Concert


…Which is to say, concerts in the Boston area that I’m gonna be at, and that you should be at too.

Murder by Death

February 7th, at the Middle East Downstairs. I adore this band. Their brand of pseudo-country rock can only be described one way– music to drink whisky to. At this show they’ll be performing the entirety of the albums “Who Will Remain and What Will be Left of Them?” and “Red of Tooth and Claw”. Twill be an epic site indeed.

Los Campesinos!

Febuary 13th, at the Paradise, with Titus Andronicus. These guys are loud, mercurial, and just a ton of fun. I’m gonna go ahead and say: expect to move your ass at this show.

Alela Dane

Febuary 26th, an the Paradise, with Blitzen Trapper. Technically, Dane’s opening for the aforementioned band, but I know why I’m gonna be there. Girl has just the kind of rural, spirited pipes I love.

Cut Copy

March 22nd, at the House of Blues, with Matt&Kim and Knightlife. I know I know, the House of Blues. I don’t like it either. But how can you say no to such a funky, electronic, eclectic, and above all Australian bunch of gents?

The Mountain Goats

March 25th, at the Somerville Theater. Yeah, that’s right. And it’s apparently supposed to just be John Darnielle with (very, very) limited back up. If you adore early 90’s indie superheros the way I do, I have a feeling you don’t even need to be reading this right now.

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So… it begins.

I left Boston today to catch a plane from Providence to Philadelphia on my way to the Capital for Inauguration. The weather in New England has been fairly awful lately (which is to say wet, cold, and windy), but we got a brief reprieve starting last night in the form of snow. Oddly enough, snow makes it warmer. Course, when it’s 5 degrees out, getting warmer isn’t exactly a challenge.

Though the snow was rather pretty, it did make my travel plans a little more difficult. Having to walk (and then drive) through snow meant I got to the Providence airport only 25 minutes before my plane was supposed to leave. But of course, conveniently enough, once I actually managed to get on the plane they announced that our flight had been delayed an hour. Fabulous.

But anyway, it’s hard to deny the feeling that’s spreading all over the East Coast (hell, the entire continent). Having traveled so much in the past month (and twice in the last 5 days), it’s odd how much the mood continues to shift as January 20th draws nearer.

This isn’t to say that everyone is walking around with words of hope on their lips and change in their hearts, wearing American Apparel/MoveOn.org Obama t-shirts and buttons– no, it’s subtler then that. People are a little quieter, their stares a little more determined, their gates a little more confident. It is clear, if nothing else, that something in the country is shifting, and everyone is comprehending and interpreting that fact in their own way.

Of course, I’m still on the periphery. The real action is about 120 miles to the south. Here was the scene earlier this month, at the “We Are One” concert held on the steps of the Lincoln memorial, with the President-elect himself looking on:

bama

The last estimate I heard for the crowd was 750,000. Keep in mind, this is a concert. We’re still two days out from the actual inauguration. I find it hard to imagine that the number we’ll do much less then double, maybe even triple. The thought really is incredible. A crowd of upwards of two million people in the middle of a city of 600,000, on a piece of land of around 300 acres.

That, my friends, is a– well, it’s a thing, indeed.

Stay tuned.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a show at the Middle East Downstairs, thanks to my buddy Dev. The lineup: Barnicle, The Toothaches, Bon Savants, and finally Freezepop. We came in near the beginning of Barnicle’s set, so I had a chance to check out each of the acts, none of which I knew anything about beforehand.

The Barnicle’s were pretty neat. As is par for the course for such things, the engineer wasn’t EQing for a female vocalist, so I have no idea how lyrically interesting the songs were; however, the band is a solid rock/pop fourpiece with some good hooks and booty-shaking beats. They reminded me a lot of early Tsunami Bomb, but without the punk-rock aesthetic. The swarm of under-21 fans close up to the stage leads me to believe that they’re fairly young, but I really have no idea. I did hang back, however, so as not to be the creepy guy with a beer standing in the middle of the college kids.

Irony: Low, Musicianship: Medium, Look: Medium. Overall: Generally Medium+

Next up, the Toothaches. As it so happens, I knew the main singer/keyboardist/percussionist/crowd riler, Rose. I used to work with her, and didn’t know she was in a band! So that was a fun surprise. The Toothaches are a pretty non-standard rock outfit, with songs full to bursting with funness and randomocity. Also, oversized sunglasses. Not the best dancing music, but definitly something to out-indie your friends with. And catching up with Rose after their set was cool.

Irony: High, Musicianship: High but Wierd, Look: Good. Overall: Wierdly High

So, our prediction was that the next band would continue the trend of female singers, hopefully adding more keyboards. Unfortunately, such was not to be. Bon Vivant…well, I think we ended up categorizing them as music to pretentiously make out too (which was happening around us, by the by). An all-male four-piece with a vaguely indie-rock sound (imagine the Killers or the Strokes in terms of the voice), they did no crowd-working whatsover and managed to string their set together into a mess of “which-song-are-they-on-again?” underwhelmingness. Not only did they not fit into the rest of the night musically, I found their stage presence to be pretentious and their music to be completely non-memorable

Irony: High, in the bad way. Musicianship: Technically good. Look: Who? Overall: Poor

And finally, Freezepop. I have much love in my heart for all things electro, and by the time we had waded through Bon Vivant I was aching to dance, so the heavy synth beats and bleep-bleep riffs were a sorely-needed climax to the evening. I was told by my older friends that they were basically Devo but with a chick singer; I’m too young for Devo to have been a big part of my upbringing, so I’m glad I’ve found the modern equivalent. With songs ranging in subject matter from ninjas to sharks to local wierd celebrity DJ Nighttrain, not to mention covers of Depeche Mode and Europe, I was in keytaur heaven. My only ish was that they broke between songs to work the audience, which was cool, but I was in dance mode so it kind of broke the groove a bit. But that’s a small ish to have. If I had had any cash left I would have bought stuff; as it was, today saw me making an iTunes purchase to tide me over until after holidays, when I can pick up some CDs without feeling guilty.

Irony: High, in the best way. Musicianship: Awesome. Look: Grand. Overall: My legs are sore from dancing!

Overall, a solid evening. If you’re into 80s kitsch and sweet electro, I heartily recommend some Freezepop for you; also, give The Toothaches a look if you have wierd taste in rock music.