Concert Review: The Knocks, St. Lucia at Royale Boston 11-20-2014

I had to go to work earlier than usual on the day of this show, so I wasn’t sure how awake I’d be by the time I got there, but I’m glad I went! This show has been sold out for a while and it was one of those rare times I purchased tickets well in advance. After we arrived at Royale, which is in the Boston’s theater district, there was a pretty long line to get in, but at least it moved pretty fast. Once inside, I went to the barand was quickly reminded why Royale is one of my least favorite venues. Drinks are extremely expensive ($7 for a Harpoon? $11 for a Jack and Coke?) and don’t even get me started on the creepiness of the mens bathroom. After getting my overpriced drink, which to be fair, was pretty strong, I made my way off to the side to get a better view of the stage where the Knocks were already playing.

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The Knocks

The Knocks are from New York City and were flanked by dancers on both sides of the stage for most of the night. It was kind of hard to hear them from where we were, but the slightly raised dance floor in front of the stage was packed with people, so it was impossible to get any closer. A group of girls in the back were dancing to everything. They seemed to kind of blow through a set of electronic music, which I imagine was due to time constraints since St. Lucia’s set was to be streamed live on Yahoo. At one point St. Lucia lead singer Jean-Philip Grobler came out and sang with the band on “Modern Hearts”, which was really cool.

I went to the bar and decided to get a Harpoon IPA (ka-ching!) just before St. Lucia came on stage. I first saw St. Lucia at the ASOS Lollapalooza after party at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago last year, but have very vague memories of it because free vodka. I do remember liking them a lot that night, so I was excited for this show.

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St. Lucia

The band took to the stage and started out fairly mellow with “Cold Case” before tearing through their set of 80’s influenced and tropical synth pop. There was a fan on the stage blowing wind at Jean-Philip, adding to the tropical feel of the music and at times making his hair stand straight up. The crowd was dancing and singing along to just about every song. They also played a couple of new songs that are still works in progress and were ok, but will probably require more listens. After my last drink of the night, a Jack and Coke (ka-ching!), I have now spent more on drinks than I did for these tickets. Ahh!

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St. Lucia

The best part of the night was during the encore when they played one of my personal all time favorite songs “Elevate”, which got the crowd dancing around. They finished with one more song and that was it. This was a really fun show and I had an amazing time. I grabbed a much needed quesadilla at Maria’s Taqueria and called it a night. I can’t wait for St. Lucia to come back to Boston.

The 2015 Bonnaroo Lineup Has Been Announced

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It’s been quite a week for festival announcements! Now Bonnaroo has announced their 2015 lineup and as you can see by the poster above, it’s pretty good wth Billy Joel as the big headliner.

Some of the standout acts are Slayer (?), Childish Gambio, Tears for Fears, Earth Wind and Fire, Black Sabbath funk cover band Brown Sabbath are not to be missed (I caught them at Austin Psych Fest last year and they were great as were Unknown Mortal Orchestra!) and Pallbearer who bring their doom metal to the festival. On the flip side, the god awful Mumford and Sons are also playing.

I would love to go this year, but my friends just aren’t that adventurous and a big festival like this is no fun when you’re by yourself, but at some point I will make it out to Tennessee for it.

Tickets start at $299.50 and go on sale this Saturday, January 17th.

Boston Calling Announces May 2015 Festival Lineup

Boston Calling May 2015 lineup

Let me start by saying that I’ve been tough on the Boston Calling festival in the past (I still think City Hall Plaza is a terrible place for a music festival…there’s just soo much concrete), but I’m really liking this lineup. Some of the standouts this year are the Pixies, Tenacious D, Beck, St. Vincent, Chet Faker, and the very, very, awesome local band Krill!

Boston Calling once again takes place at City Hall Plaza on May 22-24 and tickets go on sale tomorrow 1/14 at noon with 3 day general admission passes for $160 and VIP passes for $300.

The Boston Calling May 2015 lineup:

My Morning Jacket
The Pixies
Tenacious D
Beck

St. Vincent
Tove Lo
TV on the Radio
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
The Lone Bellow
Tame Impala
Marina And The Diamonds
Vance Joy
Jason Isbell
Gerard Way
Chet Faker
Run The Jewels
Sharon Van Etten
Jungle
Grizfolk
DMA’s
The Ballroom Thieves
Krill

Austin Psych Fest (now known as Levitation) 2015 lineup has been announced!

It is still about 6 months away, but the festival formerly known as Austin Psych Fest which and now renamed as Levitation, has announced the first wave of their 2015 lineup and it’s incredible! Featuring The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Spiritualized, and Primal Scream (who were supposed to play last year, but ended up cancelling). Also, one big surprise is that Providence’s own Lightning Bolt are also on the lineup. I wonder if The Flaming Lips will join them to play some songs from their collaboration that came out a few years ago.

Early bird tickets went on sale a few weeks ago, but weekend, deluxe, and camping passes are on sale now. Are you going? What do you think of the lineup?

Levitation 2015 lineup so far:

The Flaming Lips
Tame Impala
The Jesus And Mary Chain (Performing Psychocandy)
Spiritualized
Primal Scream
The Black Angels
Thee Oh Sees
Mac DeMarco
Melody’s Echo Chamber
Lightning Bolt
The Sword
Earth
A Place To Bury Strangers
Fuzz
The Soft Moon
Metz
White Fence
Night Beats
Fat White Family
The Black Ryder
Indian Jewelry
Nothing
The Myrrors
Mystic Braves
Rose Windows
Spindrift
Holy Wave
Vaadat Charigim
The Blank Tapes
ZZZs
Eternal Tapestry
White Manna
Chui Wan
Krakatau
L.A. Witch
Heaters

Ride reunite for a world tour!

The somewhat, but not really, cryptic image above was posted to Twitter earlier today. As it turns out, British shoegaze band Ride (and one of my top 5 personal favorite bands ever!) have finally reunited for a world tour next year!

Ride formed in 1988 and broke up in 1996, so this is kind of a big deal and for me, completes the My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive reunion trio. I’m going to try like hell to catch at least one of these dates, although it would be really awesome to be able to go to all of them if it were in any way possible.

Ride 2015 tour dates so far:

05-22 Glasgow, Scotland – Barrowland Ballroom
05-23 Manchester, England – Albert Hall
05-24 London, England – Roundhouse
05-26 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso
05-27 Paris, France – Olympia
05-29 Barcelona, Spain – Primavera Sound Festival
06-02 Toronto, Ontario – DanForth Music Hall
06-04 New York, NY – Terminal 5
06-07 London, England – Field Day

Review: Boston Fuzzstival 2014 at the Middle East 8-02-14

I had missed the first Fuzzstival last year because it conflicted with another event I already had plans to go to, so I was really looking forward to it this year. Although the Boston Fuzzstival 2014 actually started at 1pm, I wasn’t able to go until the evening, which meant that I missed some bands that I really like. After a pretty quick ride on the T, I was at the Middle East downstairs in Central Square, where Magic Shoppe were already playing to sort of a small crowd. I went to the bar and ordered some sort of dunkelweiss that the bartender assured me was “smooth”, then proceeded to get closer to the stage.

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Magic Shoppe

Magic Shoppe are a psychedelic band from Boston that had six people on the stage. Their music reminded me of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and they would definitely fit in perfectly on one of the stages at Austin Psych Fest. At one point, they announced that their cassettes would be free at the back table and there was a mad rush to get one (I was unsuccessful).

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28 Degrees Taurus

After a short break, 28 Degrees Taurus were up next. These guys and girl are one of my favorite local bands and not just because singer/guitarist Jinsen Leiu is the guy behind the great Deep Heaven Now festivals, but because they are an awesome band and seem like pretty cool people as well. I was up front for their set and really feeling their psych/dream pop music. They even played a couple of brand new songs that were really good.

Back to the bar for a Harpoon UFO, which has become my “go to” beer while at shows lately as I waited for The Fagettes to set up.

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The Fagettes

The Fagettes played a pretty wild set of garage rock on what seemed to be a pretty crowded stage, due to all of the people in the band. These guys were really fun!

I decided to switch up my drink this time around and opted for a Harpoon Dark. This was a mistake as this beer was a little harsh and I didn’t really like it, but forced it down as I waited for the Fat Creeps to go on.

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Fat Creeps

Fat Creeps were one of several local bands that I like and wanted to see live. They had kind of a dreamy indie rock sound with a little bit of surf pop that worked really well.

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Doug Tuttle

I started having issues with my earplugs, probably due to taking them out too many times, but finally managed to get them to work. Doug Tuttle were up next and admittedly I wasn’t all that familiar with them, although I did see some of their set at Austin Psych Fest this year. This was probably the most mellow set of the night, at least during the time I was there. A really tall girl in the crowd seemed to like them…a lot! I don’t know what the name of it was, but the last song they played, with its feedback at the end was pretty cool.

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Ghost Box Orchestra

Ghost Box Orchestra, a band I really like but never saw live for one reason or another were up next. With a mix of synthesizers and long droney sounding songs, they did not disappoint. This was one of my favorite sets of the night.

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New Highway Hymnal

The final band of the night and festival were The New Highway Hymnal. I first heard of them from a coworker a couple of years ago, but never got a chance to see them live until now. They shut the place down with an absolutely amazing set of noisy psychedelia! It was a very high energy way to end the festival!

I picked up a Fuzzstival t-shirt and sought out a slice of pizza from ABC Pizza, which was quite an experience due to the conversations of a few drunk girls. I was regretting not getting to the show earlier and seeing all of the bands, especially considering how fast this night went by. It was a fun time with a pretty cool crowd and I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the next one!

Review: 28 Degrees Taurus, Sleep Studies, Soccer Mom, Dead Leaf Echo at Church of Boston 8-30-14

After plans to spend the long weekend in the White Mountains fell through, I was able to make it out to this show after all. I took the T to Kenmore and as I walked by Fenway Park, the sound of Tom Petty playing “Freefallin” could be heard. Church was only about a block away and is a venue that I have never been to before. There wasn’t much going on when I arrived, a few people sitting at the bar and some at tables, so I assumed that I had missed the first band but thankfully, I was wrong. The problem with getting to a club early, especially when going to shows by yourself, is all of the standing around and waiting, made even more awkward when it’s a place you’ve never been to before.

In order to relax a bit, I started out with an Allagash White while waiting for the first band to go on. There was a pool table in the middle of the room, which was calling my name, but I wasn’t going to ask random people if they wanted to play (I’ve made that mistake before and people looked at me like I had 2 heads). I could see 28 Degrees Taurus setting up.

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This is by no means the first time I’ve seen 28 Degrees Taurus and they were just as awesome as always. At one point singer/bassist Karina Dacosta traded places with their drummer for a bit. It seemed like a really short set of their dreampop tinged with a bit of psychedelia though. Also, this may have been the first time I have seen the band not do shots on stage (although I was standing next to them after their set and did get to witness some shots happen).

During the break I decided to try a Harpoon Boston Irish Stout. It was a creamy, smooth beer and not bad at all. More awkward standing around as I waited for Sleep Studies to go on.

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Sleep Studies
are a 3 piece band, who are also from Boston and have an ethereal, dreamy, bordering on cinematic sound. Although I have seen them a few times before, they sounded really good tonight. Their Last Leaves album, which came out earlier this year is highly recommended and can be found on their Bandcamp page. (Note to Sleep Studies: I tried to introduce myself at one point, but you were in a conversation that I didn’t want to interrupt. Next time!)

I ordered another Allagash White and at this point, was starving. Oh Tasty Burger…you shall be mine after this show, oh yes! Thoughts of delicious burgers aside, Soccer Mom began to set up.

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Soccer Mom were the third band from Boston to play on this night. They have a sort of indie/post rock sound and seemed to have the longest set of the night, which wasn’t a bad thing at all. They also released an excellent self titled album that came out a few months ago.

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Brooklyn’s Dead Leaf Echo were the final band of the night. Even though I have been enjoying their true.deep.sleeper EP for a little while now, this was my first time seeing them live. Bathed in awesome visuals that seemed to make the band blend into the screen behind them, the mood was set for their swirly, shoegazey, dream pop. It seemed to be an extremely short set, although it may just felt that way because I wanted to hear more.

This was a really awesome lineup put on by Illegally Blind, who have been putting on some great shows around the Boston area. It was a pretty good night of music by four bands that I really like. I had never been to Church before, but it was a cool venue and I will be back again to see more shows there for sure (maybe someone will take me up on playing a game of pool). Oh, and that Tasty Burger was the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten as I made my way back home.


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