Review: Boston Fuzzstival 2016 Night 2 at the Middle East Downstairs 8-20-2016

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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.

Review: Boston Fuzzstival 2015 at the Middle East Downstairs 8-08-2015

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Black Beach

Black Beach on the side stage played loud, oh so loud, grungy punk rock.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.