Review: White Fang @ Middle East Upstairs (4/20)

By Joanna Trachtenberg

The next night (which was 4/20 by the way) I saw White Fang who are The Band To See On 4/20™. That’s right, Boston was the lucky city to be graced by White Fang’s presence on that glorious day this year. Free Pizza were up first in this jam packed bill. This band is fairly new and I had never seen them before but I was quite impressed. They played power punk that I wouldn’t exactly call poppy. Their songs were for the most part short fast and not very sweet (by the way I mean that as a compliment). Next up were Boston’s version of FIDLAR, the Nice Guys. They like to party and rock hard. I am hoping for big things coming from them. Next up were Boston’s best synth punkers Earthquake Party! They recently recorded a bunch of new songs for an upcoming album and they played a number of them tonight. The one non local opener was Denney and The Jets from Nashville who at first I thought were gonna be an Elton John cover band or something. They were not. The name comes from the fact that their singer’s name is Denney. They played good ol’ fashioned rock n roll. They are homeboys of Natural Child who I saw the previous night with the Black Lips.

Now it was time for the mighty White Fang! Guitarist Kyle Handley, Drummer Jimmy Leslie and Bassist Chris Uehlein started playing with lead singer Erik Gage in the background. When he was ready to sing Gage stormed to the front of the stage and started jumping around like a madman. Their songs border between punk, hardcore, metal and hard rock with the band into it the whole time. Some of the funnier moments included when Gage backhumped the stage for about a minute and when Gage lifted Uehlein while he was playing bass and spun him around. I am planning on seeing Gage and Handley again later this month with The Memories, their mellower other band. After the show I saw for merch they had a number of gnarly Gnar Tapes.

 

Review: Fagettes, Sun Lions, Earthquake Party, The Migs @ Mid East Upstairs (7/31/13)

Bands: Fagettes, The Sun Lions, Earthquake Party!, The Migs
Venue: Middle East Upstairs (Cambridge, MA)
Date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This is the kind of bill that should easily draw loads of local attention, any day. And it did. Eager onlookers slowly packed into the Middle East as my kinda band – The Fagettes – started playing their music. Sometimes these reviews can sound awfully repetitious, especially when describing some KLYAM faves, but singing the praises of Fagettes never gets old for me. Their sublimely catchy garage/pop is highly stimulating, more so than most bands in this ole Boston scene. They stick out visually – two stand-up drummers is pretty uncommon – and of course audibly; three singers trading words and ba ba ba’s more often than not. Entertainment. Tonight they play a couple cuts from last year’s impressive 7″ If I See Him Again (“On Drugs” and “My Girl Looks Like Johnny Thunders”), which along with “Gonna Die Out Here,” really showcase the Fagettes sound – sweet guitar tones bleeding from the amps of Ryan and Matt. They toss in a couple of brand new, full battery jams that oughta be trademarked soon. And then there was “I Hear Noises”. Not sure if I remember the last time I heard them play this, but it’s one of those tunes that calls for the late arrivals to be slapped around a little for missing out. People who’ve seen Fagettes live know what I’m trying to get at here. If you haven’t, they are playing a big show: August 23 opening for Hunx and His Punx at Brighton Music Hall. Can’t recommend that one enough. And remember to show up way early.

Next, we hear from The Sun Lions – formerly The Images. By either name, I was unfamiliar with their music. They had some passionate fans constantly dancing near the front of the stage. The first half of their set quite honestly didn’t too much for me. They sounded like any number of vocal-centric pop-rock alternative groups that had their heyday in the ’90s. That kind of familiar sound obviously has appeal to some, but around this site, you know, the slimier, the better. So once a second guitarist jumped on stage and joined the group, Sun Lions’ set became night and day to my ears. They transformed into a looser band, showing a knack for ’60s pop (covering “Heatwave”) and garage (another cover was “Have Love, Will Travel”…I think). I had much more fun rocking out to this side of the band and I wish the whole set would have been of this variety.

Earthquake Party! is a trio that like Sun Lions dabbles toward the more accessible fringes of pop ‘n roll. Their set consists of many very very brief tunes that are wild explosions of noise, fuzz, but most importantly melody. The guitarist Justin moves around the stage passionately while playing. So while he’s frantically singing and blasting away, Mallory (keyboard) and J-Raff (drums) keep things relatively in check. The energy of Earthquake Party! is perhaps their greatest attribute. They capture my attention immediately and always. I’ve seen them a few times before. This was the most fun I’ve had seeing them. To me they’re like a more catchy, snappy, ADD, Lost Sounds.

Last and hopefully not literally last (show) is New Hampshire’s pride and soul, The Migs. Kicking off with a cover of Rolling Stones “The Last Time” (remember they finished off their set at Great Scott with this a few weeks ago?), tonight felt like a cumulative continuation of all the good time vibes these guys have created over the years. Out of all the local-ish bands I’ve seen, it is the MIGS that capture the sonics of psychedelic garage nuggets the best. They nail this to a tee. I recently bought a compilation called Teenage Shutdown which features some gunk from young ’60s bands. If the Migs were around back then, you’d find them included. No doubt at all. “You and Me” is my nomination. Revved up and rowdy rockers. When Keven frequently takes off from the stage into the crowd while still hammering away on his guitar, it’s only natural to join in on the fun, shoving your neighbors around to the sounds of “Follow Me Home” and “We’re The Migs”. Moshing, freaky dancing, jumping up and down. A Migs show for the ages. For the thirty or so minutes they were up there, everyone was all smiles. Just incredible stuff.

Concert Review: Bent Shapes, earthquake party!, Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion!, The Fagettes @ Great Scott (1/12/13)

Bent Shapes
Bands: Bent Shapes, earthquake party!, Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion!, The Fagettes
Date: Saturday, January 12, 2013
Venue: Great Scott (Allston, MA)

Act I: The Fagettes – The Fagettes are a KLYAM band. Period. There are many styles/genres I could attribute to this band, and pretty much all of them we dig, hence why they are a KLYAM band. Rock ‘n’ Roll, Garage, Punk, Psychedelic, you name it, they got it.  Their sound and aesthetic fits perfectly with the punk slime we proudly promote every day on this site, which I honestly can’t say about most of the local bands we see. That isn’t to say other bands around here suck, not at all. It’s just great to see a Hunxian “garage” band in Boston.  We saw them once before performing as Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood for a Halloween cover show, and as much of a blast as that was, we yearned to see them as FAGETTES. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited.  As I mentioned earlier, these guys have nailed that fun, fun rock ‘n’ roll sound down pat, but they also have a real cool look to them.  Especially Ryan Major (vocals, guitar, harmonica);  he is simply one suave motherfucker. He rocks the shades and from a distance he looks like Jared Swilley, but up close he looks more like John Holmes, either way he is the man and he is a great singer. Ryan shares vocal duties with Melanie Bernier (one half of one of the best local bands, The Electric Street Queens – check them out!), who also plays drums. But, Melanie isn’t the only one that sings and plays drums, oh no. A wonderful gentleman by the name of Peaches commands the kit in the back and provides some sick backing vocals. The bass player, who’s name escapes me (sorry dude!) is enthusiastic as he always is, love that guy. But, wait there’s more.  Matt “Nice Guy” Garlick is riffing on guitar. In fact, before the band plays their set, I can hear Matt jamming on The King Khan & BBQ Show’s “Waddlin Around,”  killer song.  I should also mention that Matt is completing the second half of his double header tonight, having just played at the Butcher Shoppe with his other badass punk band, Nice Guys, wowzer! The Fagettes’ set consists of all the fun tunes you’d want to hear, oldies like “Catholic Riff Raff,” “Mystery Pills,” and “Water, Tea, and Alcohol,” as well as their latest offering, “Gonna Die Out Here,” one of their sexiest to date.  They also play all three cuts (“If  I See Him Again,” “On Drugs,” and “My Girl Looks Like Johnny Thunders”) from last summer’s EP If I See Him Again.  With “On Drugs,” they really make it feel like a place you come to visit, where the fun never stops.  This song and every song sounds terrific. The Fagettes live is a visual, auditory monster. With all these vocals and percussion jostling me, I feel like I’m being trampled by a lion. The sound is that big, perhaps not that terrifying though, but my ears are equally pleased and damaged.  I can’t recommend Fagettes more, going back to what I started saying at the beginning of the review that they are a KLYAM band, meaning they play rock ‘n’ roll the way it  ought to be done: short, but simple pop songs, fun, filthy, and catchy. Sweetness meets sickness. Like, Shannon and the Clams, there’s enough loud punk and soft pop for all to enjoy, and usually somewhere in between. I am exhausted, but Fagettes can keep me up all night. Be awesome like me and listen to all their crazy music here: http://thefagettes.bandcamp.com/

Act II: Beware the Dangers Of A Ghost Scorpion!– Now, here’s a sweet band. With a name this enormous and eccentric, they ought to send me into an oblivion. And like their name they are both fun and puzzling, but in a pleasant way. ‘Beware’ is a five piece and each member is dressed the same: bandannas covering their noses and mouths, blue jeans, and black shirts bearing a picture of a presumably dangerous, ghost scorpion.  The set is entirely instrumental and with the exception of Big Mess, I typically am not fond of this style of music, but these men capture my attention and entertain me for the next half hour. They rock out pretty hard, playing early 60s surf rock with a bit of an extra kick, in fact a lot of emotion and physical energy. This is especially true of the man on tambourine. This dude bashes away at the tambourine, unlike anyone else I’ve seen before, I can’t imagine what his hand looks like after each gig.  But, he goes beyond that in his showmanship. He makes the crowd move and shake and he is the leader of all this hype and excitement in the room, as if he is holding the crowd in the palm of his hand, perhaps a cliched comparison, but he  just holds this undeniable command over the crowd. What’s even more fascinating and unique about this man and the group as a whole is the lack of vocals. As I mentioned, they are an instrumental band, but they literally never speak throughout the whole performance. No words, just music. Actually, let me rephrase that, words do appear at various moments, as they are scrawled across a sign that the tambourine player triumphantly holds, reading: BEWARE THE DANGERS OF A GHOST SCORPION!  This guy gets an A+ for the night. Solid set, sick band, but I don’t know if this is the kind of music I see myself listening to at home alone in my room, with that being said, I hope to see them again in the future and I hope others catch their set too, for this is a live show you won’t want to miss. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EmoBSVPoXs

Set-List:
“Red River Tombstone Hustle”
“Heads Will Roll”
“The Lover’s Curse”
“The Nameless One”
“Caught Dead”
“Cateye Glasses”
“We Welcome The Living, But Only If They Come Here To Die”
“Satan’s Invisible World”
“13 Stabs”
“SOS”
“Denton County Casket Company”
“Haintmaker”
“The Legend of Goatman’s Bridge”

Act III: earthquake party!– Earthquake Party’s a perennial rock force in Boston, and a very talented band at that.  Their set is loud and noisy, but with some pop beneath the heavy volume. Their keyboard driven songs mixed with grungey/screaming vocals remind me of the Lost Sounds and Yo La Tengo.  There’s a harsh quality to it, but it’s also satisfying and never overstays its welcome. Listening to their bandcamp, I hear the songs more clearly, they have some real great pop numbers here. I’ve seen them a couple times before and each show has been an enjoyable experience.  Definitely a KLYAM recommendation: http://earthquakeparty.bandcamp.com/

Set-List:
“Nails + Hammertime”
“One More Night”
“Pretty Lil Hand”
“Fast Girl”
“Escape Artist”
“Daydream Jenny”
“Brains”
“Pretty Trash”
“Tramp”
“Little Pet”
“Hello Weirdo”

Act IV: Bent Shapes – Like earthquake Party! Bent Shapes are familiar faces around the Boston rock scene and they have earned a reputation for creating catchy, mellow, pop songs that rank up there with the finest in music today. So yeah, they’re one of my favorite bands right now and it’s great to see them in front of a packed crowd at the Great Scott. Great Scott is the first place I saw Bent Shapes (well Girlfriends) many, many moons ago, opening for another brilliant, underrated pop band, Harlem. At the time, I didn’t really pay attention to local music, for no particular reason, I just didn’t. Girlfriends stood out to me though, I think the first local band that I really dug. Flash forward to the present. They sound excellent and they play some of their best songs including the sunny “Leave It Till You Need It,” and their recent flexi, “Panel of Experts” and “Bites and Scratches.”  They have a somewhat soft pop style to their craft, but they rock just as hard as all the other bands. The set closes with one of my all time favorite songs, “I Was Here, But I Disappear,” which always gets me super ecstatic, there’s just no way of describing my love for this song without sounding over the top. Perhaps, the best performance I’ve seen from Bent Shapes. Check them out, if you haven’t already. http://bentshapes.bandcamp.com/

Set-List
“Big Machines”
“Panel of Experts”
“Boys to Men”
“Spazz”
“Bhead”
“Wut?”
“Space”
“What We Do Is Public”
“Bites and Scratches”
“Leave It ‘Til You Need It”
“Brat Poison”
“I Was Here But I Disappear”

Concert Review: Fat Creeps, Earthquake Party!, Fedavees, Fagettes Halloween Show @ Rosebud (10/13/12)

Bands: Fat Creeps, Earthquake Party, Fedavees, Fagettes
Date: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Venue: Rosebud (Somerville, MA)
Comments:
Act I: Fagettes as Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood– The Fagettes are one of the hottest bands in Boston right now, so naturally I am more than excited to see them live for the very first time! Tonight, however, they are not the Fagettes… instead we are taken back a few decades to a simpler or perhaps weirder time when the music you heard on commercial radio didn’t just flat out reek like a steaming pile of feces. Oh no, one could flip the dial to the soulful, sexy voice of Nancy Sinatra and my main man Lee Hazlewood.  Well, those good times haven’t ended and the band recreates at least some of that good old pop magic of yesteryear. Furthermore, I appreciate the way they inject their own modern day aesthetics into the mix, adding some deviant flavor to an otherwise innocent set. By the way, I can’t forget to mention that while the band (and each band this evening) plays a creepy Horror flick is projected in the background complementing their freakiness. For Fagettes, I believe Night of the Living Dead is playing, but I might be wrong on this one? Overall, I dig this performance and I really love their set up too, which includes saxophones and two (standing!) drummers. Yeah, fuck all those lazy drummers that remain seated whilst performing! Dave Goldberg would be proud… Anywho, I’m getting off topic, but I can now testify that The Fagettes are one helluva a live band and I hope to see them playing original material in the near future. http://thefagettes.bandcamp.com/ Yo, check out this badass video and all its badass brothers and sisters on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9-Q7g44-fA

Act II: Fedavees as The Wipers- I have to admit I am not too familiar with either Fedavees or The Wipers, but I have known of the latter since I was a young fella, thanks to Mr. Kurt Cobain, whose band will be making an appearance later. My ignorance aside, Fedavees are nasty and deliver a kickass set that evokes passionate singing in at least a few of the Rosebud’s attendees, so they must be doing something right. For their performance, I believe it is Blade that has the honor of being backdrop # 2 tonight. I’d rather not see Blade again, but I would enjoy attending another Fedavees show. Check out their Bandcamp page here: http://thefedavees.bandcamp.com/

Act III: Earthquake Party! as Nirvana– As soon as I see Earthquake Party hit the stage, it brings me back to August 2011, the first and last time I saw Earthquake Party, until now. I remember these dudes and their sheer, abrasive batch of noise pop tunes. To make things even spookier Evil Dead is playing in the background! EP is definitely a solid band to be covering Nirvana, my early teenage wet dream band. And while I don’t climax on this evening, I am truly invested in their performance, particularly enjoying the various heavier, more aggressive Nirvana cuts such as “Scentless Apprentice,” “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter,” and my favorite Nirvana song “Drain You.” Earthquake Party dish out all the screeching vocals, endless feedback, and lack of concern for the well being of one’s own equipment necessary to fulfill a proper Nirvana set. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the band’s own personality shine through the covers, but nonetheless a fun and riveting performance that thankfully forces the crowd into a frenzy. Just check out this video here, in fact the whole set can be seen on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS18SeNZlA0 Boy, if I just had five minutes alone with that Where’s Waldo motherfucker…. In the meantime, I’ll have to listen to this: http://earthquakeparty.bandcamp.com/

Act IV: Fat Creeps as The Ramones– It’s always beautiful when two great bands come together, like a marriage made in Heaven. Essentially two of my favorite bands have merged on this evening when the Fat Creeps perform as The Ramones! Not to mention one of my all time favorite films, The Shining, is playing in the background. The creepiness begins when the trio blast right into Ramones signature “Blitzkrieg Bop,” and indeed the kids are losing their minds as Joey Mariam gleefully shouts- moshing and bopping and plopping along to the mile a minute classics. “Beat On the Brat”  is next and in fact – with the exception of a few tunes – they play most of the Ramones’ debut album. Arguably, The Ramones are the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time and certainly a long time favorite of mine, so hearing all these songs executed in a nearly flawless fashion hits real close to home. It’s easy to get caught up in Ramones hysteria (and I do), but in many ways this is still a classic Creeps performance; I especially love their harmonies in songs such as “Judy Is A Punk” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.” With this in mind and just the overall joyful, positive response from the crowd, I think their set is the finest of all tonight. Admittedly, I am excessively biased in my position, but biases aside I am glad everyone is having fun, cause isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Ahh, I’m starting to sound like a Little League coach now. Seriously though, sickest Fat Creeps show I have ever experienced!
P.S. I dig Jim Leonard’s exclamation: “God Bless George Bush!” I’m sure Johnny would be proud of ya!
http://fatcreeps.bandcamp.com/