Review: Fagettes, Sun Lions, Earthquake Party, The Migs @ Mid East Upstairs (7/31/13)

Bands: Fagettes, The Sun Lions, Earthquake Party!, The Migs
Venue: Middle East Upstairs (Cambridge, MA)
Date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This is the kind of bill that should easily draw loads of local attention, any day. And it did. Eager onlookers slowly packed into the Middle East as my kinda band – The Fagettes – started playing their music. Sometimes these reviews can sound awfully repetitious, especially when describing some KLYAM faves, but singing the praises of Fagettes never gets old for me. Their sublimely catchy garage/pop is highly stimulating, more so than most bands in this ole Boston scene. They stick out visually – two stand-up drummers is pretty uncommon – and of course audibly; three singers trading words and ba ba ba’s more often than not. Entertainment. Tonight they play a couple cuts from last year’s impressive 7″ If I See Him Again (“On Drugs” and “My Girl Looks Like Johnny Thunders”), which along with “Gonna Die Out Here,” really showcase the Fagettes sound – sweet guitar tones bleeding from the amps of Ryan and Matt. They toss in a couple of brand new, full battery jams that oughta be trademarked soon. And then there was “I Hear Noises”. Not sure if I remember the last time I heard them play this, but it’s one of those tunes that calls for the late arrivals to be slapped around a little for missing out. People who’ve seen Fagettes live know what I’m trying to get at here. If you haven’t, they are playing a big show: August 23 opening for Hunx and His Punx at Brighton Music Hall. Can’t recommend that one enough. And remember to show up way early.

Next, we hear from The Sun Lions – formerly The Images. By either name, I was unfamiliar with their music. They had some passionate fans constantly dancing near the front of the stage. The first half of their set quite honestly didn’t too much for me. They sounded like any number of vocal-centric pop-rock alternative groups that had their heyday in the ’90s. That kind of familiar sound obviously has appeal to some, but around this site, you know, the slimier, the better. So once a second guitarist jumped on stage and joined the group, Sun Lions’ set became night and day to my ears. They transformed into a looser band, showing a knack for ’60s pop (covering “Heatwave”) and garage (another cover was “Have Love, Will Travel”…I think). I had much more fun rocking out to this side of the band and I wish the whole set would have been of this variety.

Earthquake Party! is a trio that like Sun Lions dabbles toward the more accessible fringes of pop ‘n roll. Their set consists of many very very brief tunes that are wild explosions of noise, fuzz, but most importantly melody. The guitarist Justin moves around the stage passionately while playing. So while he’s frantically singing and blasting away, Mallory (keyboard) and J-Raff (drums) keep things relatively in check. The energy of Earthquake Party! is perhaps their greatest attribute. They capture my attention immediately and always. I’ve seen them a few times before. This was the most fun I’ve had seeing them. To me they’re like a more catchy, snappy, ADD, Lost Sounds.

Last and hopefully not literally last (show) is New Hampshire’s pride and soul, The Migs. Kicking off with a cover of Rolling Stones “The Last Time” (remember they finished off their set at Great Scott with this a few weeks ago?), tonight felt like a cumulative continuation of all the good time vibes these guys have created over the years. Out of all the local-ish bands I’ve seen, it is the MIGS that capture the sonics of psychedelic garage nuggets the best. They nail this to a tee. I recently bought a compilation called Teenage Shutdown which features some gunk from young ’60s bands. If the Migs were around back then, you’d find them included. No doubt at all. “You and Me” is my nomination. Revved up and rowdy rockers. When Keven frequently takes off from the stage into the crowd while still hammering away on his guitar, it’s only natural to join in on the fun, shoving your neighbors around to the sounds of “Follow Me Home” and “We’re The Migs”. Moshing, freaky dancing, jumping up and down. A Migs show for the ages. For the thirty or so minutes they were up there, everyone was all smiles. Just incredible stuff.

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