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: 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.

Review: U4IA, SUNRAM, Ancient River at the Lilypad in Cambridge, MA 5-30-2015

This show was at the Lilypad in Inman Square, which is a place the T doesn’t go to, so I ended up having to drive there (and getting a little lost on the way). I was worried about parking, but there was a lot behind the club which was free after 10pm, and with this being a late show…it all worked out. I stood outside with several other people who were waiting for a while. I guess the earlier show ended late and that pushed things back a bit. I finally went inside and noticed this place was small. Like, really, really small, but that’s ok, it makes for a more intimate show.

I went to the tiny bar that is situated in the front window and got a Jack’s Abby Hopponius Union as U4IA, who replaced the original openers Worthless started to play.

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U4IA

I couldn’t find any information on U4IA through a Google and Facebook search, other than a video from a show he played at Out of the Blue Too Gallery. Surrounded by instruments from the other bands, he wailed on the guitar and occasionally played a keyboard as the drum machine did it’s thing, while also making use of loops. At one point, the very cute and very friendly little dog (Annie as I was informed) that lives upstairs from the Lilypad, decided to take a walk around the stage while U4IA was playing, as well as gave smiles to everyone in the place. It was insanely cute!

I went back to the bar for another beer and being undecided, the bartender, who was awesome by the way, suggested something that had an 11% alcohol content. Having driven there, I had to decline but ended up with his other suggestion of something with a lower content, the Lagunitas IPA, which is always a good choice.

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SUNRAM

SUNRAM is a side project by some of the members of local psych band Ghost Box Orchestra. From what I gather, this was their first show in a long time. Taking turns on different instruments at times, their set was full of instrumental droning and dark psych rock goodness. It seemed to be pretty short, but it was great!

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Ancient River

Up next were Ancient River, a band I got into a few months ago when I heard the amazing first track “This Is The Time” off of their just released Keeper of the Dawn (an album I’m currently mildly obsessed with). For some reason I thought there was more than two people in this band, which was really only a drummer and guitarist. They created both guitar and vocal loops while playing, which gave the illusion of there being more people in the band. At times, the drummer took out a small keyboard and would play that. Unfortunately their set was also really short, which I’m guessing was because of the late start and 1am closing time.

Although there wasn’t much of a crowd left by the end of the night, I got to meet a some new people and the bands were all amazing. The Lilypad is a pretty cool little spot to check out a show, with a good selection of craft beers on tap and I’ll definitely be going back there again.

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!