Review: Fat History Month, Big Mess, Masingo @ UML Fox Common (9/13/12)


Photo not from tonight’s show, taken from http://www.radioutd.com/2012/02/05/reviewinterview-fat-history-month/

Artists: Fat History Month, Big Mess, Masingo
Date: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Venue: UMass Lowell Fox Common (Lowell, MA)
Comments:
Act I: Big Mess–  Two months is way too long. It has been two long months since I have seen the mighty Big Mess. Their music has always struck me as the perfect soundtrack for  *insert your favorite action here* “Fucking!” Okay sir, fucking sounds good, we’ll go with that. So, it’s no surprise to me that guitarist, Nicholas Wiedeman introduces their perennial set opener, “The Hook,” as a song about making love. Indeed, it is a passionate tune that consistently energizes my spirit at each Big Mess show. The next song “Side A,” from last year’s split with S’eance is equally if not more effective, but perhaps not a number to do the wild thing to, well maybe if your more of the aggressive type, which hopefully you are. This song and the track “Drone Bee” demonstrate the band’s ability to produce powerful, headbanging guitar riffs and sledgehammer drums. In a live setting, truly the best way you can experience this trio, these songs are richer and naturally heavier. In general, Big Mess’s music has always made me conjure up images of classic horror movie madmen such as one, Jack Torrence.The whole set consists of classics and most of the crowd tonight appear to be fans that have experienced Big Mess time and time again; you can see in their eyes a deep admiration for their peers. I share this sense of admiration for the band and hope to see them again sometime soon. http://bigmessma.bandcamp.com/album/big-mess

Act II: Fat History Month– The show begins with Seanhistorymonth standing amongst the kids at The Fox Common, strumming his guitar and with his co-conspirator Markhistorymonth on drums, the duo sink into their weird, little world, taking all the kids aboard. Much like Big Mess, Fat History is a sound band in the studio,  but are perhaps better appreciated in a live setting. On stage,  you truly get to witness the unbeatable chemistry between Sean and Mark that you cannot experience simply from listening to one of their records. As always, the pair dish out some of my favorites, including, but certainly not limited to “Free As A Cat,”  “Old Lady Smokers,  and the Bad History demo “Everyday Is Christmas.” At one point, Sean expresses an appreciation for the decent turn out of bodies in attendance, much greater than he expected. This is no surprise to me however, in fact I would hope more kids got turned on to their music. But, those that show up are immersed in their peformance and when it comes time for requests, someone shouts NATURE! I find this to be hilarious because this is at least the third or fourth time now that I have heard “Nature” requested at a Fat History show. It is a terrific song, so why not?! What is great about this performance is the fact that they follow up “Nature” with the epic track “You Can Pick Your Nose, You Can Pick Your Friend’s Nose, But You Can’t Escape Your Horrible Family.” Up until this point I don’t believe I have ever heard this song live, so that is a definite plus. Not to mention that these two songs are next  to each other on their LP Fucking Despair (pick that thang up btw), thus giving this set a further feeling of completion. I am so glad we have a band like Fat History Month in Boston; it is always a pleasure to see them live and they play a shit TON of shows in this area and beyond, so get yer ass out to any or all of them! Man, I wish I had heard all of this great music when I was a little kid, instead of reading about Fidel Castro, watching old porn movies from the 70s, and getting placed in figure-four locks. Sure, Fat History Month is probably a little bit too bizarre for most children, but in this crazy world we live in they are going to get exposed to some fucked up shit anyway, might as well make sure it’s constructive, beautiful, fucked up shit. Why fill their little heads with hope now? Why not give them a tip before the weight of the the world wipes away all their precious dreams? Jeeze Chris, way to kill the party. Ahh, I’m only teasing, as they say everyday is Christmas, or at least everyday feels like Christmas when you have great bands like Fat History Month around you. Cheers. http://fathistorymonth.bandcamp.com/album/fucking-despair

Act III: Masingo– Masingo, damn Masingo I knew I had seen you before (on a bill with SARALEE @ the Ant Cellar last May), but for the life of me I could not remember them. My bad. Then when Masingo hits the stage, I have some flashbacks, still cannot recall too much, but now I remember these young lads. In particular the vocalist/guitarist has a great attitude and I do remember this quality from before. He is interactive with the audience, inquiring about college and informing the students about endorphins and other matters. He hops around quite a bit, shaking his shaggy hair in the process.  The other two members are equally skilled and their fast, punk delivery is admirable. I am not quite sure if it is my cup of tea, but they are entertaining. My favorite moment is when the vocalist/guitarist flies off the stage, with his guitar in his arms, and falls flat on his back, only to hop right back on stage as if nothing had happened. Check out their bandcamp page: http://masingo.bandcamp.com/

*SHOW ALERT* FAT HISTORY MONTH/BIG MESS/MASINGO @ UML FOX COMMON (9/13/12)


Fat History Month Blog

Thursday, September 13, 2012, a glorious day for all because the Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPAC) is presenting Fat History Month, Big Mess, and Masingo @ the UMass Lowell Fox Common. Doors at 7, show starts at 8. 3 badass local bands!
http://fathistorymonth.bandcamp.com/
http://bigmessma.bandcamp.com/album/big-mess
http://masingo.bandcamp.com/

Big Mess Heading On Tour Next Week/ Show @ Butcher Shop (8/23/12)

8/23 Boston, MA – The Butcher Shop w/ Kal Marks, Caddywhompus and more
http://www.facebook.com/events/330046390422942/

…8/24 Barre, MA – Barre Fest w/ Kal Marks, Motel Mattress and many more
http://www.facebook.com/events/505274812821293/

8/25 Upstate NY – TBA
8/26 Columbus OH – Villa Villa Coola
8/27 Kalamazoo, MI The Corner Record Shop http://www.facebook.com/events/340390142716460/?notif_t=plan_user_invited
8/28 Chicago IL – TBA
8/29 Athens OH – TBA
8/30 Kent, OH – Stone Tavern
8/31 Washington DC – Casa Fiesta
9/1 Mont Clair NJ – The Meat Locker
9/2 Lowell, MA – ALS Fest
http://www.facebook.com/events/431437186877404/See More– Big Mess Facebook Page

Review: OnBroadway Fest 2008 (5/5/12)

Date: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Venue(s): Dirty Douglas & Ant Cellar (Lowell, MA)
Artists:
Inspector 34 @ Ant Cellar– We missed :(  http://inspector34.bandcamp.com/

Crinkleface @ Dirty Douglas– Crinkleface starts the show off (at least for me) with a loud, rocking set filled with 90s esque metalcore tunes. It is not my personal taste, but the band is good at what they do and they sound pretty tight today, so for that I will commend them. Also, the vocals are remarkably memorable. As I am typing this now, nearly a month later, when I listen to their music I can instantly identify the singer’s voice. I have to say that that is a rare stand out for me, especially since it is not a voice I particularly enjoy hearing, with all due respect because the vocals ARE in fact strong, just not my thing. It is funny though because I feel like this is the kind of band I would have adored in sixth or seventh grade, when I attended my very first shows. Glen thinks they have more of a Nirvana feel, with the whole “loud/quiet/loud dynamic.” I get what he is saying, but I do not think it all boils down to just that. In general, I feel like people use that line way too often. Ahh well, here is Crinkleface’s bandcamp page, take a look: http://crinkleface.bandcamp.com/

Friendship @ Ant Cellar– Friendship is a cool trio from the heart of Lowell. Every Friendship show (at least the two I have seen) shares two distinct features: a hanging, inverted American flag and a little tape recorder that unleashes all of your favorite pop hits. This time around the show opens with Ace of Base’s “I Saw the Sign,” before they rock into their noise fueled set. I am still getting into Friendship’s music, but I am always impressed with their unique performances. There is a charm to their prescence that I can’t quite articluate, but I do not see it in most bands. They end the set with the tape recorder playing Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” and a fantastic, serene vibe flows through the ant cellar, just a stellar ending to a fun set.

Styk @ Dirty Douglas– We missed this :(

Necklacing @ Ant Cellar– Necklacing plays heavy, hardrcore/death metal and if you know KLYAM well, then you know that really is not our thang. But, it is always nice to see an energetic, screaming frontwoman, so here’s to more ladies in the rock world! http://necklacing.bandcamp.com/

Ponds @ Dirty Douglas– Ponds play a similar style of music as Necklacing, but the crowd appears to be a bit more enthusiastic as some moshing and dancing emerges in the middle of the set. Being a short dude, I do not have to worry about thee unfortunately low ceiling like most dirty douglas desciples and I am a grateful for this, one of the few benefits to being short. I bring up this point because during Ponds’s set, another form of headbanging occurs when one  enthusiastic lad rocks so hard, he knocks his head against the pipes and plummets to the floor. Sorry dude, but I just think this is too hilarious not to mention! Rock show scars and injuries aside, here is Ponds’ Band Camp page: http://ponds.bandcamp.com/

Host @ Ant Cellar– We missed :(

Guerilla Toss @ Ant Cellar–  Ahh yes Guerilla Toss, a name I have heard literally tossed around these parts for several months now. Finally, I have the opportunity to see what other music lovers have christened as “amazing.” And I must say I truly did not anticipate them to be as awesome as they are.  Guerilla Toss’ set is filled with walls of noise, weird time signatures, insanely danceable grooves, and the  lead vocalist’s unending shrieks. I have seen countless vocalists scream their hearts out, but this frontwoman totally steals the show. Her enthusiasm is unlimited as she bops around, up and down, demolishing through the sausage fest that consumes the Ant Cellar; she turns all the men into boys in two seconds. I usually am not a huge fan of this kind of screaming in vocals, but her yalps just seem more genuine, like they are coming from some deep, dark place. It sounds as if she is being bludgeoned to death, I love it!  I also have to note the slick, stylish, bright red, “Beat It” era Michael Jackson leather jacket being worn by the guitarist, looking good my man, looking good.  Guerilla Toss’ performance is one that will stick with me forever (literally Glen says this to me during the show, and he is correct at that, though I remember all the shows!) for my favorite moment in their set is when the vocalist leaps toward me, grabs my skull and hurls my wee body back into the crowd. This jostling, trance-like  gesture of showomanship sends the pre-pubescent boy in me into paroxysms of ecstacy. When the set finally hits its conclusion, I notice that there is some blood pouring down my arm. In fact, as I am writing this now, I can still see the little dent in my arm from which the blood flows. If I could frame that  teeny scar as a mini Guerilla Toss @  the Ant Cellar memento I would. Though that seems unecessary because after this KLYAM debut the band will be rocking in my psyche anyway. FUN!!! http://guerillatoss.com/

Motel Mattress @ Ant Cellar– I am not going to lie, I do not remember too much of Motel Mattress’ set, but I do remember enjoying it very much. I also recall my good friend Justin Cole being blown away and possibly purchasing a record? Either way, Mr.Cole is typically a  solid barometer for excellence in musical taste, so here’s a shout out to Motel Mattress!  I plan on checking out their music a bit more in the future. http://motelmattress.bandcamp.com/

Big Mess @ Dirty Douglas– Big Mess is always a great big kick in the balls, just right in the nads. The Dirty D is the best place to see Big Mess, or at least my favorite, and I am sad to see it go. I am also sad to hear that this is most likely the last time I will see bassist Josh Tracy with the band.  Tonight, the charismatic musician is bare chested and bearing a surgeon’s mask, I dig. In the past six months or so, I have come to love Big Mess and they never have dissapointed me live or in the studio. This evening is no exception and the trio destroy per ususal. The guitars are heavy, the drums roar, and it all adds up to one gigantic explosion of classic rock and roll. As I have noted before, the sound of Big Mess is one of familiarity, but these guys make it sound fresh. You can hear the hard rock of Black Sabbath and the noise  rock of Shellac, but it does not sound anicent at all. You can really hear their appreciation for music in these songs. Big Mess might also win the award for best band to headbang to!  Whether it be headbanging, moshing, or any -ing one desires, do it to Big Mess: http://bigmessma.bandcamp.com/

Atlas the Atom Smasher @ Ant Cellar– Atlas the Atom Smasher brings out the most attendees by far. The place is packed with bodies all the way and through the exit and it is not hard to see why; Atlas has served  as punk rock stalwurts in Lowell for years and sadly tonight is their final performance. I am fairly new to their music, hearing them for for the first time last fall, but I can appreciate their musical chops and lightning fast delivery. Drummer Tyler Bisson is pounding on his drum kit like a madman. His and the entire band’s charisma is as admirable as their DIY ethics. I am glad I caught Atlas the Atom Smasher while I did and I hope every member has an equally gratifying future in music and all other endeavours. http://atlastheatomsmasher.bandcamp.com/

Districts @ Dirty Douglas–  We missed :(  http://districts.bandcamp.com/

Fat History Month @ Dirty Douglas– Fat History Month are like the Black Lips of Boston for me. Which means we suck their dicks digitally on KLYAM. In other words, they are a beloved favorite worthy of the highest praise. Tonight, Sean Historymonth (I guess that is what the kids are calling him nowadays) informs Glen and I that Mark and himself  were painting all day before they arrived in Lowell.  Hard working men on all accounts!  Indeed. This performance is filled with laughs, cheers, and Naragansett beers; loads of fun. Fat History Month are at ease as they rock through many of their classics including, but not limited to “No Safe,”  “Thing I Enjoy,” “Fucking Despair,” “Free As A Cat On A Leash,” and “Old Lady Smokers,” which is played twice by request.  I do not know about you, but this is the best Fat History Month show I have seen in 2012 and the last one at the Dirty Douglas.
Hey shithead, check this out if you haven’t! http://fathistorymonth.bandcamp.com/album/june-tour-tape-bad-history-demos

New Highway Hymnal @ Ant Cellar– One of the best Boston bands right here and certainly one of my favorites. I have seen NHH several times now and it seems to get better, honestly, not just saying that for no reason. Glen, on the other hand, has not experienced NHH up until this point. The group is a tour de force live and it is great to see what the bands sounds/looks like through a new set of eyes. Tonight, people are moshing to the wild, psychdelic zounds of the music whilst singer Hadden hops into the crowd.  He has a crazed look on his face, it is as if  he is staring right through my soul. Their performance is easily one of the funnest from the whole fest. The set climaxes in destruction as bodies and instruments are tossed around like a town whore. Then in what  feels like a split second I hear an explosion, I am covered in water, and the room reeks of feces. Fortunately, I am not covered in actual shit,  just shit water. So, drummer Travis and I essentially are shit brothers! A lovely way to conclude OnBroadway Fest 2008.
http://thenewhighwayhymnal.bandcamp.com/

Matahari @ Ant Cellar– We missed :(  http://matahari.bandcamp.com/

I would  like to thank Anthony Richerdz , Nick Egersheim, and Gregory Ragnio for putting this shindig on as well as all the bands that played OnBroadway Fest 2008. KLYAM loves you all long time.

Review: Fat History Month, ONSLO, Big Mess, Fat Creeps @ O’Brien’s Pub (4/13/12)

Artists: Fat History Month, ONSLO, Big Mess, Fat Creeps
Date: Friday, April 13, 2012
Venue: O’Brien’s Pub (Allston, MA)
Comments:

Seeing a show at O’Brien’s Pub has been on the KLYAM to do list for roughly two years now. Yes, it is true, this is our first time at O’Brien’s tonight as I imagine it sounds like blasphemy to some of you. Well as Glen always points out, there is a first for everything. Before even entering OBs I did a little research which translates into me looking at the site’s archives. I’m an archives aficionado, so  I literally read every event from the present all the way  back until the first show documented at OBs back in 2006. Over the past six years, this Allston venue has been committed to both local (and national)independent music and various KLYAM favorites have  graced the pub with their prescence: Box Elders (3 times in ’09!), Maine Coons, Colleen Green, Growlers, Mika Miko, and tonight’s headliner Fat History Month (with shows dating as far back as ’07). The venue is small, but there is plenty of room. Upon entrance we meet Chett, who checks our IDs, and gives us those little hand stamps.  Per usual Glen has his barrage of questions, and to a lesser extent so do I, which Chett happily answers. We discuss the ins and outs of booking and promoting shows, and the prospect of a Kid Like You & Me Presents! show at OBs, which will hopefully happen in the near future as soon as we get everything straightened out, cool.  Doug, the “sound guy,” tells us  a little more about his plesant experience at OB’s, playing  in and booking local bands, and just a general overview of how things work in such settings. This is not all new to us, but it is certainly helpful. Thanks for the info guys, much appreciated. By this point, I am knocking back a few PBRs, thanks Jim! and I am ready to hear some fine rock and roll music. Just like you are probably wondering why I have not said anything yet about the music, if you have made it this far. Well, back to what I said earlier, we have had our eye on O’Brien’s Pub as a notable host  for excellent, KLYAM oriented bands, for about two years now, and for various reasons (mainly us being underage until recently) we have not had a chance to see any of the shows we have recommened on KLYAM, but now is our time.  April 13, 2012, I am going to go out on a limb and say this is the best Friday the 13th I have ever had. Fat History and Big Mess, my two local favorites, on a bill with two other, highly visible, Boston bands (Fat Creeps and Onslo) for six bucks in a self-described “cozy” bar in Allston, I’ll take it. So, finally let’s get to the show.

Act I: Fat Creeps– “When I walked in it looked like something out of a Quentin Tarantino movie,”- Cory Bell from SKIMASK, a band you should check out if you have not already. That might be parphrasing, but that is the gist of Mr. Bell’s sentiments. And, I agree with him. Though, I myself do not instantly conjure up an image related to a Tarantino flick, I think I know what he means. There is something visually striking about the Fat Creeps. Green hair aside, they are kinda weird and their music and overall presentation seems to distinguish itself from other bands. This is the first time I have seen the Fat Creeps and I honestly never checked out their music until a few hours before the show, but I have noticed that their name has popped up a lot recently in local listings and recommendations. So, going into this performance I am excited. They have a new drummer and he is pretty tight, almost a contrast to the other two members. But, I don’t mean that in any negative way. I think their lack of musicianship (if you want to call it that)  is part of their charm. It is the Fat Creeps’s imperfections that make them unique. For example, when the band begins their set they have a few false starts, but when they get it right, they kill it.  The songs are great, the riffs are simple, but strong and definitely catchy. And the vocals, damn! Probably my favorite part of their music is the vocals. Sometimes they sound whiny, almost cranky, but it fits perfectly with their music. I remember Cole Alexander from the Black Lips once said that kids need to hear NOT American Idol voices in music. Kids need to hear Fat Creeps! Their energy and attitude is always present. I recognize some of the songs, which I want to point out as another trait that separates Fat Creeps from most bands I see: their songs are easily recognizable. I only had to hear some of the songs once for me to remember them tonight, a rare quality indeed. I will definitely pay attention to Fat Creeps from now on and I plan on seeing them again the next time I get a chance. Check out their band camp page!  http://fatcreeps.bandcamp.com/

P.S. they are pretty easy on the eyes ;)

Act II: Big Mess– I listen to Big Mess a lot these days, so it is always a pleasure of mine to see the band in action. In fact when they begin playing I start to realize how much I miss seeing them live; it has been about five weeks and I am going through withdrawal.  The recordings are sound, but Big Mess live is a whole other beast. The songs focus heavily on volume and since they are instrumental you pay attention more to the sonic side of music or at least I do because I typically do not listen to strictly instrumental music. Live, the songs hit you harder, and well come alive. Having seen them several time now, I know their set, but with this performance they really switch it up and play around with their songs, while still unleashing the classics. They open with a nice little jam before smoothly kicking into “The Hook.”  It just gets me more pumped up for the song and their entire set even more than usual. Also,  on this evening bassist Josh Tracy provides some sick vocals, which is new to me. If you have not seen Big Mess yet, then you FAIL AT LIFE. They have been together since 1993! You’ve had your whole FUCKING life to think things over. You can redeem yourself by listening to their Band Camp page. Do it! http://bigmessma.bandcamp.com/album/big-mess

Act III: ONSLO– Onslo keep the energy high with a fun, loud, rocking performance. All of the members look like they are having a lot of fun, laughing amongst each other and cracking jokes about the lack of females in the audience, at some moments as little as three! Overall, Onslo is a decent band, but they just don’t do a whole lot for me. I really cannot put my finger on it, but I guess for my money they are not as distinguishable as the other three bands this evening. But, don’t take my word for it, see for yourself. Here’s their band camp page: http://onslo.bandcamp.com/

Act IV: Fat History Month-When Fat History Month hit the stage more people come up front, practically standing over the band, making it feel more like a show at a basement venue, which is where I usually see Fat History Month. The band opens with Fucking Despair classic “No Safe,” which has a great Pavement flavor to it. Short, but sweet and gets me pumped up for the rest of their performance. Fat History are one of the finest live acts I have seen in the past year and their performances are always intimate. I honestly cannot imagine seeing them on a big stage, that would be a real buzzkill. I love standing inches away from Mark’s drum kit. Mark (not Jeff contrary to popular opinion)  is a steady drummer, always keeping his head low and keeping in touch with the music. The duo quickly run through Fat History anthems “Old Lady Smokers” and “Things I Enjoy,” which always bring a smile to my face. I think these particular songs sound better on record, because the “hooks” are not quite translated live. But, that’s the thing, Fat History is not the kind of band that gives you what you expect or perform the songs as they sound on the record. And I am glad for that, that would be boring, after all. They are performed well live, let’s not mince words here, but it is certainly different. With that being said, if you saw them live and have not listened to their music,  seriously pick up Fucking Despair and/or  watch some of their amusing music videos. They also play some new material or perahps old material I have not heard yet? They close the set, asking the audience what they want to hear. It seems like most (including myself) want to hear “Nature,” especially the ladies (the very few of them!). They play “Nature,” and as always it is invigorating. I love the build up from the repeated line “It gets better” to “and then it gets WORSE.”  There is something really cathartic about that line, especially hearing it live. Five Fat History Month shows deep, for me it never gets worse.  http://fathistorymonth.bandcamp.com/ Check out Fucking Despair as well as their other releases Gorilla and the Safe and Sound 7″

Also, here’s a link to an awesome Dig Boston interview from February 8, 2011: http://digboston.com/listen/2011/02/gimmie-shelter-fat-history-month/

Concert Review: Atlas the Atom Smasher (CD Release)@ UML Fox Common

Artists: Atlas the Atom Smasher, Big Mess, Bella Birds, In the Direction of the Sun, and Crashing Cars
Date: Friday, March 2, 2012
Venue: UMass Lowell Fox Common (Lowell, MA)
Comments:
Act I: Crashing Cars– Nice alliteration in the title! Crashing Cars is seriously a great way to describe this band, there’s a lot of aggression to their performance and they play driving, loud, fast rock music.  I definitely get a lot of early to mid 90s  grunge vibes and there is a lot of emotion in each of their songs. and the performance itself.  It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but they are undeniably talented musicians and I can imagine there is a decent amount of appeal for their angsty approach to this style of music. Check out their band camp page here: http://crashingcars.bandcamp.com/

Act II: In the Direction of the Sun– Unfortunately, much of the audience that witnessed Crashing Cars vanish in the time between Act I and II. Which is a  damn shame because these guys really rock hard and give it their A game … for just the four or five of us that are left standing there. It is a set full of tesosterone fueled, angry, death metal/hardcore blast after blast. Once again, this isn’t my kind of music, but I commend them for a charismatic and passionate performance, especially considering the sudden decrease in attendance. At times, I feel like it is the death metal version of Atlantic Thrills, which of course is a great “I don’t give a fuck, let’s just have fun and go wild!” attitude. The best attitude to have. If you’re big  into heavier, more diabolical stuff check these guys out here: http://inthedirectionofthesunma.bandcamp.com/

Act III: Bella Birds– Next up is Bella Birds, a charming folk duo with strong hooks and strong harmonies. A bit more people show up and it is cool to see yet another transition in genre/style/approach, which is a characteristic I always note about thse Fox Common shows. Their performance is engaging and they interact well with the audience, often with light humor and positivity. Here’s the link to their site:  http://www.thebellabirds.com/

Act IV: Big Mess– Ahh yes, the mighty Big Mess. Generally speaking, I’m not the biggest fan of instrumental music, but Big Mess is a massive exception. This trio rocks and kills it at each and every show. The bands plays slow, haunting quasi metal/hardcore with an equal proportion of sludge and pop sensibility. The songs aren’t poppy, but all of them have incredible hooks that get stuck in my head on a daily basis. When I wear my badass, redneck esque snowboots “The Hook” instantly pops in my head, for example. If I worked out I’m sure Big Mess would appear on my playlist. During this performance I hear a lot of My War/Slip It In era Black Flag in their music.  The Big Mess on this evening is no different than the Big Mess on any other evening, but I walk away with those early hardcore/crossover metal, mid 80s-SST vibes. I see a lot of similarities in the two bands, though Big Mess is more in control in their musicianship, it’s less chaotic, but just as cathartic. I’ve seen them several times now and the sets are always familiar, but it never gets old, the songs are strong enough that it’s  always refreshing. http://bigmessma.bandcamp.com/album/big-mess

Act V: Atlas the Atom Smasher– Atlas the Atom Smasher is one of the hardest working local bands in Boston and tonight’s show is a celebration for the release of their latest CD, The Snowmiser Suite, a 12 minute punk epic about the impending apocalypse. Despite the dour subject matter behind the muisc, Atlas is infinitely positive and enthusiastic, especially drummer Tyler Bisson, and this is reflected in their music. They play loud, fast punk driven songs, but with a bit more variation and experimentaion than most bands that fall under that category. The sound is incredibly loud and much of that can be attributed to the Fox Common’s permanent ear damaging PA, but it certainly fit really well with the music. Their performance overall is impressive as is The Snowmiser Suite itself. Give it some much earned ear time: http://atlastheatomsmasher.bandcamp.com/album/the-snowmiser-suite

Review: New Highway Hymnal (Lowell 7″ Release Show)@ Dirty Douglas (2/17/12)

Travis drums
Photo taken by Paul Gaughran

Artists: New Highway Hymnal, Big Mess, Dirty Virgins, BTSS
Date: Friday, 2/17/12
Venue: Dirty Douglas (Lowell, MA)
Comments:
For starters, I hate the term “concert review,” and I see these write ups more as show documentations, but that just sounds stupid. More importantly, I still use the term “concert review,” because I do not distinguish these shows from any other musical performances I would see, at least in terms of quality. I remember one time at a Douglas show, some kid said he usually just goes to shows because it is something to do, and most bands he sees are not that great. There’s nothing wrong with attending these shows just for the kicks, not at all, but I have to totally disagree when it comes to the quality of the bands, and everything else for that matter. I cannot really think of a time when I walked away from a basement show feeling dissapointed, not to say my mind is always blown. But, for me it is more than just “something to do,” and this night is a great exmple of what I mean. Before the show, as I am taking a quick perusal at the merch table, I overhear Travis, drummer for NHH (and overall awesome dude) telling a friend that there is a pretty cool scene here. He jokingly says, ” It’s better than Allston.” I concur.
“Yeah, it’s better than Allston!”
“We’re from Allston.”
“Ohh. Allston’s cool too.” Haha, I actually have enjoyed the few basement shows I have seen in Allston, but I do find Lowell to be superior. I don’t know if it’s the bands themselves, the sound, the merch table, or the ubiquitous DIRTY DOUGLAS sign hanging behind each band as they play. Whatever it is, there’s more of an energy and character to the place, making it perfect for a New Highway Hymnal 7″ Release Show. Before NHH plays, three unique, entertaing opening acts get the crowd rockin’ and rollin, including one of my favorites, Big Mess.
Act I: Between Tall Saints and Sinners (BTSS)- I’m curious just how tall are these Saints? I’m a short guy, but I think I could take them on, being a sinner myself. BTSS is actually just one man, a very talented young man named Brad from Bennington, VT. Brad opens the show on a very serious note: “I just want to say RIP to Whisty Houston, one of the greatest black comedians of all time.” Of course, we will also miss Whisty’s groundbreaking comedy. Besides being a comedian of sorts himself, Brad plays guitar, keyboards, and makes heavy use of loops. The music isn’t conventional, but it is pretty interesting, sometimes it’s just really solemn and hard for me to get into, and then in a matter of seconds I’ll hear something that really draws me into the song. In a way though it just felt like one big collection of songs instead of one song; one long psychedelic experience, with songs simply seaming into each other. At some points, the crowd didn’t really know whether they should appalud or not. It made the moment somewhat awkward, but it totally fit and almost felt right. BTSS just seems like awkward music to begin with. Overall, I enjoyed the music very much, but I spent most of the set wondering why there was a vhs copy of When Harry Met Sally sitting on his amp. It kept me curious the whole time and then suddenly Brad picked up the video, hucked the cover into the crowd and began to rape both Harry and Sally with his guitar, just playing his gutiar with the damn thing, it was great! I have never seen anyone play the guitar with a vhs tape. I’ve seen guys play the gutiar with their teeth, forks, drum sticks, and yes I’ve even seen some guys play with their penises. But for BTSS, vhs tapes do the trick and after abusing Harry and Sally with his axe, he let the kids dish out the rest of the damage, smashing the tape to smithereens. A fabulous ending indeed, a forecast for the wonderful, chaotic endings that would occur later in the evening. I hope to see Mr. BTSS again. He seems like a nice dude, a real inspiration. If I choose a career as a Trash Humper, I would want this man to be my co-conspirator. We all have dreams.

http://betweentallsaintsandsinners.bandcamp.com/

Act II: Dirty Virgins–  I’m sure they get this all of time, but awesome band name! It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. Probably the best oxymoron I’ve ever heard. Is it an oxymoron? I suppose virgins could be dirty, at times they may actually be outright filthy. In any case, these guys are just as fun and odd as their moniker, playing noisy garage punk with definite psychedelic flavor. Fans of garage rock revival bands or those that are labeled such, especially those championed on this site will most likely enjoy Dirty Virgins.  http://dirtyvirgins.bandcamp.com/

Act III: Big Mess– Big Mess is the second best New England based band, or at least my second favorite. Who is number one? That’s a story for another review, right now Big Mess are the stars and as always they destroy it.  “The Hook,” is one of the finest openers I have ever heard and I always look forward to hearing it every time Big Mess hit the stage or floor. Nick Wiedeman and Josh Tracy deliver jostling guitar riffs, whilst Nick Egersheim bashes the drums, each hit is made to kill. When he smacks the drums the sound is nothing short of thrilling.  Big Mess are able to capture rock music at its barest, most stripped down state, cutting out all of the bullshit. Nick and Josh  rapidly swing their guitars around as they bust out driving groove after groove. The band is often loud and I love it, but some of my favorite moments are when the  volume slowly builds up like in Big Mess classics, “No Good Time” and “Gueule de Bois.” This is easily the best set I have seen from them. I can’t wait for the next show.  Check out their music here: http://bigmessma.bandcamp.com/album/big-mess

Act IV: New Highway Hymnal!–  The New Highway Hymnal have played several 7″ Release shows for their latest and greatest effort, “Blackened Hands,” but it is at the Dirty Douglas where the band feels most at home. The place is packed and everyone is ready to rock. I’ve never seen a crowd more engaged and energetic before at the Douglas, there is just an unbelivable feeling of triumphant and joy. NHH are sound performers, but what I find most appealing about their music is the way in which they are able to smoothly mix various genres of music into one form. I hear elements of The Doors (especially in the vocals), the noise experimentation of Sonic Youth, and garage music, where current bands like the Black Lips and Natural Child come to mind. With that being said, the band has definitely found their own style both on record and live; you can tell they play a lot just by their prescence alone. As the band finishes its last tune, the crowd goes wild and pandemonium ensues. Suddenly, the music ends and guitars are flung, mic stands fall down, and there is just one giant pig pile over Travis’s drum kit. One of the coolest endings I have ever seen!
Listen to NHH here: http://thenewhighwayhymnal.bandcamp.com/

Some Sick Big Mess Live Footage

Big Mess is a kick ass band from Lowell,  MA and here is some footage from their performance at Ralph’s Diner in Worcester (Janurary 26), which I did not attend, but it looks like it was awesome.


 

and

 

and some more!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn8jKXiunzw&feature=related

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDZJw8TFiDA&feature=related

Here’s their Band Camp page, check it out. This is some of the best material coming out of Boston/New England right now.

http://bigmessma.bandcamp.com/