I know this sounds like bullshit and I do say it every year, but each year gets better. I’d be lying if I said 2014 was the best year of my life, but as far as KLYAM goes it was definitely the best year for KLYAM. Every year does get better, just look at our label. We put out three more releases that we’re very proud of – Nice Guys/Miami Doritos Splifft 7″, Back Pages – Singles 13, and The Electric Street Queens – Live From Your Dreams, We’re The… and we have more on the way. Just look at our calendar, we went to more shows than ever this year. I counted 85 shows I attended this year, I know for some people that’s nothing, but considering I’m not in a band, I don’t have a car, I’m broke, and don’t live in the city, I’d say that’s pretty good. But hey, it’s not quantity, it’s quality (though we got both!), so here’s my top ten favorite shows from 2014:
10) The Orwells & Twin Peaks @ Great Scott (3/4) – Our dudes, The Orwells always put on a fantastic show and we saw them three times this year, but the Great Scott set was by far the best. Right up against the stage where the action is, no douchebag security guys or broseph stalins, just straight up fun. Oh and who could forget Mario hucking the mic stand into the crowd. Classic. KLYAM Review: https://klyam.com/2014/04/05/review-the-orwells-twin-peaks-great-scott-3414/
8) Cumstain, Free Pizza, Gangbang Gordon (BUFU Tape Release), White Pages @ JP Drive In (8/24) – I still haven’t gotten over this show, not even just the show itself, but the very fact that it happened. Call me crazy, call me wild, call me a cocksucker, I don’t give a fuck. I’ve been waiting to see this band for four years now, I still can’t believe it. It was awesome to finally meet the stains themselves as well. This show is also significant because it was the first KLYAM Presents show in nearly a year and it was my homie, Gangbang Gordon’s BUFU tape release show. Cheers buddy. KLYAM Review: https://klyam.com/2014/09/20/review-cumstain-free-pizza-gangbang-gordon-tape-release-white-pages-jp-drive-in-82414/
7) Nobunny, The Hussy, The Fagettes, Banditas, Gangbang Gordon @ Middle East Upstairs (2/4) – NO NO needs NO introduction. It’s always a blast seeing the bunnyman in action, especially in front of a rowdy, sold out Boston crowd filled with tons of my friends. Solid set of openers including one of my favorites, The Hussy, whom made both their Boston and KLYAM debut. A highly memorable show that brought us some joy and warmth in the middle of a shivering, cold ass winter. KLYAM Review: https://klyam.com/2014/02/15/review-nobunny-the-hussy-fagettes-banditas-gangbang-gordon-mid-east-upstairs-2414/
6) Black Lips & Natural Child @ Paradise (4/19) – Of course, my favorite band, Black Lips, of course you’d see them here and you’ll see them again my friends. At last, I can finally put them on my year end lists again; we haven’t seen the flower punkers live since 2011. WHATT?! This was also my first time seeing Natural Child, yet another band I’ve been anticipating seeing for years. KLYAM Review: https://klyam.com/2014/05/31/review-black-lips-natural-child-paradise-41914/
5) Black Lips, The King Khan & BBQ Show, Coke Weed @ Port City Music Hall (9/27) – I always love seeing a show at a venue I’ve never been to before, even if it’s a traditional music hall, it’s still new to me. I haven’t been in Portland (Maine) for a while, so that’s an added bonus. More importantly, this is a KLYAMER’s wet dream bill. Two giants of contemporary garage slime, straight up Rock ‘n’ Roll all in one night. Definitely some of best I’ve seen from the Lips and KKBBQ in years. No KLYAM Review, because my dog ate it. Do kids still say that?
4) Ty Segall, La Luz, Boytoy @ Great Scott (9/19) – At this point in his career, Ty Segall can and will sell out large clubs, but that wasn’t the case this time. The show was sold out, of course, but it was at Great Scott, a relatively small venue. This is Ty here. I never thought I’d see him on that small stage. It was nuts. A vicious set with tunes from all over his career. Why can’t all my favorites just stop here? No bigger clubs (except Middle East). Ty’s the face of our rock ‘n’ roll and this show is a testament that Boston loves him. KLYAM Review: https://klyam.com/2014/10/06/review-ty-segall-la-luz-boytoy-great-scott-91914/
3) Black Lips, The King Khan & BBQ Show, The Kominas @ Paradise (9/28) – Christ, what a Black Lips whore. You knew what you were getting into when you started reading this. Night II of my Black Lips/KKBBQ Rock ‘n’ Roll Weekend and as you can probably tell the superior of the two nights. In particular, the Lips shined through cranking out golden oldies such as “I’ve Got A Knife” and “Ain’t No Deal” among other classics from all over their fifteen year reign of terror. These Atlantans were as feisty as ever (including newcummer/oldcummer Jack Hines, welcome back Jack!). Speaking of bodily fluids, never thought I’d see Cole peeing in his mouth again, damn I thought that was over after 2006 haha. Best of all, the Lips and KKBBQ merged as one and performed as the gospel supergroup, The Almighty Defenders. I SAW THE LIGHT. Oh and we got to enjoy a beer with some of the guys backstage, also something I’d never expect at the Paradise. I told Jared that I lost my virginity while The Spooks were playing in the background, which is true, he said “Well, cheers to that!” Yes, cheers.
2) Atlantic Thrills (Album Release), Ravi Shavi, Gymshorts, Littlefoot @ Dusk (2/1) – Providence consistently dishes out the wildest shows and this was total debauchery, one of the craziest shows I’ve ever seen. While, I don’t think anyone was hurt (though I had several bruises) I do mean crazy. The word gets tossed around all too often, but this one is up there. Pandemonium. At the very least, just good old fashioned fun. Whether it was all the nudity, moshing, silly string, beer flying, or simply singing along to all the songs we’ve come to know and love, it was a special little feeling you don’t get often and if I could trap it in a bottle and sell it to all of ya’ll, I’d be a billionaire. And we KLYAMERS have really been waiting for this record to come out, three years now. An epic show with stellar opening sets might I add. What we call in my line of work a “stacked line up.” Keep up the craziness in 2015 and beyond. KLYAM Review: https://klyam.com/2014/02/10/review-atlantic-thrills-album-release-show-w-ravi-shavi-gymshorts-littlefoot-dusk-2114/
1) BUFU Fest @ Cambridge Elks Lodge (4/25 & 4/26) – I’ve been to a few local music festivals now, but this one tops them all. Easily the closest to what a KLYAM Fest would look like (Fuzzstival is a close second though). A wide variety of acts being thrust in your face. One moment you’re rocking out to the Nice Guys, the next you’re singing along to ACLU Benefit’s one man show, then the next minute you’re shouting about “living in Boston, Massachusetts” with Free Pizza or you’re caught in a mosh with Guerrilla Toss. I’m ready to do it all over again this year. KLYAM Review: https://klyam.com/2014/06/14/bufu-fest-recap-425-2614/
So, that’s that. As I said before, there were a ton of excellent shows I/we attended this year, I could make an honorable mentions list, but the list would go on and on. At the very least, here’s a list of my favorite bands I saw for the first time in 2014 in chronological order: Littlefoot, The Hussy, The Sulk Scouts, Buttercup, Tacocat, Durt Dog The Band, Natural Child, Juan Wauters, ACLU Benefit, The Ar-Kaics, Beach Toys, Robot Death Kites, Black Beach, The Lemons, Cumstain, (New England) Patriots, Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser, Good Nature (formerly known as Phaze), Ausmuteants, Ursula, Show Me The Body, Buck Gooter, Big Buck Hunter, and Feral Jenny.
Date: Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26, 2014 Venue: Cambridge Elks Lodge
Yeah, I know this shit was like over a month ago. Get over it. The following is a recollection of April’s first annual BUFU Records Festival. Here are the bands that made me chill the hardest…
Nice Guys – OOOHHHHH Nice Guys! Boston’s Nicest Guyzzzz. As soon as I enter the Elks these guys are getting ready to play. They blast through a fast, frenzied set that affirms my belief that I am one deaf bastard.
With this set there’s a solid chunk of new material or at the very least songs I’ve never heard before: “Whale,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Freedom,” “Pegger,” and “Stinker.” All bone crushing in their own eloquent way. Still, I get the biggest kicks from the regular chart toppers such as “Boxfort,” “Medical Envy,” and “Cop Walk.” During “Cop Walk” Alex rummages his way through the crowd in classic Alex fashion. A valiant way to wake up the stiff crowd and kick off BUFU Fest.
Yo, have you been staying up all night alone in your bed thinking “damn, I love those Nice Guys live if only I could own a piece of that magic on wax. Sigh.” Well partner, you’re in luck. Such a gem exists. Nice Guys have a splifft 7″ with fellow stasement boners Miami Doritos via KLYAM Records. Pick it up from here: http://klyam.bigcartel.com/product/nice-guys-miami-doritos-splifft-7 and then tell all of your friends about it. We’ll all laugh at your enemies together.
“Rock ‘n’ Roll”
I collect Nice Guys set lists like a yuppie collects his Bill Joel ticket stubs. Dorks!
ACLU Benefit – This is my first ACLU Benefit. This isn’t the first time I’ve met Noah (the man behind ACLU Benefit) however. When I first met him he was dressed up as a juggalo at a Halloween show this past fall featuring Fat Creeps, Nice Guys, Guerilla Toss, and Designer. Actually, no wait we met on the train later that evening. Long story short, I had already heard the name ACLU Benefit tossed around these parts like the town whore, but at the time I didn’t realize I was speaking to the benefit himself. The low voice should have given it away. So, that night I looked up his bandcamp and I was correct. I went on to discover one of Boston’s most original voices.
Fast forward to tonight and I am delighted to finally be standing in front of Noah/ACLU Benefit in a musical setting for the very first time. It’s hard to write about his music because it evokes so many different emotions in me. That sounds like an excuse and it is, but I’ll do my best.
Noah stands alone with a guitar and that baritone voice you can hear from a 100 feet away. The crowd is building up, starting to get packed; it’s still pretty early in the fest. Noah introduces himself and begins to play. The performance is chilling, humorous, and all around entertaining in its own little way. Certainly one of the more engaging, inclusive performers I have come across over the last decade.
He has two distinct anthems in which he instructs the audience to sing along with him. In the aptly titled “Beer,” he informs us to sing “BEEEEEER!” after he sings “I’ve got a friend and his name is Beer.” So it goes like this…
Noah: I’ve got a friend and his name is Beer.
Noah: He loves me cause you’re not here.
It’s fun and interactive. There’s another song Noah plays entitled “Love Of My Life” and the performance operates in similar sing along fashion. This time as Noah sings “love of my life” the crowd sings “I’ll never get over you.” It’s one of those you had to be there kind of moments. You reading my description of it obviously doesn’t have the same effect. Case and point, go see ACLU Benefit. You’ll ponder life and wonder what went wrong. Don’t die wondering. http://aclubenefit.bandcamp.com/
Following the set, Glen, Ben, and I shake hands with Noah, complimenting him on a job well done. It’s worth missing the next band.
Funeral Cone – The lodge is rockin’ and the party is off the hook by the time Funeral Cone gets rollin. I saw these peeps at this exact spot here back in September and it left me bleeding. A nice little scar on my arm. A Funeral Cone memento if you will. This set is pretty much the same thing, minus the blood. Constant moshing from the punks, indeed, it’s a punker’s wet dream. Ramonesian tune (they may even cover some Ramones tunes? I’m fuzzy) with flashes of early hardcore punk a la Circle Jerks. With a diabolical keyboard in tow, it makes for a hardcore Okmoniks. Surely, the garage rawk klowns will foam at the mouth over this gunk. Slimy seconds err thirds, I’ll take em’.
P.S. Cory from SKIMASK, Ancient Filth, and Concrete Facelift also plays drums in Funeral Cone!
Gymshorts – This band’s music is as satisfying as their moniker. As I type this I’m comfortably sitting back in my own pair of gymshorts listening to Gymshorts. You know, I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but trust me you want to hear this band. If you’ve ever trusted me before (I don’t know what you were thinking), trust me on this one. Loads of killer slop rock songs that stick to you for dayssss kidddddd. My new favorite band or at least the best band I’ve heard all year.
I just got into Gymshorts a few months back and from the looks of it most in attendance are unfamiliar with their music. They eagerly stare at the band, bopppin their heads and possibly other things… not really moving too much though, which is a damn shame. That’s ok, it almost makes it that much more hilarious when Sarah (vocals, guitar) bursts into the crowd barreling through a sea of stiffs. They never expect it haha. Regardless, after their set I overheard some kids praising their performance, so Providence’s best shorts have converted some Bostonian heads in the process. Listen to dis shit for weeks: http://gymshorts.bandcamp.com/
Free Pizza – Before Free Pizza begin their set, BUFU Records founder and BUFU Fest organizer, Ben Katzman announces that BUFU Records will be reissuing Free Pizza’s Boston, MA (previously released as a tape on BUFU) on vinyl alongside Feeding Tube Records. When I hear this, I can barely see Katzman’s face because I’m way in the back of the room, though I know it’s him up there because of his distinct voice and tone. The place is packed to the gills, but I have to get up front for this. The band launches into their set and Jesus Vio starts singing “I’m going forwardddd” (“Forward”) as I am literally moving forward to make my way to the front. The crowd eats it up and dances their asses off and it only gets better.
The next song is “Net Babes,” one of my favorites from the group and I’m not alone in this. I start singing along “We have no beaches, but baby we can surf …” and before I can even finish the line I notice Ben Katzman looks back at me, smiles and sings along with me, “but baby we can surf the internet!” Katzman’s enthusiasm is contagious and as I said the crowd is going bananas.
They continue to play some songs off their debut, such as “Freedom Pizza,” “Ducks,” “Porty,” and “Baby Girl” as well as some fresh cuts (I think) like “Keep on Moving,” and “2 Broke.”
The best part of not just Free Pizza’s set, but the pinnacle moment of all of BUFU Fest comes when the band closes with “Boston, MA” the final track off the album of the same name. The song alone encapsulates the feeling of inclusion, unity, rejection of the mainstream, and above all good old fashion fun aka “chilling mad hard” that BUFU Records, BUFU Fest, Free Pizza, and the Boston underground as a whole represent on a daily basis; here is just the perfect microcosm and it hits like an explosion. The band encourages everyone to sing along if they know the words and even if you don’t, it’s all good. A shirtless, sweaty Jesus triumphantly flings himself into the crowd as they dance along and sing into the mic with him “Living in Boston, Massachusetts, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTSSSS!!!”
Definitely one of the greatest live experiences in my life. The whole set, but in particular “Boston, MA.” A rare feeling I struggle to put into words. If I could bottle it up and ingest it every morning I totally would. For what it’s worth, I’ve never been one for civic pride. It’s just not my style. I’m not ashamed of my town/city/state, but I’ve never felt any direct connection with Boston and it’s surrounding area. With that being said, Free Pizza’s “Boston, MA” is finally a New England anthem I can actually identify with and one that makes me happy and proud to live here. http://freepizzarocks.bandcamp.com/Can’t recommend this album enough.
Juan Wauters – With all of the excitement following Free Pizza’s set I almost forgot I’m seeing one of my favorite artists for the first time, well you could say that. Juan is the lead singer for Jackson Heights, Queens, New York’s The Beets, a band that co-KLYAMER Glen and myself have been fascinated with the past 4-5 years. We’ve seen The Beets a number of times now, but we’ve never seen Juan solo. In fact, before Juan even makes it to the stage/floor, we’re praising the man, shaking his hand, giving him big hugs, offering him beers. He’s overwhelmed by the love and support, I can tell he appreciates it or he’s a bit freaked out haha. Matter of fact, Juan actually interviewed Glen or I should say Gangbang Gordon for Allston Pudding. True story.
It’s all dark and quiet and the Juan begins (following another arousing introduction from Mr. Katzman). I can’t remember what the order is, but Juan and his acoustic guitar bust out some recent fan favorites form his debut solo effort N.A.P. North American Poetry. These include, but aren’t limited to “Water,” “Sanity,” “Continue To Be You,” and “Let Me Hip You To Something.” There are a lot of Juan fans in attendance, all sitting and standing, huddled around the Uruguayan singer. BUFU Records/Fest co-head honcho Chris Collins especially is digging the Juan, he always does. We all do. I’m confident Juan hipped many kids on to something haha, something special.
The Founding Fathers – Now, here’s a fine group of young, upstanding gentlemen that look awfully familiar. Call me crazy, call me wild, but they bear a striking resemblance to another local band you may remember as SKIMASK. Ehh whatever, must be me losing my mind.
Speaking of which, the lead vocalist seems to be off his rocker as well. He shrieks and flails about, barging through the moshers on a warpath, both physical and vocal. He’s an orator. An enigmatic performer of epic proportions. He crashes into the drum kit, he rolls on the floor, tossing his body to and fro in a possessed state of mind. Not wasting a second to rant and rave and proselytize the elks lodge inhabitants, when he’s not tearing the place to shreds. He spares no one, the audience is the target. He runs through the crowd as if he is engulfed in flames and burning to death. He stares into their eyes helplessly like he’s Carrie White covered in period blood, fiercely moving forward amid a chaotic atmosphere. It could all end at any second.
Electronic, spastic alien noise and fast, deafening drums provide the backbone to all of this pandemonium. It’s noise, it’s odd rock ‘n’ roll, and definitely one of the highlights of BUFU Fest.
Guerilla Toss – If any band could keep up with the the frenzy of the previous set then it’s Guerilla Toss. This is also one of my top sets from the entire fest. It’s always a trip, a party, a filthy mess when it comes to Gtoss and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hundreds of kids are up front, slamming into each other, if you can even move. It’s body to body, no open space. I’m hot as a motherfucker, perspiring all over the place. The crowd is one giant body, a sweatball that bounces back and forth to the band’s self-proclaimed fucked up dance music. It’s fun as always, though I would prefer some room for more hippie dancing/moshing, then again I love when it’s just a crazy mess too. One downside is that I can’t see everything and I can’t even hear everything. Kassie’s vocals seem a bit lower or it’s just me. I’m gone. My eardrums took a serious pounding tonight.
As the set wraps up, Simon Hanes bangs his two fists against his head several times like he’s Jake LaMotta or Andre the Giant or some other human animal. Gtoss is a bestial powerhouse, let em’ bring out the beast in you!
Gangbang Gordon – My homeboy Gangbang Gordon kicks BUFU Fest night two off with a BANG! As GBG and his Northshore barebackers crack into their set the crowd is slowly building up and taking notice.
GBG opens with “Life At The ABC” and “The Breeze” two tunes that will be featured on his upcoming cassette Culturally Irrevelerent coming out this Summer on none other than BUFU Records!
Among other rocking standards such as “Lost Touch With The Youths,” “I Can Testify,” and “Warm Warm Warm” that get some folks headbanging, there’s also a new cut known as “Not Your Average Professor Liberal Arts.” A tune only GBG could imagine.
The sound is a bit all over the place and not everyone sounds in sync with one another, which can be expected at a GBG show, but at least they’re having fun and that’s not always the case with a lot of ‘rock’ bands.
For some of the tunes including the Spanish rap number “Orguello De Rappers” there’s a blinding, seizure inducing disco ball light. They close the set with “Slide Paper,” which sounds like a teenager’s attempt at recreating a Van Halen song. It’s a good riff. http://gbgordon.bandcamp.com/
“Life At The ABC”
“Lost Touch With The Youths”
“I can Testify”
“Warm Warm Warm”
“Not Ya Average Professor Of Liberal Arts”
“Orguello De Rappers”
Frank Hurricane – Damn, it’s been years since I’ve seen the one and only Frank Hurricane. Frank can captivate an entire room of gangstas with a few words. Frank aka Hurricanes Of Love will always hold a warm place in my heart, for the first basement/house show Glen and I ever attended was at the Dirty Douglas in Lowell and Frank opened the show. His kind, gentle, and humorous demeanor was the perfect introduction to underground music and the local music scene. That was a little over three years ago. Frank was on tour from Atlanta. He is a constant traveler and tonight he speaks of his various travels.
Frank sits back, plays some acoustic guitar, and rattles off hypnotic tale after tale of one amusing (or sometimes disturbing) anecdote to the next. He is a true raconteur, a rarity. http://frankhurricane.com/
Littlefoot – Littlefoot is a band from Providence that I’m starting to really get into a lot. I first saw them opening for Atlantic Thrills at their album release party at Dusk in Providence. This set had similar, dream pop vibes. Very relaxed, comforting, and insanely catchy. Almost too many people for me to truly enjoy it. I look forward to seeing them more in the future, especially in more intimate settings. http://littlefootlittlefoot.bandcamp.com/
Dylan Ewen & The Sulk Scouts – Ahh one of my favorite local bands. It’s always a fun time when these kids play. They wear sunglasses, Hawaiian shirts, and just let off a breezy, chill attitude. That isn’t to say they can’t rock out, because they most certainly do. Kooky klassics like “Us Girls Got It Tuff,” “Handcuffs,” and D.Ewen OG “Korean Girlfriend” are all on display.
The band also performs Madonna’s “Like A Virgin,” a fitting cover that complements their mixture of coyness and semi-deviance. It’s all for fun.
“Us Girls Got It Tough”
“Like A Virgin” (Madonna Cover)
“Stoked To Be Sad”
Fat Creeps – This is the longest I’ve gone without seeing the Fat Creeps since… ever. Last time I saw them was on New Year’s Eve! Crazy, whack, son. Things have changed. They have a new drummer. Mr. Travis Hagan. My dude! You may have seen him in such local rock ‘n’ roll juggernauts as The New Highway Hymnal, Chill City Icon, Wakes, Radskull, and you may recall Travis’ brief stint as the drummer for The Migs. RIP Migs :(. Anywho, he’s behind the kit and he kills it.
If my memory serves me correctly they open with “Secrets” and it’s great to finally hear the song live again after all this time. Most of the set, however, features newer songs These tunes will appear on their upcoming full-length Must Be Nice on Gnar Tapes and Sophomore Lounge Records. I’m looking forward to it to say the very least.
All in all, as I said before great to see the Creeps again and it’s awesome to see a big crowd of kids devouring the various Creeps numbers, both old and new. http://fatcreeps.bandcamp.com/
Unstoppable Death Machines – This is the last band I remember truly hitting me over the head with their music. Or that may have been their fans haha. It’s a rowdy set for this NYC noise duo, think Lightning Bolt. I’m sure they get that comparison a lot, but that’s what comes to mind for me. There’s still a lot of people in the room, but it seems like less than before. Still a decent chunk, going apeshit to the ravenous sounds of Unstoppable Death Machines. My buddy Brian Hickey and myself are at the front of the pit, smashing into each other and everyone else. It’s lunacy! http://unstoppabledeathmachines.com/
So that’s that. BUFU Fest was an extraordinary experience. One of my top shows ever and definitely the best I’ve seen this year thus far. I can’t wait for next year. I hope you chilled as mad hard as I did. Peace.
Oh did Miami FLA’s Jellyfish Brothers ever bring their twisted surf sludge to the Elks on Saturday night. I had spent the previous few days listening to them on YouTube and Bandcamp and yeah, you bet I was excited. Perched on top of one of the platforms in the room, I got a nice view of the band rocking out as well as the crowd going crazy. Jellyfish’s attack crashes into you with more force than your typical surf group and for this I salute them because they are rip roaring off the chain. Can’t wait to see them again as soon as possible — I’m going to listen to “Ordinary Kidnapping” non-stop now.