Review: Modern English, Shadow Age, The Milling Gowns at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA 6-7-2016


Since this was an early show, I cut out of work a few minutes early so I could go home and change. I got to Alewife and took the train to Central Square and after a short walk, I was at the Middle East downstairs for a show I had been looking forward to all day. I started with a Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union and got closer to the stage to see Boston’s own The Milling Gowns.

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The Milling Gowns

For one reason or another, I have never seen The Milling Gowns live before. I don’t know what took so long but I was loving this band. They were soo dark and moody, invoking Joy Division-esque sounds. With lead singer M. holding his head down at times, as the band played, there was a very cinematic element to their gloomy songs and it worked well. Gloom pop indeed.

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Shadow Age

To be honest, I didn’t know too much about Shadow Age, who are from Richmond, Virginia. Once they started playing, things got a little more rocking. It was hard to miss lead singer Aaron Tyree, who with a towering presence was front and center, moving around the stage as he wailed on the guitar. Their dark and moody post punk sound kept the tone of the night going.

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Modern English

From the moment Modern English (yes, that band) stepped on stage, they were all smiles as the crowd cheered loudly. With this being the last show of their Mesh & Lace tour, named after their 1981 debut album, things were probably a little looser and relaxed and you could tell they were genuinely having a good time.

Once Modern English started playing, I was surprised, in the best possible way, that most of their music was very different than their popular 80’s hit “I Melt With You”. Starting off the set with “Dance of Devotion”, with it’s pulsating guitars and singer Robbie Grey howling and convulsing around the stage, it was a good way to start off the show. The majority of songs were from the Mesh & Lace album and ranged from dark post punk to almost droning at times. Grey held the audience’s attention throughout the show with stories and banter between songs. After playing through their set, the band left the stage, only to come back out a few minutes later for an encore. They ended the night with as Grey called it “that one song”, of course referring to “I Melt With You“, which turned into a giant sing along and it was awesome!

This was an amazing night that far exceeded my expectations. All three bands were great and Modern English were really fun. I’d highly recommend seeing any of them if you get the chance.

Music Monday: The Kolour Kult – The Kolour Kult EP

The Kolour Kult is a duo from Providence, Rhode Island, a city known more for it’s noise and hardcore scene than synth-pop music. The opening line of the very Pet Shop Boys-esque first track, “Sentimentality Fails” proclaims “I may seem too sentimental, but I’ve grown fond of you“, which is exactly how I feel about that decade.

They have taken an 80’s style and given it an update while staying true to the original sound. The fourth song, “Window” which is my favorite, starts out with a drum beat that sounds like the it came straight from Love and Rockets’ “So Alive“, with an oddly familiar “whoa-oh-oh” chorus that will stick in your head. So, go ahead and grab the free 5 song EP from their Bandcamp!

They are playing at AS220 in Providence this Friday (7/20/12) with Math the Band and Streight Angular. I’m going to try to make it down there, since this should be a pretty good show.

Should I be embarrassed to love Nine Inch Nails?

A 1989 video of a very, very early performance of Nine Inch Nails doing “Down In It” on that hit show, Dance Party USA has made its way to the internet. This might be one of the best cheesy videos ever, especially at the 1:13 mark! Also, the lip syncing is almost as bad as Blur when they did “There’s No Other Way” on Top of the Pops (seriously, check that video out, they gave up faking it halfway through the song!). Did Skrillex rip off Trent Reznor’s hairstyle??? Is that the same NIN leather jacket from the Down In It video?

Soo many questions but it seems Trent Reznor has tweeted some insight about this video:

Many years ago, a young and naive Nine Inch Nails were asked what TV shows they’d be interested in appearing on. As a joke (and likely drunk), they thought of the most absurd choice they could come up with at the time. They were then informed their bluff had been called and were actually booked on said show… They hopped in their Honda Civic touring vehicle (hatchback) and travelled many miles to (I think) NJ for the big show. They had a laugh making fun of the people, their fashion choices and hairstyles. Life was good. Years later, the internet is discovered… There’s a moral in there somewhere. Come to think of it, Skrillex may indeed owe me some publishing on that hairdo…

Wham! Rap! (or What Were They Thinking?)

Ok, first of all, this is just kind of a totally random post and I’m feeling pretty good right now (thanks to a couple of glasses of Menage A Trois wine…the red being my favorite!). Anyway, I was listening to some 80’s music and Wham! Rap by Wham! came on. It’s funny how the most random thing can bring back soo many memories. Me and my friends used to love this song and Wham! in the 80’s. Random fact: one of them actually got his ear pierced because of this band.

This song makes absolutely no sense now, but it totally did in the 80’s. There was a time in the 80’s when rap was just taking off and every band had their one rap song (cough Anthrax cough). This is Wham!’s. Yeah, it’s really bad and definitely doesn’t hold up into the 2000whatevers. I guess back then, everyone was still figuring it out pre-east coast/west coast.

And just for the record, the boys from Wham never helped me reach my goals, so the song is a total lie!