Show Review: TYVEK / Cloud Nothings @ Sinclair (10/8/14)

By Joanna TrachtenbergI saw Cloud Nothings for the second time this year. It was a tough decision for me to choose between seeing Cloud Nothings or seeing Warpaint who were playing the same night at Royale. One of the reasons why I chose this show was because of the opening band Tyvek who I will get to later. The first band on were Chandos who are a new local band I’d never heard of. I met a couple of their band members before the show and they told me that they are kind of punkish and thought I’d like them based on my tastes. They came on and sounded decent but I didn’t find anything extra special about them. I thought that Black Beach opening for Bass Drum of Death a few days earlier were much better because they had more bang for their buck.

Now it was time for the band of the night TYVEK! They were so amazing. This was my first time seeing them and they impressed me so much. They remind me of a rawer version of Parquet Courts. I overheard someone refer to them as “choppy” which I can only assume was a compliment. Some of the songs they played included Honda, Underwater 1, This One or That One and my personal favorite Wayne County Roads. I wish that the crowd was more into them. Most of the crowd was standing still during their set yet I was bouncing the entire time. One thing in common with Tyvek and Cloud Nothings is that they have both had bass drum trouble when I have seen them. At the beginning of Tyvek’s set the bass drum kept shifting and they couldn’t get it to be still on the stage. The drummer was having trouble playing it so they had to finish their set using Cloud Nothings’s bass drum. That reminded me of when I saw Cloud Nothings in April and the drummer was playing so hard that he broke his bass drum. At least Bass Drum of Death didn’t have Bass Drum Trouble. That would have been ironic though if they did.

Anyway back to Cloud Nothings. Cloud Nothings hour or so long set consisted mostly of songs from their two recent albums Here And Nowhere Else and Attack On Memory. I don’t know his name but their dummer is such a beast out there. He really enhances their live performances. The highlight of their set was the 10+ minute version of Wasted Days which turned into a mini jam. Then for an encore they played No Future/No Past which they did not play when I saw them in April. Afterwords I ran into a few of the Tyvek guys and I told them how much I loved them. I want to see them again soon.

Review: The Growlers, The Garden @ Brighton Music Hall (9/14/14)

By Joanna Trachtenberg

This was my 3rd time seeing The Growlers in the last 2 years. The opener, The Garden, I’d heard of but wasn’t familiar with their music. They are a duo that consists of two twin brothers from So Cal. They started with a few short punchy punk songs. Then about midway through their set I saw the singer/guitarist put down his guitar and the drummer got up from his throne. I was thinking “They couldn’t be done so soon. They were only on for about 10 minutes.” Then I saw one of the guys press some buttons and a drum machine turned on. They both started rapping and it turned into a hip-hop show. I was not expecting to see 2 skinny guys rapping at a Growlers show. After a few minutes of that they got back to their regular instruments and the short punchy punk tunes continued. Their punk songs almost reminded me of a less aggressive version of The Hussy (who are also a duo).

Right before The Growlers took the stage a drag queen dressed in stereotypical Asian dress came out and started singing and dancing to the crowd. Some of the songs that played when she was out there were “Jet Boy Jet Girl” by The New York Dolls and “Homosapien” by Pete Shelley. At first it made me wonder if Brooks Nielsen had a new career, but once she started singing I knew it wasn’t him. After about a 10 minute performance the drag queen introduced The Growlers. The stage was decked in Chinese style fans and dragon heads in honor of their new album Chinese Fountain. The best part about seeing The Growlers live besides their music is watching Brooks do his funny little dancing. For some songs he was dancing with the drag queen and then he pushed her in to the crowd so she could crowdsurf. I didn’t recognize Brooks right away without a mustache. I personally think that mustaches should be mandatory for any members of The Growlers. Their set lasted a little over 90 minutes. Sorry but I don’t remember the actual setlist because I didn’t write it down but I know they did a bunch of new songs. The crowd seemed to get most excited towards the end when they did One Million Lovers and Someday. After the show when the bandmembers went off stage I could see one of The Growlers (I think it was Anthony) moon the crowd. They have been great everytime I have seen them and I am hoping for their thereafter walkabout.

Review: Liars @ Brighton Music Hall (5/10/14)

By Joanna Trachtenberg 

I recently saw Liars at Brighton Music Hall. I hadn’t seen them since 2008 and this was worth the wait. As I was waiting I saw a guy up on the stage setting some equipment up. I soon found out that was not a guy after all and that actually was Jana Hunter. I knew of Jana Hunter being the frontwoman of Lower Dens. As a solo artist she sounded more stripped down. It was just her with a guitar and a drum machine. She started her set with a cover of Hall & Oates’s Maneater. The rest of her songs were new songs that she wrote for Lower Dens. Right before Liars went on, the lights dimmed and projections started up on the screen behind the stage. Each band member came out and last to emerge was Angus Andrew wearing a maskhat made of colorful yarn like what is on the cover of their new album Mess and all the promo pics leading up to the album’s release. They started with some songs from Mess. This album as well as their last one are more electronically based. I think the new one is a bit more aggressive than its predecessor. The songs got the crowd bouncing. They just went through song after song until their set ended after about an hour. Personally I think they should have played longer. I was hoping to hear some of their really old songs from their first couple albums.

Liars’s Setlist
Perpetual Village
Pro Anti Anti
Mask Maker
Let’s Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack
I’m No Gold
No 1 Against the Rush
Vox Turned D.E.D.
WIXIW
Mess On A Mission
Brats
Plaster Casts of Everything
Freak Out

Review: White Fang @ Middle East Upstairs (4/20)

By Joanna Trachtenberg

The next night (which was 4/20 by the way) I saw White Fang who are The Band To See On 4/20™. That’s right, Boston was the lucky city to be graced by White Fang’s presence on that glorious day this year. Free Pizza were up first in this jam packed bill. This band is fairly new and I had never seen them before but I was quite impressed. They played power punk that I wouldn’t exactly call poppy. Their songs were for the most part short fast and not very sweet (by the way I mean that as a compliment). Next up were Boston’s version of FIDLAR, the Nice Guys. They like to party and rock hard. I am hoping for big things coming from them. Next up were Boston’s best synth punkers Earthquake Party! They recently recorded a bunch of new songs for an upcoming album and they played a number of them tonight. The one non local opener was Denney and The Jets from Nashville who at first I thought were gonna be an Elton John cover band or something. They were not. The name comes from the fact that their singer’s name is Denney. They played good ol’ fashioned rock n roll. They are homeboys of Natural Child who I saw the previous night with the Black Lips.

Now it was time for the mighty White Fang! Guitarist Kyle Handley, Drummer Jimmy Leslie and Bassist Chris Uehlein started playing with lead singer Erik Gage in the background. When he was ready to sing Gage stormed to the front of the stage and started jumping around like a madman. Their songs border between punk, hardcore, metal and hard rock with the band into it the whole time. Some of the funnier moments included when Gage backhumped the stage for about a minute and when Gage lifted Uehlein while he was playing bass and spun him around. I am planning on seeing Gage and Handley again later this month with The Memories, their mellower other band. After the show I saw for merch they had a number of gnarly Gnar Tapes.

 

Review: Bass Drum of Death, Thunderbloods, Vundabar @ Great Scott (2/3/14)

Written By: Joanna Trachtenberg

Last week I saw 2 Time Super Bowl Champions, The Mighty, Bass Drum Of Death! but before 2TSBCTMBDOD could go on two other bands (who have yet to win any super bowls so far) had to get the crowd warmed up. First up were Vundabar. They played indie pop rock that got quite rhythmic at times. They were pretty good but I think I would have preferred something a little punkier. Next were Thunderbloods who play fun rock n roll. I remember them from when I saw them open for Night Beats & The New Highway Hymnal last year. This time Travis from TNHH was drumming with them. They dedicated one of their songs to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who had died the previous day. For a few songs the singer and guitarist went into the crowd to help start the pit going. They ended their set as usual with their great cover of Faces’s OOh La La. The best part of the show other than 2TSBCTMBDOD‘s performance was watching 2TSBCTMBDOD drummer Len set up the actual Bass Drum Of Death. No, it was time for 2 Time Super Bowl Champions, The Mighty, Bass Drum Of Death to shine and prove why they have won a pair of Super Bowls. 2TSBCTMBDOD’s quarterback John Barrett wanted to get things going immediately so the band started with “I Wanna Be Forgotten,” which is probably my favorite song of theirs. I think I got bruises right away as the pit went full force. It was roasting in there so if Change Span were playing (I’m certainly glad they weren’t) there probably would have been a bare-breasted Lynear Unyts. If there were a bet like there was in the Super Bowl with Red Hot Chili Peppers if whether or not a member of Bass Drum Of Death would have his shirt off you woulda won because Len removed his shirt about halfway through. Unfortunately, they didn’t do an encore because I think it may have been too much for everyone. Bass Drum of Death sounded great and they proved why they have won 2 Super Bowls. After the show I talked to the guys and they showed me their Super Bowl rings and I asked John how he liked his trip to Disneyland after winning MVP. John also told me that he accidentally dropped his shoes in the toilet.

Bass Drum of Death Set-List:
I Wanna Be Forgotten
Black Don’t Glow
Velvet Itch
Bad Reputation,
GB City
Faces Of The Wind
Leaves
Heart Attack Kid
Nerve Jamming
Way Out
Spare Room
Young Pros
Shattered Me
Crawling After You
Get Found

Review: Pangea, Mozes And The Firstborn, Zip-Tie Handcuffs @ Great Scott (2/15/14)

Written By: Joanna Trachtenberg

I just saw Apart Pangea (Actually just plain Pangea. Just so you know I refuse to call Pangea “Together Pangea” because I have known them and loved them since they were only known as Pangea) the other night. I had to walk a while in the snow just to get there. I got there just in time as the first band Zip-Tie Handcuffs were starting. They played aggressive punk rock. I could see that the Pangea guys liked them just like the FIDLAR guys liked Nice Guys. The singer dedicated one of their songs to his wife who was one of the few people in the crowd. I also think that a few of the people in the crowd during their set were friends of theirs considering that they were a local band. Between bands I chatted with a few of the Pangea guys who remembered me from when I saw them at the Burgerama Tour. Unfortunately Zuk wasn’t with them anymore. According to Pangea he’s in the process of starting his own band. Mozes And The Firstborn were the next band on. They were more garage psych than punk. They come all the way from The Netherlands. They were great. This was their first full US tour. One of the guys made a comment that it was very warm onstage. As Pangea were setting up I heard a few Secret Machines songs from their 3rd album playing. Pangea’s setlist included Sick Shit, Badillac, Offer, Too Drunk To Cum, Plasma, River and a few more songs. They got the crowd bouncing but there wasn’t as much of a pit as there was when I saw Fuzz and Bass Drum of Death because there was a much smaller crowd. I really wish they had played Snakedog and Killer Dreams. After the show I helped the Pangea guys by holding the door as they carried equipment out and clearing some of the snow away from their van. Being from Southern California they are not used to this kind of weather. Pangea told me that they are going to tour Europe for the first time ever in the summer. They are super psyched about that and I think they will get a great reception from the European fans.

Review: Fat Creeps, Bleeding Rainbow, Bent Shapes (2/26/14)

Written By: Joanna Trachtenberg

This past week I went to see some bands in a basement. The show was originally going to be at a burger place but they were having problems with the venue and moved the show. Hunters, who were supposed to play, cancelled the tour because their singer got injured. Bent Shapes replaced them and opened the show. I once saw Bent Shapes a few years ago when they were called Girlfriends. Their sound hasn’t really changed much. They play jangly power-pop punk that was good. Bleeding Rainbow, who I thought were gonna headline, played 2nd. They really made a lot of noise in that tiny basement. One thing I like when bands play in venues like this is that their sound doesn’t reverberate all over the place. It just stays there so you can just stand there and feel enveloped in the sound. I was hoping that Bleeding Rainbow would have played a few more songs. Local girls the Fat Creeps along with Travis Hagan of The New Highway Hymnal on drums closed the show. They are readying their debut album for the Gnarly dudes of Gnar Tapes. This is such an honor for them to be hooked up with those guys. Their early releases were put out by my friends at KLYAM. They played their nice brand of psych slacker punk. Fat Creeps are gonna be huge very soon. I just know it.

Bleeding Rainbow’s Set-List
White Noise
Tell Me
Time & Place
Pink Ruff
So You Know’
Start Again
Images
Get Lost