Review: Nothing, The Swirlies, Big Bite at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA 10-7-2018

Nothing Sign

It was a dark and drizzly night where I kept flip flopping on whether or not to go out, but decided to go to this show anyway, because I knew I’d regret it if I missed it. I got to the Sinclair in Harvard Square pretty fast, where I bought a ticket at the door for what was a nearly sold out show. Once inside, I started with a Wormtown Be Hoppy which is always a good choice, just as Big Bite went on stage (I had missed smut but heard they were a really good opener).

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Big Bite

I didn’t know much about Seattle’s Big Bite before this show, but instantly became a fan. They tore through a set of grungy sounding post rock that had a big sound to it.

I wandered around a bit and had another Be Hoppy as I waited for The Swirlies, who were up next.

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The Swirlies

It’s funny, I’ve never seen The Swirlies despite having listened to them for a very long time. With a perfect mix of indie rock and shoegaze, they were so much better than I expected. It seemed like a lot of the crowd was there just for them, since it cleared out a bit after their set. I was glad to finally get to see them live and they were a perfect opener for Nothing.

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Nothing

I staked out a good spot on the upper level and had a much better view of the stage for headliners Nothing. The crowd went crazy as the band came out and started with the relatively mellow “Zero Day”. As the night progressed with “Curse of the Sun” and “Us/We/Are”, I caught myself saying “damn!” out loud a lot as Nothing continued to blow me away with each song. Nothing has that dreamy 90’s shoegaze sound and at times delved into a little harder territory.

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Nothing

Towards the end of the night, singer Domenic Palermo gave his guitar to a guy in the audience and sat down on the edge of the stage where an adoring crowd surrounded him. It was a pretty cool thing. I can’t even express how happy I was that I ended up going to this show. It was definitely one of the best shows I’ve seen all year, and probably longer than that. I ended with my Harvard Square post-show usual of a Big Tasty over at Tasty Burger and was soon on the train back home.

Nothing Setlist

Nothing setlist

Nothing 2018 Tour Dates:

12/08/18 : Stereo – Glasgow (UK)
12/09/18 : The Cluny – Newcastle (UK)
12/10/18 : Hare and Hounds – Birmingham (UK)
12/11/18 : Joiners – Southampton(UK)

Review: Tune-Yards, Algiers at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH 9-18-2018

This was one of those few shows that I bought a ticket in advance because I really wanted to see Tune-Yards, who for some reason, I kept missing at festivals. I got to Portsmouth fast, but had missed my exit and realized that Siri is still completely useless and she could not find directions to 3S Artspace. I got there eventually, but couldn’t find any street parking, so I parked in the fairly expensive lot across the street.

I’ve said this before and it still holds true, but 3S has the friendliest staff I’ve ever encountered at a venue. Algiers was already about halfway into their set by the time I walked into the main room.

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Algiers

I didn’t know much about Atlanta’s Algiers before this show, but they totally blew me away with a pretty high energy stage presence. It was a very intense and rocking set of music that seemed to range from a bit of psychedelic to soul to straight on rock (psychsoulrock?). I quickly became a fan!

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Tune Yards

Merrill Garbus and the rest of Tune-Yards took to the stage to much cheering and applause by the pretty large (at least for 3S) crowd. They started out with “Honesty” and hardly stopped for the rest of the show. I was pretty amazed at how seemless the looping was.

Although it was understandably heavy on new songs from their latest album “I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life“, there were a few older ones thrown in like “Gangsta” and “Powa“.

They ended with “Look At Your Hands” as the encore and it was a pretty good finish to an awesome set. I was a little disappointed they didn’t play “Bizness“, the song that made me like Tune-Yards in the first place, but that’s ok, it was still a fun time!

Despite some initial problems with finding the venue and parking, I had a great time. Both Algiers and Tune-Yards sounded amazing and the crowd was really cool and really friendly. I grabbed some Wendys for the ride home since Gilleys was closed, and called it a night.

Setlist

Algiers 2018/2019 Tour Dates:
Nov 9 – Fonda Theatre – Hollywood, CA, US

Nov 10 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA, US

Nov 11 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA, US

Nov 14 – Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR, US

Nov 16 – The Showbox – Seattle, WA, US

Nov 17 – Venue – Vancouver, BC, Canada

Nov 19 – Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL, US

Nov 20 – Elsewhere – Brooklyn, NY, US

Nov 21 – Elsewhere – Brooklyn, NY, US

Jan 12, 2019 – Rockaway Beach 2019 – Bognor Regis, UK

Tune-Yards 2018 Tour Dates:
Oct 18 – The Mayan Theater – Los Angeles, CA
Oct 19 – The Glass House – Pomona, CA
Oct 20 – Fillmore – San Francisco, CA
Oct 22 – Roseland Theater – Portland, OR
Oct 23 – Neptune Theatre – Seattle, WA
Oct 26 – Majestic Theatre – Madison, WI
Oct 27 – Park West – Chicago, IL
Oct 28 – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
Oct 30 – MASS MoCA – North Adams, MA
Oct 31 – Higher Ground – South Burlington, VT
Nov 01 – Paradise Rock Club – Boston, MA
Nov 02 – Knockdown Center – New York, NY

Review: LCD Soundsystem, Juan McLean at Agganis Arena in Boston, MA 12-8-2017

James Murphy’s a pretty funny guy!

LCD Soundsystem before the show

LCD Soundsystem are one of my favorite bands and after finally getting a chance to see them live at Lollapalooza in 2016, I had to go to this show! Navigating the never ending construction in Boston, I got to Agganis Arena surprisingly early. I took my spot in the first section of the floor amid a bunch of people dancing as Juan MacLean opened with a DJ set to warm up the crowd.

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LCD Soundsystem

The crowd erupted as James Murphy and the many members of LCD Soundsystem made their way to the stage. After getting settled for a minute underneath a giant disco ball, the band kicked things off with “Us v Them” and “Yr City’s a Sucker“, but my favorite moment of the night was when they played “Tonight“, which has become one of my favorite songs. They ended with a cover of Chic’s “I Want Your Love” which was awesome!

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LCD Soundsystem

After a short break, the band did a few more songs for the encore, which Murphy stated at the beginning of the show that they would do. Starting with the quiet “Oh Baby” and kicking it back up with “Dance Yrself Clean“, they ended the show with “All My Friends“.

Considering that Murphy mentioned that various members of the band were sick or just getting over being sick, they still sounded great and put on a great show! This was a really fun night of music and dancing with an energetic crowd that was loving every minute of it. I’d make an effort to see them again any time!

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: 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: Quilt, Widowspeak, Doug Tuttle at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA 6-24-2016

Sign

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: Harmonix PAX East 2016 After Party at the Hard Rock Cafe Boston 4-23-2016

Although I decided to skip PAX East this year, I had soo much fun at last years Harmonix after party that I had to go again. I got to Alewife only to find out that the trains weren’t running from there this weekend, so that meant an annoying and long ass shuttle bus ride to Harvard Square, and then finally onto the Red Line train. Ugh. Eventually I made it to the Hard Rock Cafe and once inside, waited at the bar with one of my two free drink tickets as I could hear The Warning finishing up their set and I was pretty bummed to miss them. I overheard a lot of people talking about how amazing they were. It took about 20 minutes to get a drink, so yeah. Once I had my Sam Adams Brick Red in hand, I made my way to the back room where the stage is located. There was free food everywhere that ranged from veggie sticks to sliders and egg rolls.

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Princess Problems

The first band I managed to catch was Princess Problems. They played through a set of fun indie pop and seemed to be having a great time up on stage, which made for a really fun show! Making jokes and bantering with the crowd, they definitely won over quite a few people.

I decided to use my second drink ticket on a Sam Adams Rebel IPA but it was not to be as the Hard Rock was having issues with the tap. So, another Brick Red and I made my way to a small room on the other side of the club where they had Rock Band 4 set up. I hung out and watched some people take on the challenge of performing before moving back to the stage area to see Autoblaster. There were hamburger sliders near where I was standing, so I grabbed one to hold me over as I was pretty hungry.

One sidenote: Why does the Hard Rock keep the hot water in the bathroom soo damn hot? Like scalding, unusable hot! Ouch!

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Autoblaster

Autoblaster, which most people know from the game Amplitude, consists of members of the Harmonix team. Although they played mostly synth pop video game music, it felt like soo much more than that. They had a very attentive crowd that was loving every song, and the band really seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage.

I went to get one last beer but was told that all of the taps across two bars were down (except for the Bud/Bud Light ones…ick!). So it was a rum and coke to finish out the night as I waited for Bearstronaut to go on.

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Bearstronaut

Bearstronaut were one of the main reasons I wanted to go to this party and they did not disappoint! There was soo much energy and danciness (is that a word?) that it was contagious with the crowd feeling it and joining in. They played a mix of older songs, including my favorite “Moniker” along with some new stuff from their upcoming album “Telecoast”, which comes out on June 10th (there is a record release party at The Sinclair on this date as well). It was my first time seeing them live and they were amazing! More so because I was right in front of the stage and had a great view of the band.

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Freezepop

The crowd thinned out a bit by the time Boston based synth pop band Freezepop went on, probably due to the lack of late night T service, which had me watching the clock as well. Freezepop are another band that I like but have never seen live but damn, they were really good! Also, they are Kickstarting their new album and more info can be found here.

Despite a few issues getting there, I had an amazing time! I made my way back to the Government Center T stop and just barely caught one of the last trains and shuttle buses back to Alewife. The crowd was really cool (props to the girl dressed as Link from Zelda) and the bands were all really fun and brought good vibes! Also, thanks to Harmonix for throwing another great party!