Concert Review: The Rifles

John: Last night, I ventured with Glen and Paul to the Great Scott in Allston, Ma. We went to see the two amazing acts: Mike Fiore, of Faces on Film and the British indie band, The Rifles. Though this was my first time at the Great Scott, I could tell it was a slightly smaller, and a bit more intimate venue than that of the MidEast. But, I liked it.
The gig was amazing, though that goes without saying. Mike Fiore had very passionate, and at times depressing, lyrics. His voice was like that of a male angel, singing the travesties of life, love and the injustices of the world. I especially loved when he sang something to the effect of “before she left I would never need medicine.” Thought not many people were drawn to him, I was. I could never be able to perform by myself in front of a few people, let alone a group of one hundred or so; and so, I commend him for his bravery. Due to being the lesser known opening act, most weren’t crowding around him. They were all waiting for the Rifles.

Glen: Mike Fiore did go a bit under-appreciated. I recognized a few of his tunes, notably “I’ll Sleep To Protect You,” “The Medical Mind,” “The Winners Daughter,” and the classic closer “Natalie’s Numbers.” For an acoustic solo musician, he deserves a lot of credit. The Rifles surprised me in a number of ways. I didn’t anticipate such a lengthy set (17 songs including the two song encore). The Rifles played seven songs off of their top 10 album of 2009 The Great Escape and a number of songs from No Love Lost. There were clap-alongs, sing-alongs, requests…you name it. Amazing drumming, amazing guitar solos, amazing singing. “She’s Got Standards” stood out as did “Romeo and Julie,” with its catchy “woh-woh-woh-oh” bit. I’m definitely glad I ventured out to see this show. It goes down as amongst the best.

The Rifles Set List
1. “Science in Violence”
2. “She’s Got Standards”
3. “Repeated Offender”
4. “The Great Escape”
5. “Peace and Quiet”
6. “Out in the Past”
7. “History”
8. “Hometown Blues”
9. “Spend a Lifetime”
10. “Toerag”
11. “Robin Hood”
12. “When I’m Alone”
13. “The General”
14. “Local Boy”
15. “Romeo and Julie”
16. Encore #1
17. Encore #2

Tonight’s Show!

As the concert calendar says I am attending a concert tonight. My third in six days and there’s nothing wrong with that!

The Rifles will be playing at the Great Scott. Seems like they embarked on a brief East Coast tour to coincide with the North American release of their latest album The Great Escape. I’ve been listening to that album for about a month straight, most every day. I’m excited to hear a lot of tracks off of it, but I also look forward to hearing some No Love Lost stuff, which  they played at the Berkeley Performance Center last September when they opened for Paul Weller. And guess who I just found out will be opening for The Rifles? None other than Mike Fiore! Not the WHS grad. I know…I think of him every time I hear the name too. Happens to us all. I’m talking Mike Fiore of Faces on Film. Uh huh, the same Faces on Film that I saw in January  opening for Mission of Burma.

My review of the Rifles from last year: Certainly one of the finest opening acts I’ve seen in my brief concert-attending journey. Reminiscent of The Libertines, The Cinematics, and The Jam, these guys truly rocked. Songs such as “Repeated Offender” and “Peace and Quiet” handled the group’s brief act. Combining pop elements and punk riffs, these songs (and more) came out as polished as you can expect for a band that is just starting to acquire fame. The crowd seemed especially impressed by “She’s Got Standards” — a revival of post-punk that sounds more 80s than 00s.

My review of Faces on Film from January: Faces on Film, a former comedy troupe from Boston, was, if you ask me, awesome live. I did hear a little FoF prior to the show, but I wasn’t so familiar that I instantly recognized any one particular song. When the first words (“your desperate children”) came out of singer Mike Fiore’s mouth, I instantly felt like I was listening to Connor Oberst. Fiore is a bit less emotional than Oberst, but his general folk vocal approach is enough to mention the similarity. Fiore was excellent sans his band (a few songs), but I thought the band added a nice element of instrumentation, warranting an almost immediate comparison to Hamilton Leithauser and his Walkmen. My favorite song of the less than one hour set was “I’ll Sleep to Protect,” off of FoF’s hit 2008 album The Troubles. A polished guitar riff, slick bass line, light drums, powerful keyboards, and Fiore’s “oh oh oh oh oh oh” all coalesced into a memorable four minutes.

Funny how I compared him to Ham.

Hopefully some pictures will be taken and all will be fun tonight!