OK folks it was now time for round 2 of the Burger Records Caravan of Stars. The first round happened last year when The Growlers, Gap Dream, Pangea and a few other megastars did the tour. Tonight Pangea were returning this time as HEADLINERS! Pangea have finally hit the big time. They have toured the world. They have a record deal with a label which may or may not be major. Ok enough about them now. We’ll get to them later.
Starting the show were Puerto Rican punx AJ Davila y Terror Amor. I was sorta familiar with their stuff because I knew of AJ Davila from his other band Davila 666 who I saw a few years ago. They brought the energy. Too bad there wasn’t a bigger crowd to see them. I’d say that Mozes and The Firstborn were probably the most psych band of the night. I saw them back in February opening for, you guessed it, Pangea and they were really good then. They were fine now as well. There were times however that I couldn’t hear the vocal as well as I hoped but I never blame the band for that. Now it was time for Cherry Glazerr to make their Boston debut. I had been looking forward to seeing them for a while now. They were the first band to bring a real crowd. Their songs are lofi fuzz-pop about things such as cats, grilled cheese and other sweet topics.
The Coathangers were now up to rip shit up. Playing mostly tracks from their 2 most recent releases they banged hard through their set. There were times when band members switched instruments and everyone got in on the singing and shouting. After their set I was chatting with some of the members. I found out that one of the girls in The Coathangers was the sister of one of the members of The Hiss who were one of the more underrated garage punk bands of the 2000’s. Pangea played all their hits to finish the show. They played what I would expect to hear from them including Badillac, Sick Shit, Offer, Too Drunk to Cum and River. At the end I bought another Burger button and I can officially say that I am a Burger Bitch!
This was my 3rd time seeing The Growlers in the last 2 years. The opener, The Garden, I’d heard of but wasn’t familiar with their music. They are a duo that consists of two twin brothers from So Cal. They started with a few short punchy punk songs. Then about midway through their set I saw the singer/guitarist put down his guitar and the drummer got up from his throne. I was thinking “They couldn’t be done so soon. They were only on for about 10 minutes.” Then I saw one of the guys press some buttons and a drum machine turned on. They both started rapping and it turned into a hip-hop show. I was not expecting to see 2 skinny guys rapping at a Growlers show. After a few minutes of that they got back to their regular instruments and the short punchy punk tunes continued. Their punk songs almost reminded me of a less aggressive version of The Hussy (who are also a duo).
Right before The Growlers took the stage a drag queen dressed in stereotypical Asian dress came out and started singing and dancing to the crowd. Some of the songs that played when she was out there were “Jet Boy Jet Girl” by The New York Dolls and “Homosapien” by Pete Shelley. At first it made me wonder if Brooks Nielsen had a new career, but once she started singing I knew it wasn’t him. After about a 10 minute performance the drag queen introduced The Growlers. The stage was decked in Chinese style fans and dragon heads in honor of their new album Chinese Fountain. The best part about seeing The Growlers live besides their music is watching Brooks do his funny little dancing. For some songs he was dancing with the drag queen and then he pushed her in to the crowd so she could crowdsurf. I didn’t recognize Brooks right away without a mustache. I personally think that mustaches should be mandatory for any members of The Growlers. Their set lasted a little over 90 minutes. Sorry but I don’t remember the actual setlist because I didn’t write it down but I know they did a bunch of new songs. The crowd seemed to get most excited towards the end when they did One Million Lovers and Someday. After the show when the bandmembers went off stage I could see one of The Growlers (I think it was Anthony) moon the crowd. They have been great everytime I have seen them and I am hoping for their thereafter walkabout.
I recently saw Liars at Brighton Music Hall. I hadn’t seen them since 2008 and this was worth the wait. As I was waiting I saw a guy up on the stage setting some equipment up. I soon found out that was not a guy after all and that actually was Jana Hunter. I knew of Jana Hunter being the frontwoman of Lower Dens. As a solo artist she sounded more stripped down. It was just her with a guitar and a drum machine. She started her set with a cover of Hall & Oates’s Maneater. The rest of her songs were new songs that she wrote for Lower Dens. Right before Liars went on, the lights dimmed and projections started up on the screen behind the stage. Each band member came out and last to emerge was Angus Andrew wearing a maskhat made of colorful yarn like what is on the cover of their new album Mess and all the promo pics leading up to the album’s release. They started with some songs from Mess. This album as well as their last one are more electronically based. I think the new one is a bit more aggressive than its predecessor. The songs got the crowd bouncing. They just went through song after song until their set ended after about an hour. Personally I think they should have played longer. I was hoping to hear some of their really old songs from their first couple albums.
Pro Anti Anti
Let’s Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack
I’m No Gold
No 1 Against the Rush
Vox Turned D.E.D.
Mess On A Mission
Plaster Casts of Everything
Our dudes in The Orwells are coming back to Boston and then some! Save the date: Thursday, October 9th @ Brighton Music Hall . The Orwells are supporting SKATERS on this tour. Check out all of the US/Canada tour dates below.
Sep-08 Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Bar
Sep-09 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
Sep-11 Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
Sep-12Indianapolis, IN @ Deluxe
Sep-13 Chicago, IL @ Riot Fest
Sep-19 Denver, CO @ Riot Fest
Sep-20 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court Gallery
Sep-21 Boise, ID @ Nuerolux
Sep-24 Vancouver BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
Sep-25 Portland, OR @ Star Theater
Sep-27 San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
Sep-28 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst – Atrium
Sep-29 Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre Oct-09 Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
Oct-10 Montreal, QC @ II Motore
Oct-11 Toronto, ON @ Mod Club
Oct-13 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts – Wolf Building
Oct-14 Washington, DC @ Black Cat
Oct-15 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
Oct-17 Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes
Bands: The Orwells, Palma Violets Date: Monday, May 6, 2013 Venue: Brighton Music Hall (Brighton/Allston, MA)
Before I kick into this evening’s performances, let me flash back a few months to Wednesday, February 27. The Orwells, an up and coming rock ‘n’ roll band from Chicago, made their live debut in Boston at T.T. the Bears, where my KLYAM co-conspirator, Glen, a long-time Orwells fan/early supporter (https://klyam.com/2011/01/31/band-spotlight-the-orwells/) was enthusiastically in attendance and ecstatic to finally meet the men behind one of his favorite bands. Local pizza punks, Nice Guys opened. It was a great show (https://klyam.com/2013/03/03/concert-review-the-orwells-tt-the-bears-22713/) or so I am told, for I could not be in attendance that night. Alas, for the last few months Glen has had the bragging rights to say he’s seen The Orwells live and I have not. Now, as the Spring semester is coming to a close, I am outside the realm of academic requirements and ready to take in one of the music world’s most promsing bands: The Orwells
Not to make it seem like The Orwells are this untouchable force, they are actually just mellow, fun loving dudes, appreciating their time on the road, being able to play for fans – new and old – and spreading the gospel of Black Lips stylized rock ‘n’ roll. Like last time, as Glen noted, the boys are playing a quick round of pool before they hit the stage. I briefly chat with Mario Cuomo (vocals) and Matt O’Keefe (guitar) and we discuss the Chicago punk scene/HoZac Blackout Fest, their current tour with Palma Violets, and opening for our favorite band, the Black Lips this past New Year’s Eve at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans (http://artofcl.com/features/photos-nye-black-lips-king-louies-missing-monuments-orwells/). But, before diving too in depth into a conversation, Matt politely says, “alright man, I’m going to do my thing, we’ll talk to you after the show.” Five minutes later, The Orwells are up on stage.
They blast right into Remember When classic, “In My Bed.” The whole band rocks like they are seasoned veterans, it is nuts to think that this is a band that formed just a few years back. The quality sound system (minus the vocals, which aren’t bad, but could be better) further amplify the loud, firece delivery of The Orwells.
Lead vocalist, Mario Cuomo best captures the rock’n’roll/garage attitude of the band. He is an energetic performer and he never slows down for a moment. His charisma brings even more life to the group’s already vibrant songwriting. Mario rolls his eyes back like they are two inches away from dropping out of their sockets. His showmanship nicely complements his vocals, which are naturally loud, baritone, almost doomy. Unfortunately, the mics are not nearly loud enough to capture his vocals and other members of the crowd agree with me on this account. You can hear pretty much everything he sings, but I want it to be a bit higher. Overall, not a big deal and merely a flaw of the PA, not the band.
My favorite part of the show is when they play my top Orwells song, “Halloween All Year,” a slow, epic ballad that shows how Orwells can expand far beyond the typical, youthful garage band making noise. It’s like a dark, slow dance number from a derranged 50s-60s pop group meets the poppiest cuts from New England based garage rock revivalists, The Migs and Atlantic Thrills. The band also plays a new song entitled, “Other Voices,” which can be heard here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS9VrCmM3iI. This is one of the quintet’s best songs to date, drawing comparisons to crisper, cleaner sounding “garage” bands such as Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, and The Libertines, while still maintaining some punk slime flavor, perhaps easier for a Spaceshits fan to digest. The band closes with a cover of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” and to quote a fellow attendee, “What else can you ask for?” Gentlemen, well done.
We came to see The Orwells. Just to make that clear to anyone reading this. We don’t know much about Palma Violets, but it’s only 10 P.M. why not stay for the headlining band?
Palma Violets are a UK based rock band, and I stress rock. No “and/’n’ roll.” If rock ‘n’ roll is like The Ramones soaking up the sounds of the 50s and 60s with bubblegum, surf, and garage, then just plain rock is like hard rock or to be pejorative, generic rock. That’s how I feel about Palma Violets. Very generic, too commerical sounding, almost like wannabe rock stars or wannabe Arctic Monkeys or Editors. They appear to be too in love with themselves, like this is the greatest rock and roll show ever! I appreciate the enthusiasm, but I am not feeling it. I feel no connection with these songs at all. Most of the crowd, however, does. People mosh and dance and sing along to the songs of the apparently great Palma Violets. It looks like a mini soccer riot on the dance floor of the Brighton Music Hall. Seriously, one of the most enthusiastic, yet small, crowds I have seen in a Boston club. Despite my apathy, Palma Violets put on a fun show (for the fans) and they crowd surf and play their instruments in the crowd at times, and I’m jealous. I’m jealous that I can only muster a few headbangs, for this isn’t The Migs, this isn’t my music. Or as the English would say, this isn’t my cup of tea.
Here’s a video of The Orwells performing “Mallrats (La La La)” from their last Boston show at T.T. The Bears (2/23/13).
Woo, The Orwells are coming back to the area, opening for UK’s Palma Violets at Brighton Music Hall on Monday May 6th. Can’t say I know much about Palma Violets, but The Orwells — I know a thing or two about these guys. Saw them for the first time in February at TTs and yup, that show was the real deal. Glad to see them coming back soon!
Bands: King Khan & The Shrines, Hector’s Pets Venue: Brighton Music Hall (Brighton, MA) Date: Monday, July 23, 2012
Act One:Hector’s Pets – Hector’s Pets is an exciting five piece rock and roll band. Excitement comes in many forms, but with Hector’s Pets, my major source comes from the oddity of the group. They are an interesting visual: a front-man singing and clapping with a tambourine, a surfer-type dude on vocals and guitar, a Ty Segall look-a-like on bass, a ’70s glam rocker on lead guitar, and a cool as an autumn breeze drummer with sunglasses. Those are rough descriptions; I am not trying to aesthetically diss the guys. Musically, I recognize one song towards the end of their set. I am surprised that I recall it, because I only saw a few clips of the band weeks before the show. The song is “Station Wagon“. It’s good. The rest of the songs — I couldn’t quite get into them as much as I wanted to. I’m not incredibly hard to please so this was surprising, but they seemed in a bit of a rock and roll middle ground; heavier than stand-still groups like Real Estate, but considerably slower than an all-out blitz a la Jay Reatard. On an optimistic front, maybe they will become a 2012 Brighton Music Hall version of 2009’s Box Elders at the old Harpers Ferry. By that I mean to say I found myself more curious about the band’s on-stage persona than the music itself. I came around to the Elders and I was hooked by the time I saw them for a second time opening for Black Lips at Middle East Downstairs in March 2010. I keenly anticipate listening to more of Hector’s Pets.
The Final Act:King Khan and the Shrines – It sure is humorous to recall the mysticism surrounding the first time I saw King Khan and the Shrines. Reading about Jared Swilley’s premier experience was a bit like cracking open Fear and Loathing — there’s a bunch of vivid imagery about wild times, but it’s hard to make sense of them until they’ve happened to you. Needless to say, Khan and crew clicked on all levels that very May night at the Paradise Rock Club – their biggest Boston gig by far at that time. The sound was superb, the crowd went extra crazy, and the Shrines still had Bamboorella as their lead dancer. Fast forward a little more than a year to October 2010. The Shrines are back in Boston, this time at the Royale. The event is undersold, but features a fantastic opening line-up of Red Mass and Gentleman Jesse and His Men. The show is a great one, but it’s a toned down event, in sound and in performance. Now, it’s July 2012 at the Brighton Music Hall. Upon announcement, the choice of venue is surprising given the past two much larger locales, but with a lot of college kids gone for summer, it makes more sense for the Shrines to play Brighton. As the days draw closer to the event, I smirk as I do before all shows involving my favorite bands. An incredible time is ahead! And it was quite the show! No Bamboorella, one less man on horns, one less man on guitar. These are just some minor things I noticed. The sound wasn’t quite as solid as it was during the previous two shows. Opener “(How Can I Keep You)” felt less ‘complete’ this time around for sure. But what suffered in sound was made up for in practically every facet of the performance. You could tell King Khan was especially grateful for the audience’s reaction of singing along, dancing crazy, jumping up and down, etc. He did his part as well, especially in the encore as he wrapped the front-row in his cape and high-fived several people. Others in the band leaped into the crowd at various junctures, sometimes playing their instruments, sometimes just soaking in the fun. I remember thinking to myself, “wow, they keep playing hit after hit,” at one point and then thinking the same thing a couple of songs later. Great. A good chunk of the band’s live material was taken from Supreme Genius and What Is?!, but there was a nice bit of new and old — the old being “Stoned Soup” (for example) and the new being “So Wild” (a tribute to Jay Reatard) and “Bite My Tongue,” both of which will be released on an upcoming LP. The classics for me (and for others..judging by reaction) were “Took My Lady To Dinner,” “Welfare Bread,” and “I Wanna Be A Girl”. It was nice to see a lot of familiar faces having loads of fun. A moment of weirdness came after the band finished playing. An older gentleman with a saxophone in his hand climbed on stage and started playing solo. Most people were confused, but we seemed to embrace this peculiar occurrence. His performance lasted five or so minutes longer than I would have liked if I had a choice, but I did not. He kept playing. Eventually and fortunately, the Shrines made their way back on stage (thanks to percussionist Ron Streeter, who is a master of bringing the band out of the green room) and ripped into a few more tunes. There was hope for a second encore after several moments of silence and darkness and pleas from Streeter, but the PA music came back on and the show was officially over. The Shrines will be back soon. I was assured of this after the show by Shrines trumpet player Simon Says. Just when… we’ll see!
All Photos courtesy of KLYAM’s soul brother Glenn Delrossi. Thanks buddy!
Comments: The Furs played at Great Scott on April 13. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they enjoy playing in Boston to come back again as part of a larger summer tour. We fans enjoy them and look forward to the release of their third album, Sound Kapital.