Concert Review: Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA 7-29-14

Because this show was on a work night and I hit some traffic on the way down to Mansfield, we got to the Xfinity Center (I cringe every time I say “Xfinity”) a little late. Soundgarden could be heard all the way from the back parking lot, which meant that we had missed Oneohtrix Point Never. As we got out of the car, the faint sounds of “Spoonman” could be heard as we made our way through the parking lot to the entrance, where there were a lot of strangely dressed characters, although this was not unexpected. As we got closer to the entrance, there were very long lines to get in and a lot of people complaining about how long it was taking to get through the gates.

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Once inside, I grabbed a cup of beer ($11.75…really?) and tried to find our seats in section 4. This would be my second time seeing Soundgarden, with the first being at Lollapalooza a couple of years ago. They were just finishing up “Black Hole Sun” as we prepared to relive the 90’s for a bit with a crowd, at least around us, that seemed to be a little older. The band went into “Jesus Christ Pose” and continued on playing hits such as “Fell on Black Days“, “Superunknown“, and “Rusty Cage“. It still amazes me how Chris Cornell can hit those high notes. They ended with guitarist Kim Thayil going into a spastic noise feedback freakout which lasted several minutes and was awesome!

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Up next were Nine Inch Nails, who I have seen several times in the past. Their stage shows are always visually amazing and tonight was no exception, perhaps providing the best multimedia show I’ve seen in a long time. The band, shrouded behind white curtains, started with “Copy of A” from last year’s “Hesitation Marks” album and from there it was a good mix of their older and newer stuff. “March of the Pigs” always gets the crowd fired up as does “Terrible Lie“. The highlight of the night for me was “The Great Destroyer” with all kinds of images and strobe lights flashing on panels behind Trent Reznor, as he twiddled knobs on a keyboard creating some really heavy bass that shook the whole venue! I’m still having visions of it! They ended the set with “Head Like a Hole” and played “Hurt” as an encore.

I had a great time especially with this being the first bigger show I’ve been to in a while, and the visuals completely blew my mind! Both bands sounded great and it was cool to relive a little bit of the 90’s again.

Concert Review: Morrissey at the Boston Opera House 6-7-2014

With all of the drama that a Morrissey tour brings, it was a 50/50 bet as to whether or not he would actually show up, especially with the week’s previous two shows being cancelled/postponed and opener Kristeen Young dropping out of the tour. As I arrived in downtown Boston to meet up with a friend in Chinatown, I walked by the Boston Opera House to make sure the show was still happening, which was apparent once I saw Morrissey’s tour bus sitting out front. We found out later that the show had been pushed back from 7:30pm to 9pm, so that left us a lot of time to pre-game with some drinks at the Rattlesnake bar and dinner at Q Restaurant (along with more and very potent drinks) in Chinatown.

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Nicely buzzed, we made our way a couple of blocks down the street to the Boston Opera House, where we met up with a couple of people. After making our way to practically the top of the theater to what is technically called the “nose bleed” section, we got settled and waited patiently. A movie started playing for the next 20 minutes or so, then Morrissey flanked by five guys where white t-shirts that said “DIRT” on them, came out on stage to loud cheers. Going straight into the “The Queen Is Dead”, which seemed to surprise a lot of people, there wasn’t much of a break between songs. In fact, the whole night flew by pretty fast, although it was closer to an hour and a half.

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At one point, Morrissey talked about all of the famous people who have been on the stage of the Boston Opera House and when he started saying names, my friend caught on that it was really just the names of the Golden Girls (and this is the part that made her night as she’s a major Golden Girls fan). He also played “Kick The Bride Down The Aisle” for the first time ever and it sounded good. Later, he played another Smiths song, “Meat Is Murder”, which I kind of expected. With a movie showing the slaughter of chickens as a backdrop and lots of red lighting for effect, Morrissey laid down on the stage in a fetal position as the band kind of jammed for a bit. There was one more song, then they left the stage. After a couple of minutes, the band came back out and played a couple more songs, with people trying to get on stage to hug Morrissey (and let’s face it, the guy could use some hugs). A few were successful but security threw them right back into the crowd. Morrissey ended by ripping his shirt off and throwing it into the crowd, the house lights came up and that was the end of the show.

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For something that was in doubt all week, it was a pretty good show even though the sound at the Boston Opera House wasn’t all that great. To be fair, that could have been due to where we were sitting regardless, I had a lot of fun and was glad I finally got to see Morrissey live, even if as some walking out said, there was no “How Soon Is Now“.

Barbara Manning, Dump, The Bevis Frond at TT the Bear’s 4-2-2014

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Let me start out with saying that I hate buying tickets in advance, mostly because something will always go wrong or someone will cancel and then it becomes a huge pain in the ass to find someone to takeoff the extra ticket. This is what happened in the hours leading up to this show and at that point, I wasn’t really feeling it. Despite the drama, I arrived at TT the Bear’s for a show titled “Jon Bernhardt’s Midlife Crisis of Champions” in honor of WMBR’s Breakfast of Champions host Jon Bernhardt. For the first time I can remember, there was a bit of a line to get in, but it moved quickly. The best part about waiting in lines at events are the conversations you overhear, such as the two guys talking about a radio show and the girl behind me getting offended because it turns out she was a DJ. Once inside, I ordered a very much needed Sam Adams Rebel IPA, which was damn good! Beer in hand, I attempted to find a spot through the large, albeit older and hairy crowd to watch Barbara Manning’s set.

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To be honest, I wasn’t familiar at all with Barbara Manning or her music, so I really don’t have much to say about her set. There was a pretty large crowd gathered in front of a stage that consisted of just her and a guitar. People seemed to love it, and there was some banter between songs, which caused a few chuckles, but I just couldn’t get into her music, so I drank my beer and tried to enjoy myself.

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Next, the reason people were celebrating this night, Jon Bernhardt came onto the stage and started to play “Video Killed the Radio Star” on a theremin, but something went wrong. After a restart and some encouragement from the audience, he finished out the song. I made my way back to the bar for a Notch Session Ale, which wasn’t too bad, but I preferred the Rebel IPA. Up next was Dump.

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Dump is a solo project of Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew. It was just him, a guitar, and a weird looking box for the whole set, which also didn’t seem to have any breaks between the songs. Granted, I was not familiar with his stuff either (although I am a fan of Yo La Tengo), but at times the music got kind of droney and used loops, which I kind of got into.

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I went for my third and final beer of the night, another Sam Adams Rebel IPA and found a good spot to watch the Bevis Frond. Jon Bernhardt came out to play another song, The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” on the theremin, which sounded pretty awesome! The Bevis Frond finally came on to the stage and played a pretty mellow at first, semi acoustic set that seemed to get progressively better as the night went on, with moments of psychedelia thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t an entirely bad night of music, and perhaps I’m being unfair due to other circumstances, but I just wasn’t that into it by the time the show rolled around, although I did manage to come around once the Bevis Frond started playing.

Here area a few videos I took of The Bevis Frond (I had a little bit of audio issues with my camera):

The Boston Calling Fall Lineup Has Been Announced!

The Boston Calling music festival returns again this fall with a pretty decent lineup! The fall lineup always seems to be a little better than the spring one. The most surprising thing is the recently reunited Replacements, but I don’t get why they have The National…again (probably something to do with The National’s Aaron Dessner being a co-curator).

The festival takes place from September 5-7 in Boston’s City Hall Plaza, which is extremely easy to get to . Pre-sale 3 day passes are on sale now.

The lineup:

The National
Lorde
The Replacements
Nas with The Roots
Neutral Milk Hotel
Childish Gambino
Spoon
Girl Talk
The 1975
Volcano Choir
Twenty One Pilots
The War on Drugs
The Hold Steady
Lake Street Dive
Bleachers
White Denim
Sky Ferreira
Future Islands
San Fermin
S. Carey
Clifflight
Gentlemen Hall

The 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble Dates and Lineup Announced

The dates and nightly lineup for the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble have been announced and it looks like another good year for the Rumble. I’m going to try and get out to at least a few of the nights, since I have a couple of favorites playing (but I’ll keep that info to myself). Good luck to all of the bands playing this year!

The whole thing goes down at TT the Bear’s in Cambridge and tickets are on sale now.

The 2014 lineup:

Night 1 – Sunday, April 6 Facebook event page

7:00pm – Opening night reception
9:00 – Rebuilder
9:45 – tigerman WOAH!
10:30 – Sinnet
11:15 – Guillermo Sexo

Night 2 – Monday, April 7 Facebook event page

9:00 – Doom Lover
9:45 – When Particles Collide
10:30 – Goddamn Draculas
11:15 – Emma Ate The Lion

Night 3 – Tuesday, April 8 Facebook event page

9:00 – Barricades
9:45 – Airport
10:30 – Z*L
11:15 – The Life Electric

Off Wednesday for rest.

Night 4 – Thursday, April 10 Facebook event page

9:30 – Butterknife
10:15 – Slowdim
11:00 – Gondoliers
11:45 – Western Education

Night 5 – Friday, April 11 Facebook event page

9:30 – FEINTS
10:15 – Petty Morals
11:00 – Summoner
11:45 – Vary Lumar

Night 6 – Saturday, April 12 Facebook event page

9:30 – Harris Hawk
10:15 – Await Rescue
11:00 – The Color and Sound
11:45 – Yellabird

The 2014 Boston Calling Festival Lineup Announced

The 2014 Boston Calling lineup was released tonight through a scavenger hunt to find 10 vinyl records hidden around Boston, which sounded like a really fun idea. I was really hoping to go this year, since other commitments kept me from attending both the spring and fall 2013 festivals. Perhaps it’s because I’m not an annoying 20-something, blonde, female, college student (an observation based on an unscientific perusal of Twitter reactions to the announcement), but this lineup is pretty meh. I mean really…Jack Johnson?

Maybe there’s just not enough diversity for me and really, the only must see band playing is Warpaint. Regardless of my thoughts about the lineup, it will most likely sell out and this really is the closest thing Boston has to a big music festival.

Boston Calling once again takes place downtown in City Hall Plaza from May 23-25 and tickets can be purchased here soon.

The 2014 Spring Boston Calling Lineup:

Jack Johnson
Death Cab for Cutie
Modest Mouse
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Brand New
The Head and the Heart
Tegan and Sara
Bastille
Jenny Lewis
Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls
The Neighborhood
Phosphorescent
Built to Spill
Kurt Vile
Walk Off The Earth
Warpaint
Cass McCombs
The Districts
Tigerman Woah!
Magic Man

Review: Krill, Porches, Summer People, Pile at TT the Bear’s 11-22-2013

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I got a bit of a late start on this night, despite trying like hell to get over to Central Square for what was to be a pretty great lineup of bands. After leaving work later than planned and a much needed power nap, I made my way to Alewife and took the T to Central Square on this unusually warm November night.

Jamaica Plain’s Krill, were already playing to a much larger crowd than I expected by the time I got to TT the Bear’s. I only caught their last two songs, which I was really liking and made me wish I had gotten there earlier. After Krill were done, I decided to try a Wolaver’s Pumpkin ale, which was kind of disappointing.

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Up next were New York’s Porches, who I have read a lot about and was happy to finally have a chance to see. The band sounded a bit of a different live than on their recorded stuff. Lead singer Aaron Maine’s raspy, emotional voice seemed to give the songs a little something extra live. This wasn’t a bad thing at all and I was really liking them a lot. I’m guessing that about half the crowd were there for Porches, since a decent amount of people left after their set.

It was time for another beer and I ended up with a Sam Adams Octoberfest, which despite wearing a good portion of it as I made my way back to the stage area, tasted a lot better than the first beer.

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Summer People

Summer People, who are also from New York, went on next. Going right into the first song, singer Alex Craver played a tambourine furiously for nearly the whole set, which I’m sure left some bruises on him. At one point he jumped down into the crowd, which went crazy and were loving it. It was a pretty energetic set of rock with a little bit of a blues sound.

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This was my 3rd time seeing Pile, a band I like more every time I’ve seen them. Pile played a pretty rocking set that got some of the crowd moshing and at one point, someone ran up and attempted a stage dive, which is funny because the stage at TT’s is pretty low. Their set felt way shorter than it actually was, but I guess that’s not a bad thing, because I was really into it.

It was a fun night of great music. My only regret is that I missed Krill’s set. I went over to get a Porches CD and ended up briefly chatting with someone at the merch table who was extremely apologetic for not having them. I assured him that I would get it from their Bandcamp, so it’s all good. I ended the night with some much needed food from Falafel Palace, which wasn’t as good as it usually is, but it did the job.

Here’s a bonus video of Summer People doing “Good Stuff“:


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