone. Then the Real Real Bayou Boys come on and play covers with an Americana edge. Bayou Boy himself grabs a washboard and jumps on the pool table mid-song to get the crowd going. He even backs up piano man Joey Fingers, along with drummer Alan Hendry, in the next set. Now its time for The Preacher to boogie woogie his way through his Jerry Lee, Elvis, and gospel inspired set. The crowd loves him and he is a great performer. Next up are Tokyo Tramps’ red-hot R&B. I really enjoy hearing their tight and impressive set and lead guitarist Satoru and female bassist Yukiko play really instinctively well together. The Gravedancers, with Matt Gilbert and Reno Daly (ex-Harlequin) and Bubba on drums do a great version of their song “Mr. Butch” and everyone in the crowd really likes their rock ’n’ roll with an attitude. Finally The Kenne Highland Clan comes up and these vets finish the night rocking out. I dig their opener, “That’s Cool,” their Blue Öyster Cult cover, “Go Go Godzilla,” and Kenne doing The Temptations’ “My Girl” sounding a lot like if Lou Reed sang the classic. I also really like Jody’s version of Robin Lane’s “When Things Go Wrong.” A cool night in Quincy. (A.J. Wachtel)
SARAH RABDAU & THE SELF EMPLOYED ASSASSINS/
DO NOT FORSAKE ME OH MY DARLING/
T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge MA
The night opens with rhythmic ear-splitting madness on Bent Knee. Ben Levin uses the strings of his guitar to quickly escalate the cheerful emotion of the night to new levels. The drummer, Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth, perverts Mick Fleetwood most passionately with his own expressionistic enjoyment of keeping the band on time and reveling in the night’s excitement with Jessica Kion. Meanwhile Courtney Swain spins us off to Japan forcing us to get translators while grooving. But she brings us back across the western pond with a bloodthirsty heartfelt rendition of “You are my Sunshine.” Jessica says this is farewell for a while ’til their return from the Far East.
We definitely will not ever forsake you, darling as Sophia Cacciola, Mike Epstein, and company grab the souls of the ever-filling mass of humanity in front of them. Barefoot pounding out the heartbeat rhythm and ever haunting with her pipes, Sophia, at once massages to the depths of the mind and throttles you for being so sensitive. We are prisoners, but we enjoy every moment of being not just another number within the sonic education they put forth from slightly above. Matt Graber picks up the tubular brass of the trombone to add flair as Rachel Leah Blumenthal fills the air with the dulcet tones of her oboe and flute, and Susannah Plaster’s viola harmonizes melodically.
The celebrant of the night comes on and takes her natural place behind the keys. But it is very shortly realized that this is not your typical Sarah Rabdau & Self Employed Assassins show. Sarah grabs the mic and steps from behind the ebony and ivory to fully emote, dance, and energize the throngs as they are simultaneously stunned and excited to send back the love and energy she and her mates are sending forth. She is not of this realm for her aura exudes an etherealness of voice and spirit that is extremely rare. She is at one with her audience as they emote with her every nuanced vocalization.
Sarah’s former bandmate, Ad Frank, takes the stage with his Lifestyles partners to close out the night in pure ’80s new wave underground club style. The dancing elevates in earnest as Sarah comes from backstage to join in the frolic of the sounds and eager adventurous dancers. Ad funks it up with one of his Fast Easy Women pleas for “A Little Devotion.” And as has long been the case, his requests do not go unrequited as the vibrations of love for him and his new mates are returned in kind. (Rick Dumont)
One Longfellow Square, Portland ME
We arrive at One Longfellow Square feeling a bit worried because a huge blizzard is on its way, but who cares about that when you’re going to hear live music? The place is packed with people of all shapes and sizes, and we grab a seat in the front row. The beautiful and talented Portland fiddle player and vocalist, Lauren Rioux, has gathered a marvelous cadre of musicians for this year’s Yulegrass lineup. Included are world-famous banjo master, Tony Trischka, award winning flat picking guitarist and singer, Scott Law, the bouncy and joyous Amanda Kowalski on stand-up bass, and the incomparable Mike Block on cello and vocals. The performance is high-spirited, beautiful and not typical. We hear an adapted Woody Guthrie tune called, “Christmasy Night” and a moving musical rendition of the Longfellow poem, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Lauren’s young student, Claire Scott, sings a lovely harmony on this one, plays fiddle and joins in for a few more tunes. They also play John Lennon’s, “Happy Christmas (War is Over),” and Merle Haggard’s “If We Make it Through December.”
Mike Block’s cello hangs from a shoulder strap which allows him incredible mobility. He is a world class musician, has a great singing voice, and a hilarious sense of humor. Scott Law’s face is bright with warmth and his flat picking is mesmerizing. Lauren has an elegant presence and Amanda is pure energy. We can see why Tony is called the godfather of the modern banjo: he’s incredible. There is a high-spirited feeling of love and warmth between audience and performers. The show ends with a sweet ol’ timey tune that Tony learned by way of Ruth Crawford Seeger, and Mike Seeger of the New City Ramblers: “Tell ‘em I’m a Child of God.” We sing along and feel fed in heart, and ready to face the rest of the winter. (Kimmy Sophia Brown)
DK’S FULL HOUSE/
HIRSH GARDNER AND JOHN FANNON/
PROFESSOR DOUG BELL/
ERIN HARPE &THE DELTA SWINGERS/
SARA THOMPSON/ TSUNAMI OF SOUND/
THE ROCK ‘N SOUL HOLIDAY ALL-STARS
The Rock ’n’ Soul Benefit for Music Drives Us
The Regent Theater, Arlington MA
This is an extra-special night that is having a lot of great artists performing so I am just gonna list the highlights of the night in no particular order: Danny Klein from The J. Geils Band and his band Full House doing “Hard Driving Man,” “Come On To The Christmas Party”- an unreleased but well-known Geils tune, “Whammer Jammer” with Rosy Rosenblatt on harp and “Freeze Frame.” Greg Hawkes from The Cars doing “Drive” on ukulele. He also does Martin Mull’s classic “Santa Doesn’t Cop Out On Dope” while wearing jingle bells around his ankles. Barrence doing Clarence Clemons’ “Back Door Santa” and “Stop Twisting My Arm.” Christine Ohlman (based in New Haven, CT) is the lead singer of the Saturday Night Live band for every show in Rockefeller Center, and her rock ’n’ roll voice is passionate doing Chuck Berry’s “Run Run Rudolph.” Charlie Farren doing “Fool In Love” on acoustic guitar. Hearing Hirsh and John’s great New England harmonies on an acoustic “Don’t Ever Want To Lose You.” The Fools’ Mike Girard being led onstage to sing by the local cop there for security. Professor Doug Bell’s “Rock Me Jesus.” Tsunami of Sound’s instrumental opening Christmas surf music.
This annual event is run by charming ex-Dharma Bums’ Gary Sohmers, the grey haired ponytailed collectibles expert on Antiques Roadshow who also owns Wex Rex (Wicked Excellent Records) locally. He certainly knows how to get a well thought out review of the night from me: early in the evening I am led backstage to the food and beverages area for the artists and he majestically spreads his arms over the food and warns me: “Don’t kill yourself.” A great night of great performances. (A.J. Wachtel)
AROUND THE BEND
Walnut Street Cafe, Lynn MA
Walnut Street is a quaint neighborhood cafe hangout that also serves beer and wine. Tonight’s entertainment gets rolling with Around the Bend, a three-piece consisting of Yinh Kiefer (vocals/ acoustic guitar), Dave Simmons (vocals/ mandolin/ acoustic guitar) and Rob Sievert (vocals/ bass). They’re a folky sounding group that makes good use of the three-part harmony. Yinh tends to gaze up into the corner of the room when she sings, while Dave appears to be the workhorse of the band, sharing lead vocals with Yinh and adding instrumental solos when necessary. Rob gets to play lead singer on “All is Well,” a tune he dedicates to Gary from Wild Maple—they’ve play in a band together in the past. Around the Bend does some cool originals that focus on the vocals and covers that include Crosby Stills & Nash’s “Helplessly Hoping,” Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” and their final song of the night, America’s “Ventura Highway” where Yinh’s face takes on a loving expression as she notices that her daughter has fallen asleep on the couch.
Wild Maple, a duo, is up pretty quickly, holding the small crowd’s attention. The attractive Trish DiCaprio (vocals/ violin) is fun to watch and her fiddle playing is excellent. Gary Dolinsky masters his guitar, providing a precise rhythmic pulse and a quick melodic sense. Their experience of playing and singing together shows—they’re like excellent dance partners. Wild Maple isn’t afraid to take on the complicated rhythms of Jethro Tull’s “Mother Goose,” but mainly play a nice assortment of old folk, Celtic, and some known and barely-known covers. The band displays their ability to wow us with an absolutely beautiful song called “Rough & Rocky.” “Falling” is from one of Gary’s old bands and Trish’s low melodies on the fiddle sound like a cello. She can also pluck out a bouncing melody, as in their freshened up version of the Beatles “I Will.” Gary seems to be somewhat encyclopedic when it comes to music and I lean that “Tequila Blues “ with it’s mid-song vocal conversation was written by Chip Taylor, who also wrote the ’60s classic “Wild Thing.” Trish lets loose a bit in “Cook Pot” before the friendly duo sends us on our way with Simon & Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound.” Add to your list of good talented people. (T Max)
SORCHA & THE CLEARING/
One Longfellow Square, Portland ME
The sidewalks are frozen and everything has that pallor of a winter night as I arrive for this event. There is a nice crowd gathering, carrying their pints of Funky Bow Oatmeal Stout to their seats. Rusty Belle were stuck in traffic in Lowell Massachusetts, on their way from Amherst, so the concert starts a bit late. But that’s okay because Rusty Belle is like a national secret that escaped from wherever they keep ’em. Brother and sister Matt and Kate Lorenz, and their friend, Zac Trajano, put on an incredible show. Matt and Zac are outstanding guitarists—Matt has that young, lean Dylan look with curly hair, Zac has a wonderful thick black beard and fedora, and Kate’s dimples flash as they sing and play. Their songs are utterly original—a band that defies genre. They have a gift with rhythm which is displayed in every tune. They end their set with a playful music video while they pack up their stuff.
Then Sorcha & the Clearing come out. Sorcha is well-known in Portland for her diverse musical ability and great voice. This five member band shows more of her hard driving sound. They play their hearts out and it is all original music. I like a technique they use to end a few songs—Sorcha, keyboardist, Patia Maule, and lead guitarist, Joe Farrell sing in three-part harmony, building to a crescendo in which the final chord is sung a cappella. Very dramatic. Chas Lester is great on drums as is Adam Montminy on bass guitar. Notable songs include the fast and furious “Spark,” she says that she penned on an airplane, “Call it What You Will,” “The Fold,” and “Delirious.” It is obvious that Sorcha & the Clearing love what they do. Great show! (Kimmy Sophia Brown)
THE FIELD EFFECT/
The Do617 Launch Party
The Paradise, Boston MA
My boyfriend and I arrive on Comm. Ave. on a chilly Friday night to discover the legendary Keytar Bear playing some sweet jams outside the entrance of The Paradise. We grab some snacks from the food trucks and watch Keytar Bear perform and crack jokes. We could have happily ended the evening there, but we head inside (for free) to find a packed room. CliffLight is onstage and I’m more than pleasantly surprised at how awesome they sound. I hadn’t heard of them before tonight, but make a mental note to look them up later based on the sweet jams I’m hearing now.
In between sets, we discover that 1) we missed the Red Sox World Series Trophy that had been at the show for an hour, 2) there are free Do617 condoms in bowls in the men’s room, and 3) there’s a free photo booth in the back of the room. Not bad for a Friday night!
The Field Effect takes the stage after CliffLight and everyone in the crowd seems reeeally into what they’re hearing. I think the band sounds even better than the last time I saw them; I’m noticing some nuances in their songs I hadn’t before now. They play one of my longstanding favorites, “Porcelain,” and finish the set with my new favorite, “Crooked Lines.” I’ve been a fan of The Field Effect for some time, but I really think they brought it all to the table tonight. Their energy and the response from the crowd was seriously rad.
Bad Rabbits take the stage, and the crowd pretty much goes wild. I have been a fan of these guys since I first heard “Can’t Fool Me,” but there’s so much more to their repertoire than I realized. They are exuberantly energetic onstage and do a great job of engaging the crowd. Every song I hear sounds great, the band is ridiculously fun to watch, and I find myself getting carried away by the excited atmosphere of the room like a stray bird getting sucked into a jet engine.
The Do617 Launch Party was a massive excess and I discovered a great new band AND got to see two of my old favorites play excellent sets. Not bad at all. (Emily Diggins)
TRIGGER HAPPY/ THE BROOKLYNS
Brighton Music Hall, Allston MA
It’s been a while since I went into the former Harpers Ferry and it doesn’t take more than a minute for me to become impressed. Gone is the mid-room bar and instead you get your liquids against the walls which gives the space more of an expansive feel; with no bad sight lines to the stage. And the place is packed as The Brooklyns start playing. Maureen Kavanaugh plays acoustic guitar and has a great voice and stage manner. Guitarists Tom Leger, who also sings, and Sean Murray (a lefty) play really well together. Sometimes you hear double leads like Lynyrd Skynyrd and sometimes you hear The Stones, Petty, and maybe Creedence; but these cats are always rocking. Jeff Murray on bass and Reebo on drums tightly drive the band. They do a few songs from their current CD including the title cut, “Swords And Lies” and “War” along with a few cuts from their upcoming release “Roll It” and “Take Back”; which I really dig. I hear a stranger near me say to his friend, “These guys are good!”; and I agree. Headliner Trigger Happy is a southern rock/ Dead-influenced jam band with very talented members. I really dig their cool female lead singer and their cover of the Fab Four’s “Don’t Let Me Down.” A great night at Brighton Music Hall. (A.J. Wachtel)
We get many requests from bands to cover 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.