Review: Warpaint, Lady Pills at the Brighton Music Hall in Allston, MA 9-06-2017

Sign - Warpaint at Brighton Music Hall

I was on the fence about going to this show, but ended up winning tickets from RadioBDC (1 of which went unused since nobody I know likes the same kinds of music that I do). I haven’t been to a show at the Brighton Music Hall since it was called Harpers Ferry, so I was kind of excited to check it out.

I fired up Waze for the first time in a long time, which I had apparently sent to “boy band” voice, thinking it would be funny, but after about 30 seconds, it was annoying and I regretted my decision for the next 45 minutes or so. After driving around endlessly to find to find somewhere to park in Allston, I finally found a spot pretty far away, but I’m not afraid to walk a bit and got to the Brighton Music Hall pretty quick. I was questioned about my camera at the door, which I had to prove didn’t have a detachable lens (I prefer it since it works better in the lower light of clubs, but from now on, I’ll probably stop bringing it because it’s too much of an issue with people working the doors at these places). Once inside, I went to the bar, which seemed to be out of a lot of beers on tap but I ended up getting a Blue Point Hoptical Illusion while waiting for Lady Pills to go on.

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Lady Pills

Lady Pills are a local band that were selected by Warpaint through a contest to open this show. I had missed their set at Lollapalooza this year, so I was excited to finally see them here. They played a really mellow set of indie rock and were a perfect choice as an opener.

In between sets, I decided to try the Kona Longboard Island Lager, which was just awful and had a weird smell. I also ended up buying a t-shirt and caught up with someone I knew for a bit before Warpaint went on.

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Warpaint

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Warpaint’s pedals…if you’re into that kind of thing

Warpaint took to the stage to really loud cheers and applause. To say that this sold out audience was into them is an understatement. Kicking things off with “Krimson” and “Undertow”, the band sounded soo much better than they did at Lollapalooza last month. Maybe something was lost by the much larger stage. The highlight for me was when they went from “Love Is To Die” into “Keep It Healthy” and “Disco/Very”, ending with my personal favorite “New Song”, which I find myself humming way too much.

Despite a few minor annoyances (and one major annoyance…that being the 3 girls in front of me that seemed to be there more to socialize with each other and just in general be obnoxious to those around them), this was a pretty good night of music. I ended the night with some food at a place nearby called Habenero Mexican Grill and then made my way home. happy to have seen Warpaint again.

Review: The Flaming Lips, Clipping, at the House of Blues Boston, MA 3-3-17

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The ‘shrooms

To say that I was excited about this show is an understatement. After a very long, due to traffic, drive from work into Boston, I parked near Fenway and made my way over to the House of Blues. The line to get in was insanely long and seemed to take forever but then again, it was freezing out, so that probably made it feel worse. Once inside, people were greeted by two giant inflatable mushrooms in the back of the club and a stage setup that was pretty awesome looking. I met up with my good friend Matt, who was just as excited for this show.

I haven’t been to the House of Blues in a while, but they now have a small bar with craft beers and food next to the coat check room. I started with a Jack’s Abby House Lager, which is probably the first beer from Jack’s Abby that I didn’t care for.

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Clipping

Clipping is a hip hop group that seemed to use a lot of jittery static sounds. As Matt stated, this guy can flow and I can’t argue with that. This seemed like an odd choice for an opener though, which was echoed by several people in line at the merch table after the show. Regardless, Clipping was pretty interesting to see.

I gave the Harpoon Hoppy Adventure a try and it wasn’t too bad, but I expected something a little different. I made my way back to the front to get a good view of The Flaming Lips.

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The Flaming Lips

I had caught a little bit of The Flaming Lips set in Austin at Levitation in 2015, but left early since I was pretty beat by the time they went on, but tonight, I wasn’t going to miss any of it. Also, this was the first date of their current tour.

It didn’t take long for a busy stage crew to set up, so with balloons and cannons drowning the crowd in confetti, the Flaming Lips started with “Race for the Prize” and I knew this night was going to be amazing. During “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”, Wayne Coyne, who was flanked by giant inflatable dancing frogs, wasn’t quite feeling the karate chops from the crowd. After a restart and much more energetic karate chops, the tone for the night was set.

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The Flaming Lips

Wayne Coyne truly seemed to be having a great time and I don’t think he stopped smiling all night. He interacted with the audience a lot, at one point, climbing into a giant inflatable ball during their cover of Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, and riding a unicorn through the crowd while shaking hands with people during “There Should Be Unicorns”. The trippiest part of the night had to be during “The W.A.N.D.”, which featured a lot of strobe lights, including one strapped to Coyne’s chest and two giant eyeballs. They finished with “Do You Realize”, which was a great way to end the night.

After leaving the House of Blues, I braved an intense snow squall and made my way over to Tasty Burger for some late dinner before heading back home. I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of this show and am now happy that I finally got to see them. I know it’s still early, but this will probably go down as my favorite show of the year.

The Flaming Lips 2017 tour dates:

5-9-2017 Los Angeles, CA, USA The Theatre at Ace Hotel
5-10-2017 Oakland, CA, USA Fox Theater
5-12-2017 Portland, OR, USA Roseland Theater
5-13-2017 Spokane, WA, USA Knitting Factory
5-15-2017 Vancouver, BC, Canada Queen Elizabeth Theatre
5-16-2017 Seattle, WA, USA Paramount Theatre
6-3-2017 Wichita, KS, USA Riverfest
6-17-2017 Chattanooga, TN, USA Riverbend Festival
6-23-2017 Pilton, England, UK Glastonbury Festival
6-24-2017 Hull, England, UK Zebedee’s Yard
6-26-2017 Norwich, England, UK The LCR
6-27-2017 Brighton, England, UK Brighton Dome Concert Hall
6-30-2017 Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain Vida Festival
8-11-2017 Newquay, England, UK Boardmasters Festival
8-12-2017 Birmingham, England, UK The Rainbow Open Air Arena
8-13-2017 Bristol, England, UK Colston Hall
8-15-2017 Glasgow, Scotland, UK Barrowlands
8-16-2017 Nottingham, England, UK Rock City
8-18-2017 Hasselt, Belgium Pukkelpop
9-10-2017 Portmeirion, Wales, UK FestivalN°6
9-17-2017 Saint Paul, MN, USA Myth Live Event Center
9-18-2017 Milwaukee, WI, USA Eagles Ballroom Club Stage
9-19-2017 Indianapolis, IN, USA Farmers Bureau Insurance Lawn
9-20-2017 Niagara Falls, NY, USA Rapids Theatre
9-29-2017 Houston, TX, USA Revention Music Center
9-30-2017 Irving, TX, USA Pavilion at The Music Factory
10-1-2017 Austin, TX, USA ACL Live at the Moody Theater
10-5-2017 Phoenix, AZ, USA Comerica Theatre

Review: Westbound Train, The Scotch Bonnets at the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, MA 9-16-2016

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I was still a little tired from the previous night’s Lush show, but a friend of mine who I haven’t seen in quite a while, is in The Scotch Bonnets, so I had to go. Plus I haven’t been to a ska show in a very long time. For the second night in a row, the Red Line had issues and had to “stand by” due to a disabled train…again, This cause me to get to the Middle East much later than planned, which in turn meant I missed openers The New Limits and caught Riki Rocksteady literally playing his last notes. I ordered a Sam Adams Octoberfest and stood among the crowd as The Scotch Bonnets were setting up.

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The Scotch Bonnets

Baltimore’s The Scotch Bonnets are a band I have followed for a while and I was glad that they were playing a Boston show. Fronted by singer/guitarist Kristin Forbes (full disclosure: Kristin is a friend of mine), who along with the rest of the band, kept the energy level pretty high. The bands brand of ska music that the pretty packed club dancing the whole time. This was a really fun set!

One more drink, this time a Hoponius Union before Westbound Train went on.

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Westbound Train

It was kind of interesting to see the 7 members of Boston’s own Westbound Train all try fit on the small stage. Their brand of ska was interesting as it seemed to have a bit of soul mixed into the songs. Frontman Obi Fernandez came off as very personable and held the crowds attention for the whole show, to the point where it seemed like everyone knew him personally. The entire band seemed to be having a really good time on what was the first of their two nights of shows at the Middle East.

Afterwards, I caught up with Kristin for a bit since I haven’t seen her in a long time, and after several hugs, I had to leave to catch one of the last trains back to Alewife. It had been a long time since I’ve been to this kind of show but I had a great time! I really wish I was able to see the two openers though, but I’m hoping they all make back to the area soon, because I will definitely be there.

Review: Lush, Tamaryn at Royale Boston 9-15-2016

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Ever since the Lush reunion was announced, I had hoped a tour would follow (it did) and that they would play Boston (they did). I got to Alewife and took the very much delayed Red Line train to downtown Boston, where I met up with a couple of friends for some pre-show dinner and drinks at Jacob Wirth, then we were off to Royale Boston

At the door, our excitement was brought down as I got hassled about my non-removable lens camera by the people working the door (who have a reputation all their own, just look up the Yelp reviews of this place). After proving to them it was NOT a professional camera and that I wasn’t interested in being in the photo pit, amongst other assumptions they made, I was finally allowed in (thanks to the manager who took a quick glance and said it was fine). This was kind of embarrassing and different people who witnessed this whole thing came up to me throughout the night and told me how ridiculous it all was. Admittedly, this whole incident soured me on the night, so I wasn’t all that excited to be there anymore, but tried to make the best of it. All of the pictures below were taken on an iPhone 6 because I was too self conscious about using the camera at this point. Ok, enough with the negatives, I was here to see some bands!

After finding a spot really close to the stage, we made a few friends around us while waiting for Tamaryn to go on.

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Tamaryn

I first saw Tamaryn on the river stage at Austin Psych Fest a couple of years ago and they were amazing. Tonight was even better (minus the incredible backdrop of the Colorado River). Tamaryn came out to loud cheers and started to play immediately. With a dream pop, shoegaze sound that consisted of some fairly heavy bass, singer Tamaryn made her way all over the stage, and at times, played keyboards. I thoroughly enjoyed their set.

After they were done, I checked out the merch table before Lush went on and Tamaryn was signing CDs for people. So that was pretty cool.

I grabbed a Harpoon UFO from that lady that sells them in the back corner for $5 and found a spot to see Lush even though there was a pretty large crowd.

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Lush

I was lucky enough to have seen Lush a few times in the 90’s…including that one time at Rocky Point in Warwick, RI where they played with Live and Weezer (that was a very strange night in more than a few ways). Of course nothing can top the time I saw Lush at a 4AD showcase (which also featured Mojave 3 and Scheer) in the 90’s at Lupos in Providence where I had an awesome spot right against the stage in front of lead singer Miki Berenyi.

It seemed like a it took a while for the band to come out, prolonging the anticipation. When they finally did and launched straight into “De-Luxe“, it was awesome! Although the vocals sounded a little more mature, as they would after 20 years, the band overall sounded great! Playing all of the favorites such as “Hypocrite“, “Light from a Dead Star“, the long slow jammy “Out of Control“, which had quite a few people bobbing their heads, and the faster “Lady Killers” which got everyone dancing around. In fact, during Ladykillers, Tamaryn stopped and danced right in front of me. They ended the set with “Sweetness and Light” and left the stage, only to come back a few minutes later for a 3 song encore. They appeared for a second encore to play one more song, before finally ending the night.

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Lush setlist that some girl was nice enough to let me take a picture of.

Considering all of the issues getting there on the T and then problems with staff, I still ended up having a pretty good time and it was great meeting some new people, but I will have to seriously think about going to any more shows at Royale again.

Review: The Veldt, Dyr Faser, Your 33 Black Angels at Once Lounge in Somerville, MA 9-02-2016

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This was a tough night as there were several really good shows going on that ranged from the last Guillermo Sexo show to Fat Creeps and even Anthony Green, which I was invited to go to, but I had been looking forward to seeing The Veldt again. This was also their tour kickoff. Finding parking around Once Somerville can be a pain at times, but luckily I found one open spot in the lot across the street. There was another show going on in the larger ballroom, but this one took place in the smaller, more intimate Twin Peaks-ish lounge area upstairs. Your 33 Black Angels were just starting their set.

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Your 33 Black Angels

I was at the bar, ordering a Jack’s Abby Copper Legend just as Brooklyn’s Your 33 Black Angels started playing. Before the beer filled the glass, a fuse blew cutting power to the stage and the bar, which brought applause and cheers from the pretty small crowd. A few minutes later, the amps were powered back up and the show continued. I wasn’t familiar with Your 33 Black Angels but they have been around for a while. They had a bit of a psych sound and at times venturing into synth pop territory. It’s kind of hard to describe their music since it seemed to span multiple genres. They were great and I really enjoyed their set.

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Dyr Faser

Dry Faser’s sound is something that needs to be experienced live. The video above as well as me trying to convey just how awesome their reverb drenched music can fill up the small-ish room does it no justice. A project of Eric Boomhower on guitar, with Thalia Zedek on another guitar and keyboardist Kate Murray all jamming over a drum machine, this trio created some seriously dark sounding music that completely wraps itself around you.

After the set, I ordered a Newburyport Brewing Green Head IPA, then tried to find an unobstructed spot to see The Veldt.

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The Veldt

I have now seen The Veldt 3 times in the last 5 months and every time they have been amazing. Tonight was no exception, especially with projections that added to the vibe of their soul-shoegaze sound, it felt more like an experience rather than a mere show. Singer Daniel Chavis’ soulful voice combined with his brother Danny on guitar, brought a lot of emotion to the songs, which was especially evident on the slower ones.

After the show, I chatted with bassist Hayato Nakao as I bought a Veldt t-shirt. I meant to pick up a physical copy of their latest CD The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur since I haven’t gotten around to buying it on Bandcamp yet.

This was an awesome small and intimate show that felt like a private performance by some really great bands, all of which I’d recommend seeing if you get the chance.

The Veldt 2016 European tour dates:

09/22 London, UK – Shacklewell Arms (with Electric Eye, Camera)
09/23 Liverpool, UK – Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia
09/24 Malmo, Sweden – Gatufest // Norra Grängesbergsgatan
09/25 Copenhagen, Denmark – TBC

Review: Boston Fuzzstival 2016 Night 2 at the Middle East Downstairs 8-20-2016

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Every year I look forward to Fuzzstival, which is put on by Jason Trefts (a dude I have yet to formerly meet) at the Middle East in Central Square. It really is one of my favorite nights of music because it pretty much puts all of my favorite local-ish bands on one bill over two nights. I skipped the first night since I had something else going on, but got to the Middle East right at 6pm just as Weakend Friends were playing their last notes. I was really hoping to catch them, but definitely next time. I ordered a Sam Adams Octoberfest from the bar and moved closer to the main stage.

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Painted Zeros

The first band I caught was Painted Zeros who came up from Brooklyn. They played a great set of straight up dreamy indie rock and were a great first band to catch. A second stage was set up off to the side of the main stage, in that slight elevated area near the other bar. WAY OUT were up next on this stage.

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WAY OUT

Providence’s WAY OUT played a pretty energetic set of dark sounding, almost gothy punk rock. I really got into these guys and hope to see them again soon.

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Boytoy

Next were one of my other favorites, Boytoy, who I have been trying to see forever and finally got the chance. They did not disappoint and held the entire crowd’s attention with a set of lo-fi pop punk. This was a great set!

I caught a couple of songs during High Pop’s set but ended up leaving to find some food. The hardest part of Fuzzstival is deciding when to leave to get dinner. I ended up at the Dumpling Room across the street from the Middle East. The potstickers there were amazing and hit the spot.

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Ravi Shavi

I made it back in time to see Ravi Shavi, who are from Providence. This is another band that I’ve been trying to see for a while. With a garage pop sound and frontman Rafay Rashid moving and posing all around the small stage, they brought the room’s energy level up a notch.

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Ghost Box Orchestra

Next were one of my favorite Boston area bands, Ghost Box Orchestra, who I have seen many times. With a pulsing beat throughout most of their epically large sounding set, they pretty much won the night for me. They ended with a cover of the Pixies. This was probably my favorite set of the night.

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Zip-Tie Handcuffs

Another one of my favorites, 2015 Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble winners Zip-Tie Handcuffs melted faces with a very energetic set of garage rock.

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Major Stars

Major Stars, who I didn’t know too much about, started out a little slower than the previous few bands, but then it built up in to long jamming songs and totally won me over.

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Las Rosas

Brooklyn’s Las Rosas had a few people in the crowd dancing with their garage psych sound which at timed seemed to veer almost into punk territory.

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Quilt

This was my 4th time seeing Quilt, and second time within the last couple of months. With a quieter sound, Quilt were a little more subdued than the bands that played before them and there was still a pretty large crowd.

I was starting to get really tired at this point and considered leaving. I stayed until Quilt finished and as much as it killed me to miss Mini Dresses and Doug Tuttle’s sets, 6 hours was long enough combined with ear fatigue setting in from wearing my earplugs for almost that entire time.

I bought a t-shirt and was bummed to miss out on the awesome silk screened t-shirts (I really have to stop waiting til the end of shows to get these things), then headed out to catch the train back home.

As I said before, Fuzzstival is one of my favorite things to go to every year. Much thanks to Jason Trefts who puts it all together and makes it fun while helping to support local music as well as those smaller bands that are not so local.

Review: Belly at The Parlor in Newport, RI 7-09-2016

I drove down to Providence to pick up one of my best friends before heading to Newport for the second night of Belly’s hometown shows. We started out with some dinner and drinks at one of my favorite Newport restaurants, the Salvation Cafe. I had the short rib burger and a Foolproof Backyahd IPA (can you tell it’s a RI beer?) and she had the, always delicious pad thai. After dinner we walked the block or so over to The Parlor, where there was a decent sized crowd eagerly waiting for Belly to go on.

Once inside, you could actually feel the excitement in the air as people were chatting with each other and catching up with each other. Newport is a very small town and everyone knows everyone else, trust me on this. When Belly came out, their was thunderous applause and cheers and the band were all smiles while acknowledging this hometown crowd. I chose the wrong time to get a Brooklyn Lager, which to be honest, shouldn’t have taken the entirety of the first 3 songs for me to get. Either way, with my drink in hand, I tried to find a spot where I could see the band play.

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Belly

This was Belly’s first show in many years, although I swear I saw them somewhere once in the 90’s (Waterplace Park maybe?). It also served as a warmup show for their upcoming tour as well. Featuring a good mix songs, the majority being from the Star and King albums with a few new ones thrown as well. The band joked around and talked to people in the audience between songs. Bassist Gail Greenwood was very animated throughout the night and seemed to be having a great time. Before launching into what is by far their biggest hit, “Feed The Tree”, singer Tanya Donelly called the song their “bastard child”, which drew laughs from the crowd.

After a break, the band came back out and played a somewhat slower, more acoustic based set of music. They ended the night with “Thief” as the final song for an encore.

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Belly

After the show, they band hung around and talked to people, which only made sense as it seemed most people there new them personally. We decided to take off and get one more drink somewhere and ended up at Pour Judgement, which was a really cool little spot that had a band playing lots of older surf rock. This was a really fun night, especially with getting to catch up with a good friend, seeing some people I knew in my hometown, and of course Belly were great.

Belly 2016 tour dates:

Jul 28 The Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ
Jul 31 Drais Beach Club Night Club – Las Vegas, NV
Aug 09 Royale Boston – Boston, MA
Aug 10 Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
Aug 11 Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
Aug 12 Royale Boston – Boston, MA
Aug 13 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
Aug 14 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
Aug 24 Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA
Aug 25 Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA
Aug 26 Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
Aug 27 Revolution Hall – Portland, OR
Aug 28 Neptune Theatre – Seattle, WA
Sep 17 Vic Theater – Chicago, IL
Sep 18 First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN