Review: Polica, Andrew Broder at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH 2-18-2018

It had been quite a while since I’ve made it out to a show (life and work seems to get in the way these days), so I was pretty overdue. I made a last minute decision to go to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to catch Polica and Andrew Broder at a cool, small-ish space called 3S Artspace.

After finding a parking spot (tip: on street parking is free after 8pm), I bought a ticket at the door and was inside the venue. This may have been the cleanest venue I’ve ever seen a show in and I loved the small size of the place, which made for a more intimate show with great views of the stage. There weren’t many people there yet, so I ordered a Stoneface IPA and waited for Andrew Broder to come out.

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Andrew Broder

Andrew Broder stood behind a laptop and mixed some beats, creating music that had kind of a Twin Peaks (the TV show, not the band) atmosphere to it. As the set progressed, the experimental/droney sounds morphed into something danceable, causing a few people to start moving, but settled back down like a crashing wave towards the end of the nearly 40 minute set.

After the set, I tried a Great Rhythm Brewing’s Tropical Haze, which was really good, as I waited with what was now a much larger crowd for Polica to go on stage.

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Polica

I had the opportunity to see Minneapolis’s own Polica twice in one weekend during Lollapalooza 2012 in Chicago. Once at Lolla and the second at a very small after party at the Hard Rock Hotel. Both times I was blown away and was excited to finally see them again. Featuring two drummers, a bass player, loops, no guitars, and lead singer Channy Leaneagh, this was their first time ever playing New Hampshire.

Starting out with the straight forward “Amongster” from their first album to the thumping beats of “Lipstick Stains“, the band held the crowds attention for the whole night. This also happened to be Channy Leaneagh’s birthday which led to constant shouts of happy birthday from the crowd until about half through their set and everyone joined in with singing happy birthday to her. After the show, Channy chatted with people everyone who lined up at the merch table.

This was a really cool, fun crowd in a really neat space and I had a great time at this show, even if I did feel a bit awkward being there by myself at first. I ended up at Gilleys for a burger and some cheese fries, where I also made a few new drunken friends who were nearly kicked out. This was the kind of fun night I needed and I’m glad I went.

Setlist

Setlist

Review: The Veldt, Dyr Faser, Your 33 Black Angels at Once Lounge in Somerville, MA 9-02-2016

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This was a tough night as there were several really good shows going on that ranged from the last Guillermo Sexo show to Fat Creeps and even Anthony Green, which I was invited to go to, but I had been looking forward to seeing The Veldt again. This was also their tour kickoff. Finding parking around Once Somerville can be a pain at times, but luckily I found one open spot in the lot across the street. There was another show going on in the larger ballroom, but this one took place in the smaller, more intimate Twin Peaks-ish lounge area upstairs. Your 33 Black Angels were just starting their set.

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Your 33 Black Angels

I was at the bar, ordering a Jack’s Abby Copper Legend just as Brooklyn’s Your 33 Black Angels started playing. Before the beer filled the glass, a fuse blew cutting power to the stage and the bar, which brought applause and cheers from the pretty small crowd. A few minutes later, the amps were powered back up and the show continued. I wasn’t familiar with Your 33 Black Angels but they have been around for a while. They had a bit of a psych sound and at times venturing into synth pop territory. It’s kind of hard to describe their music since it seemed to span multiple genres. They were great and I really enjoyed their set.

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Dyr Faser

Dry Faser’s sound is something that needs to be experienced live. The video above as well as me trying to convey just how awesome their reverb drenched music can fill up the small-ish room does it no justice. A project of Eric Boomhower on guitar, with Thalia Zedek on another guitar and keyboardist Kate Murray all jamming over a drum machine, this trio created some seriously dark sounding music that completely wraps itself around you.

After the set, I ordered a Newburyport Brewing Green Head IPA, then tried to find an unobstructed spot to see The Veldt.

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The Veldt

I have now seen The Veldt 3 times in the last 5 months and every time they have been amazing. Tonight was no exception, especially with projections that added to the vibe of their soul-shoegaze sound, it felt more like an experience rather than a mere show. Singer Daniel Chavis’ soulful voice combined with his brother Danny on guitar, brought a lot of emotion to the songs, which was especially evident on the slower ones.

After the show, I chatted with bassist Hayato Nakao as I bought a Veldt t-shirt. I meant to pick up a physical copy of their latest CD The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur since I haven’t gotten around to buying it on Bandcamp yet.

This was an awesome small and intimate show that felt like a private performance by some really great bands, all of which I’d recommend seeing if you get the chance.

The Veldt 2016 European tour dates:

09/22 London, UK – Shacklewell Arms (with Electric Eye, Camera)
09/23 Liverpool, UK – Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia
09/24 Malmo, Sweden – Gatufest // Norra Grängesbergsgatan
09/25 Copenhagen, Denmark – TBC

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!

Review: HÆLOS, Radclyffe Hall at the Middle East Upstairs 4-1-2016

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I rushed through my usual after work workout in record time in order to try and get to the Middle East Upstairs before the first band went on. After getting stuck in a lot of traffic and a few other annoyances, I finally made it to Central Square where Radclyffe Hall were already well into their set.

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Radclyffe Hall

I first saw Radclyffe Hall when they played the Boston En Mass festival last year and thought they were great! With synthesizers on each side of the stage and 2 drummers in the middle all angled towards the audience, they were well into their set of dark synth music. I only caught their last three songs and I was kind of bummed to miss the full set because they were really good.

It was time for a drink, so I ordered a Hoponius Union as HÆLOS were getting set up. I expected a larger, if not sold out crowd since there was a lot of buzz about this band, but maybe it was due to competition from a lot of other shows on this night. But there was a pretty decent amount of people, so it was all good.

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HÆLOS

HÆLOS started out with the first track from their new album “Full Circle” called “Intro/Spectrum”, which and things only got better from there when they went into “Pray”. Seriously, from the moment they started playing, I was in love. With six members on stage, they had a hazy, ethereal sound that was definitely influenced by the 90’s trip hop scene. Singers Lotti Bernardout and Arthur Delaney seemed to play off of each other very well, with contrasting boy/girl vocals on many of the songs. If I had any complaints at all it would be that this was a really short set that lasted around 45 minutes or so, although I could have watched them for another 45. This was probably due to them not having many songs just yet.

There was no question about me picking up their first full length CD called “Full Circle”. After the show, I talked a little bit with Arthur Delaney, who was really cool. In fact, all of the band members seemed happy to sign the albums and CD’s they were selling while chatting and taking pictures with the crowd. I can’t wait to seem them again at Lollapalooza this summer and hopefully they will play one of the after parties at the Hard Rock or Virgin Hotels.

Since the show ended so early, like, before 9pm, I made plans to meet up with a friend at the Foundry On Elm in Davis Square for some much needed food and drinks. The food was amazing, the beer was good, and the company was great. This was seriously one of the best nights I’ve had out in a while, and there definitely needs to be more nights like this soon.

Review: St. Lucia, Tigertown at Royale Boston 2-17-2016

It feels kind of weird to take the T all the way into Boston since I mostly see shows Central Square and the shorter rides have spoiled me. It wasn’t a bad ride though and we got to Royale pretty fast. There are two reasons why I try not to go to Royale for shows, one is the mens bathroom (hey, I drink, I gotta pee) which offers no privacy, and two, the drinks are insanely priced. That being said, it was a St. Lucia show and they are always worth seeing, no matter what.

Although the line to get in was long, it moved quickly and once inside, we were greeted by tables of swag from WERS which I had to pass on since I didn’t really want to carry a t-shirt and other goodies during the show.

Once we got into the main room, the slightly raised dance floor area was completely packed with people, so there was no way to get close to the stage. We waited off to the side, conveniently near one of the bars and were able to get a good view from there to see Tigertown. I started with a Goose IPA which was ok, but beer in a can…meh.

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Tigertown

Tigertown who come from Sydney, Australia, are the opening band on this tour. They played fun synth pop that had the sold out crowd dancing practically the whole time! Although I wasn’t familiar with them, I really enjoyed their set and they were a good opener for St. Lucia!

In between sets I discovered the bathrooms on the other side of the club and they were soo much better! Royale has redeemed themselves! There was also a little stand nearby with a lady selling Harpoon beers on tap, so naturally I got a UFO White while waiting for St. Lucia.

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St. Lucia

This was my third time seeing Brooklyn based St. Lucia, who came out to a roaring crowd and took it all in for a moment. The band went right into “Rescue Me” from their new album, “Matter”, which just came out a few weeks ago and is pretty good. With air blowing lead singer Jean-Philip Grobler’s hair straight up, almost as if it were the wind, it was almost as if you were on the breezy tropical island that their music invokes. A good portion of the set consisted of songs from “Matter” with some older crowd favorites thrown in for good measure, which included two of my favorite St. Lucia songs “September” and as part of the encore they did “Elevate”, which you can’t help but dance to! It was the perfect song to end the show and everyone seemed to leave the venue with smiles on their faces. The only bummer for me personally was that they didn’t play “We Got It Wrong”, which was the song that made me love this band when I saw them in Chicago at a Lollapalooza after party a few years ago (of which, some things are still very hazy, but in a good way).

I was pretty hungry and picked up a delicious steak quesadilla from Maria’s Taqueria in the Theater District before heading home. St. Lucia always put on a fun show and I would highly recommend seeing them if you get the chance, trust me, you won’t regret it (unless you’re against dancing and having fun!).

Concert Review: The Knocks, St. Lucia at Royale Boston 11-20-2014

I had to go to work earlier than usual on the day of this show, so I wasn’t sure how awake I’d be by the time I got there, but I’m glad I went! This show has been sold out for a while and it was one of those rare times I purchased tickets well in advance. After we arrived at Royale, which is in the Boston’s theater district, there was a pretty long line to get in, but at least it moved pretty fast. Once inside, I went to the barand was quickly reminded why Royale is one of my least favorite venues. Drinks are extremely expensive ($7 for a Harpoon? $11 for a Jack and Coke?) and don’t even get me started on the creepiness of the mens bathroom. After getting my overpriced drink, which to be fair, was pretty strong, I made my way off to the side to get a better view of the stage where the Knocks were already playing.

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The Knocks

The Knocks are from New York City and were flanked by dancers on both sides of the stage for most of the night. It was kind of hard to hear them from where we were, but the slightly raised dance floor in front of the stage was packed with people, so it was impossible to get any closer. A group of girls in the back were dancing to everything. They seemed to kind of blow through a set of electronic music, which I imagine was due to time constraints since St. Lucia’s set was to be streamed live on Yahoo. At one point St. Lucia lead singer Jean-Philip Grobler came out and sang with the band on “Modern Hearts”, which was really cool.

I went to the bar and decided to get a Harpoon IPA (ka-ching!) just before St. Lucia came on stage. I first saw St. Lucia at the ASOS Lollapalooza after party at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago last year, but have very vague memories of it because free vodka. I do remember liking them a lot that night, so I was excited for this show.

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St. Lucia

The band took to the stage and started out fairly mellow with “Cold Case” before tearing through their set of 80’s influenced and tropical synth pop. There was a fan on the stage blowing wind at Jean-Philip, adding to the tropical feel of the music and at times making his hair stand straight up. The crowd was dancing and singing along to just about every song. They also played a couple of new songs that are still works in progress and were ok, but will probably require more listens. After my last drink of the night, a Jack and Coke (ka-ching!), I have now spent more on drinks than I did for these tickets. Ahh!

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St. Lucia

The best part of the night was during the encore when they played one of my personal all time favorite songs “Elevate”, which got the crowd dancing around. They finished with one more song and that was it. This was a really fun show and I had an amazing time. I grabbed a much needed quesadilla at Maria’s Taqueria and called it a night. I can’t wait for St. Lucia to come back to Boston.

Concert Review: Kisses, YDIMITU, Dangerous Cans, Press Pause;Restart at the Middle East Upstairs 7-16-13

Although I had been wanting to see Kisses for a while now, it was kind of a last minute decision to go to this show. A quick ride on the T and I was The Middle East Upstairs. As I walked through the restaurant portion to the back of the room, there was a line, which made me fear that the show was sold out. It turns out that it was just 5 older dudes, who must have been visiting from out of town, based on them asking the girl at the door about other music venues in the area and taking their time to decide if they wanted to go to this show. Add to that the cute but somewhat quirky girl (not in an annoying Zooey way, thankfully), who was talking to herself in line behind me and it was an interesting way to start the night.

Once inside, I was surprised at how empty the club was. There were about 12 people in there. I had missed the first band, Press Pause;Restart, but Dangerous Cans were just setting up. I grabbed a Harpoon UFO and made my way to the floor area.

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Dangerous Cans

Dangerous Cans who come from Brooklyn via Fairbanks, Alaska, are a synth pop duo that consisted of a drummer and a singer. I mean this in the best possible way, they sounded a bit like that McDonald’s filet o fish commercial song. Charging through their set, the small crowd seemed into them as was I. I ordered another Harpoon UFO before YDIMITU went on since it was starting to get a little hot in there.

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YDIMITU

Next was YDIMITU, which was just one guy and a laptop, and from what the internet tells me is either from Boston or Brooklyn. With a laptop set up on some milk crates and a lot of colored strobe lights to set the mood, YDIMITU started his set, only to have to stop because of the extremely heavy bass knocking the laptop over during the first song. After about 10 minutes or so, he was good to go for a somewhat shortened but interesting set. I haven’t heard bass like that since I saw Metz in this same venue last year.

There was a slightly larger crowd at this point for L.A.’s Kisses, although I’d estimate it at being around 30 or so people. It was a shame that more people weren’t there, but I guess a hot Tuesday night is tough for a lot of people to get out to a show. The band did acknowledge and thank everyone for making it out.

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Kisses

Wearing a lobster print Hawaiian shirt, which Kisses singer Jesse Kivel at one point joked that he had bought it for Boston show and that this would be the only time he wears it on tour. The band went right into their kind of dark tropical pop music. Their music was also very danceable, as quirky girl proved by dancing around and singing along to every song.

During “Midnight Lover” Zinzi Edmundson’s keyboard playing had more of The Cars “Moving in Stereo sound live, than it does on “The Heart of the Nightlife” album, it worked very well! At one point, Kivel stepped down off of the stage and into the crowd while singing, which probably made quirky girl’s night.

The band said that they will be back soon and I really hope they will. It was a pretty fun night, probably because it’s the first show I’ve seen in a while, but all of the bands were great as well. I would highly recommend seeing Kisses if they come to your town.