Review: Honeyblood, Belle and Sebastian at the House of Blues 3-30-2015

With this show happening on a workday, I got a late start due to trying to take a nap before the show. After switching from the Red Line to the Green Line to Kenmore, I met up with some friends and we were off to the House of Blues to see Belle and Sebastian. Once through the door, we were directed all the way to the top of the venue…like as high as one can possibly get, but not before grabbing some beers first. I started out with a (very overpriced can) of Goose Island IPA, which wasn’t bad. As we waited at the bar, we had a pretty good view of Honeyblood, who were already well into their set.

Honeyblood

Honeyblood

Honeyblood, are a duo from Glasgow, Scotland, with one member on guitar and the other playing drums. These two ladies seemed to be dwarfed by the large stage. We only caught the last 3 songs, but we were liking their garage, indie rock sound. After they were done, we were off to find our seats. These seats seemed to be in what could be considered the “over 40” section, with much of the crowd around us being well over 40 (and obnoxiously loud…which was kind of strange). One more run for another Goose Island IPA before Belle and Sebastian came out for the first show of their North American tour.

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Belle and Sebastian

As Belle and Sebastian, of which there were many members, came out to take their places on stage, the crowd was cheering and clapping. The band started out with the light sounding “Nobody’s Empire” from their new album “Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance”. From there, it was a mix of old and new songs including the danceable “The Party Line” (my favorite song off of the new album) and into “Dirty Dream Number Two”. Towards the end of the night, they let people come on stage and dance during “The Boy with the Arab Strap”, which I’m sure was the highlight of more than a few fans year.

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Belle and Sebastian

The band came back and played a couple more songs for the encore, ending with “Judy and the Dream of Horses”, before thanking a very happy and excited crowd that didn’t want it to end. As my friends headed back to Providence, I took at detour because ya know, Tasty Burger. This was a really fun night, with lots of strange characters around us, but it was good to see Belle and Sebastian again.

New Refused album “Freedom” and tour this summer

If you missed Swedish hardcore punk band Refused on their reunion tour in 2012 (which was amazing!) and have been craving some new music from the band, I have good news for you! Refused are very much alive and releasing their first new album since 1998’s The Shape of Punk to Come, called Freedom on June 30th. The first song from the new album is called “Elektra” and it is incredible! With a lot of screaming of “there’s no escape”, it sounds very much like a Refused song, which is a good thing. Give it a listen below.

Freedom tracklist:

01 – Elektra
02 – Old Friends / New War
03 – Dawkins Christ
04 – Françafrique
05 – Thought Is Blood
06 – War on the Palaces
07 – Destroy the Man
08 – 366
09 – Servants of Death
10 – Useless Europeans

The band is also getting ready to start a world tour, with most dates already sold out. I’m still bummed about the cluster-f that was trying to (unsucessfully) get a ticket for The Sinclair show on 6/01.

Refused 2015 tour dates:

05/02 Meerhout, Belgium – Groezrock

05/22 Hünxe, Germany – Ruhrpott Rodeo Open Air Festival

05/24 Las Vegas, NV – Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival

05/25 Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory

05/26 Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy Theatre

05/28 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall

05/29 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
05/30 Seattle, WA – The Crocodile

05/31 Chicago, IL – Double Door

06/01 Boston, MA – The Sinclair

06/03 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom

06/04 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg

06/05 Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel

06/20 Montebello, Quebec – Amnesia Rockfest

06/27 Seinäjoki, Finland – Provinssi

07/02 Gdynia, Poland – Open’er Festival

07/11 Collalbo, Italy – Rock am Ring

07/16 Viveiro, Spain – Resurrection Fest

07/17 Tønsberg, Norway – Slottsfjell

07/18 Tromso, Norway – Bukta Tromso Open Air Festival

07/30 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade Music Park

08/01 Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center

08/02 Columbia, MA – Merriweather Post Pavilion

08/04 Boston, MA – Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

08/05 New York, NY – Madison Square Garden

08/07 Toronto, Ontario – Ricoh Coliseum

08/28 Leeds, England – Leeds Festival

08/29 Gräfenhainichen, Germany – Pure & Crafted Festival

08/30 Reading, England – Reading Festival

Review: Gateway Drugs, Swervedriver at The Sinclair 3-28-2015

Sinclair Sign

I got to the Alewife T stop only to find the all too familiar problem of the Red Line not running between there and Harvard Square, which meant having to take a bus, which in turn takes longer. After meeting up with a friend for pre-show drinks at Charlie’s Kitchen, then dinner in Harvard Square, we were off to the Sinclair for the Gateway Drugs/Swerverdriver show.

This was my first time at the Sinclair and it was much smaller inside than I expected (the outside of the building looks huge), but it was really cool. We found a spot on the second floor which gave us a pretty good view of everything, although I would have preferred to be on the floor in front of the stage. I got a Jack’s Abby Smoke & Dagger beer which as it’s name suggests, had very smokey flavor to it.

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Gateway Drugs

Gateway Drugs came out to a pretty packed club. I was already familiar with their music, so I knew what to expect, but my friend was surprised and really got into them. With crunchy guitars and switching off on boy/girl vocals, they played a pretty awesome set. They ended with an amazing cover of The Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction”. I think they won the night.

For my next drink, I tried the 16 Point Sweet Action. It was a lot lighter and had a little bit of a fruity taste to it, definitely a change from the smokey beer.

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Swervedriver

The place was completely filled with people by the time Swervedriver went on. Lead singer/guitarist Adam Franklin was surrounded by a LOT of pedals in the middle of the stage, with Jimmy Hartridge on guitar and Mick Quinn from Supergrass. who is filling in on bass for this tour on each end. Although they seemed to be a little more subdued on stage than Gateway Drugs, they were really, really, loud. Things got a little off track after a couple of issues with the effects pedals during their set, but a tech fixed them and became the hero of the night.

Most of the people around us were really friendly, which is something I’m not used to at Boston shows (but go to any city outside of the Northeast and you’ll walk away with at least 10 new friends, go figure!). Both bands were amazing and we had a really great time. On our way out, Gateway Drugs were at their merch table talking with fans, which is always good to see. The Sinclair is a pretty cool venue to see a show and I plan to go there more often.

Review: Fedavees – The Barbazons – The Prefab Messiahs – Secret Lover at the Middle East Upstairs 3-19-2015

This was a local show that I have been looking forward to for a few weeks now. After a very fast ride on the T to Central Square in Cambridge, I arrived at the Middle East Upstairs. Once inside, I found a good spot amongst the crowd to watch the Fedavees, who had just started playing.

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The Fedavees

The Fedavees have a psychedelic fuzz rock sound and were a great way to start out this show featuring Boston area bands. After their set, I ordered a Harpoon UFO from the bar and waited for The Barbazons to go on.

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The Barbazons

The Barbazons, recently changed their name from The Fagettes. You can read more about the reasons why in this excellent article on Boston Hassle by singer Melanie Bernier. This is another band I have seen several times before and as always, they got the crowd moving. They seem to do it all…double drums, saxophone, climbing up on the speakers, and they definitely bring the fun! There was a little bit of a Freddie Mercury kind of vibe going on here.

I went for a plain old Sam Adams Lager since they didn’t have Sam Adams Brick Red, which I tried at PAX East a few weeks ago and loved, only Cold Snap, which is terrible.

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The Prefab Messiahs

The Prefab Messiahs were up next. With one member wearing an old school McDonalds uniform and the others in crazy retro suits, which at times blended into the projections behind them. The band thanked the crowd, then went into their first song and killed it for the rest of the night. To be honest, I wasn’t all that familiar with these guys but they were full of old school sounding psych goodness and it was great!

Back to a Harpoon UFO for the last beer of the night.

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Secret Lover

Secret Lover were the final band of the night. With singer Sally Horowitz dancing all over the stage and even out into the crowd. It was kind of like an indie music burlesque show and it was a fun set!

There was a pretty good mix of older and college aged people, all of whom seemed to be having a good time. It was a really good night of local music and I got to see some bands that were new to me. I grabbed some post show food at Falafel Palace, then caught the train back home to get a little bit sleep before work in the morning.

The Lollapalooza 2015 lineup is out!

Lollapalooza announced their 2015 Chicago lineup this morning and although it’s not as bad as last year, it’s not exactly great either. The two huge scores of Metallica and Paul McCartney just aren’t that interesting any more, while the rest of the headliners are pretty meh as well. There are a few non-headlining bands worth seeing though, such as The War on Drugs, MS MR, Chet Faker, Toro y Moi, DFA1979, and the artist formerly known as Saint Pepsi, Skyler Spence.

I did manage to get a 3 day pass and will have to think about whether or not I really want to go. That being said, other things do make it worth the trip though, such as the daytime and nighttime parties at the Hard Rock Hotel, which are always a lot fun!

Lollapalooza 2015 lineup by day:

Friday, July 31
Paul McCartney, The Weeknd, alt-J, Alabama Shakes, Kaskade, Dillon Francis, Gary Clark Jr., Flying Lotus, Hot Chip, The War On Drugs, Father John Misty, Cold War Kids, DJ Snake, Sylvan Esso, MS MR, Tove Lo, Glass Animals, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, First Aid Kit, DJ Mustard, James Bay, BROODS, MisterWives, What So Not, SZA, Jamestown Revival, Philip Selway, Young Thug, Coasts, DESTRUCTO, BØRNS, BADBADNOTGOOD, Mighty Oaks, Bear’s Den, Peking Duk, Black Pistol Fire, Spookyland, Gabriel Garzon-Montano, Kyle Thorton & The Company, The New Pacific, Daye Jack, The Pop Ups, Q Brothers, School Of Rock AllStars, The Jimmies, Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips

Saturday, August 1
Metallica, Sam Smith, Alesso, Tame Impala, Kid Cudi, Brand New, Carnage, G-Eazy, Walk The Moon, Tyler The Creator, The Tallest Man On Earth, Banks, Chet Faker, Sturgill Simpson, Death From Above 1979, Toro Y Moi, Charli XCX, Django Django, Boys Noize, Delta Spirit, RL Grime, Givers, Ryn Weaver, Travi$ Scott, CAKED UP, Hermitude, Wet, HOLYCHILD, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Zella Day, Mt. Eden, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, SNBRN, Elle King, Beat Connection, Mick Jenkins, Raury, Jack Novak, Pell, White Sea, Hippo Campus, COIN, Danny Weinkauf, School Of Rock AllStars, The Jimmies, Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips, The Helmets

Saturday, August 2
Florence + The Machine, Bassnectar, Of Monsters And Men, A$AP Rocky, TV On The Radio, NERO, Kygo, Twenty One Pilots, Nicky Romero, Marina And The Diamonds, FKA Twigs, Lord Huron, Gogol Bordello, Stromae, ODESZA, LOGIC, The Chainsmokers, Wild Belle, Twin Peaks, Angus & Julia Stone, George Ezra, Strand Of Oaks, MOON TAXI, Shakey Graves, Galantis, Night Terrors of 1927, Alison Wonderland, Circa Waves, DMA’s, Sheppard, Mako, Skylar Spence, The Wombats, Halsey, Lion Babe, Black Tiger Sex Machine, VERITE, JackLNDN, ZEBRA KATZ, The Lonely Biscuits, SirenXX, In The Whale, Atarah Valentine, The Pop Ups, Danny Weinkauf, Motown Pete, Q Brothers, School Of Rock AllStars

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.


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