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: 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.

Doug Tuttle 2Doug Tuttle 3Doug Tuttle 4Doug Tuttle 8Doug Tuttle 7

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.

Widowspeak 4Widowspeak 2Widowspeak 5Widowspeak 6Widowspeak 7

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.

Quilt 2Quilt 8Quilt 6Quilt 3Quilt 5

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: 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.

Austin Psych Fest 2014 – Day 1 5-02-2014

Austin Psych Fest 7 Sign

I didn’t get much sleep but I was ready for the first day of Austin Psych Fest! This is my second year going and it’s a little easier since I have a better idea of what to expect. The new shuttle bus stop was located about a block from my hotel, between the Hampton Inn and Microtel. I ended up chatting with a couple of people who were also waiting and found out that we had missed the shuttle by 5 minutes. About 25 minutes later the bus finally arrived to pick up the now sizable crowd and take us to Carson Creek Ranch. I always love this part, because everyone is excited, very friendly, and talkative (this would never happen in Boston).

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 1King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 2King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 3

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

We finally arrived at Carson Creek Ranch where there was a bit of a line to get in, but once through the gates, the layout was pretty much the same as last year, with the exception of a fenced off area on the side of the main stage for those who opted for the deluxe ticket upgrade. Honestly, I didn’t see anything that made it worth $100 extra other than maybe nicer bathrooms. As I walked by the main stage, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard were playing and I watched them for a couple of songs before making my way down to the Elevation Amphitheater to see Quilt.

Quilt 1Quilt 4Quilt 3Quilt 2

Quilt

Quilt are a band from Boston, that strangely, I haven’t had a chance to see yet, but today I did and they were great! They played a pretty mellow indie rock set that went nicely with the afternoon and the river behind them. By the end of their set, I was pretty hungry, so I found some food in the form of pulled pork on Texas toast which was amazing!

Terakaft 3Terakaft 2Terakaft 1Terakaft 4

Terakaft

While eating, a guy sitting across me and a new friend was telling us about Terakaft, so we made our way down to the river stage to see them. This band is from Mali, Africa. It is hard not to draw comparisons to last year’s Psych Fest headliners Tinariwen. Their sound is similar with Middle Eastern influences. A lot of people walked away impressed.

Aqua Nebula Oscillator 1Aqua Nebula Oscillator 2Aqua Nebula Oscillator 3

Aqua Nebula Oscillator

I made my way over to the Elevation Tent for the first time of the day and caught Aqua Nebula Oscillator. who were playing some crazy music.

Graveyard 5Graveyard 1Graveyard 4Graveyard 3Graveyard 2

Graveyard

From there, I went back to the main stage to see Graveyard, who had a bluesy, psych rock sound. I was really liking this band and it seemed a lot of other people did too, since I heard a lot of talking about these guys and how much they enjoyed them.

White Hills 4White Hills 1White Hills 3White Hills 2

White Hills

I went back to the Levitation Tent and watched White Hills. They were really awesome psych rock and had a pretty good sized crowd in the tent to see them.

Black Lips 1Black Lips 4Black Lips 3Black Lips 2

Black Lips

Peaking Lights 2Peaking Lights 4Peaking Lights 3

Peaking Lights

As the sun was going down, the Black Lips were on the Reverberation Stage. I really like these guys, but wasn’t really feeling it at this point, so I wandered around some more. I ended up at the really dark Elevation Amphitheater to watch Peaking Lights‘s really, really visual set. By that, I mean the images projected onto the trees behind the stage were really cool and trippy. This is always one of the best places to be at night.

Kadavar 1Kadavar 4Kadavar 3

Kadavar

I made my way back to the Levitation Tent for Kadavar, who totally blew me and the rest of the large crowd away! In fact, this was probably one of the best sets of the day. Everyone (including a random guy in front of me at the Frank’s Hot Dogs stand) were talking about them. Kadavar were like hair metal with a tinge of the psych sound. They completely rocked the tent!

The Zombies 1The Zombies 3The Zombies 2

The Zombies

I grabbed what would be my first beer of the day (after multiple vodka based drinks with names that were embarrassing to say out loud), a Newcastle Brown and waited near the main stage for this year’s classic psych band…The Zombies. The Zombies sounded really tight and lead singer Colin Blunstone’s voice sounded practically the same as it did in the 60’s. They did “Time of the Season” and ended with “She’s Not There”, both of which sounded great through the loud sound system! Their set seemed kind of short though.

La Femme 4La Femme 3La Femme 1La Femme 2

La Femme

I went back to the tent because I wanted to see La Femme, who were already playing. This French band completely had the crowd sucked in with a very high energy set. Lots of dancing on stage, sometimes in sync, sometimes not. One band member handed the keyboard to the crowd then proceeded to stand on it, surfing through the crowd. This band’s live show is really something to see! Another of my favorite sets of the day.

Dandy Warhols 1Dandy Warhols 4Dandy Warhols 3Dandy Warhols 7Dandy Warhols 6Dandy Warhols 5

The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols were on next. Despite multiple attempts in the past, I never had a chance to see them live, but now I have and they were amazing! At one point, Anton Newcombe and Matt from Brian Jonestown Massacre came out to sing “Oh Lord“. This totally surprised the crowd (and if you have ever seen the Dig! documentary, you know why). I was totally blown away!

Brown Sabbath 1Brown Sabbath 2

Brown Sabbath

I went back to the tent to see Brown Sabbath, who are actually a Latin band from Austin called Brownout, who did some funky Black Sabbath covers. They were a last minute replacement for Oneohtrix Point Never, who had to cancel due to an injury. Songs like “Warpigs” and “Iron Man”sounded really cool all funked out with a horn section that had the crowd dancing and it was amazing!

Black Angels 1Black Angels 2

The Black Angels

The Black Angels were on next and I caught a little bit of their set. but It had been a very long day. I left during their set to catch the shuttle back to the hotel for some much needed sleep and to take on day 2!