Review: Boston Fuzzstival 2016 Night 2 at the Middle East Downstairs 8-20-2016

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Every year I look forward to Fuzzstival, which is put on by Jason Trefts (a dude I have yet to formerly meet) at the Middle East in Central Square. It really is one of my favorite nights of music because it pretty much puts all of my favorite local-ish bands on one bill over two nights. I skipped the first night since I had something else going on, but got to the Middle East right at 6pm just as Weakend Friends were playing their last notes. I was really hoping to catch them, but definitely next time. I ordered a Sam Adams Octoberfest from the bar and moved closer to the main stage.

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Painted Zeros

The first band I caught was Painted Zeros who came up from Brooklyn. They played a great set of straight up dreamy indie rock and were a great first band to catch. A second stage was set up off to the side of the main stage, in that slight elevated area near the other bar. WAY OUT were up next on this stage.

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WAY OUT

Providence’s WAY OUT played a pretty energetic set of dark sounding, almost gothy punk rock. I really got into these guys and hope to see them again soon.

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Boytoy

Next were one of my other favorites, Boytoy, who I have been trying to see forever and finally got the chance. They did not disappoint and held the entire crowd’s attention with a set of lo-fi pop punk. This was a great set!

I caught a couple of songs during High Pop’s set but ended up leaving to find some food. The hardest part of Fuzzstival is deciding when to leave to get dinner. I ended up at the Dumpling Room across the street from the Middle East. The potstickers there were amazing and hit the spot.

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Ravi Shavi

I made it back in time to see Ravi Shavi, who are from Providence. This is another band that I’ve been trying to see for a while. With a garage pop sound and frontman Rafay Rashid moving and posing all around the small stage, they brought the room’s energy level up a notch.

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Ghost Box Orchestra

Next were one of my favorite Boston area bands, Ghost Box Orchestra, who I have seen many times. With a pulsing beat throughout most of their epically large sounding set, they pretty much won the night for me. They ended with a cover of the Pixies. This was probably my favorite set of the night.

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Zip-Tie Handcuffs

Another one of my favorites, 2015 Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble winners Zip-Tie Handcuffs melted faces with a very energetic set of garage rock.

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Major Stars

Major Stars, who I didn’t know too much about, started out a little slower than the previous few bands, but then it built up in to long jamming songs and totally won me over.

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Las Rosas

Brooklyn’s Las Rosas had a few people in the crowd dancing with their garage psych sound which at timed seemed to veer almost into punk territory.

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Quilt

This was my 4th time seeing Quilt, and second time within the last couple of months. With a quieter sound, Quilt were a little more subdued than the bands that played before them and there was still a pretty large crowd.

I was starting to get really tired at this point and considered leaving. I stayed until Quilt finished and as much as it killed me to miss Mini Dresses and Doug Tuttle’s sets, 6 hours was long enough combined with ear fatigue setting in from wearing my earplugs for almost that entire time.

I bought a t-shirt and was bummed to miss out on the awesome silk screened t-shirts (I really have to stop waiting til the end of shows to get these things), then headed out to catch the train back home.

As I said before, Fuzzstival is one of my favorite things to go to every year. Much thanks to Jason Trefts who puts it all together and makes it fun while helping to support local music as well as those smaller bands that are not so local.

Review: Secret Lover, Honduras, Sunflower Bean at the Middle East Upstairs 2-27-2016

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There were a lot of good shows on this night, so it was tough to decide where to go. I ended up at the Middle East upstairs for an early show featuring Secret Lover, Honduras, and Sunflower Bean. Secret Lover had just gone on when I got there.

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Secret Lover

Worcester’s Secret Lover are a band that I first saw last year and really liked. With singer Sally Horowitz moving around all around the stage singing somewhat dark songs of love and breakups amongst other things, they played a really good set to kick off the night.

As I waited for Honduras to go on, I ordered a Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union from the bar, which as usual, was delicious.

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Honduras

Honduras are a four piece from Brooklyn and they played an energetic set of fuzzy indie rock. I ended up really liking these guys a lot.

One more Hoponius Union, which has become my new “go-to” beer when I’m out, as I waited for Sunflower Bean to take the stage.

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Sunflower Bean

I don’t know if this show was sold out, but it sure felt like it by the time Sunflower Bean took the stage because the Upstairs was completely filled with people. There is a lot of hype about this Brooklyn trio, partly because the members are all under 21 and sound like they have been playing for years, but mostly because they are really fucking good! Tearing through a set of rock that seemed to cross a lot of genres ranging from psych to dream pop to a bit of noise rock that would have made Sonic Youth proud, the band absolutely killed it. At one point, singer/bassist Julia Cumming jumped down into the crowd while still playing, which was really cool! They even played a new song that isn’t available anywhere. After their set, there was a long line at their merch table where I saw more than a few people with the vinyl version of their newest album “Human Ceremony“, which I also recommend. The band also posed for pictures and chatted with fans, which was really cool too.

This night of music went beyond my expectations and I’m glad I went. All three bands were great. I picked up Honduras new EP called “Gathering Rust”, which can be preordered on their Bandcamp site but doesn’t ship until April, so it was nice to have a preview of this very excellent CD. I ended the night by stopping through Harvard Square for a Big Tasty at Tasty Burger, then made my way home for some much needed sleep.

Review: Sleep Studies, Ghost Modern, Heliotropes, Japanese Monster at TT the Bears 9-06-2013

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Although I was a little out of it after a full day of work and getting very little sleep the night before, I forced myself to go out on this slightly chilly September night, because this seemed like it was going to be an awesome show. A quick ride on the red line and I arrived at TT the Bear’s in Central Square.

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Sleep Studies

Sleep Studies were already on and playing to a decent sized crowd. I only caught the last couple of songs, but the band seemed to have dream pop/shoegaze sound and were pretty good. I was kind of bummed to have missed the majority of their set, but will definitely see them again at Deep Heaven Now 8 in October in Somerville.

At this point, I decided to get a drink and ordered the UFO seasonal, but have no idea which one it was (definitely not pumpkin). It was ok, not anything special though. I made my way near the front of the stage to catch Ghost Modern, who were setting up.

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Ghost Modern

Ghost Modern are a new local band that features ex-members of the excellent Autochrome and Squall. Trading off on boy/girl vocals, with the male vocal being deep and dark and the female vocal counteracting that with a lighter sound, it all came together very well. They are also playing Deep Heaven Now 8, so I’ll get to see them again too.

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Heliotropes

Brooklyn based Heliotropes, just killed it during their set. Their sound can probably best be described as fuzz rock with harmonies. Guitarist and singer Jessica Numsuwankijkul went into several guitar solos and seemed to play off of Amber Myers tambourine and backing vocals. These 4 ladies really seemed to be having fun and it showed. I may have developed a little crush on this band and can’t wait for them to come back to the area. I wanted to buy a physical copy of their CD (their label, Manimal Vinyl doesn’t seem to have one listed on their website), but will end up buying it on iTunes, because this band is that good!

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Japanese Monster

Most of the crowd had cleared out by the time the final band of the night, Japanese Monster went on. They had set up a couple of synthesizers on the stage, but I wasn’t sure what to expect as I haven’t heard any of their music before. Those that left missed out on some really good post punk, slightly dance music and the band was appreciative of those of us that did stay. The visuals being projected onto the band helped enhanced the mood as well. I saw them do about 6 songs before having to leave to catch the train back to my car.

Despite being really tired, I had a pretty good time and enjoyed every band at this show. I would highly recommend seeing any of these bands, as well as seeking out their music. I ended the night with an attempt to get some food at Falafel Palace, but the line was literally out the door and I would have missed the last train. I decided to hit up a McDonalds on my way home, where a very terse little old lady was working the counter and very unintentionally awesomely hilarious!

Music Monday: Boom Said Thunder – “Boom! EP”

I had the chance to see Boston’s Boom Said Thunder this past Friday night during Deep Heaven Now 6 at PA’s Lounge in Somerville and was totally blown away! The Boom! EP starts out with the song “Modern Girls”, which has distorted, fuzzed out bass, frenetic drums, and vocals from singer Abby Bickel, who reminds me a bit of Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. This pace is kept up throughout the four songs on this EP.

Although the songs on this EP are pretty good, the band sounded much more intense live, so I would highly recommend checking them out if they play near you.

Like Boom Said Thunder on Facebook
Follow Boom Said Thunder on Twitter @boomsaidthunder
They also have a Kickstarter to put out a full length album.