My Top Ten Shows of Twenty-Thirteen

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…

Storm or Howl
Storm or Howl

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! REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/11/27/review-the-beets-the-whitehaus/

Nice Sinclair
Nice Guys

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. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/11/15/review-fidlar-the-orwells-nice-guys-the-sinclair/

Clams Great
Shannon and the Clams

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 :). REVIEWhttps://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. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/11/08/review-fat-creeps-nice-guys-designer-guerilla-toss-cambridge-elks-101913/

Wavves

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. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/10/04/review-wavves-king-tuff-jacuzzi-boys-sinclair-10113/

Ty Bowery
A photo of three sexy men

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. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/10/08/review-ty-segall-bowery-ballroom-83013/

Hunxxx
Hunx and His Punx

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. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/09/09/review-hunx-and-his-punx-hunters-fagettes-brighton-music-hall-82313/

atlantic thrills bbq

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. REVIEWhttps://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. REVIEWhttps://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. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/12/13/hassle-fest-recap-118-913/

So, that’s that. Top albums of the year coming up next.

Review: Wavves, King Tuff, Jacuzzi Boys @ Sinclair (10/1/13)


Bands: Wavves, King Tuff, Jacuzzi Boys
Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Venue: The Sinclair (Cambridge, MA)

Jacuzzi Boys – It’s been a couple of years now since I first heard Miami FLA’s finest:  Jacuzzi Boys. They have been on my list of bands to see live ever since that time, so going into this show I am really pumped. Normally, I prefer seeing bands in smaller settings, but I have to admit Jacuzzi Boys look and sound great on the Sinclair’s massive stage. Their growling, surfy, poppy take on garage punk never sounded more excellent.

The teenage crowd of what appears to be Jacuzzi Boys newbies eats up the punk slime flavor that they unleash with each fast, hard hitting tune.  Kids are moshing pretty hard and just having a great time. I honestly didn’t expect this. I figured like most big shows I see that the youngings would politely listen to (or worse repudiate) the comparatively trashier sounds of tonight’s opening acts, and then start slam dancing during Wavves’ set. Luckily,  this is not the case and every band receives a great reaction from a city that often doesn’t deliver in this regard.

King Tuff – Much like Jacuzzi Boys, King Tuff is more of the garage pop, slam em’ out real quick variety. In fact, when I first saw this tour line up I was somewhat surprised. On one hand, King Tuff and Jacuzzi Boys are fairly popular bands with several, sharp pop records under their belt. Then again, they aren’t as clean and accessible as the headliner, Wavves. King Tuff is more akin to Nobunny, Hunx and His Punx, and even Thee Oh Sees. Looser, wilder, grimier.

Also like Jacuzzi Boys, the crowd loves the set and there’s even more moshing this time around, hardly sparing a single moment for a breather. The love is mutual however, as King Tuff appreciates the audience’s admiration and enthusiasm. At one point he even brings a young man in the front row up on stage. This kid has a black eye and King Tuff applauds him for being a rock ‘n’ roll warrior. King Tuff presents him with a customized sun medallion necklace for his rugged character.  Keep rocking son. Indeed, all of you kids keep rocking and listen to King Tuff, he’s the right role model for you.

Wavves – Though we have been fans of King Tuff and Jacuzzi Boys for years, this is the first time we had a chance to see them. Wavves is a completely different story. We’ve been Wavves devotees since the Zach Hill days. It’s been fun seeing the band evolve over the years. Alas, it has been two full years since we’ve actually seen the band. TWO YEARS! I know a fucking eternity for rock ‘n’ roll fans, but tonight we’re back.

Wavves open with “Post-Acid,” a classic from their third full length LP, King of the Beach and immediately the place is off the hook. It’s practically impossible to stand up as kids bop and mosh about, running up to stage dive every three seconds. This lasts for the remainder of the show as they perform various hits from throughout their career.

Nathan Williams introduces “Friends Were Gone” as an older song, which is true, but it sounds funny in the grand scheme of things when you’re describing something that only came out four years ago.  This and “No Hope Kids” are the only pre-King of the Beach cuts on display this evening.

Speaking of King of the Beach, it is one of my favorite albums and so hearing a steady number of choice tunes from that LP is a real pleasure for me. I still love screaming out some of the classic, self-deprecating Wavves lyrics. I swear you could start a Wavves drinking game based on self-deprecating lyrics in Wavves songs. Take a shot each time Nathan insults himself. I wouldn’t recommend it, you’d probably be dead before the song is over.

My favorite line has to be “Myyyy, my own friends hate my guts… ahh so what? Who gives a fuck?” from “Green Eyes,” the song that garners the largest crowd reaction I’d wager. It even was requested several times before it was played. Perhaps because it exemplifies what it so great about Wavves, that unabashed apathy toward, well everything.  Some of the lyrics are downright childish, but it works. There’s a suspension of reality in Wavves that celebrates what music should be – an escape.

Other King of the Beach gems include “Idiot,” (people love to say “It doesn’t mean SHIT”) Stephen Pope penned “Linus Spacehead,” “Super Soaker, and the title track.  All of these songs sound just as fantastic as they did in previous years. On  a similar note, I wasn’t flabbergasted by this year’s Afraid of Heights, yet I still find myself fully engaged with these tunes and even singing along to them as well. “Demon to Lean On,” “Sail to the Sun,” and “Afraid of Heights,” are just some of the many songs we hear from the new LP.

As a whole, Wavves kill it again, cementing their status as one of my top live bands and this show is among my top five favorite shows all year… thus far.

Lastly, following the show I run into guitarist Alex Gates (he is the other main dude that gets plastered, possibly raped, and killed in the video below) and I compliment him for his work in Wavves, but more importantly his work in various Memphis bands over the years including Cretin Stompers (which are stomping your way shortly), Magic Kids, The Barbaras, Kazalok, and most of all, Girls of the Gravitron. This really trips him out because he claims that no one has ever approached him about Girls of the Gravitron before and that he hasn’t even thought about those songs since they were recorded. Nonetheless, he is appreciative and a generally swell guy. As is Stephen Pope, whom I got to chat with about The Barbaras and Cretin Stompers. I didn’t get to see Nathan, but that’s cool. So yeah, I know this last paragraph means nothing to most of you, but do yourself a favor and look up all of the aforementioned bands. I can’t urge you enough. And if you are Alex Gates, Stephen Pope, or just someone else in existence that knows and loves those bands, please leave a comment. We have so much to talk about. Love Chris.

P.S. sorry for freaking you out Alex.

Show Alert: Wavves, King Tuff, Jacuzzi Boys @ The Sinclair (10/1)


Ahh Wavves. Just days ago they shared a stage with The New Highway Hymnal at the Paradise and apparently they couldn’t get enough of it. That’s right, you’re neverrr gonna stop Nathan and his cronies from coming back to Boston, making this their third appearance in our fair city this year alone. The date is Tuesday, October 1 and the venue is the Sinclair in Cambridge. BUT WAITTTT. The mighty King Tuff and Flo Rider’s garage kings, Jacuzzi Boys are opening. Class acts all the way.

CD Review: Glazin’ [2011]


Band:
 Jacuzzi Boys
Release: 9/2011
Label: Hardly Art

1. “Vizcaya” – B
2. “Automatic Jail” – B-
3. “Glazin” – B+
4. “Cool Vapors” – C+
5. “Libras and Zebras” – C
6. “Crush” – C+
7. “Silver Sphere (Death Dream)” – C
8. “Zeppelin” – C-
9. “Los Angeles” – B
10. “Koo Koo With You” – C-

Comments: Upfront disclosure: I did not expect a softie album from the Jacuzzi Boys. Now, softie to one may be hardcore punk to another. This is a lite album, though, a diet rock ‘n roll.  Traditional pop hooks are everywhere on Glazin’…make no mistake. It’s just that No Seasons, the band’s debut from 2009, possessed these hooks and then some. We live in times where bands with even the most marginal independent label support can spend longer time in a studio setting and complete a nicer sounding record. Sometimes, though, nicer sounding comes across as forced. The late great Jay Reatard didn’t find any remote worth in arranging a block of time for recording. He recorded whenever he felt like it. True, many bands don’t have 24/7 access to sophisticated home recording equipment, but Jay’s point holds. I feel like the experimentation that Jacuzzi Boys endeavor in is a result of them having that extra studio time available. In the end, they stick with internal familiarity. Mid-album songs like “Libras and Zebras” and “Crush” don’t sound like anything the Jacuzzi Boys have done, but by that point in the album it’s as if “oh yeah, I’ve heard something like that a few tracks ago, but it was better.” With “Silver Sphere,” we have an excessive song on our hands folks. It drags and stuff. I sense a bit of cheesiness with Glazin’. It’s fun to be fun and the Jacuzzi’s seemed to have carried that kind of spirit in the making of this record, but where’s the “Smells Dead” and “Island Avenue” circa 2011?

Grade:  C+ (77)

7″ Review: Nobunny/Jacuzzi Boys [2010]

Bands: Nobunny/Jacuzzi Boys
Release: 11/2010
Label:
Scion A/V

A. “Someone Else’s Brain” [LISTEN]
B. “Coral Girls” [LISTEN]

Comments: Nobunny’s “Someone Else’s Brain” is very First Blood and very good. It fits in line with some of his retro power-pop/country-rock tunes on that record. Interesting subject matter! “Coral Girls” is a keeper as well. It’s a mainly fast number with a few slow parts and a very very sludge-y/heavy guitar solo part. Take a listen to both tunes.