Photo of Deerhunter from Last FM Bands: Arctic Monkeys, Deerhunter, The Orwells Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014 Venue: Agganis Arena (Boston, MA)
This here is a very peculiar bill. We have three very different bands from three very different eras of my life. Arctic Monkeys – I first came across in high school, 2006 to be exact, when they flooded the radio with their big rock song “I Bet That You Look Good On the Dance Floor.” At the time, I listened to very little contemporary music, so this gave me hope for the future. Deerhunter – a band I first heard in 2009, well after they had become fixtures in the world of indie rock hype blah blah blah. The fact that I hadn’t even heard of them at the time goes to show you how I didn’t really pay attention to modern music for the longest time. Throughout college, Deerhunter became a big part of my musical ingestion and they have stuck to me ever since. The Orwells – With these dudes it’s a bit different. I first heard them in late 2010/early 2011 and I’m not going to act all OG here, cause really that sort of shit is useless. But, I will say it has been a pleasant experience watching a favorite band, barely known even in their own state (Illinois), rise through the ranks to become a somewhat recognizable figure in the current music ‘scene.’
When I think of these three bands I think of how much music has changed for me over the years and at the same time how much it has stayed the same. For the past ten years and especially in the last five years I have made it a point to see as many shows as I possibly can and as time has gone by, the venues and the bands playing these venues have slowly gotten smaller. So, seeing a show at the Agganis Arena is a little out of the ordinary for me, since 90% of the shows I attend now are in tiny bars, art galleries, or basements. AN ARENA?! WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS MONSTROSITY BEFORE ME?!!! It does feel like I am attending some sort of sporting event and not a rock ‘n’ roll show. The vibes are all thrown off. I feel like I’m in a quasi prison with the security guards standing tall as some fucked KGB! It just throws me all over the place. Yet, to totally negate all of that, I’m sitting on my ass crunching on chicken fingers and fries, wetting my whistle, and best of all catching a few bands that have touched me in more ways than one throughout my life AND I’m not in the nosebleeds, I can see the entire show pretty well. So, I’ll quit my bitching.
The Orwells – I’m proud of these dudes for making it as far as they have and I wish them all the best in the rest of their careers. You start off one day playing in your garage and then not too long afterwards, you’re suddenly playing on a big ass arena stage, opening up for Arctic Monkeys and Deerhunter (“the best band in America” according to Baby Chuck, right on bro). Crazy.
The Orwells do their best to wake up the crowd of stiffs in front of them, but not much seems to work. It’s okay, they are all waiting in anticipation for Arctic Monkeys and that’s fair, that’s who they paid to see. Though, I am positive that Chicago’s finest charmed at least a few of the kids. They got me haha. Out of all the bands, I think Orwells are the best and in particular, frontman Mario steals the show. He has a “don’t give a fuck” attitude to him. He’s not really doing anything tremendously rebellious or radical, but see that’s the thing. He doesn’t care. He has charisma, a great voice, and he falls down often. That’s my favorite part. It’s a performance, it’s entertainment, this is rock ‘n’ roll after all. Needless to say, he’s got personality that makes him stick out from the rest of the lot.
As far as the tunes go, I’ve covered them before and I’m sure I’ll cover them all again as I see the band in a sweet SIGNIFICANTLY smaller spot tonight (March 4th) at Great Scott!
Deerhunter – Few bands have fucked with me the way Deerhunter has plowed through my subconsciousness. But, this isn’t their night. This isn’t their crowd. As much as I love the drone, that fucking thud that is Deerhunter live, it isn’t the best I’ve seen from the crew. Like I said though, this isn’t their crowd and Deerhunter knows this. So, I don’t blame them for playing a shorter set. They play 6-8 songs consisting of cuts from their last two albums, Monomania (2013) and Halcyon Digest (2010) as well as Rainwater Cassette Exchange a song off the underrated EP of the same name, the very one that got me hooked on these Atlantans in the first place.
Arctic Monkeys – I’ve never seen so many screaming teenage girls at a concert before. Arctic Monkeys, you take the cake. You see where my mind goes…. anyway they see/hear something I don’t (as do their male counterparts). It’s odd, with this performance, I realize how much my opinion of this band has changed. I still dig them and this isn’t a bad performance, but I just can’t get into it with the exceptions of a few songs (“I Bet That You Look Good On the Dance Floor,” “Cornerstone,” “Fluorescent Adolescent”). I am realizing that my days with the big rock spectacle are for the most part over. It’s not so much the band that has changed (though they do appear to have gotten a little bit more commercial), it’s me. I’m just not into the big rock star thing. It’s like there’s this huge divide between the ENORMOUS PERFORMERS on stage and there’s the puny, little crowd members that go berserk when lights flash on them or when they get to hold their cell phones up to act as lighters for the soft tunes. Ahh, I still like you Arctic Monkeys, but it’s not the same. It’s not you, it’s me.
We’ve been spoiled! Boston fans of Chicago’s The Orwells that is. These fellas have been in us, Boston that is, three times in 2013, and now at least two more times in 2014! On Thursday, February 6th, the dudes are opening for Arctic Monkeys and Deerhunter at Agganis Arena. In the following month, they are heading out on a month long tour all across these here United States sir; making a stop at Allston’s Great Scott on Tuesday, March 4th!. Check for your city at the tour dates below.
The Orwells Tour Dates:
March 4 Allston, MA Great Scott
March 6 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
March 7 Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church
March 8 Washington, DC U Street Music Hall
March 10 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade – Hell Stage
March 11 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks
March 19 Phoenix, AZ Rampage Fest
March 20 Santa Ana, CA The Observatory
March 21 San Diego, CA Che Café
March 22 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
March 23 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
March 25 Seattle, WA Neumos
March 26 Portland, OR Star Theater
April 1 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall
April 2 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock
So, here we are again. 2013 feels like a blur, a fun blur though. It just seemed to truck on by so damn fast. It didn’t feel like it was all that long ago when I was making my year end lists for 2012. I must say, every year gets better around here and 2013 was definitely our best year. We met tons of people and went to more shows than ever before (significantly more). With that in mind, I will leap off into my top ten favorite shows from the greatest year KLYAM has experienced thus far…
10) TIE!: Boston Underground Summit VI @ Cambridge Elks Lodge (9/15/) & The Beets @ The Whitehaus (11/26) – I would start a top ten list with a tie. I simply could not leave out either of these shows from my top ten, so fuck it here’s both. Firstly, this was my first Boston Underground Summit and it was a totally unique live experience for me. The show was set up as a round robin in which a band would play one song and then as soon as they were done another band would play a song and so forth until about 9 different bands had played a song, and then it went back to the first band. My head’s getting dizzy just writing this – it was indeed a dizzying experiment; constantly walking back and forth between all 3 spots in the Elks Lodge (where 3 separate bands were each set up). I compare it to an aggressive wine tasting meets a live, physical playlist/mix. In any situation, it was refreshing and broke down any hint of monotony that may have been creeping in on my fairly consistent show going consumption. My favorite bands/performances included Storm or Howl, Funeral Cone (this one left me bleeding!), Dylan Ewen, and R. Nordac’s Crying Lessons.
Holy shit, the mighty Beets. It took us two hours to get to the holy Whitehaus, but we made it just in the nick of time to catch Los Beets who came all the way from Jackson Heights, Queens, New York!! As you may or may not know, The Beets are one of our beloved KLYAM bands and this year we caught them in the flesh twice within two weeks! This was a strange show for several reasons. We were running late and I feared that we would miss The Beets, having journeyed so long for nuffin. When we arrived at the Whitehaus (for our very first time, by the way) there were few if any hellos and it was near darkness – plus we’re half blind anyway. Seconds pass and those smooth, transcendent Uruguayan voices rang through my ears and down into the depths of my bloody soul. All the blood I have puked since I found out I have gas in my veins. When the set finished, we had to flee once again to catch that dirty old train. It all happened so quickly, like a drug, The Beets drug. I know y’all would like a piece of that! REVIEW: https://klyam.com/2013/11/27/review-the-beets-the-whitehaus/
9) FIDLAR, The Orwells, Nice Guys @ The Sinclair (10/23) – This was a nice slammer. It’s always fun to see a local favorite (Nice Guys) dazzle an audience of newcomers and it’s all the more exceptional when they are sixteen and rambunctious! The Orwells make my liver shiver and quiver OR that’s all the alcohol? Anyway, we’ve loved these dudes for years and they put on an excellent show. They have this real clean cut exterior to them kind of like The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys, real polished rock ‘n’ roll, but beneath there’s a slimy underbelly that represents some of the bands (Black Lips, Jay Reatard) we grew up and threw up on ourselves. And FIDLAR, I’m just happy you and your fans didn’t break my nose. REVIEW: https://klyam.com/2013/11/15/review-fidlar-the-orwells-nice-guys-the-sinclair/
8) Shannon and The Clams, The Fagettes, Atlantic Thrills @ Great Scott (11/20) – This list is a testament that we’ve been blessed with a plethora of excellent shows this year, but I can honestly say only a select few are what I would dub a “stacked line-up” and this here is one of them. Our two favorite New England based rock ‘n’ roll bands (The Fagettes and Atlantic Thrills) on the same stage as one of the best in the whole land, the fabulous Shannon and The Clams. I saw the Clams earlier this year and, while that was a great performance, this time around the crowd went a lot crazier and that always makes the difference. The band’s cover of Del Shannon’s “Runaway” alone made my night :). REVIEW: https://klyam.com/2013/12/29/review-shannon-and-the-clams-fagettes-atlantic-thrills-great-scott-112013/
7) Guerilla Toss, Fat Creeps, Nice Guys, Designer Halloween Show @ Cambridge Elks Lodge (10/19) – Halloween is usually a good excuse for everyone to let loose, get wasted, and eat a shit ton of candy. Oh yeah, and to dress up like their favorite bands and play a set full of bizarre covers. That’s my favorite part. G Toss took to the role of one Meatloaf, Designer dropped down to their skivvies and cranked out a noisy set of Blink – 182 numbers, and Fat Creeps destroyed as the legendary Cramps. My favorite performance by far was the Nice Guys as The Mummies. Being somewhat of a garage junkie, I’d kill to see The Mummies and I felt like this came inches away from the real thang. Alex Mum demolishing his keyboards was priceless. Poor keyboards, they never had a chance. REVIEW: https://klyam.com/2013/11/08/review-fat-creeps-nice-guys-designer-guerilla-toss-cambridge-elks-101913/
6) Wavves, King Tuff, Jacuzzi Boys @ The Sinclair (10/1) – Wavves is one of those bands I’ve cherished over the years. One of the few bigger bands I still enjoy. I wasn’t overly enthusiastic with their latest record, Afraid of Heights, but it has grown on me. Studio work aside, this band still kills me live. It’s as if these songs were made to be heard exclusively live. From Wavves’ inception, there’s been a great anthemic feel to their music and this show at Sinclair is enough evidence for me that they can still kick out the jams like the best of them. It was also a pleasure to finally see King Tuff and Jacuzzi Boys, bands we’ve been aching to see for a few years now. And on a personal note, I was happy to chat with Wavves’ members Stephen Pope and Alex Gates about their past (and future) in the magnificent Memphis bands The Barbaras, Girls of the Gravitron, and Cretin Stompers. REVIEW: https://klyam.com/2013/10/04/review-wavves-king-tuff-jacuzzi-boys-sinclair-10113/
5) Ty Segall @ The Bowery Ballroom (8/30) – What up New York City? We voyage to NYC once or twice a year to see some of our favorite bands. This time it was the man, Ty Segall, the global ambassador for rock ‘n’ roll. If rock ‘n’ roll had a representative at the UN it would be this man. For this show/tour Ty and his bodacious band played an all acoustic set, performing the album Sleeper in its entirety as well as some old classics such as “Girlfriend.” I’ve never seen kids (including myself) mosh and stage dive to acoustic music before and I may never again. Only you Ty, only you. REVIEW: https://klyam.com/2013/10/08/review-ty-segall-bowery-ballroom-83013/
4) Hunx and His Punx, Hunters, The Fagettes @ Brighton Music Hall (8/23) – Let’s face it we’re fairly predictable around here – but that’s NOT a bad thing! because we are consistently enthralled with gorgeous music, at least I think so. It’s true! Hunx is a long time KLYAM favorite and a must see live band (seriously do it!). Just writing about Hunx gets me all revved up and ready to go. This year the band morphed into ultra punx with the release of their epic, early hardcore punk ode Street Punk, and they brought all the piss and vinegar with them when they destroyed our fair city last August. The set’s most memorable moment actually came from a couple of kinky crowd members, when a young man was accosted by a topless middle aged woman and the two proceeded to slobber over one another for the remainder of the show. I will never be able to listen to “Lover’s Lane” the same way ever again. “Just gotta touch you and squeeze you, and make you mine/I want to hold you til the end of time.” Yeesh, did they have to take it so literally?! Stellar set from Fagettes as always. Hunters were cool too. REVIEW: https://klyam.com/2013/09/09/review-hunx-and-his-punx-hunters-fagettes-brighton-music-hall-82313/
3) Ravi Shavi, The New Highway Hymnal, Atlantic Thrills “Rock ‘n’ Roll BBQ With Psychedelic Sauce” – We saw quite a bit of shows in Providence, RI this year and every single time we came to see our chief punk slime animals in Atlantic Thrills. Mix them up with fellow Providence soul machines Ravi Shavi and our Boston psych creatures The New Highawy Hymnal and I’m one happy camper. All of this madness was set to the background of the TRIPPY Lysergic Factory Light Show! I don’t think I’ve ever “danced” more in my life, charming some attendees, perhaps frightening most. Those were fucked times, fun times. I woke up the next morning covered in dirt and blood and my dick hurt a little bit (only a little bit). In hindsight, it was the perfect summer night. REVIEW: https://klyam.com/2013/07/27/review-ravi-shavi-the-new-highway-hymnal-atlantic-thrills-in-providence-71313/
2) The New Highway Hymnal, Atlantic Thrills, Polaroids, The Real Tom Hanks @ Wilder Zangcraft (2/23) – Once again, The New Highway Hymnal and Atlantic Thrills throwing straight up wild shows! This show took place at one of my favorite DIY spaces, a tiny basement in Lowell that was overwhelmingly consumed by 50 or more plastered college kids all accompanied by the perpetual, visual mindfuck that is the Lysergic Factory Light Show. NHH demolished my skin and bones as can be expected at Lowell basements shows. But, on this night my sweet, sozzled eyes have never seen such a fantastic, frenetic show from Providence’s finest, Atlantic Thrills. It was great to sing/scream along to all the songs, slam back pbr after pbr, and smash into my peers for a couple hours. In my primitive state of mind, I think I screamed “Lies” and “Demolicion” at the band about two hundred times. Lunacy at its most depraved. The Real Tom Hanks and Polaroids were both exciting and ethereal in their own rights. A memorable night in my life to say the very least. REVIEW: https://klyam.com/2013/03/08/concert-review-the-new-highway-hymnal-atlantic-thrills-polaroids-the-real-tom-hanks-wilder-zangcraft-22313/
1) Hassle Fest 5 @ Cambridge Elks Lodge (11/7-11/8) – How could this not be number 1? This was/is the pinnacle of local underground music. A two day festival showcasing some of the best, most groundbreaking, and above all invigorating bands both at home and across the nation. So, as I’ve said before, it’s pretty much a microcosm for everything the Boston Hassle promotes all year long. Every single day. And we couldn’t salute y’all enough. I’ve found that several local music fans (some of which played the festival themselves) walked away with similar feelings as my own. I know we KLYAMERS have never seen anything else like it, just a constant barrage of band after band after band. It felt intimate and gigantic all at once. Unforgettable. My favorite sets included Fat Creeps, Guerilla Toss, Lightning Bolt, The Beets, and Kal Marks. REVIEW: https://klyam.com/2013/12/13/hassle-fest-recap-118-913/
So, that’s that. Top albums of the year coming up next.
Damn, we were psyched to hear that Deerhunter was opening for Arctic Monkeys at Boston’s Agganis Arena on February 6, 2014. Now, The Orwells are going on a whole tour with the Monkeys that includes our Boston show! I hate big ass venues, especially arenas, but fuck it, this is one helluva bill.
The Orwells Tour Dates:
1/30 Miami, FL – The Fillmore*
Thursday, February 6th, 2014, will your ass be planted in the balcony section of an arena looking downward at Bradford Cox? Cox’s Deerhunter – who’ve done the whole Massachusetts arena thing – will be opening for Arctic Monkeys at a venue with the same name sake as Chris’ favorite drivers’ ed – Agganis Arena.