Review: Warpaint, Lady Pills at the Brighton Music Hall in Allston, MA 9-06-2017

Sign - Warpaint at Brighton Music Hall

I was on the fence about going to this show, but ended up winning tickets from RadioBDC (1 of which went unused since nobody I know likes the same kinds of music that I do). I haven’t been to a show at the Brighton Music Hall since it was called Harpers Ferry, so I was kind of excited to check it out.

I fired up Waze for the first time in a long time, which I had apparently sent to “boy band” voice, thinking it would be funny, but after about 30 seconds, it was annoying and I regretted my decision for the next 45 minutes or so. After driving around endlessly to find to find somewhere to park in Allston, I finally found a spot pretty far away, but I’m not afraid to walk a bit and got to the Brighton Music Hall pretty quick. I was questioned about my camera at the door, which I had to prove didn’t have a detachable lens (I prefer it since it works better in the lower light of clubs, but from now on, I’ll probably stop bringing it because it’s too much of an issue with people working the doors at these places). Once inside, I went to the bar, which seemed to be out of a lot of beers on tap but I ended up getting a Blue Point Hoptical Illusion while waiting for Lady Pills to go on.

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Lady Pills

Lady Pills are a local band that were selected by Warpaint through a contest to open this show. I had missed their set at Lollapalooza this year, so I was excited to finally see them here. They played a really mellow set of indie rock and were a perfect choice as an opener.

In between sets, I decided to try the Kona Longboard Island Lager, which was just awful and had a weird smell. I also ended up buying a t-shirt and caught up with someone I knew for a bit before Warpaint went on.

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Warpaint

Warpaint pedals

Warpaint’s pedals…if you’re into that kind of thing

Warpaint took to the stage to really loud cheers and applause. To say that this sold out audience was into them is an understatement. Kicking things off with “Krimson” and “Undertow”, the band sounded soo much better than they did at Lollapalooza last month. Maybe something was lost by the much larger stage. The highlight for me was when they went from “Love Is To Die” into “Keep It Healthy” and “Disco/Very”, ending with my personal favorite “New Song”, which I find myself humming way too much.

Despite a few minor annoyances (and one major annoyance…that being the 3 girls in front of me that seemed to be there more to socialize with each other and just in general be obnoxious to those around them), this was a pretty good night of music. I ended the night with some food at a place nearby called Habenero Mexican Grill and then made my way home. happy to have seen Warpaint again.

Review: Lush, Tamaryn at Royale Boston 9-15-2016

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Ever since the Lush reunion was announced, I had hoped a tour would follow (it did) and that they would play Boston (they did). I got to Alewife and took the very much delayed Red Line train to downtown Boston, where I met up with a couple of friends for some pre-show dinner and drinks at Jacob Wirth, then we were off to Royale Boston

At the door, our excitement was brought down as I got hassled about my non-removable lens camera by the people working the door (who have a reputation all their own, just look up the Yelp reviews of this place). After proving to them it was NOT a professional camera and that I wasn’t interested in being in the photo pit, amongst other assumptions they made, I was finally allowed in (thanks to the manager who took a quick glance and said it was fine). This was kind of embarrassing and different people who witnessed this whole thing came up to me throughout the night and told me how ridiculous it all was. Admittedly, this whole incident soured me on the night, so I wasn’t all that excited to be there anymore, but tried to make the best of it. All of the pictures below were taken on an iPhone 6 because I was too self conscious about using the camera at this point. Ok, enough with the negatives, I was here to see some bands!

After finding a spot really close to the stage, we made a few friends around us while waiting for Tamaryn to go on.

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Tamaryn

I first saw Tamaryn on the river stage at Austin Psych Fest a couple of years ago and they were amazing. Tonight was even better (minus the incredible backdrop of the Colorado River). Tamaryn came out to loud cheers and started to play immediately. With a dream pop, shoegaze sound that consisted of some fairly heavy bass, singer Tamaryn made her way all over the stage, and at times, played keyboards. I thoroughly enjoyed their set.

After they were done, I checked out the merch table before Lush went on and Tamaryn was signing CDs for people. So that was pretty cool.

I grabbed a Harpoon UFO from that lady that sells them in the back corner for $5 and found a spot to see Lush even though there was a pretty large crowd.

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Lush

I was lucky enough to have seen Lush a few times in the 90’s…including that one time at Rocky Point in Warwick, RI where they played with Live and Weezer (that was a very strange night in more than a few ways). Of course nothing can top the time I saw Lush at a 4AD showcase (which also featured Mojave 3 and Scheer) in the 90’s at Lupos in Providence where I had an awesome spot right against the stage in front of lead singer Miki Berenyi.

It seemed like a it took a while for the band to come out, prolonging the anticipation. When they finally did and launched straight into “De-Luxe“, it was awesome! Although the vocals sounded a little more mature, as they would after 20 years, the band overall sounded great! Playing all of the favorites such as “Hypocrite“, “Light from a Dead Star“, the long slow jammy “Out of Control“, which had quite a few people bobbing their heads, and the faster “Lady Killers” which got everyone dancing around. In fact, during Ladykillers, Tamaryn stopped and danced right in front of me. They ended the set with “Sweetness and Light” and left the stage, only to come back a few minutes later for a 3 song encore. They appeared for a second encore to play one more song, before finally ending the night.

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Lush setlist that some girl was nice enough to let me take a picture of.

Considering all of the issues getting there on the T and then problems with staff, I still ended up having a pretty good time and it was great meeting some new people, but I will have to seriously think about going to any more shows at Royale again.

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: Golden Dawn Arkestra, Indrajit Banerjee & Gourisankar, Fantasmes at the Scoot Inn 5-1-2016

In an attempt at least salvage some part of the cancelled Levitation 2016 weekend and not being able to get tickets for any of the announced last minute shows (ahem…Slowdive), I somehow managed to get a ticket for this one, which isn’t a bad thing as I love Golden Dawn Arkestra. I have never been to the Scoot Inn so I was kind of excited to check out a new venue. If I had one complaint, it would be the lack of information about set times. Multiple Twitter requests about this went unanswered, including those by several other people. The tickets said 5pm, one band posted 7pm, another 9pm. Ugh!

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The Scoot Inn

I got to the Scoot Inn, which is tucked in the middle of a residential neighborhood just east of downtown Austin, around 6:45pm and missed Blondi’s Salvation, who I was really hoping to see. Once inside, it sort of looked like an old fort or saloon and the stage area was much smaller than I expected. It was a pretty cool outside area though, with a lot of people hanging out and waiting. I went to the bar area and got a Fireman’s #4 beer and walked around for a bit as Fantasmes were getting ready to go on.

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Fantasmes

Fantasmes are a band from Puerto Rico and were the first band I got to see on this night. With droning guitars and lots of reverb, they mesmerized the crowd with atmospheric psychedelic jams that went well with the fading sunlight.

I moved to an area near the bar area, which is on a deck that overlooks the grounds and stage. I ordered an Austin Beerworks Black Thunder, which was a nice dark German style beer. I stood on the deck and ended up talking with a couple of people when Indrajit Banerjee & Gourisankar started playing.

Indrajit Banerjee and Gourisankar

Indrajit Banerjee & Gourisankar

Indrajit Banerjee & Gourisankar just kind of walked onto the stage and sat down with their sitar and tabla and started playing. I honestly don’t think many people even realized that their set had started, but instead, thinking as I did that it was the music being pumped over the speakers before the band plays. Either way, these guys sounded really cool. It was kind of hard to see them on the stage, even though I was on the upper deck area near the bar, but there were just too many people in front. It was pretty chill music though, and I’ve said it before, I’m a big fan of the sitar.

I ordered one more Black Thunder before the night’s headliners, Golden Dawn Arkestra went on.

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Golden Dawn Arkestra

A Golden Dawn Arkestra show is something that you actually experience as opposed to something you just see. The first time I saw Golden Dawn Arkestra was at last year’s Levitation kick off party at Red 7 and they were one of the best things I saw all weekend. Tonight was no exception as they were equally as good.

The band made their way to the stage by dancing and singing their way through a crowd that made room for the costumed members to pass through. If you have ever seen Golden Dawn Arkestra, you know there are a *lot* of people in this band, which made me wonder how they were all going to fit on the stage. Somehow, they did, although it did look a bit cramped up there.

The band launched into “Osaka” and had the crowd dancing for the rest of the night. I was a little bummed they didn’t play my favorite song “Dimensions”, but that’s ok, because every song is truly a group experience and everybody was having a good time. They ended their set with “Masakayli” right at 10pm to a crowd that was chanting “one more song! one more song!”. A member of the band came out and explained that they wanted to play more, but there was a curfew so they couldn’t. At that point, most people filtered out.

This was an amazing night of music, and I at least got to see some bands from Levitation, so it wasn’t a 100% bust of a weekend. I took a walk over to East 6th street since I had never really been to this side of Austin and wandered around. I found a cool little bbq stand called Rolling Smoke BBQ and ordered a couple of brisket tacos which tasted amazing, then headed back to my hotel and called it a night.

Levitation 2016 Kick Off Party at Empire Control Room and Barracuda in Austin, TX 4-28-2016

This was a long and very strange day. After getting up at the ungodly hour of 3am to catch a flight to Austin for Levitation 2016 and very little sleep, I was really looking forward to these two shows. I got some lunch at Javi’s Best of Tex Mex, which is one my favorite places near my hotel, then went back to my room for a much needed nap. I woke up around 5pm, checked Twitter real quick and saw the extremely disappointing news that Levitation 2016 was cancelled. I thought this was a joke at first.

So, the festival was cancelled due to the threat of strong thunderstorms in Austin. I don’t think the 2 raindrops that fell all day counts as a storm, but whatever. There’s nothing as devastating as having something you were looking forward to for a year just pulled away at literally the last minute. Levitation/Austin Psych Fest has always been my favorite festival, even more so than Lollapalooza, so yeah, this really sucked. But, I was determined to make the best of the situation and with my weekend now freed up, I had time to do some apartment hunting (I’m looking for some leads on apartments that aren’t filled with waterbugs and possible jobs in Austin) and hang out in some of my favorite coffee shops and restaurants, so that was definitely a plus.

When these shows were announced, I had a hard time deciding where to go to the one at Empire Control Room or Barracuda (the third and much larger show was at the Mohawk, but I didn’t even consider it just because it would have been a pain to run between three clubs), so I bought a ticket for both. Since the show at Empire had an earlier start time and that’s where I began the night.

I got to Empire around 7:45pm, a little later than planned. I really love this venue! It’s small, but you can get a pretty good view of the inside stage from almost anywhere. I ordered a Karbach Weekend Warrior, which wasn’t bad, but had a little more of a sour taste than I like. Beer in hand, I made my way over to the room for Hidden Ritual.

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Hidden Ritual

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The Golden Dawn

With visuals projected onto every wall surrounding the stage, Austin’s own Hidden Ritual played a set full of reverb soaked psychedelia to a pretty good sized crowd. I ended up liking these guys a lot. From there, I went to the outdoor garage stage to see The Golden Dawn. I stuck around for a few songs, but it just wasn’t my thing. Maybe a little too much twang for my tastes. That being said, they had a pretty good crowd packed into the covered garage area as a few raindrops began to fall.

I could see a long line across the street at Barracuda and tried to wait it out for a bit. I ended up just going over there and chatting with people around me as we waited in line. In an “only in Austin” kind of thing, I was recognized by Tayler from Magic Shoppe, who was standing in front of me along with singer Josiah. It really is a small freakin world! This at least made the long wait to get inside that much easier. Inside, nobody was playing yet, so I ordered a Fireman’s #4 from the bar, then made my way to the outside stage to see Death Valley Girls

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Death Valley Girls

The outside stage at Barracuda (formerly Red 7) is one of my favorite places to see bands anywhere. Death Valley Girls definitely brought the garage rock sounds to the outdoor space.

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Sugar Candy Mountain

Sugar Candy Mountain were playing inside, so I went to check them out. To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with this band, but really enjoyed watching their set as did a lot of the people standing around me, who were having a lot of fun watching them. I thought that they sounded a like a more psychedelic Beatles.

I went back outside to see Levitation Room, but not before changing up my drink to a hard ginger ale, which was too syrupy and sweet for my tastes, so I trashed it. I also ran into the dude I was chatting with in line earlier and we ended up hanging out for a bit, so that was cool. Shows are always more fun with people to chill with.

Levitation Room

Coming from LA, Levitation Room brought a breezy sound that was a throwback to the older psych sound of the 60’s. These guys were great!

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The Turns

Back inside, The Turns kept the psychedelic vibes going. I went back outside and caught some of The Coathangers set. These four ladies totally rocked and had more of punk/grunge sound, which was a little different than most of the bands that played on this night.

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The Veldt

Inside, The Veldt were just getting started. Although they come from the early 90’s shoegaze scene, their set had a more R&B/soul feel to it with singer Daniel Chavis emotionally crooning through the songs. There was an intensity that I’m pretty sure every single person in the room felt. This was by far my favorite band of the night and the weekend!

After The Veldt’s set, I went over to Empire to see Ringo Deathstarr, a band I love and have seen a few times in the past. But it was a little too crowded and hot inside, so I went out to the little side area and could still hear them playing their gazey dream pop.

Once the show was over, I walked up 6th Street in a search for some late night food. I ended up getting a burger and fries at P. Terry’s and then made my way back to the hotel for some very much needed sleep and to figure out the rest of the weekend.

First bands announced for Desert Stars Festival 2016

The Desert Stars Festival, now in it’s 9th year, has announced their initial 2016 lineup and so far, it’s a good one with Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh headlining. The festival takes place at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown, located near Joshua Tree National Park. Other bands announced are Magic Wands, Tennis System, Winter, and one of my personal favorites…Ancient River. I’m giving some serious thought to going this year, but I’ll have to wait until the date is a little closer to make that decision.

The festival takes place from 9/23/16 – 9/24/16 and early bird weekend passes are on sale now for $100 and single days are $65.

The Desert Stars Festival 2016 lineup so far:

Dinosaur Jr.
Sebadoh
Moon Duo
Kurt Heasley of Lilys
Magic Wands
Tennis System
Highlands
Cellar Doors
Ancient River
Blood Candy
Band Aparte
Annie Girl and The Flight
Down Dirty Shake
Winter

Review: The Silver Mirrors, S.S. Cretins, Dead Leaf Echo, Magic Shoppe at Out of the Blue Too 11-07-2015

After an unusually long wait for the red line at Alewife, the train finally arrived and I was on my way to Central Square. This was my first show at Out of the Blue Too Gallery, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

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Upon arriving at Out of the Blue Too, the first thing you notice is that this is one funky place for a show. All kinds of artwork was featured along the walls and the “stage” was an area set up in the middle of the gallery surrounded by rope lights, with the bands playing on the floor, which makes for a pretty intimate show. If you’re a fan of beer and other alcohols, one thing to take note of is that there is no alcohol served here, but there is a liquor store a couple of doors down. Use that information as you will. The Silver Mirrors were already playing as I got there.

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The Silver Mirrors

The Silver Mirrors are a garage psych band from Boston. This was the first time I had heard of them but they were a great way to start the night. I’m now a fan and can’t wait to see these guys again!

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S.S. Cretins

Next were S.S. Cretins, who came here from Portland, Maine. I’m not sure how to describe their music other than as raw psychedelic dirty stomp. These guys and girl were really good. After their set, I stepped outside to get some fresh air before Dead Leaf Echo took the stage for the last show of their current tour before heading back home to Brooklyn.

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Dead Leaf Echo

I think this was Dead Leaf Echo’s first show in the Boston area in over a year. The last time I saw them was at the now closed venue Church of Boston (R.I.P.) last year and had a great time at that show. With lots of dreamy gaze and distortion, the band played a set of great music, which was awesome to see in such an intimate setting. They even played some new songs which sounded pretty good. At one point, they dedicated a song to birthday boy Kris Thompson of Magic Shoppe, who I’ve gotten to know over the last year and is a pretty cool dude.

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Magic Shoppe

This was Magic Shoppe’s last show of the year. The stage area seemed really cramped with all 5 members of the band trying to work around a stage crasher playing tambourine. Either way, they killed it as always with their psychedelic sounds, even if the equally psychedelic checkerboard cupcake pring hanging from the ceiling above them seemed to be distracting them (in the best and funniest way possible!). They still remain my favorite local band and it’s going to be a long wait until February to see them play again.

Overall, despite a few minor annoyances, I had a pretty good time seeing and hearing some great bands! I’d recommend seeing any of them live if you get the chance. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.