Culture Collide After Party – Night 2 – Yawn, Bleachers 8-01-2015

After the second day of Lollapalooza, I once again, showered and changed into some clean clothes for night 2 of the Culture Collide after parties. After standing in a line that was longer than last night’s, it only took about a half hour to get in. Once inside, I made my way to one of the several bars for a cold drink. The drink menu was different than the previous night, but they tasted just as good.

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Yawn

With a drink in my hand, I made my way close to the stage to see indie rockers Yawn, who are also from Chicago. They played a set that seemed to have more of a dance sound as opposed to only being straight up indie. I really enjoyed their set.

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Busy Beaver Buttons

I did a little wandering around in between bands as DJ Lani Love was spinning some tunes. I went over the Busy Beaver Button table where the people working it ended up talking me into having a custom button made with my caricature on it. The people working this table were awesome people, fun and really nice.

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Bleachers

Bleachers is a side project of the band Fun’s Jack Antonoff. I’m by no means a fan of Fun, in fact, I find them really annoying, but Bleachers on the other hand sounded great! They did a pretty cool high energy cover of The Cranberries “Dreams” and they ended the night with “I Wanna Get Better”, which pretty much became an audience sing along. You could tell the band was enjoying themselves on stage and it’s always cool when it’s so obvious. It felt like they played a really long set, but I never kept track of the time.

Once the show ended, I hung around for a bit, then wandered around downtown Chicago on a search for some 2AM food. I found a place that was still open and serving personal sized Chicago deep dish pizzas, which was delicious! Back to the Hard Rock to get sleep and take on the final day of Lollapalooza.

Lollapalooza 2015 – Day 1 – 7-31-2015

After little bit of a late start, I got down to Grant park around 3pm, where there was a massive line to get through the gates for the first day of Lollapalooza. After waiting for 25 minutes in the hot sun, I was inside and wandered around to find the various stages. There weren’t too many bands I wanted to see on this day, so it was more of just walking around and exploring.

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Cold War Kids

The first band I came across was Cold War Kids on the massive Samsung stage, who were playing their 5th Lollapalooza. I got there in time to hear the last two songs. As soon as they ended, MS MR began playing on the Sprint Stage, which is in the same field.

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MS MR

MS MR came out to a very large crowd that danced through most of their alt-pop set. Singer Lizzy Plapinger completely took charge of the stage and really entertained the crowd. At one point, Tove Lo came out and did a duet with the band.

I moved on from there to get a beer from the “craft brew” area because it’s the better option than drinking Bud, which is sold everywhere else in the park. I really wouldn’t consider most of what was sold in this area as craft beers, but it comes off as more of a place to charge more for beer. I ended up with a Goose Island 312, which although tasty, would be my only beer of the day. After that, I tried the Do-Rite Donuts (whose donuts are amazing by the way) chicken sandwich which tasted amazing and washed it down with some a watermelon mint cucumber ginger lime juice from Owen and Alchemy. Hooray for nutrients! I found a spot in some shade near where the War On Drugs had just started playing.

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War On Drugs

I first saw the War On Drugs at Austin Psych Fest last year and really liked them. It seemed to be a really mellow set and had a very large but equally mellow crowd, which you could tell by the smell of pot in the air.

I took a seat off to the side of the nearby main stage and waited for Alt-J to start. In the downtime a girl near me was carted away on a stretcher, I’m guessing may have had a little too much of something or other, which would be a common sight throughout the weekend.

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Alt-J

Alt-J sounded really clear, at least from where I sitting. With a huge crowd, they played a set of indie rock and it was cool to hear “Left Hand Free”, one of my favorites from them, live.

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First Aid Kit

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Dillon Francis

I made my way over to the BMI stage, which is very small, to see some of Young Thug’s set. The crowd was so massive that you couldn’t get anywhere near the stage, so I moved on to Perry’s Stage to see Dillon Francis, who is one of the few EDM artists I like. This was by far the dirtiest area, with plastic cups, crushed beer cans, and trash everywhere. That being said, as always, this stage brings out a very interesting mix of people. Dillon Francis was perched very high on the stage and got the crowd fired up with a killer set of high energy dance music.

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Paul McCartney

I went across the way back to the Samsung stage to catch some unknown guy named Paul McCartney (I kid! I kid!). This was one of the largest crowds for any bands that I’ve ever seen in my 6 times of going to Lollapalooza. The interesting thing was that it was mostly a mix of older people and lots of families with small children. I stuck around for about 6 or 7 songs (honestly, I’m not really a Beatles fan), which included a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, then went back to the Hard Rock to change and get ready for the Culture Collide after party.

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: Gateway Drugs, Swervedriver at The Sinclair 3-28-2015

Sinclair Sign

I got to the Alewife T stop only to find the all too familiar problem of the Red Line not running between there and Harvard Square, which meant having to take a bus, which in turn takes longer. After meeting up with a friend for pre-show drinks at Charlie’s Kitchen, then dinner in Harvard Square, we were off to the Sinclair for the Gateway Drugs/Swerverdriver show.

This was my first time at the Sinclair and it was much smaller inside than I expected (the outside of the building looks huge), but it was really cool. We found a spot on the second floor which gave us a pretty good view of everything, although I would have preferred to be on the floor in front of the stage. I got a Jack’s Abby Smoke & Dagger beer which as it’s name suggests, had very smokey flavor to it.

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Gateway Drugs

Gateway Drugs came out to a pretty packed club. I was already familiar with their music, so I knew what to expect, but my friend was surprised and really got into them. With crunchy guitars and switching off on boy/girl vocals, they played a pretty awesome set. They ended with an amazing cover of The Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction”. I think they won the night.

For my next drink, I tried the 16 Point Sweet Action. It was a lot lighter and had a little bit of a fruity taste to it, definitely a change from the smokey beer.

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Swervedriver

The place was completely filled with people by the time Swervedriver went on. Lead singer/guitarist Adam Franklin was surrounded by a LOT of pedals in the middle of the stage, with Jimmy Hartridge on guitar and Mick Quinn from Supergrass. who is filling in on bass for this tour on each end. Although they seemed to be a little more subdued on stage than Gateway Drugs, they were really, really, loud. Things got a little off track after a couple of issues with the effects pedals during their set, but a tech fixed them and became the hero of the night.

Most of the people around us were really friendly, which is something I’m not used to at Boston shows (but go to any city outside of the Northeast and you’ll walk away with at least 10 new friends, go figure!). Both bands were amazing and we had a really great time. On our way out, Gateway Drugs were at their merch table talking with fans, which is always good to see. The Sinclair is a pretty cool venue to see a show and I plan to go there more often.

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!

Review: 28 Degrees Taurus, Sleep Studies, Soccer Mom, Dead Leaf Echo at Church of Boston 8-30-14

After plans to spend the long weekend in the White Mountains fell through, I was able to make it out to this show after all. I took the T to Kenmore and as I walked by Fenway Park, the sound of Tom Petty playing “Freefallin” could be heard. Church was only about a block away and is a venue that I have never been to before. There wasn’t much going on when I arrived, a few people sitting at the bar and some at tables, so I assumed that I had missed the first band but thankfully, I was wrong. The problem with getting to a club early, especially when going to shows by yourself, is all of the standing around and waiting, made even more awkward when it’s a place you’ve never been to before.

In order to relax a bit, I started out with an Allagash White while waiting for the first band to go on. There was a pool table in the middle of the room, which was calling my name, but I wasn’t going to ask random people if they wanted to play (I’ve made that mistake before and people looked at me like I had 2 heads). I could see 28 Degrees Taurus setting up.

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This is by no means the first time I’ve seen 28 Degrees Taurus and they were just as awesome as always. At one point singer/bassist Karina Dacosta traded places with their drummer for a bit. It seemed like a really short set of their dreampop tinged with a bit of psychedelia though. Also, this may have been the first time I have seen the band not do shots on stage (although I was standing next to them after their set and did get to witness some shots happen).

During the break I decided to try a Harpoon Boston Irish Stout. It was a creamy, smooth beer and not bad at all. More awkward standing around as I waited for Sleep Studies to go on.

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Sleep Studies
are a 3 piece band, who are also from Boston and have an ethereal, dreamy, bordering on cinematic sound. Although I have seen them a few times before, they sounded really good tonight. Their Last Leaves album, which came out earlier this year is highly recommended and can be found on their Bandcamp page. (Note to Sleep Studies: I tried to introduce myself at one point, but you were in a conversation that I didn’t want to interrupt. Next time!)

I ordered another Allagash White and at this point, was starving. Oh Tasty Burger…you shall be mine after this show, oh yes! Thoughts of delicious burgers aside, Soccer Mom began to set up.

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Soccer Mom were the third band from Boston to play on this night. They have a sort of indie/post rock sound and seemed to have the longest set of the night, which wasn’t a bad thing at all. They also released an excellent self titled album that came out a few months ago.

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Brooklyn’s Dead Leaf Echo were the final band of the night. Even though I have been enjoying their true.deep.sleeper EP for a little while now, this was my first time seeing them live. Bathed in awesome visuals that seemed to make the band blend into the screen behind them, the mood was set for their swirly, shoegazey, dream pop. It seemed to be an extremely short set, although it may just felt that way because I wanted to hear more.

This was a really awesome lineup put on by Illegally Blind, who have been putting on some great shows around the Boston area. It was a pretty good night of music by four bands that I really like. I had never been to Church before, but it was a cool venue and I will be back again to see more shows there for sure (maybe someone will take me up on playing a game of pool). Oh, and that Tasty Burger was the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten as I made my way back home.

Concert Review: RIBS, Majical Cloudz, The Soft Moon at TT the Bears 1-09-13

I was trying to decide all day whether or not to go out to this show, mostly because I was pretty tired and with the just announced flu epidemic in Boston, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to risk getting sick, but took the chance anyway and yeah, I was really glad I went!

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I arrived at TT the Bears, where there were surprisingly very few people, probably around 15 people or so. I started the night off with an Allagash White, although I probably should have eaten dinner first.

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The first band to play was RIBS who are from Boston. This is a band that I have heard a lot about but never had a chance to see. They sounded great and there was lots of cool strobe lighting, which set the mood for their music. It seemed like people were afraid to get close to the stage as most stayed towards the back. I ended up chatting briefly with drummer Chris Oquist as I browsed the merch tables after their set. He tried to shake my beer soaked hand (due to the cup being overfilled earlier), but I told him I would be back for some CD’s after the show.

Back to the bar for another drink. This time around it was a Pretty Things Jack D’or. It was being featured as TT’s local brew of the week or month or something. It was a little harsh, but not bad.

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Majical Cloudz, a duo from Montreal who use loops to make atmospheric music were up next. They seemed to be having sound problems all night but persevered through it. This band seemed a little out of place since their music was much slower and softer than the other bands. Most of the songs seemed to be about death or dying. At one point, singer Devon Welsh came down from the stage and got down on his knees while singing near the bar. He also walked through the somewhat larger, at this point, crowd and sung amongst them for a bit. They weren’t bad, but I just couldn’t really get into these guys.

For my final beer of the night, I went back to the Allagash White. Probably not a good idea at this point since I was really feeling the first two and starving, but it was tasty regardless.

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The final band was The Soft Moon. I had wanted to see these guys for a while now and they did not disappoint. The band was drenched in a blanket of projected lines, which also set the mood for their dark and gothic dance style of music. They reminded me of Joy Division or early Cure. With drum machines and synthesizers going, they played to a much larger crowd that was loving it. It was a pretty straightforward, although way too short set. I can’t wait to see them again at the Austin Psych Fest in April!

Although I didn’t manage to get any video (I got too caught up in their set), here is their latest video for “Die Life” from the album Zeroes:

After the show, I ended up chatting with Chris from RIBS again, who actually remembered me (and yes, we finally got that handshake done), as I picked up both their Russian Blood and British Brains CD’s. Right after I got the CD’s, I overheard this small blonde girl talking with the band and it turned out to be Abby from Boom Said Thunder (who were one of my recent Music Monday picks). I let her know that I saw her band at Deep Heaven Now 6 and that I was a fan. She was pretty appreciative of that as well. I’m starting to realize that most of Boston’s bands are really, really nice people.

Overall, it was a pretty good night of music and I met some really cool people and it was a great way to start seeing shows in 2013!

Music Monday: The Box Tiger – “The Box Tiger”

The Box Tiger are an indie rock band that is mostly from Toronto, with one member being from Portland, Maine. It’s pretty easy to make Florence and the Machine comparisons, although I’m not a Florence fan, this is definitely a compliment to singer/guitarist Sonia Sturino.

The first track “Faceless” has a catchy shouting chorus of “Look at it burn, look at it burn baby“. The third track, “Comes and Goes” is a melodic, rocking song that just keeps going, and I mean that in a good way. There is barely in a break in the singing and it’s my favorite song on this EP. The album ends with the quiet and appropriately titled “Ending Song“.

This is a really good EP and is definitely worth checking out. I wish they would make it a little further south than Portland, but then again, I’m always up for a road trip and just may take a ride from Boston to catch one of their upcoming Portland shows in November.

Also, check out this awesome video of The Box Tiger playing a really great song called “Julian” in an alley, with an audience consisting of a cute black and white cat:

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Follow The Box Tiger on Twitter @theboxtiger

Teen Daze, White Arrows, Beat Connection at TT the Bears 7-06-12

When I heard that Teen Daze was coming to the Boston area, I had to make sure I was there, especially since his “Teen Dreams” album is one of my favorite EP’s ever. I arrived at TT the Bears way too early, so I explored Central Square for a while to kill some time, since I’m usually only there to see shows. I went back at TT’s which was sadly, pretty empty, just as Teen Daze started his set.

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Vancouver’s Teen Daze, hunched over a laptop and mixer, played a pretty mellow but somewhat dancey set with thumping beats. There was a small crowd gathered at the front of the stage to watch him, some bopping around to the music. They were pretty attentive, with the exception of the very loud and obnoxious couple standing in front of me. It was a pretty good set, but way too short.

At this point, I grabbed my first beer of the night, an Allagash White and waited for the next band, White Arrows to go on.

White Arrows, who come from L.A., played indie rock with some electronics thrown in and reminded me a bit of The Strokes. At one point, they did a really cool cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”. I had never heard of these guys until this show and ended up really liking them.

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Time to order another beer, which was unknown due to 1, tasting different than the Allagash I had asked for, and 2, the change given back was different than the first time. Either way, it wasn’t very good and I wish I knew what it was so that it can never be ordered again.

The last band of the night was Beat Connection, who are from my beloved Seattle. At this point, there was a pretty good sized crowd and they seemed really into the band. Beat Connection played a set of electro pop with a bit of a tropical feel and everyone seemed to be feeling it. I don’t think that there was a single person standing still.

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The band came back out for an encore, which I captured in the video below:

Overall it was a fun night of dance music that progressively built up as the night went on. I was happy have been able to meet Teen Daze who was not only an incredibly nice guy, but very appreciative and his new CD “All Of Us, Together” is really good! Props to all of the bands for making themselves available at their merch tables as well. I would highly recommend seeing any of these bands if you get the chance. You won’t regret it!

Love Culture, The December Sound, Endless Wave at TT the Bears 6-29-12

It was a nice night to head out to Cambridge for a show, so that’s exactly what I did. I arrived at T.T. the Bears a little late and missed the first band, Dead Leaf Echo, so I have no idea what they were like (and my apologies to the band). The first thing I noticed was that the club was kind of empty, which was unfortunate since 1, there rumors that it was close to selling out, and 2, this was going to be a great show. Off to the bar for an Allagash White, then I took my place near the stage as Love Culture was setting up.

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Bathed in green and red star-like lights, it set the visual tone that this Columbus, Ohio band’s dreamy music invokes. Their set ended rather abruptly though, but left me wanting to hear more. I can highly recommend their “Aquamarine” album on Bandcamp though, it’s great!

I decided to switch it up and tried a Harpoon Dark. It was an ok beer, but I wasn’t really feeling it. At this point, the crowd got a little bigger, but it never really picked up, which was kind of disappointing.

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Next was Boston’s own The December Sound. This band consisted of 2 guitarists and 1 bass player. It was pretty much a wall of sonic noise with vocals in the background. I attempted to find my earplugs, because it was just that loud, but lost one somewhere, so I spent the next couple of days fighting off the tinnitus. Gonna have to hit up my earplug supplier for another pair.

I went back to an Allagash White for my last beer of night while waiting for Endless Wave to go on.

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This was my 2nd time seeing Endless Wave. As with the last time, it was a pretty straightforward set of indie rock with hints of shoegaze. Towards the end of the night, they brought up Jen Johnson of the band Velah as a special guest to sing for the last few songs.

Overall, it was a really fun show. I expected a much larger crowd, but I’ll take a more intimate feeling show any day.