Review: boy pablo at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA 7-8-2018

boy pablo sign

I got to Alewife a little later than I wanted to, but soon enough, in a repeat of exactly a week ago, I was at the Middle East in Central Square for yet another show. Tonight it was Norwegian indie pop band boy pablo. I had decided to buy a ticket the night before after putting it off for whatever reason, but it sold out shortly after I purchased the ticket.

I’m guessing a lot of people, including myself first became aware of them as a suggested video on Youtube. I watched the video and fell in love with the song.

boy pablo (yes, in all of it’s lowercase splendor) were the only band playing. Although doors were at 7pm, the show didn’t start until 9:30pm and the Middle East down was completely packed for this sold out show. I ordered a Jack’s Abbey Hoponius Union and found a spot near the upper bar.

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boy pablo

When the band came out, the crowd went absolutely crazy! I have to say, this was one of those few times you could actually tell that a band really appreciated the people who came out to see them. Flashing giant smiles and acknowledging the crowd, and hamming it up a bit, they really had the crowd behind them.

Lead singer Pablo Muñoz definitely charmed the crowd and comes off as extremely likable (to be fair, the entire band comes off that way as well). It seemed like they played just about every song they have put out, especially since most songs are pretty short.

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boy pablo

At one point, the band did an acapella version of “Afternoon Delight” as well as covers of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Michael Jackson as seen in the video below. They play for about an hour and 10 minutes with 2 songs during the encore, which became a huge dance party. This was one of the most fun shows I’ve been to in a long time and I did not regret buying that ticket at the last minute at all.

boy pablo 2018 tour dates:
10/28/18 – The Button Factory – Dublin, Ireland

10/29/18 – Belgrave Music Hall – Leeds, United Kingdom

10/30/18 – Club Academy – Manchester, United Kingdom

10/31/18 – Fiddlers – Bristol, United Kingdom

11/01/18 – Electric Ballroom – London, United Kingdom

11/02/18 – Pitchfork Music Festival Paris – Paris, France

11/03/18 – LA GRANDE HALLE DE LA VILLETTE – Paris, France

11/14/18 – Shibuya Tsutaya O-Nest – Shinjuku-ku, Japan

11/15/18 – Modeci – Seoul, South Korea

11/16/18 – Omni Space – Beijing, China

11/17/18 – Arkham – Shanghai, China

11/18/18 – The Wall – Taipei City, Taiwan

11/20/18 – Mom Live House – Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong

11/22/18 – Pavilion – Bishan, Singapore

11/23/18 – Kuningan City Ballroom – Jakarta, Indonesia

11/24/18 – Moonstar Studio – Bangkok, Thailand

11/25/18 – Century City Mall – Makati, Philippines

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Concert Review: Turtle Ambulance, Dirty Dishes, Lord Jeff at the Middle East Upstairs 08-25-11

Let me start out by saying that I was really excited for this show, which was sponsored by Vice Magazine and Vitaminwater. I haven’t heard of any of the bands before, but checked them all out on Youtube to get a feel for what to expect. So, I took off with high hopes, the promise of free beer, and a gleam in my eye, hoping to be blown away on a Thursday night! After a very slow drive (due to getting stuck behind a friggin Prius, which begs the question of why the hell are Prius drivers the worst drivers ever?), I arrived at the Middle East in Cambridge.

If you have never been, the Middle East Upstairs is a really small space with poles that can block your view if you don’t stake out a good spot immediately. My first mission was to head straight to the bar, where according to the email, there was going to be free drinks. $5+tip and a Corona later, I was wondering what the hell?? Whatever, I really didn’t mind since this was the first small show I have been to in a while.

The first band was Turtle Ambulance, which appeared to be one guy (although their site says 2) and some electronics. To be honest, it was a bit dull and I didn’t really pay much attention, but maybe that’s because I’ve seen this kind of thing done a lot better at shows in Providence. It seemed that I was not the only one wasn’t feeling it, as most people were standing in line at the bar. I will have to see them again to really make any kind of judgement though, because it just seemed like the wrong kind of element for that type of music. By the end of the set, the club started to fill in a bit more, mostly really tall PBR drinking, plaid wearing, hipsters.

Alex Molini, Jenny Tuite, and Mike Thomas of Dirty Dishes
Alex Molini, Jenny Tuite, and Mike Thomas of Dirty Dishes

My faith in the Boston music scene (which has a severe lack of good bands, but I’m open to hearing some recommendations) was renewed when Dirty Dishes hit the stage. With a mostly shoegaze sound, they totally blew me away. This just might be my new favorite Boston band. I noticed that the club got pretty full. This was the only band that people really seemed to pay attention to, with the exception of the 5 douchey fratboys off to one side that were being obnoxious and yelling for the singer to open her eyes when she sings. The band ended with a song that went into a really awesome jam which had every person in the audience bobbing their heads along with the beat. It was a great way to end the set!

Jenny Tuite of Dirty Dishes
Jenny Tuite of Dirty Dishes

As soon as Dirty Dishes were done, most people left, which leads me to believe they have a pretty decent following. Up next, a band called Lord Jeff. They had a kind of mellow, hippy, jam sound, which is definitely not my thing. Is this the same Lord Jeff band that I saw on Youtube? Definitely didn’t sound like the same one. I stuck around for 4 or 5 songs, hoping it would get better or start rocking, but it all sounded the same. At this point, I came to the conclusion that the night was a huge fail and I should just take off.

Lord Jeff at the Middle East upstairs
Lord Jeff at the Middle East upstairs

I really did expect more from this event. Each band played a half hour set, which was probably way too short to really get a feel for what they were like. Also, most of the people seemed to only be there for the non-existent free beer. I will definitely be seeing Dirty Dishes when they play again in the future though, but why weren’t they selling any merch? I would have loved to buy a CD but will have to wait until next time.

Concert Review: Best Coast, Male Bonding, Young Adults

I arrived at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge on a very drizzly Tuesday night for one of my other “most anticipated” shows of 2010. I met up with a friend and as we were getting our wristbands, she noticed that there was a “sold out” sign hanging up, although at this point, there was a decent amount of people, but not sellout sized. I also realized that I haven’t been there in a couple of years.

We caught the last 2 songs of Young Adults set, which sounded good, although I was not familiar with them at all. As we waited at the bar for our drinks (sidenote: these were the cheapest drinks I’ve had at any Boston area club), the bartender asked if we knew who the band was. He said he was really liking them, so that must mean something. I’ll have to check their Myspace and give it a listen.

Male Bonding
Male Bonding

Next up was Male Bonding, all the way from the UK. We made our way towards the front of the stage to watch them. I didn’t really know much about this band either. They played grunge tinged guitar rock, with a little bit of a surf sound, which got a few people in the crowd, who were way to old to be doing so, to start moshing. Some more people joined in and there were even some girls moshing, but everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun, so that’s cool. The songs were short and loud but they weren’t bad at all. I will have to listen to some more of their stuff online when I get a chance. Did I mention they were loud?

After a beer refill, some moseying at the merch table (it’s always cool when bands work their own tables), and trying to figure out the logistics of how a midget could use the Breathalyzer machine that was mounted kind of high on the wall, Best Coast came on stage.

Best Coast
Best Coast

By this point, the club had filled up due to this being Best Coast’s first ever Boston show, which made it impossible to get close to the stage again. We decided to stay towards the back where it was easier to see anyway. Their lo-fi sound didn’t really translate over into the live show. Songs such as “Boyfriend” or “Crazy For You” sounded much cleaner live. The clearer vocals sounded good considering that lead singer Beth had been battling the flu all week according to her twitter feed. They pretty much went through their whole debut album, Crazy For You.

Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast
Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast

They played for around 50 minutes or so. After they left the stage, people were yelling for more and the band came out to play an encore which was pretty cool. This night seemed to go by way too fast and was over before I knew it. Overall, I had a great time and really hope that Best Coast makes Boston a regular stop when they tour again.

Best Coast – Wish He Was You