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.