Concert Review: Speedy Ortiz, Pile, Metz at the Middle East Upstairs 11-21-12

I kind of decided at the last minute to go out to this show, after skipping two other shows on Monday and Tuesday, I was really wanting to get out, so, it was off to Central Square. I arrived at the Middle East Upstairs, where Speedy Ortiz were already playing. First stop, the bar, where I skipped my usual UFO in favor of a Sam Adams Winter Lager, which was pretty good.

Speedy Ortiz at the Middle East Upstairs

Beer in hand, I set out to find a spot to see the rest of Speedy Ortiz’s set. This proved to be a near impossible task since the place was completely packed. I have never seen this many people at the Middle East Upstairs before, which is small enough as it is. I managed to stand in front of someone much taller than myself near the bar and catch the last few songs of Speedy Ortiz’s set. Speedy Ortiz are a female fronted band from Massachusetts and play a kind of grungy indie rock. Really wished I had gotten there earlier to see their entire set, but I will have to catch them at one of their upcoming shows.

Pile at the Middle East Upstairs 2Pile at the Middle East Upstairs 3Pile at the Middle East Upstairs 1

While waiting for Pile to set up, I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of hipsters, beards, and hipsters with beards. For once, I felt out of place at a show. It was still near impossible to move around, but I somehow managed to grab a Harpoon UFO and move to the other side of the room to get a better view for Pile.

Pile could be best described as post hardcore and are from Boston. They really blew me away, in fact, they were my favorite band of the night. Pile tore through a good amount of songs and the crowd was definitely feeling it. I would highly recommend seeing these guys live as well as grabbing their excellent album “Dripping“.

Metz at the Middle East Upstairs 6Metz at the Middle East Upstairs 7Metz at the Middle East Upstairs 4Metz at the Middle East Upstairs 2

Coming from Toronto, Metz were up next and the place was soo packed, you really couldn’t move around. With the stage completely dark, Metz started playing. About a minute in, they stopped due to a broken guitar string, which singer Alex Edkins apologized for and mentioned that they had planned this epic opening. Ah, well, it happens. Once the string was replaced, they started over and played a pretty intense and very, very loud set for the rest of the night. People started moshing (I didn’t realize people still did that) and the noise from the band was intense. This was probably the loudest show I have seen since King Missile (yes…that band) at Club Babyhead in Providence in the early 90’s. The bass literally made your clothes vibrate. I was glad that I remembered to bring earplugs and have no idea how those without them surived. Fast and furious would be the best way to describe Metz’s entire set. It was basically a wall of noise with some vocals in there somewhere and yes, it was great! After Metz were finished, people weren’t sure if there was going to be an encore since the lights didn’t come up, but that was it.

I had a pretty good time, although it was kind of weird having the night end around 11:15pm. I ended up with Pile’ newest CD and a Metz t shirt, as well as a couple of much needed slices from HiFi Pizza and was home way too early, but since it was a pretty good night of music, I’ll take it.

Concert Review: Guillermo Sexo, Orca Team, Laetitia Sadier at the Middle East Upstairs 9-20-12

I arrived at the Middle East Upstairs pretty early. So early in fact, that there were very few people there, which meant it was pretty easy to get a drink at the bar. I started the night out with a Sam Adams Octoberfest, which was damn tasty!

Guillermo Sexo 1Guillermo Sexo 3Guillermo Sexo 2Guillermo Sexo 4

It wasn’t long before Boston’s own Guillermo Sexo went on. Playing a kind of gazey, indie rock, they were really good with the video projections being cast across the band setting the mood for their music. Check off another Boston band that I have been wanting to see. Shortly after they started, the pretty small room started to fill in. Their set started out kind of soft and quiet, but got progressively louder as they went through the songs, making me glad I remembered to bring earplugs. The band even dedicated a new song to their friends sick cat…Elvis. There was one more song after that and they were done.

It was time for another Sam Octoberfest, which once again, was pretty easy to get. Up next, the very adorable Orca Team.

Orca Team 9Orca Team 2Orca Team 4Orca Team 12

Orca Team are a band from my beloved Seattle. With a retro, 60’s surf rock sound, this was my favorite band of the night. The crowd seemed to be into them as well. I chatted with guitarist Jessica B. after the show about Seattle for bit and picked up their newest CD called “Restraint“, which by the way, is great, although I wish I could have gotten them to sign it. Maybe next time. Oh, and did I mention how adorable this band is?

Having skipped dinner, I was getting pretty hungry at this point, so I skipped having a third beer. There was a pretty good sized crowd at this point but I managed to get a spot right next to the stage for Laetitia Saider’s set.

Laetitia Sadier 6Laetitia Sadier 7Laetitia Sadier 9Laetitia Sadier 10

Next was former Stereolab singer, Laetitia Sadier. This was only the 5th show with her current band and they sounded good. There was definitely a Stereolab-like sound to her set, but with the spacey lounge sound missing. Also, a majority of the set was politically themed, which I wasn’t really feeling. She seemed to be really enjoying herself on stage, bantering with the very attentive crowd a bit. Some guy who looked like he just stepped off of a yacht was really, really into it by standing right up front and singing along with every song. After they finished, the band walked off stage for a minute, then came back to play a couple more songs for an encore.

I ended the night with an awesome chicken rollup from Falafel Palace, which has become my post-show-late-night go to place in Central Square. Overall, it was a pretty good variety of music and I had a great time. I can’t wait for Orca Team to come through the Boston area again and I will definitely catch Guillermo Sexo as well.

Teen Daze, White Arrows, Beat Connection at TT the Bears 7-06-12

When I heard that Teen Daze was coming to the Boston area, I had to make sure I was there, especially since his “Teen Dreams” album is one of my favorite EP’s ever. I arrived at TT the Bears way too early, so I explored Central Square for a while to kill some time, since I’m usually only there to see shows. I went back at TT’s which was sadly, pretty empty, just as Teen Daze started his set.

Teen Daze at TT the Bears 1Teen Daze at TT the Bears 2

Vancouver’s Teen Daze, hunched over a laptop and mixer, played a pretty mellow but somewhat dancey set with thumping beats. There was a small crowd gathered at the front of the stage to watch him, some bopping around to the music. They were pretty attentive, with the exception of the very loud and obnoxious couple standing in front of me. It was a pretty good set, but way too short.

At this point, I grabbed my first beer of the night, an Allagash White and waited for the next band, White Arrows to go on.

White Arrows, who come from L.A., played indie rock with some electronics thrown in and reminded me a bit of The Strokes. At one point, they did a really cool cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”. I had never heard of these guys until this show and ended up really liking them.

White Arrows at TT the Bears 1White Arrows at TT the Bears 3White Arrows at TT the Bears 2White Arrows at TT the Bears 4

Time to order another beer, which was unknown due to 1, tasting different than the Allagash I had asked for, and 2, the change given back was different than the first time. Either way, it wasn’t very good and I wish I knew what it was so that it can never be ordered again.

The last band of the night was Beat Connection, who are from my beloved Seattle. At this point, there was a pretty good sized crowd and they seemed really into the band. Beat Connection played a set of electro pop with a bit of a tropical feel and everyone seemed to be feeling it. I don’t think that there was a single person standing still.

Beat Connection at TT the Bears 1Beat Connection at TT the Bears 2Beat Connection at TT the Bears 3

The band came back out for an encore, which I captured in the video below:

Overall it was a fun night of dance music that progressively built up as the night went on. I was happy have been able to meet Teen Daze who was not only an incredibly nice guy, but very appreciative and his new CD “All Of Us, Together” is really good! Props to all of the bands for making themselves available at their merch tables as well. I would highly recommend seeing any of these bands if you get the chance. You won’t regret it!

Concert Review: Cooling Towers, Endless Wave, Plushgun at the Middle East in Cambridge 3/17/12

This show took place on St. Patricks Day, which of course, is a major event in Boston, so I decided to take the T to Central Square rather than drive. About 15 minutes later and a mild foot injury thanks to a drunk St. Paddy’s reveler in pointy heels, I arrived at the Middle East upstairs for the show. I had been looking forward to this show for a few weeks as I was really there to finally see Endless Wave live. But first a drink is needed! Harpoon UFO in hand, I took the 5 steps from the bar to the floor and caught the first band of the night, Cooling Towers, who were already playing.

Cooling Towers

Cooling Towers is an indie rock band from Boston. I have to say that this is one of those times where a band sounded a lot better live than their Bandcamp page led me to believe. There was a pretty good sized crowd, unusual for that early in the night for any band, so all was good. I managed to catch the last 4 or 5 songs of their set which included a cover of The Cure’s “In Between Days”. I definitely liked what I heard and will be checking them out again for sure!

Comic girl

While waiting for Endless Wave to set up, this girl gets up on stage and grabs the microphone and makes a bad attempt at telling jokes. I guess she’s trying to be a comedian but kind of failed. It also didn’t help that nobody could really hear her either. Sorry comic girl, whoever you are, you just weren’t funny, but I’ll give you props for getting up there in front of everyone and giving it a shot.

Endless WaveEndless Wave 4

Another beer, another band. Up next was Endless Wave, a band that I have wanted to see live for a while now, but never had the chance. Not entirely shoegaze, dream pop, or indie rock but somewhere in the middle, they make really catchy and accessible music. At this point, there was a pretty sizable crowd in the small room. Considering that this was St. Patricks Day, this was a dedicated fan base. The band played a pretty straightforward set with little downtime between songs and seemed to be over rather quickly, but sounded really good.

Once again, the funny girl got on stage. This time the crowd was soo loud talking amongst themselves that you couldn’t hear a word she was saying.

Next was Plushgun from Brooklyn. Their music is probably best known from being used in a Comcast commercial, and most recently on an episode of the Jersey Shore. Once they started playing, everyone seemed to be dancing for the rest of the night. It was obvious that most of the crowd was here to see these guys since it got pretty crowded at this point. Plushgun play the kind of indie synth-pop that is really catchy. The crowd sang along with a few of the songs, which seemed like an easy thing to do. At one point, a Hello Kitty guitar made an appearance for a couple of songs. The band really seemed to be enjoying themselves, which always translates to everyone having a good time.

Plushgun5Plushgun1
Plushgun2Plushgun4
Plushgun6

I went to this show not really knowing what to expect but ended up having a really fun time. All three bands sounded great and the crowd was really into all of them as well, which always makes it better. My only complaint is that I really wanted to buy some of the bands cd’s and even though there was a merch table set up, nobody was actually there to sell anything. What’s up with that???

Cooling TowersFacebook, Twitter, Bandcamp
Endless WaveFacebook, Twitter, Bandcamp
PlushgunFacebook, Twitter

Concert Review: Best Coast, Male Bonding, Young Adults

I arrived at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge on a very drizzly Tuesday night for one of my other “most anticipated” shows of 2010. I met up with a friend and as we were getting our wristbands, she noticed that there was a “sold out” sign hanging up, although at this point, there was a decent amount of people, but not sellout sized. I also realized that I haven’t been there in a couple of years.

We caught the last 2 songs of Young Adults set, which sounded good, although I was not familiar with them at all. As we waited at the bar for our drinks (sidenote: these were the cheapest drinks I’ve had at any Boston area club), the bartender asked if we knew who the band was. He said he was really liking them, so that must mean something. I’ll have to check their Myspace and give it a listen.

Male Bonding
Male Bonding

Next up was Male Bonding, all the way from the UK. We made our way towards the front of the stage to watch them. I didn’t really know much about this band either. They played grunge tinged guitar rock, with a little bit of a surf sound, which got a few people in the crowd, who were way to old to be doing so, to start moshing. Some more people joined in and there were even some girls moshing, but everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun, so that’s cool. The songs were short and loud but they weren’t bad at all. I will have to listen to some more of their stuff online when I get a chance. Did I mention they were loud?

After a beer refill, some moseying at the merch table (it’s always cool when bands work their own tables), and trying to figure out the logistics of how a midget could use the Breathalyzer machine that was mounted kind of high on the wall, Best Coast came on stage.

Best Coast
Best Coast

By this point, the club had filled up due to this being Best Coast’s first ever Boston show, which made it impossible to get close to the stage again. We decided to stay towards the back where it was easier to see anyway. Their lo-fi sound didn’t really translate over into the live show. Songs such as “Boyfriend” or “Crazy For You” sounded much cleaner live. The clearer vocals sounded good considering that lead singer Beth had been battling the flu all week according to her twitter feed. They pretty much went through their whole debut album, Crazy For You.

Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast
Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast

They played for around 50 minutes or so. After they left the stage, people were yelling for more and the band came out to play an encore which was pretty cool. This night seemed to go by way too fast and was over before I knew it. Overall, I had a great time and really hope that Best Coast makes Boston a regular stop when they tour again.

Best Coast – Wish He Was You