Concert Review: Mark Sultan,Banditas,NHH, and BFs @ PA’s Lounge (5/12/12)

Artists: Mark Sultan, Bent Shapes (formerly Girlfriends), The Banditas, New Highway Hymnal, The BF’s
Date: Saturday, May 12, 2012
Venue: PA’s Lounge (Somerville)
Act I: The BF’s– The BF’s or the Boyfriends play a noisy, power-pop fueled set. Alas, the band announces in between songs that they are missing one of their guitarists. Missing as in they literally do not know where he is. Despite the abscence of a key player, the BFs manage to prevail and bash out some solid numbers. Towards the end of their performance, their guitarist finally pops up and joins his bandmates on stage. I cannot say I am blown away by these guys, but their songs are catchy and I can recommend them for sure. Check it http://thebfs.bandcamp.com/

Act II: The New Highway Hymnal– I saw New Highway Hymnal for the first time last September at the Ant Cellar in Lowell. I had never seen or even heard of them before (if you can believe that!), but their performance had a truly lasting power that kept me thurston for moore.* Five Lowell basement shows later, I can say with thee utmost sincerity that New Highway Hymnal are one of the greatest live bands I have seen in the past year. In particular, I adore the group’s ability to just let go and often go nuts! freak out if you will, which you should. Okay. In previous shows, I have noted this chaotic character to their music and at first I think the change of setting from underground basement to conventional establishment (P.A.’s Lounge) would perhaps curtail this charming feature to their live shows, but fortunately for madmen like myself, all is well. In fact, I am going to say this is the best I have seen them. The sound is top notch (quite loud per usual) and the band is as energetic as ever. What I love about NHH is how every member provides their own special flavor to the mix. Hadden Stemp is a mezmorizing singer; his vocals and performance as a whole evoke the likes of Jim Morrison. He always appears to be in some sort of trance when he is on stage, and these vibes seem to spread throughout the whole band. Badass guitarist Lukas Goudreault freaks out in the form of creative moving and shaking that reminds me of John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees. This enthusiasm coupled with their harsh brand of psychedelia is infectious and hooks me in like few other bands can. Travis Hagan is a powerhouse drummer, constantly slamming those damn things to death! The whole band is excellent, but musically, bassist Amelia Gormley steals the show. In fact, her bass playing was one of the first things I admired about NHH and it sounded phenomenal at the P.A.’s Lounge. All around stellar set!
Check out their new single, “Out With The Lights” http://soundcloud.com/vanyarecords/the-new-highway-hymnal-out

*Poweranimal- “Thurston for Moore”

Act III: The Banditas– The Banditas continue the evening’s strand of fun filled rock and roll, only a bit lighter than the New Highway Hymnal. Banditas certainly can rock though and their set is chock full of  power pop blast after blast. My favorite part of their performance is when the singer/guitarist has to make some chord changes and so she suddenly flips off her top revealing a very patriotic bra covered in the stars and stripes of America! She insists this is only to serve as a distraction while she deals with the technical difficulties. I concur with the dude that shouts “nice distraction!”  Here’s a link to their bandcamp page: http://banditasboston.bandcamp.com/

Act IV: Mark Sultan– Glen and I- Kids Like You & Me love attending and reviewing  shows and over the past few years this has become a major part of our lives. We have the privilege of seeing endless intriguing and inspiring artists on a regular basis, but it is an even rarer privilege when we have the opportunity to witness an honorary KLYAMER. Mark Sultan is just that, one of our favorite artists, whether it be The King Khan & BBQ Show, The Almighty Defenders, The Spaceshits, Les Sexareenos, or his amazing solo work, which is what we are being served tonight. We first witnesed Mark Sultan in concert when he opened for fellow Montreal bretheran, King Khan & his sensational Shrines at the Paradise Rock Club on May 7, 2009. I remember being blown away by Mark’s musicianship and how he could create such a sonic force all by himself. Over the years I have grown to love most of his solo output, so seeing the man live is just a further extension of my admiration for his work. The PA’s Lounge is pretty packed by the time the BBQ begins to play and everyone appears to be excited. Mark rips through his classic “Beautiful Girl” and euphoria spreads through the room.  I think this is my favorite, there’s something really special about it. Obviously, much of his music is channeling various forms of early rock and roll, but if I had to choose one song that best exemplifies this quality it would have to be “Beautiful Girl.”  It is right up there with any other great love song from that era. The song has strong pop hooks and it is hard not to get wrapped up in it; which is basically true about most of Mark’s tunes. I know this has been said before, even by me, but part of what makes Mark Sultan live a sight to see is the fact that he is playing everything by himself, but he does NOT sound like a solo act. This is not just some wimpy dude with a wimpy guitar singing boring, exhausting songs. Instead, Mark is able to unleash a fun, vibrant, and sweaty show. Unfortunatley, towards the end of his performance, some dumbass started heckling him. These kind of people should cease attending rock and roll shows or simply cease existing.

Act V: Bent Shapes (formerly Girlfriends)- We missed :(

One thought on “Concert Review: Mark Sultan,Banditas,NHH, and BFs @ PA’s Lounge (5/12/12)

  1. I was very favourably impressed last time I saw Mark Sultan. He was very friendly and even at times cheerful and having not seen him perform as Mark Sultan before I was very impressed with the show’s quality. “Beautiful Girl” is an excellent song though the studio version has instrumentation that makes one think of soda fountains or something it works well with the one-man format.

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