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: Brian Jonestown Massacre, Lucid Lynx at the Paradise in Boston, MA 9-09-2017

Sign Brian Jonestown Massacre

I bought a ticket for this show the second they went on sale, so needless to say, it’s been a long wait, but the night has finally arrived! I decided to drive to the Paradise, since the last time the Brian Jonestown Massacre played here, it was over 3 hours and I ended up missing the train, which in turn became a pricey Uber ride back to Alewife, but soo worth it! After circling the area for a while to find a parking spot, I managed to get almost the same exact space that I had only a few days earlier when I saw Warpaint. It was about a 15-20 minute to walk to the Paradise. There was a very short line to get in and there weren’t that many people yet. I started the night with a Harpoon Wannamango, which was ok, but I expected a better flavor since it seemed a lot of people like this beer. I waited for openers Lucid Lynx to go on.

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Lucid Lynx

Lucid Lynx are a trio that met at Berklee and play psychedelic music. I had never heard of them until this show and was very pleasantly surprised. they played about 40 minutes of pure mellow psychedelic music that was just trippy enough without venturing into drone territory. I was really digging this band.

In between sets, I noticed that none of the usual people I see at these types of shows was around. It also seemed to be more of an older crowd this time around too. I ordered a Harpoon UFO White, my old standby and tried to find a good spot for Brian Jonestown Massacre.

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Brian Jonestown Massacre

As Anton Newcombe and the rest of The Brian Jonestown Massacre came to the stage, the crowd went nuts! This was the band’s last show of 2017, so you knew it was going to be a good one. Starting out with “Groove” and “Geezers” with the fired up audience getting involved by yelling the “woo!” part during “Who”, it seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves.

Brian Jonestown Massacre Anton outside

Although I was pretty tired by the end of this almost 2 1/2 hour set, it’s always good to see the Brian Jonestown Massacre live. After the show, Anton Newcombe was taking pictures with a few fans outside of the Paradise, which was pretty cool. It seemed like the only thing really open was McDonalds, so I ordered some food and walked back to my car and was home pretty fast.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: Mac Sabbath, White Dynomite, The Humanoids at the Middle East 3-22-2016

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There was a lot of hype surrounding this show from the moment it was announced a few months ago. It sold out pretty quick, but I managed to get a ticket after the Middle East released a few extras on the day of the show. I made my way to Central Square as usual, for what should be an awesome if not strange night of music. Despite getting to the Middle East downstairs pretty early, there was already a pretty big crowd waiting for the first band of the night to go on.

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The Humanoids

Boston’s The Humanoids were up first. These guys had were straight up punk metal and it was great! They had quite a few fans that made their way to front of the stage, singing along with every song. This was a really great way to start the night.

In between sets, I ordered my usual Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union and wandered around a bit before White Dynomite went on.

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White Dynomite

Dressed in white suits as if they just played a wedding or birthday party, White Dynomite took the stage and brought the energy level in the room to 11! The only way I could describe their sound is funk metal, which in turn, had the crowd moving non stop through the whole set. They reminded me a little bit of The Vines. They were really fun and seemed to be having a good time playing to a full house that was ready to party.

As I grabbed one more Hoponius Union, a curtain hid the stage as the night’s headliners, Mac Sabbath were getting set up. A few people were really got into the spirit of the night, such as someone dressed as Colonel Sanders and another person wearing a Burger King crown along with a lot of seemingly older metal heads in jean jackets covered in patches.

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Mac Sabbath

Sure, the idea of a Black Sabbath cover band dressed as freaky satanic McDonald’s characters is a gimmick, but it’s a fun gimmick that was done very well! They started out behind a curtain as the beginnings of a version of “War Pigs” called “More Ribs” began and immediately had the full attention of the sold out crowd as singer Ronald Osbourne (I see what you did there!) escaped from a straitjacket. With what sounded like a parody of Ozzy, there were lots of stories and jokes in between the songs. Other songs had titles such as “Cherries Are Fruits” (Fairies Wear Boots) and “Frying Pan” (Iron Man) and they ended with “Pair a Buns” (Paranoid). People were starting to filter out a little early to catch the T since it was a weeknight, but there was still a decent amount of people at the end of the show.

This was a strange but very fun night of music and all of the bands totally rocked. If you didn’t leave this show with a smile on your face, then you don’t know how to have a good time. Upon entering Central T stop, there was a broken train attempting to pull into the station and a very unhappy group of passengers waiting to get back home. One good thing to come out of that kind of experience is that you make new friends pretty quickly, and about 45 minutes later, I was on my way home after a pretty awesome night. 

First bands announced for Desert Stars Festival 2016

The Desert Stars Festival, now in it’s 9th year, has announced their initial 2016 lineup and so far, it’s a good one with Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh headlining. The festival takes place at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown, located near Joshua Tree National Park. Other bands announced are Magic Wands, Tennis System, Winter, and one of my personal favorites…Ancient River. I’m giving some serious thought to going this year, but I’ll have to wait until the date is a little closer to make that decision.

The festival takes place from 9/23/16 – 9/24/16 and early bird weekend passes are on sale now for $100 and single days are $65.

The Desert Stars Festival 2016 lineup so far:

Dinosaur Jr.
Sebadoh
Moon Duo
Kurt Heasley of Lilys
Magic Wands
Tennis System
Highlands
Cellar Doors
Ancient River
Blood Candy
Band Aparte
Annie Girl and The Flight
Down Dirty Shake
Winter

Review: Ride, The Besnard Lakes at The Paradise Rock Club in Boston 10-03-2015

Ride at the Paradise sign

This was a show I needed to go to for many reasons, one being a rough week at work, but it was also a good excuse to catch up with some friends from Providence and have some drinks. We met up at Limoo, which is located across the street from the Paradise. We chose this place based on the Yelp reviews were really good, but our experience there was pretty bad. This is one of the few times Yelp has failed me. Once we finished our food, we made our away across the street to the Paradise, where we were some of the first people inside. I started with a Goose Island Autumn Ale, which was really good and waited for The Besnard Lakes to go on.

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The Besnard Lakes

The Besnard Lakes, who I have previously seen at Austin Psych Fest, totally killed it with a mix of shoegaze and psych music. It looked a little cramped on the stage between 5 members of the band, their instruments, and Ride’s equipment already set up behind them.

Ride Drums

I went to the bar and ordered a Goose Island 312, which I’m pretty sure was from an old batch because it tasted terrible and nothing like the one I had at Lollapalooza a couple of months ago. I trashed it and went back to the Autumn Ale. There seemed to be a lot of time to kill in between the sets and the club was totally packed by the time Ride came out.

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Ride

Ride are my favorite band of the early 90’s shoegaze era. Of the 3 major players (My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride), they were the ones I was hoping would reunite. There was a cool musical build up as Ride took to the stage and the crowd cheered very loudly. The band started by playing “Leave Them All Behind” and classics such as “Seagull” and “Vapour Trail”. They ended the main set with some long, crazy noise feedback during “Drive Blind”. The band came back for a two song encore where they finished up with “Today” and “Chelsea Girl”. The set was awesome and Marc Gardener and Andy Bell sounded great! I was kind of bummed that they didn’t play my favorite song which is “Nowhere”. Perhaps another time. Also, I expected the show to be a lot louder than it actually was, maybe that’s because the My Bloody Valentine show last year was just so incredibly loud.

While waiting near the stage after the show, one of the people breaking down the stage asked if I wanted the drumsticks, so yeah, of course I took them! These will go awesome in a frame with Ride’s vinyl re-release of the “Nowhere” album that I have already pre-ordered.

On our way out, the doorman for the Paradise Lounge part of the club asked if we wanted stay for the after party and that the bands would be there hanging out. How could you say no to that? We hung out there for a while, then the bands started to filter in and people got excited. I ended up getting my one of the drumsticks signed by Mark Gardener and it was the highlight of my year to actually meet him. I was unsuccessful in meeting the rest of the band and getting them all to sign them though.

We finally parted ways, and it was a long wait for the T, but I ended up chatting with a couple of people that were at the show as well. This was an amazing night of friends, music, and just a great time seeing one of my favorite bands ever. I hope Ride stay together and will definitely catch them again at some point in the future.