Review: Big Mess, Kal Marks, Frankie Teardrop, SUNS, Tawny Peaks, and Heavy Petals @ Wilder Zangcraft (1/6/13)

Big Mess

Bands: Heavy Petals, Big Mess, Kal Marks, Frankie Teardrop, SUNS,  Tawny Peaks
Date: Sunday, January 6, 2013
Venue: Wilder Zangcraft (Lowell, MA)

Act I: Heavy Petals – I am excited to say this is the first show I am seeing in 2013. Overall 2012 was the best year for shows, each year seems to get better.  Anywho, Heavy Petals (I hope I have this name right, please inform me if I don’t) is a last minute addition to this bill, so I’ve never seen their name in writing.  They are a five piece and they deliver a sick, rocking set drenched in folk-country mixed with a little bit of punk. This reminds me of Those Darlins, especially with two female vocalists.  In fact, I’d specifically recommend them to fans of Those Darlins –  a lot of traditional country vocals.  I also notice that they expand beyond these elements and feature a more sinister side, bearing resemblances to Sonic Youth. All in all, a fun set.

Act II: Big Mess– Big Mess as always is a flat, sonic death punch to the gut.  I never get sick of hearing those catastrophic guitars and heart pounding drums.  Seriously, someone has to synch up these songs to a slasher/horror flick.  I can’t say this Big Mess set is particularly unique from any other Big Mess performance, but that’s not necesarily a bad thing. I consistently look forward to their high quality sets and they have never let me down.  I’m also glad to hear that some of the touring bands are fans of Big Mess now. Indeed, more kids need to experience this colossal band. You can start here:

Act III: Kal Marks –  Kal Marks have made a name for themselves in the Boston underground, charming us along the way- Unfortunately, unlike Big Mess, I (we) haven’t seen Kal since May 2011, opening for Peach Kelli Pop at the Problem House as can be read in the link above. I remember thinking they were a diverse group, able to capture various styles and sounds all at once.  I still feel that way, and I especially admire their latest EP Piss of the Century.  Lead vocalist Carl has a highly distinctive, high pitched voice with a certain drawl that oddly reminds me of Kurt Cobain.  Tonight, Kal Marks is a two piece (in need of a bassist), but GOOD NEWS! AS OF WRITING THIS THEY HAVE FOUND A BASS PLAYER NAMED MIKE. WORD.  Though, they still sound awesome as a two piece.  Can’t wait to see them back in action again as a full band.  It’s a good set for the most part, but in some of the louder songs, I can barely hear the vocals, while on the softer tunes those sick pipes come through a bit clearer. So, I hear Big Mess and Kal Marks are going to tour together in March, GO SEE EM KIDS!

Act IV: Frankie Teardrop – Going into this next performance, I don’t know what to expect. And I’ve professed before that’s how I like it. I like the unexpected. Frankie isn’t just one dude (it’s funny, up until now, I had this image in my head of this sad lounge singer in a tuxedo with a whiskey bottle, though I was positive it wouldn’t be like that and for everyone’s sake, it is not). Frankie’s a full band. One dude on vocals/guitar in the front area where attendees stand and the rest of the members in the conventional band space in the back. The man on vocals and guitar, Frankie perhaps, flails and flings about as he rocks through his frenetic set. He looks possessed. It’s noisy and somewhat amateur, but I like it a lot. I can’t not fixate on this dude and his weird movement. I’ll have to listen to more of their music, because I can’t pin down any specific idea or style, but it’s satisyingly peculiar, that’s for sure. By the way, Frankie Teardrop is on tour from Ohio, and in fact they also played with Fat History Month and Pile at O’Brien’s Pub. Sounds like one helluva tour fellas, excellent!

Act V: SUNS – These dudes have a pop punk sound to them, but they sound better than most folks with that label.  Still,  not the kind of music that sets my rocks off, but maybe it will turn you on. Check it out here:

Act VI: Tawny Peaks– Like their tourmates SUNS, not really a Chris DeCarlo kinda band. Can’t remember too much, sorry. But, they play emo that is similar to Slurred Speech, so if you dig that, maybe you will enjoy Tawny Peaks. Check em’ out:

Review: Big Mess, Pissbath, Slurred Speech, Haldol, Regret, the Informer, Districts @ Wilder Zangcraft (11/9/12)

Bands: Big Mess, Pissbath, Slurred Speech, Haldol, Regret, the Informer/Districts (12 inch release)
Date: Friday, November 9, 2012
Venue: Wilder Zangcraft (Lowell, MA)
Act I: Big Mess- I’ve never been huge on strictly instrumental music, but in the past year, my ears have had the pleasure of being jostled by Boston behemoths, Big Mess. As I’ve said before, this here is a band you need to experience live. Sometimes I fall in love with a band’s studio (or bedroom) work,  but when I see them in person, the songs don’t translate as well. This isn’t the case with Big Mess; quite the opposite. Live, they are a sonic beast, a total wall of headbanging inducing noise. Much of their music is heavy, but there’s also a quiet, intimate quality to the band that can be best appreciated at a nice, little basement spot like Wilder Zangcraft. I can honestly say tonight’s show is one of the best I’ve seen, with the band sounding as fierce and intense as ever. In particular, I want to note the drumming of Nick Egersheim, which is one of the first things that struck me about the band. There’s an undeniable frenetic character to his style; he smacks the drums so hard, it’s as if his sticks are his fists and the drums are a body, like a fistfight and each smack is another punch. I don’t know why I always conjure up violent images when I listen to Big Mess, I guess I am just a sick guy. In any case, they’re a badass band and I heavily recommend them to all of y’all.

Act II: Pissbath– I love this name, especially coming after Big Mess. Well, I can imagine the pissbath would come first and then it would be a big mess, for sure. But, not tonight. This Nashville quartet plays fast, hardore punk inspired jams. In the traditions of  old school hardcore, this group blasts through each cut in a matter of seconds, keeping it short, but sweet. You can listen to their demo tape here:

Act III: Haldol– Unfortunately, we missed these fellow Nashville punkers, but you can check out their bandcamp here:

Act IV: Slurred Speech– Slurred Speech is one man powerhouse Josh Tracy. Tracy’s music  consists of one man, one guitar, and a fine set of pipes. He sings with a lot of emotion and is able to get a crowded, sweaty basement full of drunken students to sing along with him. Slurred Speech may not be my cup of tea, but I genuinely enjoy the intimate, interactive charm of Tracy’s performance/music and overall sense of humor. I especially love when he mentions feeling badass about listening to System Of A Down and how everyone else most likely had the same reaction as a youngster. Well, I felt badass listening to System Of A Down, I still do. Check out Josh’s jams here:

Act V: Regret, The Informer– Regret, The Informer has embarked on tour all the way from Missouri and tonight they are here alongside Districts (the band up next) in honor of the release of their split 12″.  Regret shares the same hardcore sound as some of the other bands on the bill tonight, but they seem to  permeate a slower, more melodic sound. If you want hear Regret, The Informer, click here:

Act V: Districts– Lowell’s own, Districts close this fun filled evening of diverse local and national music. Districts play energetic screamo/hardcore and it looks like they have some dedicated fans in attendance singing along to their impassioned vocals. It seems like Districts have made a name for themselves around town and beyond, catch em’ if you can or start by listening to them here:

Listen to Big Mess – “New Wave” Live @ Barre Fest
Some cool Big Mess tunes live from Barre Fest this past August.  If you don’t know Big Mess, I urge you to listen and not just ignore it because you don’t know them. Who knows, you could discover one of your favorite bands, definitely one of my favorites. Sludgy, heavy, bluesy, catchy, it’s all there.

Review: OnBroadway Fest 2008 (5/5/12)

Date: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Venue(s): Dirty Douglas & Ant Cellar (Lowell, MA)
Inspector 34 @ Ant Cellar– We missed :(

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:

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!

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:

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!!!

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.

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:

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.

Districts @ Dirty Douglas–  We missed :(

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!

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.

Matahari @ Ant Cellar– We missed :(

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)

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!

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!

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:

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. 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: