Live Reviews

Hayley Sabella-web342HAYLEY SABELLA  

CD Release Party 

The Spire, Plymouth, MA  

4/18/14

Hayley Sabella celebrates the release of her first full-length album, King Solomon, on Friday night, April 18, but to call it a celebration is an understatement.

The night starts off with a full 30-minute Hollywood-worthy video of The Making of King Solomon, which segues seamlessly to a performance that the crowd of nearly two hundred will not soon forget. The “cast” includes some of the most prolific singer/songwriters around ,including Jake Hill, Eva Walsh, and Mark Whitaker. The band is a perfect combination of rolling rhythms and spot-on harmonies featuring Austin Troy on guitar and banjo, Ben Trussell on drums, and Eric L’Esperance on bass.  Hayley owns the stage; her performance exudes that special something to everyone in this new downtown Plymouth venue, which is easily one of the most comfortable and inspiring (no pun intended) performance halls to ever grace the South Shore. The songs weave in and out with clever lyrics, and melodies that are fresh and easy to digest. The crowd feasts with great glee and fondness of this fine pop music. Hayley is one of those rare finds that is self-sufficient in every way.  A farmer by day, she sells her own hand-knitted hats at the show—special attire of many of her dedicated fans who require two encores. She finishes the evening by bringing up her dad to perform a heartfelt father/daughter rendition of the Mancini/Mercer classic, “Moon River.” The performance brings down the house and the fans are left open-mouthed and stunned.          (Mark Bryant)

THE CHARMS/ 

THE FLIPSIDES/ 

COROLLA DeVILLE

Spotlight Tavern, Beverly, MA 

5/10/14

This transmission comes to you from the distant future. From a world not ruled by super-intelligent talking apes, but one where live New England rock ’n’ roll can only be found in the farthest reaches from Boston. In the Forbidden Zone! Heed my words, faithful Noise reader: Dispose of your stupid cell phone, protest DJ nights in Central Square, and support the bands! Or you, too, may find yourself in downtown Beverly on a Saturday night…

Y’know, I’d heard awhile back that Corolla DeVille had called it quits, but I’m totally thrilled to report that rumor is completely false. Singer Lisa Connelly is long gone but that ain’t stopping these axe-slinging mamas. While they’ve got a couple of ace new originals, they’re not abandoning the back catalogue at all: The vocal chores are now being shared between the three Bugden sisters, with the right voice doing the right song. Hell, “Terry Go Round” sounds exactly as it always has. This is great!

One song into The Flipsides set and…! I…! Holy…! Wow…! Chris Horne, man! 225 words per band isn’t enough, T Max! Right beside me, BFace sez, “With her in a band, the coolness factor rises exponentially!” Past, present, and future blurring right before my eyes. I count at least four songs where “Come on!” are the key lyrics! Unlike Chris’ previous bands (The Brood/ The Beatlords), Flipsides are more a mix of  ’50s rock and early ’60s frathouse. I’m not enough of an aficionado to pick out the originals from the covers, but it all works incredibly well for her. It’s taken two years for The Flipsides to come down from Maine for a visit, and the wait has been worth it. Thank you, Terry and Spotlight! Finally, I have found religion.

Whew! I’m still too Horne-icated from the previous band to come up with anything that’s gonna do The Charms any justice here. However blastfied I am, though, I can’t help but notice The Charms are putting on one helluva set. The most polished and energetic of the night, in fact. Pretty exceptional feat considering the band hasn’t played in a while. ’60s garage complete with organ, in case you ain’t hip to these guys. What works in The Charms’ favor is how they satisfy that ’60s garage craving without sounding completely retro—similar to the way Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents approach the girl group sound. They’re a prime example of exactly why you need to trash the cell phone and support live music locally.    (Frank Strom)

EMBRIONIC 

Single Release Party 

T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge, MA 

5/10/14

The statuesque, long-haired beauty wearing the Mardi Gras mask and singing about people seeing through cracks in windows is Mor-Rioghain Siobhan Mcauley. And then she’s doing her best Marilyn Monroe and crooning “Happy Birthday Mr. Guitar Player” to James Bryon as he tunes his lime-green ES-335. James is giving out the presents today: a two-song single wrapped in an Embrionic T-shirt.

There are other influences evident in Siobhan’s singing style, but hers is not one of imitation as much as continuation—the continuation of a line of powerful, sensitive singers who can deliver their own lyrics, kick some ass, and mesmerize you while fronting a very cool rock band. Listening to her sing is a pleasure, almost as much pleasure as she seems to get from doing it. 

At times, it sounds like Pat “Trick” Wallace, one of the hardest working musicians in local music, is driving the band with the harmonic tension and resolve he employs so satisfyingly on the bass guitar. But then you notice the power and the reserve of Jeff Allison on the drums. Oh, he must be driving it. But wait, could it be James’ full chording, gentle picking, and atmospheric brilliance on the guitar? All of the above is the right answer and they all lead back to Siobhan and her slithering stage presence, her subtle smiles, her lyric acumen—from “Evensong”: “…what have we done/ when the glass half-empty is full of pain/ and the glass half-full is full of nothing you can’t swallow without shame/ when the love is gone.”

“Evensong,” along with “Superfantastik,” are on this limited edition single, a pre-release for a full-length CD produced by Ducky Carlisle and due out in the fall.         (Heath Cropper)

BIRD MANCINI

In A Pig’s Eye, Salem, MA  

5/3/14

I’m at the Pig in Salem to check out my good pals Billy and Ruby who make up the ever-inspiring Bird Mancini (tonight a duet—sometimes a four-piece). I’ve written about them before so I’m thinking of a new kind of review that includes the other opinions from members of the audience. This idea came up because WMBR/WMFO DJ Chuck U. had a Facebook event following along with one his radio show while it was happening—so any listener online could add his or her two cents.

Billy and Ruby are good at greeting their fans, even when they’re in the middle of setting up all their equipment. They tell me they’ve got surprises for the night. The place is a little noisy when they start playing, but I can still appreciate their familiar songs—especially when Ruby starts belting out the vocals in “Magic Flirtation.” The two look dashing tonight—Billy’s got a cool-looking Sgt. Pepper-ish black and white shirt with his signature derby atop his head, and Ruby has this mod striped hanging top with green jewels, and jingly percussion wrapping her white short-top boots. I notice that Sue Grillo, sitting at my table, is drawing Billy and Ruby while they play. I pass my notebook around to get the first impressions from those in attendance. Ed Morneau writes, “Bird Mancini is a melange of pop perfection, incorporating virtuoso musicianship, a knowledge of musical forms, and the smarts to deliver everything with joy and gusto!” Then Ed’s friend Ray takes the notebook and jots, “Impossible thunder of voice from a small frame.”  The next new musical highlight in the duo’s set is the Fab Four’s “Hold Me Tight,” a song that Billy considers the lost gem on Meet the Beatles. They start pulling out their surprises with a beautiful cover of Sal Baglio’s “Water Colours”—Chuck U., to my right, leans in and says, “Nice surprise.” Then one song later they flatter me by performing one of the songs from my folk-rock opera Why Do We Go to War? Ruby sings “Come on Home,” letting everyone know she was once part of Sgt. Maxwell’s Peace Chorus, and I am totally touched. From their Year of Change CD comes their biggest online seller, “You’re My Obsession.” Then Ruby and Billy split the lead vocal in Ray Charles’ gospel rollin’, “Night & Day.” Diane Andronica flippantly jokes, “They’re stealing music from black people.” The duet takes a break and I stroll around the room. Booker Terry Brenner announces to the Pig patrons, “T Max is taking notes.” I approach the fascinating High Priestess Therese Devoe, who spreads magic wherever she goes, and she adds, “What a wonderful light-hearted fun time we’re all having! Great music by the greatest musical couple of the century, Bird Mancini.” The famous Bit Stripper Paula Worsley arrives and flat-out states, “I love Ruby.” And I know she’s not alone with that feeling.

Back on stage, Bird Mancini starts the second set with one of my favorites of theirs, “Tuning In, Tuning Out,” the title track of their 2010 CD. They also do “(I Want My Own) Brian Epstein” from that same album.  Ellen H. grabs my notebook and pens, “I don’t know what’s happening here. What it is isn’t exactly clear. There’s a man with a drum over there, telling me I got to be near.” Funny thing is the band did not cover “For What it’s Worth.” They did cover the song “One”—to which Sue Grillo tosses out, “I love Three Dog Night.” Then Chuck U. thoughtfully injects, “If one is the loneliest number, why does everybody want to be number one?” Okay, he has a point there. Chuck also has a vinyl EP with him that he’s delivering to Billy Carl Mancini. It has a cover that is a take-off of Herb Albert’s Tijuanna Brass Whipped Cream & Other Delights—and Paula Worsley insists that she was the model for the original album, and goes searching for evidence on her phone. Things start getting a little hazy here when I stop taking notes, but I remember there was something about John Lennon with a tampon on his head. I hand my book to Terry Brenner, who scribbles, “Wall of sound from my married friends, channeled by Brian Epstein input into Why Do We Go to War?” Then before last call, I hit up Chuck Rollins who was sitting next to the band all night, and ask him for his thoughts—”The band was fantastic. The Pig’s Eye always has such great entertainment. The people are great here—so friendly.” I’m feeling pretty good with all the positive vibes. I later receive two post-show emails from Diane Andronica and Chuck U.  First Diane, “I thought they were fabulous and did a great version of your song.  I am always amazed at how Ruby switches from percussion instrument to harmonica, to accordion, to melodica and then plays percussion at the same time. Bill is a great guitarist and Ruby adds so much color. How does she remember it all while she sings?” and from Chuck: “The show was wonderful.  Bird Mancini had lots of new material, and obviously it was well rehearsed, because their performance was very tight.  They were both spot on, and really into it, and that came through in the music.  I was sure glad to have been in attendance.”  So was I.

Thanks to everyone who helped out.   (T Max)

BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC SENIOR CLASS 

2014 Commencement Concert

Agganis Arena, Boston, MA 

5/9/14

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to play with more than a few Berklee grads and I can testify that they are amongst the best musicians you will ever encounter. If my word wasn’t good enough, all one has to do is attend one of the Commencement concerts Berklee hosts each year.  This year, a crop of senior Berklee musicians play a big concert, in the sold-out Agganis Arena to honor the work of Valerie Simpson, Geri Allen, and Jimmy Page. Soon-to-be Berklee grads play, interpret, and jam out on songs from those specific artist catalog. In some cases, the artist themselves come up and join them. While it’s great to see Jimmy Page, I’m disappointed that he doesn’t take the stage, but in his defense, the local Berklee kids might have outplayed him—they were that good. Motown legend Valerie Simpson (Ashford & Simpson) and prestigious jazz pianist Geri Allen did however take the stage and jam out on a few tunes with the kids and had the whole crowd on its feet. What an opportunity for these musicians, to culminate their academic career with a concert like this. And what an opportunity for us to have the chance to listen to it. Thank you Berklee!                              (Kier Byrnes)

KATEY BRANCH & DEB HENSLEY

A Joyful Celebration of Motherhood

Bhakti in Motion, Portland, ME  

5/10/14

I climb the three flights to the Bhakti in Motion Yoga Studio, in Portland, ME, and find a circle of chairs in the center of a big space, with a wooden floor and walls painted shades of orange and deep red. There are a couple of guitars and a harp and a group of mostly women waiting for the performance. Two singer/songwriter mothers are there to entertain us and to honor motherhood. It feels unusually intimate because we are sitting in a circle. The distance one usually feels between performer and audience has been eliminated. They kick off the concert with Kate Wolf’s great song, “Give Yourself to Love.” The rest of the evening is mostly original tunes written by the two women. They sing about motherhood, birth, love, broken relationships, the earth, fairies, and stars. They are both of the glowing woman variety—they sing, they harmonize, they belt out tunes, they dance, they teach us to sing some of the tunes in rounds. We, in the audience, are suddenly privy to intimate stories of their grandmothers, their mothers, their children, their lovers, and husbands. I find myself acquiring a lump the size of a watermelon in my throat and I don’t know what to do with it. I am moved by the songs themselves, by the way they are performed, and by the character and heart of these two women. Suddenly our little audience is transformed into a kind of family. It is a remarkable experience. They give us the gift of their stories set to music, and we get to witness this in close proximity. We share our common experience, we honor motherhood and feel honored, and suddenly this little moment in time becomes more than special. Two hours is more than a concert, it is a ritual that honors our lives.    (Kimmy Sophia Brown)

COTTON CANDY

Rock ’n’ Roll Parents Photography Project

Jam Spot, Somerville, MA 

4/25/14

Tonight photographer Kelly Davidson has taken over Jam Spot, one of the area’s top rehearsal studios. She’s hosting her gallery opening for her Rock ’n’ Roll Parents photography project here tonight and the place is packed.  Hung throughout the walls of the Jam Spot complex are photos Kelly took of local rock luminaries like Sarah Borges, Lyle Brewer, Dennis Brennan, and Steve Morse with their children. In Jam Spot’s showcase room is the duo called Cotton Candy that features the dazzling Evelyn Hurley on vocals and the sharply dressed Mark Robinson on guitar and vocals. The duo is unlike your average band, as they play primarily radio jingles from the past several decades. Soon they have gathered a crowd of onlookers of all ages.  The songs go quick but are a lot of fun to watch. Between this and the gallery opening, it’s been an A-plus night. Thank you for putting this together, Kelly!       (Kier Byrnes)

[editor’s note: Kelly—Kier of Three Day Threshold recently became a dad… wink wink.]

ANTJE DUVEKOT/ 

JENNA LINDBO

me & thee coffeehouse, Marblehead, MA   

5/2/14

Ahh, back at me & thee, where the folks are real and the audience can hear a pin drop (until the end of a song). First up tonight is Jenna Lindbo who has has some proverbial spring in her step and a positive approach to connecting with her audience. She from Portland, ME, via Oregon and North Carolina, and is still getting down the geography of New England. She replies to host Tony Toledo’s big time introduction by saying “I had to buckle my seatbelt after that.” Her sometime breathy vocal delivery plays well with the dynamics of her songs, that she coaxes out on a sunburst Guild acoustic guitar.  She’s excited to tell us that taking the 17-minute ferry ride to Peaks Island from Portland is well worth our time, before she plays her true story song from when she worked in a coffee shop in “Rainy Day Medicine.” It’s a cool song that encourages us to come up with different ideas on how to perk up a dull rainy day. She breaks out Annabelle, her banjo, for “When You’re Gone,” then moves to the piano for a couple of songs, ending with “Angels On the Subway,” a lovely one about about all the angels around us—and don’t forget to count yourself as someone else’s angel. It’s a brief, but engaging set by Jenna Lendbo. Time to mingle and pick up coffee and treats—the intermission works well on many levels.

The lights blink and we’re back with host Tony Toledo introducing Antje Duvekot as a winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and he admits that her songs give him a hug. Antje tapes down two keys on her keyboard, turns the volume down and asks Jenna to control the volume slider on a song that will ride over those drone notes. Antje picks up her guitar and silences us with, “The  Ballad of Penny Evans,” written by Steve Goodman. It’s the tale of a Vietnam war widow, with two daughters. She refuses to accept the checks that are mailed to replace her husband’s life. Not all Antje’s songs are that sad, in fact, she is pretty funny with little antidotes about her life travels. She’s a beautiful woman, but Antje claims to have risen from the nerds in high school, and expresses it in her anthem to nerds in “Dandelion.” She mentions an animated video she created for the song “The Butterfly Effect”—I already saw the video online and it’s the childish imperfections in the amateur animation that make it so dear. She talks of her hero songwriter John Gorka a number of times during the night. She even celebrates September 23, the day she met him. Tony Toledo requests “Long Way” and Antje gives him the song of when she was young, romantic, and on the road. She states that taking risks is essential to happiness… and sings that idea in “Vertigo.” From song to song she switches between a little acoustic guitar, her regular acoustic guitar, and the grand piano. She previews a song about a bad boy, “Gypsy,” from her next CD (possibly called $20 Leap Year) and gives us another new one about a carnival, “Half Life,” that she admits may not be good—maybe that’s to get our expectations down—and maybe it worked. She’s recorded Seth Glier playing her piano—and hands-free she sits back delivers a jazzy ballad, unlike most of her folk material. She asks Jenna to join her on “Sweet Spot” and we find out that these two artist met at song camp. Kathy, who booked the two of them separately, had no idea they knew each other. Then Antje straps on African cabasa foot percussion and lets us know that she’s raising money for the Malayaka House, a children’s orphanage in Uganda, and ends with the song that was all the kids wanted to hear—a short rage number, “I Wanna Be Loved.” And so the audience responds—showing her a lot of love. Another wonderful night at me & thee.         (T Max) 

LEO*LEO

P.A.’s Lounge, Somerville, MA   

5/7/14

P.A.’s Lounge has a retro, U-shaped bar with espresso machine, and rotisserie oven (sans chicken carcasses) embedded into brick, and honey-hued hardwood floors. The stage is off of the ground but intimate for the 23 folks who join in by 9pm.

All eyes are on stage when Vanessa Wheeler, Leo* Leo’s  vocalist and electric guitar player, announces tonight’s set is stripped down from their usual production.  Having seen them before, I’m disappointed that I won’t be hearing the deep base lines in the songs, “Fever” and “You.”  Percussionist Sarah Hope dives into the cajón with grabbing, rhythmic energy. Her hands move to and from a standard high-hat while the left foot beats on the cajón’s kick pedal.  Wheeler’s effortless vocals are smooth velvety streams of rock stylings pulling on the coat sleeves of jazz appropriations.  A drunken man peers through the window during “Water” and ends up taking a seat on the pew against the wall. Between “Lake Street Dive” and “HAIM” Leo*Leo feeds the crowd jokes, that are light-hearted check-ins.  “Dancing Queen” is different from their radio single.  We sway as Hope oscillates with reggae and Haitian beats.   Wheeler’s baby-pink Fender guitar has rich ’60s tones and she plays it with soul. The duo’s music is a combo of different genres—soul, bossa nova, funk, and rock. They end with a reminder that Mother’s Day is approaching. These girls put on a hell of a show and share sincere appreciation for their listeners.                        (BBGB)

THE COUNTRY HITS 

Cuisine en Locale, Somerville, MA  

4/26/14

One of my new favorite caterers in Somerville, Cuisine en Locale uses all natural, locally-grown ingredients to whip up some of the best meals around.  Today they are also serving a brunch in one of their function rooms that also features some locally grown musical talent, The Country Hits, a trio of local rockers playing classic country songs that are suitable for the entire family. Their guitarist, Tom Combs, dishes out hot licks that are as tasty as the food and has the kids all shaking their stuff on the dance floor. Rounding out the sound is Thatcher Tiffany on keys and vocals and Chris Mancini on drums. If you plan to head over to Cuisine en Local for their next brunch, I recommend getting a seat by the band and ordering my favorite dish, the P.O.P., also known as the Pile of Potatoes. Delicious!         (Kier Byrnes)

WHEN PARTICLES COLLIDE (wild card)/

WESTERN EDUCATION/

PETTY MORALS/

AWAIT RESCUE

Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble semi-final #1

T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge MA  4/17/14

When Particles Collide (Sasha Alcott, vocals and guitar; Chris Viner, drums) is a married duo from northern New England (originally Maine, currently New Hampshire). Give them props for varying their show from the act’s preliminary performance a week-and-a-half ago; Chris’s drum kit is up front, stage left, opposite his better half; yes, they generate ample volume, but Sasha’s vocals are nonetheless clear. Mr. & Mrs. When Particles Collide are competing as a wild card, but this listener assays them among the very best of the Rumble.

Western Education is Greg Alexandropoulos, vocals and keyboard; Georgio Broufas, guitar; Will Hunt, bass and production; and Mark Ragusa, drums. To look at their setup is to think, “Synth City, here I come.” Front and center is what looks like over-and-under keyboards.. yet then the performance gets underway and gregarious Greg Alexandropoulos is crooning almost conversationally to members of the throng closest to the stage; meanwhile, the stringed components and the percussionist are getting it done in lively support; here’s hoping these Merrimack Valley lads develop a Greater Boston following.

Petty Morals are Tai Heatley, vocals; Chrissy Vaccaro, guitar and vocals; Chrissie Tierney, bass; Lauren Recchia, drums; Allison Sigrist, keys; and Helen McWilliams, vocals. An enduring image from this set is of the vocalists and pickers standing athwart the proscenium, rhythmically clapping their hands in unison over their heads; while there’s visual appeal in that, the unfortunate downside is a certain canned feel to the performance… which is subsequently exacerbated  by a slick cover of “Neutron Dance”… just like on Petty Morals’ preliminary night. Oh well, that’s just one man’s opinion (moreover, a cranky man).

Await Rescue are Johnny Cutulle, guitar and vocals; Drew Morse, guitar and vocals; Corey Fyfe, bass and vocals; and Matt Morse, drums. A popular school of thought holds that the signature sound of the Rumble is hard rock (don’t take it from moi necessarily, rather, consult someone who knows what he’s talking about, say, Jed Gottlieb); on that score, Await Rescue is a weighty contender… which is why, if I were managing these guys, I’d put a shock collar on the frontman and throw the switch whenever he tried to engage the audience; dude, just blow their faces off and challenge them to be grateful for the assault!

Petty Morals makes it to the final round. (Dr. Swig McJigger)

YELLABIRD (wild card)/

TIGERMAN WOAH/

GODDAMN DRACULAS/

BARRICADES

Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble semi finals #2

T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge MA  4/18/14

Yellabird  is made up of Martin Stubbs, vocals and guitar; and Felipe Gaviria, drums. Consternation is the overture to the penultimate installment of the XXIV Rumble: The wild card selected for this spot was Feints, however powerhouse Amy Douglas has been sidelined by ailing vocal cords. Though some in the audience aren’t bullish on Yellabird’s toggling between blues and heavy metal, the duo earn the esteem of most cognoscenti, two of whom are overheard opining that if a bass player were added Yellabird’d be truly redoubtable (or words to that effect)…  

Tigerman WOAH is Adam Kaz, lead vocals and banjo ukulele; Kevin Landry, upright bass and vocals; Jon Feinstorm, guitar and vocals; and Adam Lentine, drums and vocals. The Tigermen are the 2014 Rumble’s Americana entrant, as you can deduce from their instrumentation (and their luxuriant beards). Adam Kaz’s gravelly voice is ideal for their repertoire (featuring selections such as “Old Plank Road” and “Guess So – Take Me Home). Kevin Landry’s vigorous wielding of his upright bass is worth the price of admission. These guys take a lot of joy in making music.

Goddamn Draculas are Chris Duggan, guitar and lead vocals; Bice Nathan, bass and vocals; Dennis Carver, guitar; Jeff Nicolai, keys and vocals; and J.R. Roach, drums. The Dracs set the bar ridiculously high eleven nights ago with their preliminary Rumble appearance, consequently one can’t really knock them for sticking to formula. Their final original number ends a bit randomly (likely the musicians weren’t all on the same page for a moment), and some of us might frown on wrapping up with a cover (“Fat Bottomed Girls,” Queen), but Goddamn Draculas’ momentum has hardly been checked.

Barricades is Dan Norton, drums; Jared Walsh, vocals/guitar; Chris Norton, guitar/vocals; Matt DiVito, guitar/vox; and Justin Lutz, bass. It’s hard not to feel a tad sorry for the act that both follows Goddamn Draculas and goes on last, at quarter-’til-midnight; that said, let’s stipulate that this has been a successful Rumble for Barricades, whose origin is the theater department at Braintree High School (the band name comes from the stage adaptation of Les Miserables; they won their preliminary night back on Tuesday the eighth and they’re good enough musicians that they can legitimately aspire to become the next Goddamn Draculas.

Goddamn Draculas flap finalward.  (Dr. Swig McJigger)

AWAIT RESCUE (wild card)/

PETTY MORALS/

GODDAMN DRACULAS/

THE INFORMATION (special guests)

Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble Finals 

T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge MA  4/25/14

We should be thankful that hard rock is represented in the Rumble final via the wild-card selection of Await Rescue; nevertheless, the glass-half-empty types (yours truly included) will gloomily note that the other contenders are customer-friendly slicksters. Perhaps it’s hopelessly contrarian to recommend that Await Rescue ride the squalling ax of Drew Morse and the power vocals of Johnny Cutulle (sort of a bargain-basement Chris Cornell) rather than attempt currying favor with the audience.

Under the ol’ “If you can’t beat them, join them” rubric, I am at last amenable to doling out kind words for the no-Y-chromosomes-need-apply band Petty Morals. With such acts as The Grinds, Cult 45, Tijuana Sweetheart, and Gunpowder Gelatine on the members’ resumes, the personnel boast a sound collective pedigree, and they adeptly present both original material and covers. Petty Morals is nominally based in Salem, so an old Essex County Hand has to dig that about them. Lastly, if I record any more derogatory comments about the group I might destroy my chance ever to knock boots with Helen McWilliams… or Chrissie Tierney, etc.).

Certain individuals, cough cough. recognized during Goddamn Draculas’ set they’d be awfully tough to beat, and that was with them appearing seventh with seventeen acts to come. Once again they enthusiastically deliver  polished power-pop for a half-hour, and can be forgiven for replicating “Fat Bottomed Girls” to cap their performance being that it adapts well to their sound. If you want a taste of the bloodsuckers’ feast, the good folks at Boston Emissions will be happy to spin “Don’t Be Afraid” or “Jenny” for y’all.

To be honest, The Noise’s coverage of the Rumble wasn’t gonna include the special guest, The Information, until its correspondent paused for a glimpse on his way to the egress; ’tis a good thing, ‘cause now I can tell other people’s grandkids (I’ve been deemed too hideous to reproduce; please don’t let Helen McWilliams and/or Chrissie Tierney know that) I observed a bona fide rock star from perhaps ten feet away. Max Fresen hereby joins Julius Caesar and Dr. Doom among my heroes.

Your 2014 Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble titleholder: The scourges of Transylvania—Goddamn Draculas.  (Dr. Swig McJigger)


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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