Review: My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult at the Middle East Downstairs 6-10-2016

Sign

I really struggled with whether or not to go to this show. I used to really be into My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult in the 90’s when I went through a goth/industrial phase that…uhh…we won’t talk about. But there were some other good shows happening this night too (the Bearstronaut record release, amongst other things). Worried that I would stick out like a sore thumb because of the goth dance night that was taking place immediately after (which by the way, leads me to the “dress code” of goth/fetish/all black at those kinds of nights…really? 1, I’m too old for that shit, 2, why would I want to dress like and encourage a stereotype?, and 3, what if I just really enjoy the genre and want to go out somewhere to hear some music, meet some new people, and have a couple of beers? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the reasons, but still…Ok…rant over).

When I arrived at the Middle East Downstairs, there was a line stretching through the restaurant portion of the club, with a lot of people waiting to get in. There was no opener for this show and the band had already started while I was waiting in line. The people waiting around me were really friendly, which is at times, hard to find in Boston. Also, my fears of not being in some sort of goth-wear were alleviated when I noticed that most of the people there were dressed in regular clothes.

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult 1My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult 4My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult 2My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult 3

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult

Once inside, the club was only about half full and I grabbed a Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union to watch the band as they were already playing “Leathersex”. Thrill Kill Kult pretty much played a nonstop set. The crowd erupted into cheers every time one of the hits like “Sex on Wheelz”, “The Days of Swine and Roses”, and “Kooler Than Jesus” started. They left the stage for a few minutes and the crowd started chanting for more songs. There were loud cheers when they came back out and did an encore which seemed to be a little more on the electronic side of things.

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult 8My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult 5My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult 6

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult

This was an early show, with no opener, so it was over around 9:30pm. I thought about heading over to The Sinclair for the Bearstronaut show, but was kind of hungry, so I ended up Shake Shack in Harvard Square for some food that really hit the spot. Back on the T to Alewife and I was home by 11pm, which felt really strange. Either way, I had a really good time at the show and it was cool to see Thrill Kill Kult for the first time since the 90’s.

Review: Modern English, Shadow Age, The Milling Gowns at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA 6-7-2016

Sign

Since this was an early show, I cut out of work a few minutes early so I could go home and change. I got to Alewife and took the train to Central Square and after a short walk, I was at the Middle East downstairs for a show I had been looking forward to all day. I started with a Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union and got closer to the stage to see Boston’s own The Milling Gowns.

The Milling Gowns 1The Milling Gowns 2The Milling Gowns 5

The Milling Gowns

For one reason or another, I have never seen The Milling Gowns live before. I don’t know what took so long but I was loving this band. They were soo dark and moody, invoking Joy Division-esque sounds. With lead singer M. holding his head down at times, as the band played, there was a very cinematic element to their gloomy songs and it worked well. Gloom pop indeed.

Shadow Age 1Shadow Age 2Shadow Age 3

Shadow Age

To be honest, I didn’t know too much about Shadow Age, who are from Richmond, Virginia. Once they started playing, things got a little more rocking. It was hard to miss lead singer Aaron Tyree, who with a towering presence was front and center, moving around the stage as he wailed on the guitar. Their dark and moody post punk sound kept the tone of the night going.

Modern English 2Modern English 9Modern English 10Modern English 7

Modern English

From the moment Modern English (yes, that band) stepped on stage, they were all smiles as the crowd cheered loudly. With this being the last show of their Mesh & Lace tour, named after their 1981 debut album, things were probably a little looser and relaxed and you could tell they were genuinely having a good time.

Once Modern English started playing, I was surprised, in the best possible way, that most of their music was very different than their popular 80’s hit “I Melt With You”. Starting off the set with “Dance of Devotion”, with it’s pulsating guitars and singer Robbie Grey howling and convulsing around the stage, it was a good way to start off the show. The majority of songs were from the Mesh & Lace album and ranged from dark post punk to almost droning at times. Grey held the audience’s attention throughout the show with stories and banter between songs. After playing through their set, the band left the stage, only to come back out a few minutes later for an encore. They ended the night with as Grey called it “that one song”, of course referring to “I Melt With You“, which turned into a giant sing along and it was awesome!

This was an amazing night that far exceeded my expectations. All three bands were great and Modern English were really fun. I’d highly recommend seeing any of them if you get the chance.

Review: Magic Shoppe, Minibeast, DYR FASER, U4IA at Once Ballroom in Somerville, MA 5-28-2016

I was really looking forward to this show because it has been a while since I’ve seen Magic Shoppe play. Taking place at Once Ballroom in Somerville, it was my first time at this venue, which isn’t really T accessible, so that meant having to drive there. I was worried about finding someplace to park, but there was a pretty empty parking lot across the street. I paid, then went inside and was kind of surprised that Once Ballroom was a little bigger than pictures I’ve seen had led me to believe. I ordered a Smuttynose Finest Kind IPA then waited as U4IA were setting up.

U4IA 2U4IA 1

U4IA

U4IA is Tim, who also plays drums in Magic Shoppe. He was filling in for Portland’s S.S. Cretins after they were unable to make it to Somerville from Maine. I first saw U4IA at the Lilypad last year where he played solo and was surrounding by lots of electronics, but this time, there were a couple of people helping out. It was a pretty cool nearly 40 minute set of electronic music.

I ordered my usual Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union from the bar, but they only served it in cans, although I still prefer it on tap. DYR FASER were up next and I was really looking forward to seeing them.

Dyr Faser 5Dyr Faser 1Dyr Faser 3Dyr Faser 4Dyr Faser 2

DYR FASER

DYR FASER is a band I have heard a lot about, but haven’t seen live until now. With drum machines and lots of reverb, frontman Eric Boomhower and Thalia Zedek created a darkly layered sound that was subtle and built up in intensity. I really got into this band and was happy to finally see them.

While waiting for Minibeast to go on, the guy standing next to me commented on how sticky the floor was (and believe me, it was!). When he lifted his foot up, it came right out of his shoe, which gave a few people around us a laugh.

Minibeast 6Minibeast 2Minibeast 7Minibeast 4Minibeast 3

Minibeast

Minibeast are a 3 piece band from Providence and featuring Pete Prescott of Mission of Burma. Their set was full of really cool beats and grooves and they fit right in with the two bands that played before them in keeping a kind of experimental/electronic vibe going.

I ordered one more Finest Kind as Magic Shoppe were getting ready to go on.

Magic Shoppe 4Magic Shoppe 1Magic Shoppe 9Magic Shoppe 6Magic Shoppe 5

Magic Shoppe

It had been a while since I’ve seen Magic Shoppe play, so I was really looking forward to this and they did not disappoint. With awesome visuals setting the mood behind them, the band tore through a set of psychedelic garage rock which included a personal favorite, “All The Way“. Although it felt like a too short set (doesn’t it always?), it was a good end to a night of amazing experimental and psych music.

I ended up at Sonic in Wilmington for some quick junk food which was much needed and then made my way home. This was a great night of music and people! Once Ballroom was a pretty cool space and I’ll definitely have to catch some more shows there in the future.

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: Golden Dawn Arkestra, Indrajit Banerjee & Gourisankar, Fantasmes at the Scoot Inn 5-1-2016

In an attempt at least salvage some part of the cancelled Levitation 2016 weekend and not being able to get tickets for any of the announced last minute shows (ahem…Slowdive), I somehow managed to get a ticket for this one, which isn’t a bad thing as I love Golden Dawn Arkestra. I have never been to the Scoot Inn so I was kind of excited to check out a new venue. If I had one complaint, it would be the lack of information about set times. Multiple Twitter requests about this went unanswered, including those by several other people. The tickets said 5pm, one band posted 7pm, another 9pm. Ugh!

Scoot Inn

The Scoot Inn

I got to the Scoot Inn, which is tucked in the middle of a residential neighborhood just east of downtown Austin, around 6:45pm and missed Blondi’s Salvation, who I was really hoping to see. Once inside, it sort of looked like an old fort or saloon and the stage area was much smaller than I expected. It was a pretty cool outside area though, with a lot of people hanging out and waiting. I went to the bar area and got a Fireman’s #4 beer and walked around for a bit as Fantasmes were getting ready to go on.

Fantasmes 1Fantasmes 2Fantasmes 6Fantasmes 3Fantasmes 5Fantasmes 4

Fantasmes

Fantasmes are a band from Puerto Rico and were the first band I got to see on this night. With droning guitars and lots of reverb, they mesmerized the crowd with atmospheric psychedelic jams that went well with the fading sunlight.

I moved to an area near the bar area, which is on a deck that overlooks the grounds and stage. I ordered an Austin Beerworks Black Thunder, which was a nice dark German style beer. I stood on the deck and ended up talking with a couple of people when Indrajit Banerjee & Gourisankar started playing.

Indrajit Banerjee and Gourisankar

Indrajit Banerjee & Gourisankar

Indrajit Banerjee & Gourisankar just kind of walked onto the stage and sat down with their sitar and tabla and started playing. I honestly don’t think many people even realized that their set had started, but instead, thinking as I did that it was the music being pumped over the speakers before the band plays. Either way, these guys sounded really cool. It was kind of hard to see them on the stage, even though I was on the upper deck area near the bar, but there were just too many people in front. It was pretty chill music though, and I’ve said it before, I’m a big fan of the sitar.

I ordered one more Black Thunder before the night’s headliners, Golden Dawn Arkestra went on.

Golden Dawn Arkestra 1Golden Dawn Arkestra 7Golden Dawn Arkestra 8Golden Dawn Arkestra 6Golden Dawn Arkestra 5Golden Dawn Arkestra 2Golden Dawn Arkestra 4Golden Dawn Arkestra 3

Golden Dawn Arkestra

A Golden Dawn Arkestra show is something that you actually experience as opposed to something you just see. The first time I saw Golden Dawn Arkestra was at last year’s Levitation kick off party at Red 7 and they were one of the best things I saw all weekend. Tonight was no exception as they were equally as good.

The band made their way to the stage by dancing and singing their way through a crowd that made room for the costumed members to pass through. If you have ever seen Golden Dawn Arkestra, you know there are a *lot* of people in this band, which made me wonder how they were all going to fit on the stage. Somehow, they did, although it did look a bit cramped up there.

The band launched into “Osaka” and had the crowd dancing for the rest of the night. I was a little bummed they didn’t play my favorite song “Dimensions”, but that’s ok, because every song is truly a group experience and everybody was having a good time. They ended their set with “Masakayli” right at 10pm to a crowd that was chanting “one more song! one more song!”. A member of the band came out and explained that they wanted to play more, but there was a curfew so they couldn’t. At that point, most people filtered out.

This was an amazing night of music, and I at least got to see some bands from Levitation, so it wasn’t a 100% bust of a weekend. I took a walk over to East 6th street since I had never really been to this side of Austin and wandered around. I found a cool little bbq stand called Rolling Smoke BBQ and ordered a couple of brisket tacos which tasted amazing, then headed back to my hotel and called it a night.