Review: The Flaming Lips, Clipping, at the House of Blues Boston, MA 3-3-17

Mushrooms

The ‘shrooms

To say that I was excited about this show is an understatement. After a very long, due to traffic, drive from work into Boston, I parked near Fenway and made my way over to the House of Blues. The line to get in was insanely long and seemed to take forever but then again, it was freezing out, so that probably made it feel worse. Once inside, people were greeted by two giant inflatable mushrooms in the back of the club and a stage setup that was pretty awesome looking. I met up with my good friend Matt, who was just as excited for this show.

I haven’t been to the House of Blues in a while, but they now have a small bar with craft beers and food next to the coat check room. I started with a Jack’s Abby House Lager, which is probably the first beer from Jack’s Abby that I didn’t care for.

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Clipping

Clipping is a hip hop group that seemed to use a lot of jittery static sounds. As Matt stated, this guy can flow and I can’t argue with that. This seemed like an odd choice for an opener though, which was echoed by several people in line at the merch table after the show. Regardless, Clipping was pretty interesting to see.

I gave the Harpoon Hoppy Adventure a try and it wasn’t too bad, but I expected something a little different. I made my way back to the front to get a good view of The Flaming Lips.

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The Flaming Lips

I had caught a little bit of The Flaming Lips set in Austin at Levitation in 2015, but left early since I was pretty beat by the time they went on, but tonight, I wasn’t going to miss any of it. Also, this was the first date of their current tour.

It didn’t take long for a busy stage crew to set up, so with balloons and cannons drowning the crowd in confetti, the Flaming Lips started with “Race for the Prize” and I knew this night was going to be amazing. During “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”, Wayne Coyne, who was flanked by giant inflatable dancing frogs, wasn’t quite feeling the karate chops from the crowd. After a restart and much more energetic karate chops, the tone for the night was set.

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The Flaming Lips

Wayne Coyne truly seemed to be having a great time and I don’t think he stopped smiling all night. He interacted with the audience a lot, at one point, climbing into a giant inflatable ball during their cover of Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, and riding a unicorn through the crowd while shaking hands with people during “There Should Be Unicorns”. The trippiest part of the night had to be during “The W.A.N.D.”, which featured a lot of strobe lights, including one strapped to Coyne’s chest and two giant eyeballs. They finished with “Do You Realize”, which was a great way to end the night.

After leaving the House of Blues, I braved an intense snow squall and made my way over to Tasty Burger for some late dinner before heading back home. I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of this show and am now happy that I finally got to see them. I know it’s still early, but this will probably go down as my favorite show of the year.

The Flaming Lips 2017 tour dates:

5-9-2017 Los Angeles, CA, USA The Theatre at Ace Hotel
5-10-2017 Oakland, CA, USA Fox Theater
5-12-2017 Portland, OR, USA Roseland Theater
5-13-2017 Spokane, WA, USA Knitting Factory
5-15-2017 Vancouver, BC, Canada Queen Elizabeth Theatre
5-16-2017 Seattle, WA, USA Paramount Theatre
6-3-2017 Wichita, KS, USA Riverfest
6-17-2017 Chattanooga, TN, USA Riverbend Festival
6-23-2017 Pilton, England, UK Glastonbury Festival
6-24-2017 Hull, England, UK Zebedee’s Yard
6-26-2017 Norwich, England, UK The LCR
6-27-2017 Brighton, England, UK Brighton Dome Concert Hall
6-30-2017 Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain Vida Festival
8-11-2017 Newquay, England, UK Boardmasters Festival
8-12-2017 Birmingham, England, UK The Rainbow Open Air Arena
8-13-2017 Bristol, England, UK Colston Hall
8-15-2017 Glasgow, Scotland, UK Barrowlands
8-16-2017 Nottingham, England, UK Rock City
8-18-2017 Hasselt, Belgium Pukkelpop
9-10-2017 Portmeirion, Wales, UK FestivalN°6
9-17-2017 Saint Paul, MN, USA Myth Live Event Center
9-18-2017 Milwaukee, WI, USA Eagles Ballroom Club Stage
9-19-2017 Indianapolis, IN, USA Farmers Bureau Insurance Lawn
9-20-2017 Niagara Falls, NY, USA Rapids Theatre
9-29-2017 Houston, TX, USA Revention Music Center
9-30-2017 Irving, TX, USA Pavilion at The Music Factory
10-1-2017 Austin, TX, USA ACL Live at the Moody Theater
10-5-2017 Phoenix, AZ, USA Comerica Theatre

Review: Honeyblood, Belle and Sebastian at the House of Blues 3-30-2015

With this show happening on a workday, I got a late start due to trying to take a nap before the show. After switching from the Red Line to the Green Line to Kenmore, I met up with some friends and we were off to the House of Blues to see Belle and Sebastian. Once through the door, we were directed all the way to the top of the venue…like as high as one can possibly get, but not before grabbing some beers first. I started out with a (very overpriced can) of Goose Island IPA, which wasn’t bad. As we waited at the bar, we had a pretty good view of Honeyblood, who were already well into their set.

Honeyblood

Honeyblood

Honeyblood, are a duo from Glasgow, Scotland, with one member on guitar and the other playing drums. These two ladies seemed to be dwarfed by the large stage. We only caught the last 3 songs, but we were liking their garage, indie rock sound. After they were done, we were off to find our seats. These seats seemed to be in what could be considered the “over 40” section, with much of the crowd around us being well over 40 (and obnoxiously loud…which was kind of strange). One more run for another Goose Island IPA before Belle and Sebastian came out for the first show of their North American tour.

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Belle and Sebastian

As Belle and Sebastian, of which there were many members, came out to take their places on stage, the crowd was cheering and clapping. The band started out with the light sounding “Nobody’s Empire” from their new album “Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance”. From there, it was a mix of old and new songs including the danceable “The Party Line” (my favorite song off of the new album) and into “Dirty Dream Number Two”. Towards the end of the night, they let people come on stage and dance during “The Boy with the Arab Strap”, which I’m sure was the highlight of more than a few fans year.

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Belle and Sebastian

The band came back and played a couple more songs for the encore, ending with “Judy and the Dream of Horses”, before thanking a very happy and excited crowd that didn’t want it to end. As my friends headed back to Providence, I took at detour because ya know, Tasty Burger. This was a really fun night, with lots of strange characters around us, but it was good to see Belle and Sebastian again.

Review: My Bloody Valentine at the House of Blues Boston 11-07-2013

After giving some serious thought to flying to London back in March for My Bloody Valentine’s 2 shows at Hammersmith Apollo, I was surprised to hear that they were going to do a small US tour and actually shocked that Boston was one of the stops on this tour. The only downside was that it was taking place at the House of Blues, a venue I personally boycott due to the ridiculous security which takes away from any enjoyment of actually seeing a show there. I managed to put that aside on this night (to be fair, it wasn’t as bad this time, but when one of the people with us wanted to lean against the rail because her foot hurt and security yelled at her, I remembered why I hate this venue).

I left early enough, but got stuck on the green line where we sat in a holding pattern for 15 minutes, which in turn caused me to miss the opening band, Dumb Numbers. The consensus via text messages from my friends who were already there, was that I didn’t miss much. I arrived at the House of Blues and immediately got a Harpoon UFO White, then tried to find my friends amongst the large crowd. Once I found them, we caught up a bit and waited patiently for the band to go on.

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My Bloody Valentine

As Kevin Shields and the rest of the band walked on stage, the sold out crowd erupted with cheers and applause. Kicking things off with “Sometimes” and going into “I Only Said“, the band sounded amazing. It seemed as if Shields switched guitars for every song, including acoustic guitars amongst the many electric ones. He pretty much stayed on his side of the stage, flanked by a tower of speakers that he seemed to be playing to at times. Songs like “Only Shallow” and “To Here Knows When” sounded incredible live, although bassist Bilinda Butcher’s vocals were kind of hard to hear over all of the other sounds going on. When they went into “Wonder 2“, from the mbv album released earlier this year, it felt as if there really was a jet engine running in the building.

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My Bloody Valentine

They ended the night with “You Made Me Realize” and it’s famed middle section that consists purely of sonic noise, which is also known as the “holocaust”. I took out my earplugs briefly which gave it an entirely different sound, as in you could almost make out the guitars as opposed to just hearing noise and yeah, it was LOUD! I was excited to finally experience this in person and I’m not really sure how long it lasted, but we guessed that it was somewhere around 8 minutes.

After playing for what was probably the fastest hour and a half of my life, the band was done and walked off stage to an extremely appreciative audience. All of the conversations I overheard agreed with my thoughts of this being an amazing show, and perhaps show of the year. It really was more of an experience rather than just another concert. I’m still seeing the swirling visuals that were projected behind the band in my head. I don’t know if it was just me or what, but I expected this to be a much louder show than it actually was, which is not to say that you should go without earplugs, because it was still tinitus inducing loud.

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My Bloody Valentine

The only bummer of the night was that I didn’t pick up a long desired mbv shirt because I didn’t realize there was a merch table and only found out about after I met up with friends outside. Now, if only someone could get a Ride reunion to happen!

My Bloody Valentine Announce a Mini Tour of North America!

mbv cover

In what is probably the best news of 2013 and perhaps the decade, My Bloody Valentine have announced an eight date mini tour of North America, which begins in November and includes Boston!

I’m totally conflicted on the Boston date since it’s at the House of Blues, a place I have a love/hate relationship with, due to the airport-like security which takes away from any enjoyment of going there. Perhaps a roadtrip to NYC for the 2 shows at Hammerstein Ballroom would be more fun instead…who wants to go*?

* I’m still going to the Boston show, I mean, it will be epic! But I’m serious about a NYC road trip too!

My Bloody Valentine 2013 tour dates:

Nov. 1: Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul, MN
Nov. 3: Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL
Nov. 5: The Kool Haus, Toronto, Canada
Nov. 6: Metropolis, Montreal, Canada
Nov. 7: House of Blues: Boston, Boston, MA
Nov. 9: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
Nov. 11: Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City, NY
Nov. 12: Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City, NY

Major Lazer at the House of Blues in Boston sounds like a lot of fun (not really)!

I was thinking about going to see Major Lazer at the Boston House of Blues tonight, but while looking for tickets on Ticketmaster, I came across the following list:

RESTRICTED ITEMS: The following items are not permitted at the House of Blues. Additionally, we reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone. All persons and items subject to search upon entry.
” No backpacks
” No oversized purses
” No dolls
” No toys
” No kandi
” No plush or furry items
” No glow sticks, light gloves, or other light toys
” No professional (detachable lens) cameras
” No video cameras
” No weapons of ANY kind
” No markers
” No bandannas, gas masks, or pacifiers
” No glass
” No bottles
” No open cigarette packs
” No food, gum, or candy
” No outside beverages
” No illegal substances and paraphernalia
IDENTIFICATION: For US citizens, a valid DMV-issued photo ID or USA passport is required. For international guests, a valid passport is required

Doesn’t that sound like a blast? I think they forgot to add “No fun” to the list. I get why some of these things are on here, but really? It’s less of a hassle to go to the airport than it is to see a band at the House of Blues, where they make you feel like a criminal before you even get through the door. It kind of sucks because it’s not a bad place to see a show, but I’ll only go if it’s a band I really, really, want to see. Otherwise, I’ll just wait and catch them next time around at a different venue.

Concert Review: Refused at the House of Blues in Boston 7-20-12

When I first heard that 90’s political hardcore band Refused were reuniting this year, I definitely wanted to see them live. And on Friday night…I did. I arrived at the House of Blues a bit later than I planned, so I ended up missing the opening band Off!.

Let me get this out of the way first, I absolutely hate the Boston House of Blues with a passion and try to avoid any show there, unless it’s someone I desperately want to see. You don’t even go through this much security and pat downs at the airport! And don’t get me started on the overpriced drinks and attitudes of many of the staff (although the bartender on the 3rd level was actually pretty cool). I grabbed a Harpoon UFO White, which tasted really bad (guessing it was old stock) and found a spot on the 2nd level mezzanine looking down to the stage, as I and several others waited for Refused to come out.

Refused curtain

After a long musical buildup, a huge curtain with “Refused” on it dropped and the crowd went wild! Starting off with “Worms of the Sense/Faculties of the Skull“, a huge mosh pit formed. Actually, the pit grew and kept going for the rest of the night. Even the band was dancing and jumping around through their whole set, with frontman Dennis Lyxzén showing off some old school popping moves. This led me to wonder who would win a dance off, Dennis Lyxzén or At The Drive In’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala? He also told stories from the band’s past as well.

Refused at the Houes of Blues BostonRefused at the Houes of Blues Boston

Funky dance moves aside, the band sounded amazing and you’d never know that they only reunited just this year. That’s just how tight they were. It was actually kind of strange to see a band play longer than 30 minutes, since I’ve been going to smaller shows lately and that seems to be the norm. At one point, Dennis jumped into the crowd, which held him up and was a pretty cool sight to see. They finished with “The Shape of Punk to Come” and left the stage.

Refused at the Houes of Blues BostonRefused at the Houes of Blues Boston

The band came back out for a 2 song encore, which they held back “New Noise” for. At the end, the band all took a bow, acknowledging the fans. They absolutely killed it and this definitely goes down as one of the best concerts I’ve been to in 2012.