Review: Dead Meadow, Dyr Faser, Lucid Lynx at Sonia in Cambridge, MA 3-28-2018

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I ended up leaving much later than planned, but soon I was in Central Square for this crazy psychedelic show. This was my first time seeing a show at Sonia, which was formerly known as TT the Bear’s (R.I.P.). The first thing I noticed was that Sonia is a lot brighter than TT’s and seemed to be much larger with the stage on the opposite side of the room. There really wasn’t a bad view from anywhere in the club, but if I had one complaint, it would be that the beer selection was a bit lacking.

Unfortunately, I had missed most of Lucid Lynx’s set, which was a bummer because I really liked these guys when I saw them open for Brian Jonestown Massacre last year. So, I waited for Bostons’s own Dyr Faser to go on.

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Dyr Faser

I think this was the first time I have seen Dyr Faser in its current form which consists of Eric Boomhower and Amelia May. The music seemed a little more mellow, almost ethereal at times, but the reverb-y goodness is still there. Sharing vocals through most of their set, the duo had an almost ethereal sound that completely filled the room.

After the set, I decided to try a Harpoon Pineapple UFO which was a huge mistake that I’m still trying to get over. Probably one of the worst beers I’ve ever had…just no! no! no! Dead Meadow were up next. 

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Dead Meadow

The first time I saw Dead Meadow was in, where else, Austin, and they put on an amazing show. Tonight was no different as the band played for close to 2 hours. The visuals provided by Mad Alchemy, gave me flashbacks to the Earthless show from only a week or two prior and were equally stunning. Standing off to one side of the stage, I had a great view of the band, who started out with “Greensky Greenlake”. Bassist Steve Kille, who was jumping around the stage looked to be having a fun time playing. It felt like a pretty long set and that’s not a band thing.

For an encore singer Jason Londono came out for an encore and sang solo for the song “One More Toll Taker”.

Overall it was a great night of music. It’s always exciting to check out a new venue and Sonia was pretty cool.

Review: Earthless, Kikagaku Moyo, JJUUJJUU at the Sinclair in Cambridge, MA 3-17-2018

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There was nothing about this show that would have led you to believe it was St. Patrick’s day in Boston, unless you were riding the T and saw amongst other things, a girl sitting across from me with an amber colored fluid in her Polar Springs Sparkling Water bottle.

I kept flip flopping on whether or not to go to this show, but decided at the last minute to go with hopes that I could still get a ticket at the door. There was no traffic on my drive to Alewife and it was a really fast train ride to Harvard Square. In no time, I was at the Sinclair for this pretty stacked lineup that consisted of JJUUJJUU, Kikagaku Moyo, and headliners Earthless. I bought a ticket at the door, dropped my coat off at the coat check, and ordered a beer just as JJUUJJUU were just hitting the stage.

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JJUUJJUU

JJUUJJUU are, much like a lot of bands I’ve seen, a group I first saw at Austin Psych Fest a few years ago. Based in Los Angeles, their music is full of reverby psychedelic drenched goodness. They played for just over half an hour, but man, it was great!

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Kikagaku Moyo

Japanese psych band Kikagaku Moyo, whose name I have trouble pronouncing, but translates to “geometric patterns”, are another band I caught in Austin before and really dug them. With enough members on the stage to make it look pretty cramped up there, they played a set where the songs seemed to start out a bit mellow and before you knew it, crashed like a giant psychedelic wave washing over the audience.

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Earthless

As soon as I saw the crazy psychedelic visuals provided by the excellent Mad Alchemy, I knew we were all in for a treat. San Diego’s Earthless, who were draped in swirls of patterns and colors, hit the crowd hard as they went right into “Godspeed” and kept the heavy guitar riffs coming for the rest of the night. Playing mostly instrumental stoner rock to a sold out crowd that was really feeling it and I’ll leave it up to you as to what exactly “it” is, they held the room’s attention for the entirety of their set.

They finished out the night with a very heavy cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown”, which was pretty loud and intense with most of the crowd singing along. Honestly, I didn’t want it to end, but like all good things, it had to.

This was an amazing night of music and I’m glad I ended going. It was a pretty quick ride back to Alewife and my eyes are still reeling from those visuals!

Earthless 2018 tour dates:

May 31 – Detroit MI @ El Club *
June 1 – Nelsonville OH @ Nelsonville Music Festival
June 2 – Louisville KY @ Zanzabar
June 3 – Morgantown WV @ 123 Pleasant Street #
June 5 – Asheville NC @ The Mothlight %
June 6 – Atlanta GA @ The Masquerade %
June 7 – Spartanburg SC @ GroundZero %
June 8 – Orlando FL @ Will’s Pub %
June 9 – Tallahassee FL @ The Wilbury %
June 10 – Baton Rouge LA @ Spanish Moon %
June 12 – Houston TX @ White Oak Music Hall %
June 13 – Austin TX @ Barracuda Austin %
June 14 – Ft. Worth TX @ Ridglea Theater %
June 15 – Memphis TN @ Growlers %

*: with Timmy’s Organism and The Octopus
%: with Here Lies Man
#: with Hill Giant

Kikagaku Moyo 2018 tour dates:

Nov 07 – Gorilla Manchester, United Kingdom
Nov 08 – Scala London, United Kingdom
Nov 17 – Café Bad Bonn Düdingen, Switzerland
Nov 19 – arena wien – verein forum Wien, Austria
Nov 21 – Loppen, Christiania KØBENHAVN K, Denmark
Nov 23 – Fasching Stockholm, Sweden
Nov 24 – Blå Oslo, Norway
Nov 26 – Hafenklang Hamburg, Germany
Nov 27 – Ancienne BelgiqueBrussels, Belgium
Nov 30 – Sala Upload Barcelona, Spain
Dec 08 – Paradiso Grote ZaalNieuw-Amsterdam, Netherlands

JJUUJJUU 2018 Tour dates:

Jun 05 – Columbus, OH EXPRESS LIVE!
Jun 06 – Chicago, IL Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
Jun 07 – Lakewood, OH Mahall’s Locker Room
Jun 08 – Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
Jun 09 – Sterling Heights, MI Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill
Jun 10 – Indianapolis, IN The Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park
Jun 12 – Cincinnati, OH PNC Pavilion at Riverbend
Jun 13 – Milwaukee, WI Cactus Club
Jun 14 – Maplewood, MN Myth
Jun 15 – Bonner Springs, KS Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
Jun 16 – Camdenton, MO Ozarks Amphitheater
Jun 18 – Lincoln, NE Pinewood Bowl Theater
Jun 19 – Denver, CO Lost Lake Lounge


Jun 21 – Missoula, MT KettleHouse Amphitheater


Jun 22 – Redmond, WA Marymoor Park


Jun 23 – Bend, OR Les Schwab Amphitheater


Jun 25 – Troutdale, OR McMenamin’s Edgefield Winery


Jun 28 – Avila Beach, CA Avila Beach Golf Resort
Jun 29 – Berkeley, CA Greek Theatre


Jun 30 – Lincoln, CA Thunder Valley Casino Resort & Amphitheater


Jul 02 – Salt Lake City, UT Salt Air Pavilion


Jul 03 – Las Vegas, NV Downtown Las Vegas Events Center


Jul 05 – Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre


Jul 06 – San Diego, CA Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre


Jul 07 – Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre


Oct 12 – Perris, CA Moreno Beach

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: 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: Quilt, Widowspeak, Doug Tuttle at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA 6-24-2016

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After a much needed short nap, I made my way to The Sinclair in Harvard Square for this show, which I was really looking forward to. Once inside, I went straight to the bar for a Six Point Sweet Action beer and then made my way close to the stage. There wasn’t that big of a crowd just yet, so it was pretty easy to get up front as Doug Tuttle had just started playing.

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Doug Tuttle

I have seen Boston’s Doug Tuttle many times, but this seemed to be one of the mellowest sets I’ve seen them play. That’s not to say they didn’t rock, because they totally did and it was a good way to start the night. About half of the songs were from their latest album, It Calls On Me, which is pretty good. As the band ended with the chilled out “Turn This Love”, which morphs into a psychedelic feedback filled jam, the now bigger crowd erupted in cheers and applause. I never get tired of seeing that song played live.

Between bands, I went to the bar for another beer, this time around being a Wormtown Be Hoppy which was recommended to me and it was really good.

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Widowspeak

Keeping the mellow sounds going, Widowspeak, who are from Brooklyn, were the only band of the night not to have ties to the Boston area. With singer Molly Hamilton’s voice setting the tone of dreamy indie rock that never got too crazy, except for the part where guitarist Robert Earl Thomas started playing guitar behind his head, they held the attention of the crowd for nearly the whole set. This was a band that I have tried to see for a while now and I was not disappointed.

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Quilt

Previously having seen Quilt at Austin Psych Fest and Fuzztival (and they are playing it again this year), this was my third time seeing them and it might have been the best I have ever heard them sound. Playing a few songs that singer Anna Fox Rochinski said were about the Boston area, the band seemed to be having a great time on stage, even joking around at times. I ended up having to leave during the encore to make sure I didn’t miss one of the last trains back to Alewife.

This was a really good night of music that was more on the mellow side, and I had a pretty good time. After quick run through Tasty Burger for some food, I caught the train and made my way home.

Review: My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult at the Middle East Downstairs 6-10-2016

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I really struggled with whether or not to go to this show. I used to really be into My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult in the 90’s when I went through a goth/industrial phase that…uhh…we won’t talk about. But there were some other good shows happening this night too (the Bearstronaut record release, amongst other things). Worried that I would stick out like a sore thumb because of the goth dance night that was taking place immediately after (which by the way, leads me to the “dress code” of goth/fetish/all black at those kinds of nights…really? 1, I’m too old for that shit, 2, why would I want to dress like and encourage a stereotype?, and 3, what if I just really enjoy the genre and want to go out somewhere to hear some music, meet some new people, and have a couple of beers? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the reasons, but still…Ok…rant over).

When I arrived at the Middle East Downstairs, there was a line stretching through the restaurant portion of the club, with a lot of people waiting to get in. There was no opener for this show and the band had already started while I was waiting in line. The people waiting around me were really friendly, which is at times, hard to find in Boston. Also, my fears of not being in some sort of goth-wear were alleviated when I noticed that most of the people there were dressed in regular clothes.

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My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult

Once inside, the club was only about half full and I grabbed a Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union to watch the band as they were already playing “Leathersex”. Thrill Kill Kult pretty much played a nonstop set. The crowd erupted into cheers every time one of the hits like “Sex on Wheelz”, “The Days of Swine and Roses”, and “Kooler Than Jesus” started. They left the stage for a few minutes and the crowd started chanting for more songs. There were loud cheers when they came back out and did an encore which seemed to be a little more on the electronic side of things.

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My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult

This was an early show, with no opener, so it was over around 9:30pm. I thought about heading over to The Sinclair for the Bearstronaut show, but was kind of hungry, so I ended up Shake Shack in Harvard Square for some food that really hit the spot. Back on the T to Alewife and I was home by 11pm, which felt really strange. Either way, I had a really good time at the show and it was cool to see Thrill Kill Kult for the first time since the 90’s.

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

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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.