Review: Polica, Andrew Broder at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH 2-18-2018

It had been quite a while since I’ve made it out to a show (life and work seems to get in the way these days), so I was pretty overdue. I made a last minute decision to go to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to catch Polica and Andrew Broder at a cool, small-ish space called 3S Artspace.

After finding a parking spot (tip: on street parking is free after 8pm), I bought a ticket at the door and was inside the venue. This may have been the cleanest venue I’ve ever seen a show in and I loved the small size of the place, which made for a more intimate show with great views of the stage. There weren’t many people there yet, so I ordered a Stoneface IPA and waited for Andrew Broder to come out.

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Andrew Broder

Andrew Broder stood behind a laptop and mixed some beats, creating music that had kind of a Twin Peaks (the TV show, not the band) atmosphere to it. As the set progressed, the experimental/droney sounds morphed into something danceable, causing a few people to start moving, but settled back down like a crashing wave towards the end of the nearly 40 minute set.

After the set, I tried a Great Rhythm Brewing’s Tropical Haze, which was really good, as I waited with what was now a much larger crowd for Polica to go on stage.

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Polica

I had the opportunity to see Minneapolis’s own Polica twice in one weekend during Lollapalooza 2012 in Chicago. Once at Lolla and the second at a very small after party at the Hard Rock Hotel. Both times I was blown away and was excited to finally see them again. Featuring two drummers, a bass player, loops, no guitars, and lead singer Channy Leaneagh, this was their first time ever playing New Hampshire.

Starting out with the straight forward “Amongster” from their first album to the thumping beats of “Lipstick Stains“, the band held the crowds attention for the whole night. This also happened to be Channy Leaneagh’s birthday which led to constant shouts of happy birthday from the crowd until about half through their set and everyone joined in with singing happy birthday to her. After the show, Channy chatted with people everyone who lined up at the merch table.

This was a really cool, fun crowd in a really neat space and I had a great time at this show, even if I did feel a bit awkward being there by myself at first. I ended up at Gilleys for a burger and some cheese fries, where I also made a few new drunken friends who were nearly kicked out. This was the kind of fun night I needed and I’m glad I went.

Setlist

Setlist

Review: Harmonix PAX East 2016 After Party at the Hard Rock Cafe Boston 4-23-2016

Although I decided to skip PAX East this year, I had soo much fun at last years Harmonix after party that I had to go again. I got to Alewife only to find out that the trains weren’t running from there this weekend, so that meant an annoying and long ass shuttle bus ride to Harvard Square, and then finally onto the Red Line train. Ugh. Eventually I made it to the Hard Rock Cafe and once inside, waited at the bar with one of my two free drink tickets as I could hear The Warning finishing up their set and I was pretty bummed to miss them. I overheard a lot of people talking about how amazing they were. It took about 20 minutes to get a drink, so yeah. Once I had my Sam Adams Brick Red in hand, I made my way to the back room where the stage is located. There was free food everywhere that ranged from veggie sticks to sliders and egg rolls.

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Princess Problems

The first band I managed to catch was Princess Problems. They played through a set of fun indie pop and seemed to be having a great time up on stage, which made for a really fun show! Making jokes and bantering with the crowd, they definitely won over quite a few people.

I decided to use my second drink ticket on a Sam Adams Rebel IPA but it was not to be as the Hard Rock was having issues with the tap. So, another Brick Red and I made my way to a small room on the other side of the club where they had Rock Band 4 set up. I hung out and watched some people take on the challenge of performing before moving back to the stage area to see Autoblaster. There were hamburger sliders near where I was standing, so I grabbed one to hold me over as I was pretty hungry.

One sidenote: Why does the Hard Rock keep the hot water in the bathroom soo damn hot? Like scalding, unusable hot! Ouch!

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Autoblaster

Autoblaster, which most people know from the game Amplitude, consists of members of the Harmonix team. Although they played mostly synth pop video game music, it felt like soo much more than that. They had a very attentive crowd that was loving every song, and the band really seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage.

I went to get one last beer but was told that all of the taps across two bars were down (except for the Bud/Bud Light ones…ick!). So it was a rum and coke to finish out the night as I waited for Bearstronaut to go on.

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Bearstronaut

Bearstronaut were one of the main reasons I wanted to go to this party and they did not disappoint! There was soo much energy and danciness (is that a word?) that it was contagious with the crowd feeling it and joining in. They played a mix of older songs, including my favorite “Moniker” along with some new stuff from their upcoming album “Telecoast”, which comes out on June 10th (there is a record release party at The Sinclair on this date as well). It was my first time seeing them live and they were amazing! More so because I was right in front of the stage and had a great view of the band.

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Freezepop

The crowd thinned out a bit by the time Boston based synth pop band Freezepop went on, probably due to the lack of late night T service, which had me watching the clock as well. Freezepop are another band that I like but have never seen live but damn, they were really good! Also, they are Kickstarting their new album and more info can be found here.

Despite a few issues getting there, I had an amazing time! I made my way back to the Government Center T stop and just barely caught one of the last trains and shuttle buses back to Alewife. The crowd was really cool (props to the girl dressed as Link from Zelda) and the bands were all really fun and brought good vibes! Also, thanks to Harmonix for throwing another great party!

Concert Review: The Knocks, St. Lucia at Royale Boston 11-20-2014

I had to go to work earlier than usual on the day of this show, so I wasn’t sure how awake I’d be by the time I got there, but I’m glad I went! This show has been sold out for a while and it was one of those rare times I purchased tickets well in advance. After we arrived at Royale, which is in the Boston’s theater district, there was a pretty long line to get in, but at least it moved pretty fast. Once inside, I went to the barand was quickly reminded why Royale is one of my least favorite venues. Drinks are extremely expensive ($7 for a Harpoon? $11 for a Jack and Coke?) and don’t even get me started on the creepiness of the mens bathroom. After getting my overpriced drink, which to be fair, was pretty strong, I made my way off to the side to get a better view of the stage where the Knocks were already playing.

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The Knocks

The Knocks are from New York City and were flanked by dancers on both sides of the stage for most of the night. It was kind of hard to hear them from where we were, but the slightly raised dance floor in front of the stage was packed with people, so it was impossible to get any closer. A group of girls in the back were dancing to everything. They seemed to kind of blow through a set of electronic music, which I imagine was due to time constraints since St. Lucia’s set was to be streamed live on Yahoo. At one point St. Lucia lead singer Jean-Philip Grobler came out and sang with the band on “Modern Hearts”, which was really cool.

I went to the bar and decided to get a Harpoon IPA (ka-ching!) just before St. Lucia came on stage. I first saw St. Lucia at the ASOS Lollapalooza after party at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago last year, but have very vague memories of it because free vodka. I do remember liking them a lot that night, so I was excited for this show.

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St. Lucia

The band took to the stage and started out fairly mellow with “Cold Case” before tearing through their set of 80’s influenced and tropical synth pop. There was a fan on the stage blowing wind at Jean-Philip, adding to the tropical feel of the music and at times making his hair stand straight up. The crowd was dancing and singing along to just about every song. They also played a couple of new songs that are still works in progress and were ok, but will probably require more listens. After my last drink of the night, a Jack and Coke (ka-ching!), I have now spent more on drinks than I did for these tickets. Ahh!

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St. Lucia

The best part of the night was during the encore when they played one of my personal all time favorite songs “Elevate”, which got the crowd dancing around. They finished with one more song and that was it. This was a really fun show and I had an amazing time. I grabbed a much needed quesadilla at Maria’s Taqueria and called it a night. I can’t wait for St. Lucia to come back to Boston.

AS220 Foo Fest 2013 in Providence RI

I had a huge dilemma as to which show to go to. There was the Fuzzstival in Cambridge, which had a great lineup, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Providence and Foo Fest. I decided to keep my annual tradition of hitting up AS220’s Foo Fest just days after Lollapalooza going, because 1, I love Providence, and 2, it’s a hell of a lot easier to make friends at shows in Providence than it is the Boston area. Foo Fest is an annual block party, with a lot of very unique bands on Empire Street in downtown Providence. It’s crazy cheap to get in (only $7), the beers are also cheap, and there are hipsters…a lot of hipsters because hey, it’s Providence.

After getting a much needed coffee at one of my favorite Providence coffee shops, the Coffee Exchange, I got down to the Foo Fest a bit later than planned. Once through the gate, I got a Zeppelin Heif beer, but can’t remember what the brand was, but it was pretty good. I had just missed Medusah Black on the outside stage, so I went inside to check out the Maker Faire, where there were a lot of people showing off 3D printers as well as a lot of homemade gadgets and robots. It was some pretty interesting stuff if you like geeking out to that kind of thing.

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Rhode Island Maker Faire

I made my way back outside in time to see Providence’s own Littlefoot, who played a mix of 60’s surf rock with a bit of dreampop. They totally blew me away and were my favorite band of the day. This was also probably the most mellow band I saw.

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Littlefoot

On the inside stage, the most insane set of the night goes to garage rock band, Atlantic Thrills. The crowd went nuts moshing to every song the band played. At one point, lead singer Eric Aguiar asked for the head of the paper mache donkey that was on the side of the stage, which ended up in the pit and was completely torn apart by the crowd and subsequently left pieces of newspaper everywhere. It was great!! This band was much louder live than their recorded stuff would have you believe, and that’s always good thing!

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Atlantic Thrills

After Atlantic Thrills’ set ended, I went back outside to get another beer and to see VulGarrity. This brother and sister duo’s music was a nice change from the insanity that I had just witnessed on the inside stage. A little bit glam and a lot of rock, the two members kept trading off on guitar and drums (and synth). It was pretty interesting to watch them create live loops as they played as well. I was really liking this band a lot.

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Downtown Boys

I went back inside to see Downtown Boys, who put on a show almost as crazy as Atlantic Thrills. It’s not that often you see a thrash/punk band that is fronted by a female and featuring not one, but two saxophone players. Their songs were short at about a minute and a half each, but I’d definitely recommend experiencing their live shows. I even helped people up that fell while in the pit.

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Lolita Black

Back outside, Lolita Black was already playing and I caught the majority of their set. With a dark and heavy sound, the band had a pretty good sized audience who were really into it. Singer Scarlett Delgado made her way into the crowd to sing for a bit, which was pretty cool. This was one of those Providence bands I never got around to seeing, but was glad I finally did.

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Ssion

Next was the night’s big headliner Ssion (pronounced “shun”), who I never heard of until the Foo Fest lineup was announced. I caught a good portion of his set, but left a bit early since I was starting to get tired and still had an hour drive back home. The first song had a sample of “Rock On” by David Essex and sounded pretty cool with visual on a large screen behind him. For the time that I was there, Ssion’s set consisted of pretty mellow dance music that people really seemed into.

Although it would have been more fun to have people to hang out with during the shows, especially since last year’s Foo Fest was epic in soo many ways. I was bummed about not hitting up Olneyville N.Y. Systems for some delicious 3am junk food, but Haven Bros had to suffice for my ride back home. All in all, I still had a great time by myself and look forward to next year’s fest!

Littlefoot

Atlantic Thrills

VulGarrity

Downtown Boys

Lolita Black

Concert Review: RIBS, Majical Cloudz, The Soft Moon at TT the Bears 1-09-13

I was trying to decide all day whether or not to go out to this show, mostly because I was pretty tired and with the just announced flu epidemic in Boston, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to risk getting sick, but took the chance anyway and yeah, I was really glad I went!

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I arrived at TT the Bears, where there were surprisingly very few people, probably around 15 people or so. I started the night off with an Allagash White, although I probably should have eaten dinner first.

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The first band to play was RIBS who are from Boston. This is a band that I have heard a lot about but never had a chance to see. They sounded great and there was lots of cool strobe lighting, which set the mood for their music. It seemed like people were afraid to get close to the stage as most stayed towards the back. I ended up chatting briefly with drummer Chris Oquist as I browsed the merch tables after their set. He tried to shake my beer soaked hand (due to the cup being overfilled earlier), but I told him I would be back for some CD’s after the show.

Back to the bar for another drink. This time around it was a Pretty Things Jack D’or. It was being featured as TT’s local brew of the week or month or something. It was a little harsh, but not bad.

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Majical Cloudz, a duo from Montreal who use loops to make atmospheric music were up next. They seemed to be having sound problems all night but persevered through it. This band seemed a little out of place since their music was much slower and softer than the other bands. Most of the songs seemed to be about death or dying. At one point, singer Devon Welsh came down from the stage and got down on his knees while singing near the bar. He also walked through the somewhat larger, at this point, crowd and sung amongst them for a bit. They weren’t bad, but I just couldn’t really get into these guys.

For my final beer of the night, I went back to the Allagash White. Probably not a good idea at this point since I was really feeling the first two and starving, but it was tasty regardless.

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The final band was The Soft Moon. I had wanted to see these guys for a while now and they did not disappoint. The band was drenched in a blanket of projected lines, which also set the mood for their dark and gothic dance style of music. They reminded me of Joy Division or early Cure. With drum machines and synthesizers going, they played to a much larger crowd that was loving it. It was a pretty straightforward, although way too short set. I can’t wait to see them again at the Austin Psych Fest in April!

Although I didn’t manage to get any video (I got too caught up in their set), here is their latest video for “Die Life” from the album Zeroes:

After the show, I ended up chatting with Chris from RIBS again, who actually remembered me (and yes, we finally got that handshake done), as I picked up both their Russian Blood and British Brains CD’s. Right after I got the CD’s, I overheard this small blonde girl talking with the band and it turned out to be Abby from Boom Said Thunder (who were one of my recent Music Monday picks). I let her know that I saw her band at Deep Heaven Now 6 and that I was a fan. She was pretty appreciative of that as well. I’m starting to realize that most of Boston’s bands are really, really nice people.

Overall, it was a pretty good night of music and I met some really cool people and it was a great way to start seeing shows in 2013!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!