Concert Review: Bent Shapes, earthquake party!, Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion!, The Fagettes @ Great Scott (1/12/13)

Bent Shapes
Bands: Bent Shapes, earthquake party!, Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion!, The Fagettes
Date: Saturday, January 12, 2013
Venue: Great Scott (Allston, MA)

Act I: The Fagettes – The Fagettes are a KLYAM band. Period. There are many styles/genres I could attribute to this band, and pretty much all of them we dig, hence why they are a KLYAM band. Rock ‘n’ Roll, Garage, Punk, Psychedelic, you name it, they got it.  Their sound and aesthetic fits perfectly with the punk slime we proudly promote every day on this site, which I honestly can’t say about most of the local bands we see. That isn’t to say other bands around here suck, not at all. It’s just great to see a Hunxian “garage” band in Boston.  We saw them once before performing as Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood for a Halloween cover show, and as much of a blast as that was, we yearned to see them as FAGETTES. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited.  As I mentioned earlier, these guys have nailed that fun, fun rock ‘n’ roll sound down pat, but they also have a real cool look to them.  Especially Ryan Major (vocals, guitar, harmonica);  he is simply one suave motherfucker. He rocks the shades and from a distance he looks like Jared Swilley, but up close he looks more like John Holmes, either way he is the man and he is a great singer. Ryan shares vocal duties with Melanie Bernier (one half of one of the best local bands, The Electric Street Queens – check them out!), who also plays drums. But, Melanie isn’t the only one that sings and plays drums, oh no. A wonderful gentleman by the name of Peaches commands the kit in the back and provides some sick backing vocals. The bass player, who’s name escapes me (sorry dude!) is enthusiastic as he always is, love that guy. But, wait there’s more.  Matt “Nice Guy” Garlick is riffing on guitar. In fact, before the band plays their set, I can hear Matt jamming on The King Khan & BBQ Show’s “Waddlin Around,”  killer song.  I should also mention that Matt is completing the second half of his double header tonight, having just played at the Butcher Shoppe with his other badass punk band, Nice Guys, wowzer! The Fagettes’ set consists of all the fun tunes you’d want to hear, oldies like “Catholic Riff Raff,” “Mystery Pills,” and “Water, Tea, and Alcohol,” as well as their latest offering, “Gonna Die Out Here,” one of their sexiest to date.  They also play all three cuts (“If  I See Him Again,” “On Drugs,” and “My Girl Looks Like Johnny Thunders”) from last summer’s EP If I See Him Again.  With “On Drugs,” they really make it feel like a place you come to visit, where the fun never stops.  This song and every song sounds terrific. The Fagettes live is a visual, auditory monster. With all these vocals and percussion jostling me, I feel like I’m being trampled by a lion. The sound is that big, perhaps not that terrifying though, but my ears are equally pleased and damaged.  I can’t recommend Fagettes more, going back to what I started saying at the beginning of the review that they are a KLYAM band, meaning they play rock ‘n’ roll the way it  ought to be done: short, but simple pop songs, fun, filthy, and catchy. Sweetness meets sickness. Like, Shannon and the Clams, there’s enough loud punk and soft pop for all to enjoy, and usually somewhere in between. I am exhausted, but Fagettes can keep me up all night. Be awesome like me and listen to all their crazy music here: http://thefagettes.bandcamp.com/

Act II: Beware the Dangers Of A Ghost Scorpion!– Now, here’s a sweet band. With a name this enormous and eccentric, they ought to send me into an oblivion. And like their name they are both fun and puzzling, but in a pleasant way. ‘Beware’ is a five piece and each member is dressed the same: bandannas covering their noses and mouths, blue jeans, and black shirts bearing a picture of a presumably dangerous, ghost scorpion.  The set is entirely instrumental and with the exception of Big Mess, I typically am not fond of this style of music, but these men capture my attention and entertain me for the next half hour. They rock out pretty hard, playing early 60s surf rock with a bit of an extra kick, in fact a lot of emotion and physical energy. This is especially true of the man on tambourine. This dude bashes away at the tambourine, unlike anyone else I’ve seen before, I can’t imagine what his hand looks like after each gig.  But, he goes beyond that in his showmanship. He makes the crowd move and shake and he is the leader of all this hype and excitement in the room, as if he is holding the crowd in the palm of his hand, perhaps a cliched comparison, but he  just holds this undeniable command over the crowd. What’s even more fascinating and unique about this man and the group as a whole is the lack of vocals. As I mentioned, they are an instrumental band, but they literally never speak throughout the whole performance. No words, just music. Actually, let me rephrase that, words do appear at various moments, as they are scrawled across a sign that the tambourine player triumphantly holds, reading: BEWARE THE DANGERS OF A GHOST SCORPION!  This guy gets an A+ for the night. Solid set, sick band, but I don’t know if this is the kind of music I see myself listening to at home alone in my room, with that being said, I hope to see them again in the future and I hope others catch their set too, for this is a live show you won’t want to miss. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EmoBSVPoXs

Set-List:
“Red River Tombstone Hustle”
“Heads Will Roll”
“The Lover’s Curse”
“The Nameless One”
“Caught Dead”
“Cateye Glasses”
“We Welcome The Living, But Only If They Come Here To Die”
“Satan’s Invisible World”
“13 Stabs”
“SOS”
“Denton County Casket Company”
“Haintmaker”
“The Legend of Goatman’s Bridge”

Act III: earthquake party!– Earthquake Party’s a perennial rock force in Boston, and a very talented band at that.  Their set is loud and noisy, but with some pop beneath the heavy volume. Their keyboard driven songs mixed with grungey/screaming vocals remind me of the Lost Sounds and Yo La Tengo.  There’s a harsh quality to it, but it’s also satisfying and never overstays its welcome. Listening to their bandcamp, I hear the songs more clearly, they have some real great pop numbers here. I’ve seen them a couple times before and each show has been an enjoyable experience.  Definitely a KLYAM recommendation: http://earthquakeparty.bandcamp.com/

Set-List:
“Nails + Hammertime”
“One More Night”
“Pretty Lil Hand”
“Fast Girl”
“Escape Artist”
“Daydream Jenny”
“Brains”
“Pretty Trash”
“Tramp”
“Little Pet”
“Hello Weirdo”

Act IV: Bent Shapes – Like earthquake Party! Bent Shapes are familiar faces around the Boston rock scene and they have earned a reputation for creating catchy, mellow, pop songs that rank up there with the finest in music today. So yeah, they’re one of my favorite bands right now and it’s great to see them in front of a packed crowd at the Great Scott. Great Scott is the first place I saw Bent Shapes (well Girlfriends) many, many moons ago, opening for another brilliant, underrated pop band, Harlem. At the time, I didn’t really pay attention to local music, for no particular reason, I just didn’t. Girlfriends stood out to me though, I think the first local band that I really dug. Flash forward to the present. They sound excellent and they play some of their best songs including the sunny “Leave It Till You Need It,” and their recent flexi, “Panel of Experts” and “Bites and Scratches.”  They have a somewhat soft pop style to their craft, but they rock just as hard as all the other bands. The set closes with one of my all time favorite songs, “I Was Here, But I Disappear,” which always gets me super ecstatic, there’s just no way of describing my love for this song without sounding over the top. Perhaps, the best performance I’ve seen from Bent Shapes. Check them out, if you haven’t already. http://bentshapes.bandcamp.com/

Set-List
“Big Machines”
“Panel of Experts”
“Boys to Men”
“Spazz”
“Bhead”
“Wut?”
“Space”
“What We Do Is Public”
“Bites and Scratches”
“Leave It ‘Til You Need It”
“Brat Poison”
“I Was Here But I Disappear”

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