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

sign

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.

painted zeros 3painted zeros 1painted zeros 4painted zeros 2

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.

way out 1way out 3way out 2

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.

boytoy 1boytoy 2boytoy 4boytoy 5boytoy 7

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.

ravi shavi 2ravi shavi 4ravi shavi 1

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.

ghost box orchestra 1ghost box orchestra 3ghost box orchestra 2

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.

zip tie handcuffs 1zip tie handcuffs 2zip tie handcuffs 3zip tie handcuffs 6

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.

major stars 1major stars 2

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.

las rosas 2las rosas 4las rosas 1

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.

quilt 3quilt 2quilt 1

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

SignSign 2

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.

Doug Tuttle 3Doug Tuttle 1Doug Tuttle 2

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.

The Murlocs 2The Murlocs 1

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.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 3King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 1King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 9King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 7King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 6King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 5

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: Beach Toys, Sun Voyager, Midriffs, The Televibes at the Middle East Upstairs 3-18-2016

After a faster than expected drive to Alewife to catch the Red Line train to Central Square, I was at the Middle East Upstairs for what could only be called a damn good lineup! Beach Toys had just started when I arrived, so I found a spot amongst the decent sized crowd to watch their set.

Beach Toys 1Beach Toys 2Beach Toys 3

Beach Toys

With only drums, bass, and an organ, Cambridge based Beach Toys had a psych-surf-groove kind of thing going. It was a good start to the night.

As Sun Voyager were getting set up, I ordered my new favorite beer…Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union.

Sun Voyager 1Sun Voyager 3Sun Voyager 2Sun Voyager 4

Sun Voyager

The first thing I noticed about Brooklyn’s Sun Voyager, was how much singer Carlos Francisco looked like the guy who used to live downstairs from me. But that was soon forgotten when the band started playing because I was totally memorized! Completely soaking the crowd in reverb and psychedelic garage sounds, they made more than a few new fans and were my favorite band of the night.

Midriffs 1

Midriffs 2
Midriffs 3

The Midriffs

Next were lo-fi punk/garage rockers The Midriffs whose thrashy sounds had people moving. That was a fun set!

I had another Hoponius Union and wandered around a bit as The Televibes were getting set up.

The Televibes 1The Televibes 5The Televibes 4The Televibes 3The Televibes 2

The Televibes

This was originally supposed to be a “farewell to Boston” show as The Televibes were going to relocate to my beloved Austin, but I guess things change (in a weird coincidence, I might not be moving there either…damn you high rents and low paying jobs!). Perhaps this could be called a “we’re staying in Boston” show instead. The band played a very high energy set that had the crowd dancing nearly the whole time. They even brought up a guy named Pete to dance during “Asyd” (video above) and his energy was not lost on a crowd that followed his lead. I saw this dude do the same thing at Fuzzstival last year and it makes for a fun set.

I had a really fun time at this show and was totally blown away by Sun Voyager, but really all of the bands were great! You can’t go wrong with seeing any of them.

Review: Gravel, Kal Marks, CreaturoS, Nice Guys at the Middle East Upstairs 1-28-2016

Sign

It has been a while since I’ve gone out to a show, and after what can only be described as a shitty week (avoid working for big pharma if you can!), I really needed this. So it was off to Alewife where I caught the red line to the Middle East Upstairs in Central Square. I got there kind of early and the place already had a pretty big crowd, especially for a weeknight show. Gravel were up first.

Gravel 3Gravel 6Gravel 7Gravel 4Gravel 5

Gravel

Gravel are from Salem, MA and have a riot grrrl/punk rock sound. They seemed to be having fun on stage, with the lead singer jumping down into the crowd a couple of times and creating a mini mosh pit. I really liked this band a lot!

After their set, I went over to the bar to get a Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union, which tasted amazingly awesome!

Kal Marks 4Kal Marks 11Kal Marks 10Kal Marks 12

Kal Marks

Kal Marks were up next as more and more people filtered in. It has been a while since I’ve seen these guys and they didn’t disappoint. After a broken guitar string during the first song, the band played some cool funk jams. Once the string was replaced, the band played an intense set of music that at times, built up into a frenzy of noise and screaming then come right back down again.

Creaturos 2Creaturos 3Creaturos 4

CreaturoS

With another Hoponius Union in hand, I made my way back through a pretty large crowd and found a spot off to the side to see CreaturoS. They played a really good set of psychedelic garage rock and everyone around me was really into it.

Nice Guys 2Nice Guys 4Nice Guys 1

Nice Guys

Nice Guys were the final band of the night. They started off by playing songs from their new WSM EP cassette, which is really good, as well as some of their older stuff. Things got pretty insane during the set with a few mosh pits breaking out and a few people braver than me crowd surfing. Beers and cups were thrown at the band (in a good way as the band said it only made them stronger), but I’d like to thank the douchebag standing in front of me for covering me in beer when he thought that throwing a full can at the band would be a good idea. Regardless, this was a really fun, crazy set!

This was a much needed night out and a really fun show despite getting covered in beer. All of the bands were great and I had a pretty good time. I stopped by Falafel Palace for a delicious falafel wrap, then caught the train back to Alewife, and called it a night.

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

Sign

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.

Magic Shoppe 2Magic Shoppe 1Magic Shoppe 4Magic Shoppe 3

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.

The Midriffs 1The Midriffs 3The Midriffs 4The Midriffs 2

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.

Zip-Tie Handcuffs 3Zip-Tie Handcuffs 5Zip-Tie Handcuffs 1Zip-Tie Handcuffs 7Zip-Tie Handcuffs 6

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.

Wakes 3Wakes 6Wakes 4Wakes 1

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.

ADVAETA 1ADVAETA 5ADVAETA 3ADVAETA 4

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.

Fleabite 1

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.

Vundabar 1Vundabar 3Vundabar 2

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.

Black Beach 1Black Beach 2Black Beach 3

Black Beach

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

Doug Tuttle 3Doug Tuttle 1Doug Tuttle 2

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!

Quilt 1Quilt 2

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.

Drug Rug 1Drug Rug 2Drug Rug 4Drug Rug 5

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.

Nice Guys 4Nice Guys 1Nice Guys 2

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!

CreaturoS 3CreaturoS 2CreaturoS 4CreaturoS 5

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: G. Gordon Gritty, Atlantic Thrills, Nice Guys, The Barbazons at the Middle East Upstairs 7-01-15

Sign

After a very quick drive to Alewife, I was on the T heading to the Middle East Up in Central Square for the Kids Like You And Me 6th anniversary show! I ordered a Hoponius Union and waited for G. Gordon Gritty to go on.

G Gordon Gritty 2G Gordon Gritty 8G Gordon Gritty 3G Gordon Gritty 6G Gordon Gritty 5

G. Gordon Gritty


I wasn’t familiar with G. Gordon Gritty, but this ended up being my favorite band of the night!! Playing most of a pretty rocking set down on the floor amongst the crowd, then band even let other people in the crowd sing. Tambourine guy danced through the crowd and shook it like nobody’s business. Tambourine guy…you fucking rule! It was time for another drink, so I ordered a Harpoon UFO White and waited for the Atlantic Thrills to go on.

Atlantic Thrills 1Atlantic Thrills 4Atlantic Thrills 3

Atlantic Thrills

Providence’s Atlantic Thrills play surf rock with a psych edge to it. The constant spitting of beer into the crowd by one of the members got old real fast though, especially when some of it got into mine. Not cool. That being said, I have seen these guys a few times and they always put on a fun show!

Nice guys were up next.

Nice Guys 3Nice Guys 1Nice Guys 2Nice Guys 5Nice Guys 4

Nice Guys

This was my first time seeing the Nice Guys, who played a set of dirty garage rock with a punk edge that whipped the crowd up into a dancing frenzy. At one point, the drummer left his spot behind the drums and sang one of the songs, which was really awesome. These guys were a lot of fun! One more Hoponius Union to replace my tainted drink as one of my favorite local bands, The Barbazons were setting up.

The Barbazons 3The Barbazons 4The Barbazons 11The Barbazons 13The Barbazons 6

The Barbazons

My god, I loves me some Barbazons! Really, what more can I say about this band after having seen them so many times? They rocked an all request set with the usual fun energy. I had to leave before they finished because it was a weeknight and the T doesn’t run all that late.

I saw some fun bands, drank some good beers, and had a great time! Thanks to Kids Like Me And You for putting this show on, it was a blast!

Review: Fedavees, Soft Eyes, Holy Wave, The Televibes at the Middle East Upstairs 5-24-2015

This was a tough night to decide on a show to go to, since there was a lot going on around the area, not to mention it was Boston Calling weekend. I had really wanted to see to Holy Wave, so I made my way to the Middle East Upstairs and found a good spot to see the Fedavees, who had just taken the stage.

Fedavees 1Fedavees 4Fedavees 3Fedavees 2

Fedavees

I have seen the Fedavees a couple of times now, but damn they were on fire tonight! With members of Creaturos filling in, the whole band just sounded amazing with their psych-fuzz sound. It was an energetic way to start the show. After they finished, it was time to grab a Harpoon UFO for my first drink of the night.

Soft Eyes 1Soft Eyes 4Soft Eyes 3Soft Eyes 2

Soft Eyes

New Hampshire’s Soft Eyes are a band I wasn’t all that familiar with. Switching between different instruments, including sleigh bells and a flute, they played what could be best described as jammy psychedlia. I was pleasantly surprised and really got into it.

Holy Wave 3Holy Wave 2Holy Wave 4Holy Wave 1

Holy Wave

It was getting kind of hot, so I ordered a Sam Adams Lager and waited for Holy Wave to set up. At this point, there was a pretty decent sized crowd in the upstairs. I first saw Holy Wave at Levitation 2015 aka Austin Psych Fest a few weeks ago, although I think I preferred seeing them in this much smaller venue. With strobe lights blazing and a retro pop-psych kind of vibe, this Texas band, put on an impressive show.

The Televibes 1The Televibes 4The Televibes 3The Televibes 2The Televibes 5

The Televibes

This was an EP release show for The Televibes, and they definitely brought it. They just straight up rocked a surf and garage rock filled set, while managing to get the few people that were left dancing and enjoying themselves.

After almost skipping this show, I’m glad that I ended up going to it. All of the bands were amazing, I met a couple of new people, and this was one of the most fun shows I’ve been to in a while.