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: Earthless, Kikagaku Moyo, JJUUJJUU at the Sinclair in Cambridge, MA 3-17-2018

Earthless sign

There was nothing about this show that would have led you to believe it was St. Patrick’s day in Boston, unless you were riding the T and saw amongst other things, a girl sitting across from me with an amber colored fluid in her Polar Springs Sparkling Water bottle.

I kept flip flopping on whether or not to go to this show, but decided at the last minute to go with hopes that I could still get a ticket at the door. There was no traffic on my drive to Alewife and it was a really fast train ride to Harvard Square. In no time, I was at the Sinclair for this pretty stacked lineup that consisted of JJUUJJUU, Kikagaku Moyo, and headliners Earthless. I bought a ticket at the door, dropped my coat off at the coat check, and ordered a beer just as JJUUJJUU were just hitting the stage.

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JJUUJJUU

JJUUJJUU are, much like a lot of bands I’ve seen, a group I first saw at Austin Psych Fest a few years ago. Based in Los Angeles, their music is full of reverby psychedelic drenched goodness. They played for just over half an hour, but man, it was great!

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Kikagaku Moyo

Japanese psych band Kikagaku Moyo, whose name I have trouble pronouncing, but translates to “geometric patterns”, are another band I caught in Austin before and really dug them. With enough members on the stage to make it look pretty cramped up there, they played a set where the songs seemed to start out a bit mellow and before you knew it, crashed like a giant psychedelic wave washing over the audience.

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Earthless

As soon as I saw the crazy psychedelic visuals provided by the excellent Mad Alchemy, I knew we were all in for a treat. San Diego’s Earthless, who were draped in swirls of patterns and colors, hit the crowd hard as they went right into “Godspeed” and kept the heavy guitar riffs coming for the rest of the night. Playing mostly instrumental stoner rock to a sold out crowd that was really feeling it and I’ll leave it up to you as to what exactly “it” is, they held the room’s attention for the entirety of their set.

They finished out the night with a very heavy cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown”, which was pretty loud and intense with most of the crowd singing along. Honestly, I didn’t want it to end, but like all good things, it had to.

This was an amazing night of music and I’m glad I ended going. It was a pretty quick ride back to Alewife and my eyes are still reeling from those visuals!

Earthless 2018 tour dates:

May 31 – Detroit MI @ El Club *
June 1 – Nelsonville OH @ Nelsonville Music Festival
June 2 – Louisville KY @ Zanzabar
June 3 – Morgantown WV @ 123 Pleasant Street #
June 5 – Asheville NC @ The Mothlight %
June 6 – Atlanta GA @ The Masquerade %
June 7 – Spartanburg SC @ GroundZero %
June 8 – Orlando FL @ Will’s Pub %
June 9 – Tallahassee FL @ The Wilbury %
June 10 – Baton Rouge LA @ Spanish Moon %
June 12 – Houston TX @ White Oak Music Hall %
June 13 – Austin TX @ Barracuda Austin %
June 14 – Ft. Worth TX @ Ridglea Theater %
June 15 – Memphis TN @ Growlers %

*: with Timmy’s Organism and The Octopus
%: with Here Lies Man
#: with Hill Giant

Kikagaku Moyo 2018 tour dates:

Nov 07 – Gorilla Manchester, United Kingdom
Nov 08 – Scala London, United Kingdom
Nov 17 – Café Bad Bonn Düdingen, Switzerland
Nov 19 – arena wien – verein forum Wien, Austria
Nov 21 – Loppen, Christiania KØBENHAVN K, Denmark
Nov 23 – Fasching Stockholm, Sweden
Nov 24 – Blå Oslo, Norway
Nov 26 – Hafenklang Hamburg, Germany
Nov 27 – Ancienne BelgiqueBrussels, Belgium
Nov 30 – Sala Upload Barcelona, Spain
Dec 08 – Paradiso Grote ZaalNieuw-Amsterdam, Netherlands

JJUUJJUU 2018 Tour dates:

Jun 05 – Columbus, OH EXPRESS LIVE!
Jun 06 – Chicago, IL Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
Jun 07 – Lakewood, OH Mahall’s Locker Room
Jun 08 – Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
Jun 09 – Sterling Heights, MI Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill
Jun 10 – Indianapolis, IN The Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park
Jun 12 – Cincinnati, OH PNC Pavilion at Riverbend
Jun 13 – Milwaukee, WI Cactus Club
Jun 14 – Maplewood, MN Myth
Jun 15 – Bonner Springs, KS Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
Jun 16 – Camdenton, MO Ozarks Amphitheater
Jun 18 – Lincoln, NE Pinewood Bowl Theater
Jun 19 – Denver, CO Lost Lake Lounge


Jun 21 – Missoula, MT KettleHouse Amphitheater


Jun 22 – Redmond, WA Marymoor Park


Jun 23 – Bend, OR Les Schwab Amphitheater


Jun 25 – Troutdale, OR McMenamin’s Edgefield Winery


Jun 28 – Avila Beach, CA Avila Beach Golf Resort
Jun 29 – Berkeley, CA Greek Theatre


Jun 30 – Lincoln, CA Thunder Valley Casino Resort & Amphitheater


Jul 02 – Salt Lake City, UT Salt Air Pavilion


Jul 03 – Las Vegas, NV Downtown Las Vegas Events Center


Jul 05 – Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre


Jul 06 – San Diego, CA Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre


Jul 07 – Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre


Oct 12 – Perris, CA Moreno Beach

Review: Quilt, Widowspeak, Doug Tuttle at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA 6-24-2016

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, The Murlocs, Doug Tuttle at The Sinclair 5-13-2016

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: Gateway Drugs, Swervedriver at The Sinclair 3-28-2015

Sinclair Sign

I got to the Alewife T stop only to find the all too familiar problem of the Red Line not running between there and Harvard Square, which meant having to take a bus, which in turn takes longer. After meeting up with a friend for pre-show drinks at Charlie’s Kitchen, then dinner in Harvard Square, we were off to the Sinclair for the Gateway Drugs/Swerverdriver show.

This was my first time at the Sinclair and it was much smaller inside than I expected (the outside of the building looks huge), but it was really cool. We found a spot on the second floor which gave us a pretty good view of everything, although I would have preferred to be on the floor in front of the stage. I got a Jack’s Abby Smoke & Dagger beer which as it’s name suggests, had very smokey flavor to it.

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Gateway Drugs

Gateway Drugs came out to a pretty packed club. I was already familiar with their music, so I knew what to expect, but my friend was surprised and really got into them. With crunchy guitars and switching off on boy/girl vocals, they played a pretty awesome set. They ended with an amazing cover of The Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction”. I think they won the night.

For my next drink, I tried the 16 Point Sweet Action. It was a lot lighter and had a little bit of a fruity taste to it, definitely a change from the smokey beer.

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Swervedriver

The place was completely filled with people by the time Swervedriver went on. Lead singer/guitarist Adam Franklin was surrounded by a LOT of pedals in the middle of the stage, with Jimmy Hartridge on guitar and Mick Quinn from Supergrass. who is filling in on bass for this tour on each end. Although they seemed to be a little more subdued on stage than Gateway Drugs, they were really, really, loud. Things got a little off track after a couple of issues with the effects pedals during their set, but a tech fixed them and became the hero of the night.

Most of the people around us were really friendly, which is something I’m not used to at Boston shows (but go to any city outside of the Northeast and you’ll walk away with at least 10 new friends, go figure!). Both bands were amazing and we had a really great time. On our way out, Gateway Drugs were at their merch table talking with fans, which is always good to see. The Sinclair is a pretty cool venue to see a show and I plan to go there more often.