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: King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, The Murlocs, Doug Tuttle at The Sinclair 5-13-2016

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Due to highway construction, I had to take a detour on my way to Alewife but happened to catch the Red Line train to Harvard Square just in time. I made the short walk to The Sinclair, where there was a little bit of line out in the drizzling rain to get in. At least the line moved fast, so it wasn’t a bad wait. Once inside, I ordered an Honest Weight Venture Paper rye beer and found a spot off to the side to see Doug Tuttle, who were already playing to a packed club.

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Doug Tuttle

Doug Tuttle played a pretty high energy psych rock set and sounded real good. This was my first time seeing them on a stage bigger than the one at the Middle East Upstairs, and it seemed to add to the energy, which in turn had the crowd going wild. They ended with a long, intense feedback filled jam which set the bar pretty high for the rest of the night.

I had a scary moment as I took out my Doppler Labs’ Dubs earplugs to chat with someone and the tip got stuck in my ear. After a few minutes, I managed to fish it out, but this is the third time this has happened in as many shows. So as much as I like these earplugs, I just can’t recommend them anymore (especially with the company, Doppler Labs, being unresponsive to this problem), which sucks, because they are one of the few that fit my ears perfectly. I switched to my backup pair of Planet Waves, which didn’t work quite as well, so the search for a new set is on.

I went to the bar to order another beer, this time a Blue Point Brewing Toasted Lager as I waited for The Murlocs to go on. I’ll give it to The Sinclair, they always have a good selection of beers on tap.

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The Murlocs

I’ll be honest, it took a little bit of time for me to get into Mebourne, Australia’s The Murlocs. About halfway through the set, their bluesy garage rock sound got a little heavier and I came around to liking them. It was a good segue into King Gizzard, who were up next.

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King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

I got to see about 15 minutes or so of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s set in Austin last month. By “see”, I mean standing near an open door behind Barracuda with around 20 other people and peeking in, but it was enough to convince me to want to see them when they hit the Boston area. Considering how fired up the sold out crowd was when the 7 members of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, also from Melbourne, took the stage, I knew this was going to be an insane set, and not just because of the “No Moshing” signs that were posted at the front door.

Opening with “Robot Stop”, which is also the first track on their new album Nonagon Infinity, the band had a frenetic energy that caused several mosh pits and crowd surfers to emerge during songs like “Evil Death Roll“. Much like that album, almost all of the songs flowed into each other and only stopping occasionally. With double drummers, and at times, harmonica and flute, they played a set that also featured songs from some of their older albums as well. After they finished, I went down to the front of the stage to see if there was a setlist (there wasn’t), but I ended up talking to a guy who was picking up his broken glasses and just passed it off as an “it was soo worth it!” kind of thing. That pretty much sums up how good of a time people had at this show and I have to agree.

I really wanted to get a King Gizzard t-shirt, but they only had XXL (?) left, so maybe next time. I was getting pretty hungry at this point and even though I swore I’d try something different, I still ended up at Tasty Burger for my usual Big Tasty. The place was filled with people wearing King Gizzard t-shirts and carrying newly purchased King Gizzard records, which was pretty cool. I caught one of the last trains back to Alewife and made my way home after what was a great night of music!

Review: Boston Fuzzstival 2015 at the Middle East Downstairs 8-08-2015

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The bands

After still being pretty pumped from last weekends Lollapalooza, I wanted to keep that whole music festival kind of thing going, as I do every year. It was a little bit of a tough choice as AS220’s Foo Fest was happening in Providence, and Fuzzstival was going on in Cambridge. I decided to stay local and hit up Fuzzstival, since I was more familiar with the bands. I drove to Alewife, hopped on the T, and got to the Middle East by 4pm. It was a little weird to be there while it was still bright and sunny out. As I got my wristband and walked downstairs as Magic Shoppe had just started playing.

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Magic Shoppe

Magic Shoppe, who are currently my favorite local band, featured a couple of new members from Moontower (or is Moontowers? I still don’t know which one is correct). As usual, they sounded amazing with their dark and psychedelic sounds. On a side note, they are doing an IndieGoGo to fund their upcoming E.P. “Interstellar Car Crash” this fall. More info here.

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The Midriffs

Garage rockers The Midriffs started playing right away on the side stage, which was near the smaller bar. It was kind of hard to see if you weren’t standing directly in front of the band or along the side railing. One guy was trying to mosh, but it didn’t really quite work out. The Midriffs played an awesome set of surf tinged rock.

It was getting kind of hot, so I ordered a Jacks Abby Hoponius Union and made my way to the front of the main stage for 2015 Rock n Roll Rumble winners Zip-Tie Handcuffs.

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Zip-Tie Handcuffs

Zip-Tie Handcuffs definitely lived up to the hype and I can see why the won the Rumble. It was a high energy set of garage and punk rock that never slowed down.

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Wakes

Wakes were up next. They totally killed on the side stage with their lo-fi rock. After their set I grabbed a Harpoon UFO White.

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ADVAETA

ADVAETA who came from New York, were incredible with a noisy rock sound and a lot of distortion. They were one of my favorite bands of the day, and I’m looking forward to seeing them again when they come back to the area in September.

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Flea Bite

Flea Bite were on at the smaller stage and I ended up leaving during their set to find some food. I’m rarely in Central Square during the daytime, so I wasn’t sure where to find something good and fast. I played it safe and ended up at H Mart for some curry chicken, then made my way back to the Middle East. Looking at posts tagged with #fuzzstival, it sounded like I missed an amazing set by the Televibes. Dammit, I picked the wrong time to leave (but was there really a good time to leave?).

I got back just as Earthquake Party were finishing up and the Middle East seemed to have filled with a noticeably larger and different crowd.

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Vundabar

Vundabar were next. This is another local band I have been trying to see for a while. There was a lot of funny banter between songs, including a lot of stuff about Starbucks. They ended up doing a cool cover of Black Sabbath’s “Warpigs“, but changing the lyrics to be about Starbucks.

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Black Beach

Black Beach on the side stage played loud, oh so loud, grungy punk rock.

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Doug Tuttle

Doug Tuttle, another favorite, were on next. What can I say, they played a pretty rocking set of psych goodness.

Atlantic Thrills, another local favorite, played the side stage. I made sure to stay far enough away so none of their beer ended up in mine. They played a fast and wild set that had the crowd going crazy up front!

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Quilt

Quilt kind of brought things down a notch with a more mellow set than the last few bands. I saw them at Austin Psych Fest last year and their music went really well with the late afternoon sun. It was a little different seeing them in a club, but they were still pretty good.

Gymshorts, well I couldn’t actually see them because of all the people gathered at the side stage, but uh, they sounded good.

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Drug Rug

Drug Rug had an indie rock sound with some twang thrown in. They seemed to be a crowd favorite, which at this point, the place was full of people.

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Nice Guys

Nice Guys are a band I got to see for the first time last month and were really fun. Again, due to the stage layout, I didn’t have a good view of them, until the singer got up on a table. They totally rocked and had a small mosh pit at the front of the stage and the set was completely insane!

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CreaturoS

Closing out the night were psych fuzz rockers CreaturoS, who were surrounded by friends and members of other bands around the stage. I ended up leaving during their set since it was a long day and I was getting tired. I picked up a Fuzzstival t-shirt on my way out, although not the design I wanted, but they were sold out of the other ones (mental note: buy t-shirts before the end of the show). This whole day/night was fun and I am already looking forward to next year’s Fuzzstival.

Review: Littlefoot, Doug Tuttle, Calvin Love, Jacco Gardner at the Middle East Upstairs 6-14-2015

After several delays on my way to Cambridge, including construction on 95 and very long times between red line trains at Alewife, I was finally at the Middle East upstairs for a show that I had been looking forward to all week. Littlefoot were already playing as I made my way through the crowd for a better view.

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Littlefoot

I first saw Littlefoot at AS220’s Foo Fest in Providence a couple of years ago and instantly liked them. With a hazy throwback to 60’s pop music, they played a really catchy set! It was a good way to start the night.

I ordered a Harpoon UFO, of course, then made my way back through the packed crowd to get closer to the stage for Doug Tuttle.

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Doug Tuttle

Every time I see Doug Tuttle, I end up liking them more and more. After adjusting some projectors that seemed to be blinding the band, they played an awesome set of psych rock. They ended with a frenzy of guitar and bass distortion, which was really cool.

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Calvin Love

Calvin Love was up next. Admittedly, I wasn’t familiar at all with this band, who are from Edmonton, Canada, but ended becoming a fan a few songs in. They had an 80’s synth pop sound, with Love splitting duties between guitar and synthesizer. This was my favorite band of the night.

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Jacco Gardner

Jacco Gardner, yet another band I have seen at Austin Psych Fest, took a little while to get set up, but once they did, the band went right into their mellow sounding psychedelia. Jacco Gardner seemed kind of shy on stage, and from what I managed to catch of it, they played a pretty good set. I ended up having to leave a few songs in, because it was a Sunday night and the T doesn’t run late, even though the show did.

This whole night had a bit of a retro vibe to it and I ended up buying Calvin Love’s new CD “Super Future”, which I’m really enjoying. A few tracks can be streamed on his Bandcamp page if you’re curious. It was a rough Monday morning at work, but soo worth it to see some great bands!

Review: Atlantic Thrills, Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion, Doug Tuttle, The Barbazons at the Middle East Up 4-24-2015

There were a lot of options for shows to see in Boston on this night, but I was really looking forward to this one, because it featured some really great local bands, plus having seen all of these bands before, I knew it was going to be a fun night. It as an incredibly fast ride to Central Square, especially for a day where the T was free. There was a pretty good crowd inside of the Middle East Upstairs, and the Atlantic Thrills were already playing.

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Atlantic Thrills

I first saw the Atlantic Thrills at AS220’s Foo Fest in Providence a couple of years ago, where there was an insane mosh pit during their set. Tonight wasn’t quite as crazy (although the guy in front of me was dancing spastically), but their garage rock sound was a good way to kick off the night.

It was time for a much needed beer, so I went with whatever the interesting looking tap at the bar was, which turned out to be Hopponius Union from Jack’s Abby. Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion were setting up.

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Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion

Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion launched right into their frantic surf rock and the energy never stopped. With their faces hidden with bandanas and wearing scorpion t shirts, they totally killed it. These guys are always fun to see live.

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Doug Tuttle

I liked the first beer so much, that I ordered a second one as Doug Tuttle were going on. They had an unusual set up that featured the drummer close to the front of the stage.There were a few new songs that I was really liking. I had previously seen Doug Tuttle at Fuzzstival last year and the more I listen to them, the more I’ve really gotten into their psych rock goodness! They have really grown on me in the last few months.

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The Barbazons

I have seen The Babarzons several times now…what’s left to say that I haven’t already? Since this was a record release party for their new LP Avec Plaisir (I highly recommend picking this album up, it’s really good!), they played some new songs from it which were full of garage rock goodness! The crowd was really into it, turning the show into a fun dance party.

It was a really fun night of local music and you seriously can’t go wrong with any of these bands. As I was perusing the merch table, one of the guys from Atlantic Thrills handed me a sticker. Since I had skipped dinner, a quest for food was in order. The now defunct HiFi Pizza has become a 24 hour Clover restaurant. Nothing against them, but the last thing I want at 1am is vegetarian food. I ended up at Mass Chicken since my usual spot had a line out the door. I ended the night with a much needed chicken cheese steak wrap with a side of cheese steak fries that totally hit the spot!

Review: Boston Fuzzstival 2014 at the Middle East 8-02-14

I had missed the first Fuzzstival last year because it conflicted with another event I already had plans to go to, so I was really looking forward to it this year. Although the Boston Fuzzstival 2014 actually started at 1pm, I wasn’t able to go until the evening, which meant that I missed some bands that I really like. After a pretty quick ride on the T, I was at the Middle East downstairs in Central Square, where Magic Shoppe were already playing to sort of a small crowd. I went to the bar and ordered some sort of dunkelweiss that the bartender assured me was “smooth”, then proceeded to get closer to the stage.

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Magic Shoppe

Magic Shoppe are a psychedelic band from Boston that had six people on the stage. Their music reminded me of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and they would definitely fit in perfectly on one of the stages at Austin Psych Fest. At one point, they announced that their cassettes would be free at the back table and there was a mad rush to get one (I was unsuccessful).

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28 Degrees Taurus

After a short break, 28 Degrees Taurus were up next. These guys and girl are one of my favorite local bands and not just because singer/guitarist Jinsen Leiu is the guy behind the great Deep Heaven Now festivals, but because they are an awesome band and seem like pretty cool people as well. I was up front for their set and really feeling their psych/dream pop music. They even played a couple of brand new songs that were really good.

Back to the bar for a Harpoon UFO, which has become my “go to” beer while at shows lately as I waited for The Fagettes to set up.

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The Fagettes

The Fagettes played a pretty wild set of garage rock on what seemed to be a pretty crowded stage, due to all of the people in the band. These guys were really fun!

I decided to switch up my drink this time around and opted for a Harpoon Dark. This was a mistake as this beer was a little harsh and I didn’t really like it, but forced it down as I waited for the Fat Creeps to go on.

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Fat Creeps

Fat Creeps were one of several local bands that I like and wanted to see live. They had kind of a dreamy indie rock sound with a little bit of surf pop that worked really well.

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Doug Tuttle

I started having issues with my earplugs, probably due to taking them out too many times, but finally managed to get them to work. Doug Tuttle were up next and admittedly I wasn’t all that familiar with them, although I did see some of their set at Austin Psych Fest this year. This was probably the most mellow set of the night, at least during the time I was there. A really tall girl in the crowd seemed to like them…a lot! I don’t know what the name of it was, but the last song they played, with its feedback at the end was pretty cool.

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Ghost Box Orchestra

Ghost Box Orchestra, a band I really like but never saw live for one reason or another were up next. With a mix of synthesizers and long droney sounding songs, they did not disappoint. This was one of my favorite sets of the night.

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New Highway Hymnal

The final band of the night and festival were The New Highway Hymnal. I first heard of them from a coworker a couple of years ago, but never got a chance to see them live until now. They shut the place down with an absolutely amazing set of noisy psychedelia! It was a very high energy way to end the festival!

I picked up a Fuzzstival t-shirt and sought out a slice of pizza from ABC Pizza, which was quite an experience due to the conversations of a few drunk girls. I was regretting not getting to the show earlier and seeing all of the bands, especially considering how fast this night went by. It was a fun time with a pretty cool crowd and I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the next one!