Review: Nothing, The Swirlies, Big Bite at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA 10-7-2018

Nothing Sign

It was a dark and drizzly night where I kept flip flopping on whether or not to go out, but decided to go to this show anyway, because I knew I’d regret it if I missed it. I got to the Sinclair in Harvard Square pretty fast, where I bought a ticket at the door for what was a nearly sold out show. Once inside, I started with a Wormtown Be Hoppy which is always a good choice, just as Big Bite went on stage (I had missed smut but heard they were a really good opener).

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Big Bite

I didn’t know much about Seattle’s Big Bite before this show, but instantly became a fan. They tore through a set of grungy sounding post rock that had a big sound to it.

I wandered around a bit and had another Be Hoppy as I waited for The Swirlies, who were up next.

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The Swirlies

It’s funny, I’ve never seen The Swirlies despite having listened to them for a very long time. With a perfect mix of indie rock and shoegaze, they were so much better than I expected. It seemed like a lot of the crowd was there just for them, since it cleared out a bit after their set. I was glad to finally get to see them live and they were a perfect opener for Nothing.

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Nothing

I staked out a good spot on the upper level and had a much better view of the stage for headliners Nothing. The crowd went crazy as the band came out and started with the relatively mellow “Zero Day”. As the night progressed with “Curse of the Sun” and “Us/We/Are”, I caught myself saying “damn!” out loud a lot as Nothing continued to blow me away with each song. Nothing has that dreamy 90’s shoegaze sound and at times delved into a little harder territory.

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Nothing

Towards the end of the night, singer Domenic Palermo gave his guitar to a guy in the audience and sat down on the edge of the stage where an adoring crowd surrounded him. It was a pretty cool thing. I can’t even express how happy I was that I ended up going to this show. It was definitely one of the best shows I’ve seen all year, and probably longer than that. I ended with my Harvard Square post-show usual of a Big Tasty over at Tasty Burger and was soon on the train back home.

Nothing Setlist

Nothing setlist

Nothing 2018 Tour Dates:

12/08/18 : Stereo – Glasgow (UK)
12/09/18 : The Cluny – Newcastle (UK)
12/10/18 : Hare and Hounds – Birmingham (UK)
12/11/18 : Joiners – Southampton(UK)

Review: boy pablo at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA 7-8-2018

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I got to Alewife a little later than I wanted to, but soon enough, in a repeat of exactly a week ago, I was at the Middle East in Central Square for yet another show. Tonight it was Norwegian indie pop band boy pablo. I had decided to buy a ticket the night before after putting it off for whatever reason, but it sold out shortly after I purchased the ticket.

I’m guessing a lot of people, including myself first became aware of them as a suggested video on Youtube. I watched the video and fell in love with the song.

boy pablo (yes, in all of it’s lowercase splendor) were the only band playing. Although doors were at 7pm, the show didn’t start until 9:30pm and the Middle East down was completely packed for this sold out show. I ordered a Jack’s Abbey Hoponius Union and found a spot near the upper bar.

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boy pablo

When the band came out, the crowd went absolutely crazy! I have to say, this was one of those few times you could actually tell that a band really appreciated the people who came out to see them. Flashing giant smiles and acknowledging the crowd, and hamming it up a bit, they really had the crowd behind them.

Lead singer Pablo Muñoz definitely charmed the crowd and comes off as extremely likable (to be fair, the entire band comes off that way as well). It seemed like they played just about every song they have put out, especially since most songs are pretty short.

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boy pablo

At one point, the band did an acapella version of “Afternoon Delight” as well as covers of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Michael Jackson as seen in the video below. They play for about an hour and 10 minutes with 2 songs during the encore, which became a huge dance party. This was one of the most fun shows I’ve been to in a long time and I did not regret buying that ticket at the last minute at all.

boy pablo 2018 tour dates:
10/28/18 – The Button Factory – Dublin, Ireland

10/29/18 – Belgrave Music Hall – Leeds, United Kingdom

10/30/18 – Club Academy – Manchester, United Kingdom

10/31/18 – Fiddlers – Bristol, United Kingdom

11/01/18 – Electric Ballroom – London, United Kingdom

11/02/18 – Pitchfork Music Festival Paris – Paris, France

11/03/18 – LA GRANDE HALLE DE LA VILLETTE – Paris, France

11/14/18 – Shibuya Tsutaya O-Nest – Shinjuku-ku, Japan

11/15/18 – Modeci – Seoul, South Korea

11/16/18 – Omni Space – Beijing, China

11/17/18 – Arkham – Shanghai, China

11/18/18 – The Wall – Taipei City, Taiwan

11/20/18 – Mom Live House – Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong

11/22/18 – Pavilion – Bishan, Singapore

11/23/18 – Kuningan City Ballroom – Jakarta, Indonesia

11/24/18 – Moonstar Studio – Bangkok, Thailand

11/25/18 – Century City Mall – Makati, Philippines

Review: TV Girl, Infinity Crush at Sonia in Cambridge, MA 7-01-2018

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I had been wanting to see TV Girl for a long time now, but there were always conflicts when they came through the Boston area but tonight, I finally got my chance to see them live. I got to Sonia in Central Square pretty quickly for what was a very early show that started around 8:15pm.

I went to the bar and got a Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union and after chatting with the two super friendly bartenders about beer for a few minutes (including my last experience with that god awful pineapple UFO), I found a spot amongst the fairly small crowd to watch Infinity Crush.

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Infinity Crush

Infinity Crush’s Caroline White played a short solo set of indie folk songs that lasted about 25 minutes. Telling stories and bantering with the audience between songs, she seemed to have won over a lot of the crowd with her humor. Also, she had her set list written on her hand which was kind of cute.

After Infinity Crush finished, I ordered another Hoponius Union and was ready to see TV Girl, who got set up and started pretty fast.

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TV Girl

With all three members of TV Girl standing behind various synthesizers, the band tore through a set of pretty mellow indie synth pop that gave the diehard crowd exactly what they wanted. At times dreamy, others hazy, and it all came together in such a perfect way. The band seemed pretty relaxed and just going with the flow, which kept things very light hearted, including some of the speeches between songs.

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TV Girl

This was a really fun show and I was happy to finally get to see TV Girl, although I was a little bummed they didn’t play “If You Want It”, which is my favorite song by them (and admittedly, one I seem to still find myself humming a lot). I finished out the somewhat early night by hitting up what else but Tasty Burger in Harvard Square.

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.