Review: Gymshorts, Roz & The Rice Cakes, Hex Map @ Fabrik (4/12/14)

Fabrik
Bands: Hex Map, Gymshorts, Roz & The Rice Cakes, Battle House
Date: Saturday, April 12, 2014
Venue: Fabrik (Boston, MA)

Where is this place? Lord only knows. After racing through the streets of Boston for a solid twenty minutes we finally find our destination, only to discover we have to scurry up what appears to be an eternal flight of stairs. At least we don’t have to lug up a bunch of gear hehehe poor souls. Upon reaching the final floor, there’s a series of enticing portraits and various art projects of some sort – you’re looking at the wrong guy when it comes to art art, if you got me. We scurry some more, see some heads, make our contribution/donation and open sesame, we’re here! This is not what I expected at all. I was picturing a shady looking, little art space. In my eyes, this place is gigantic and filled with people Glen and I have never met before. Brings me back to our early show attending daze.

Shortly thereafter, however, we are greeted by Justin and Roz Rice Cake of Roz & The Rice Cakes – a Providence based rock band we saw a little over a year ago with Atlantic Thrills and Ravi Shavi at the Firehouse 13, also in Providence. Speaking of Providence, a second later I bump into Sarah from Gymshorts and they fucking rock. Sarah clued me in to this place and you know as some scumbuckets say the rest is history. Both bands are playing this evening and I could just wet myself I’m that excited. Let’s go.

 Hex Map  – I am not a fan of this band. No beating around the bush. Sometimes people say that all we write here is praise and/or ass kissing. That’s not the case. I never hesitate to speak my mind, but the thing is it gets boring to rant and rave and be a know it all, especially when you don’t know it all, cause  no one does. So, I’d rather not waste any more space on bands that are not to my liking. I prefer to write about bands I love, because it’s way more fun.

Hex Map is the opposite of what I look for in bands. I want music to roll right through me, jostle me. Hex Map just drones and drags on for way too long.  Not sure if you call this prog or psych or whatever, but I can’t stand it. I’m not going to shit on them, for all I know they are fine people. For all I know you may like this music. Here it is: http://hexmap.bandcamp.com/

Gymshorts – These shorts are getting a butt load of love on KLYAM these days or at least they will be. I’ve seen the band four times in three weeks. I think that’s a record for me, then again I bet Fat Creeps could rival that number.

Gymshorts are heavily invested in fuzzy, surfy garage spunk. On stage, they are a lively bunch, hopping around and all about, wailin’, shreddin’, screamin’, and poundin’ – giving the old Gymshorts pound. For all of their feisty delivery and menace, the Bostonian crowd is tame in their appreciation. The audience is split up – I don’t know if anyone knows each other, it’s kind of odd. This is an odd place. It’s up so damn high, the elevation is giving me the creeps.

A zick part of  the set is when Sarah Gymshorts darts into the crowd, nearly tackling me to the floor. She could probably kick my ass. http://gymshorts.bandcamp.com/

Roz & The Rice Cakes – We first saw these cakes at the Firehouse 13 for the Ravi Shavi album release show a little over a year ago. This was a special time in my life when I was in college and perpetually exhausted, in another world entirely. I remember them covering The Pixies’ “Gigantic.”

Tonight is their record release show. Need to Feed is 12 inches of wax and the band is very excited to be putting out their first ever piece of vinyl. Congrats! This performance sends me right back to my initial Rice Cakes experience. Hazy, ethereal, very dream like. Dream pop I suppose. Check it out here: http://thericecakes.bandcamp.com/

 

Review: Ravi Shavi – “Ravi Shavi”

Band: Ravi Shavi
Release: 2013

1. Indecisions
2. Bloody Opus
3. Hobbies
4. Accidental
5. Local News
6. Amphetamine
7. Old Man
8. Problems
9. Critters
10. Vacation Holiday

Comments: The first time I saw Ravi Shavi (Firehouse 13, November 10, 2012) , I was blown away by the Providence band’s energy and pop sensibility. It wasn’t really ‘garage,’ not quite ‘punk’ or traditional ‘power-pop’; just poppy rock ‘n roll. Well after seeing them a couple of times more, I was thoroughly convinced of their talent. Rafay Rashid, the group’s main vocalist and guitarist, is like a King Khan kind of figure, very infectious and engaging. His vocal assault varies as much as Ravi Shavi’s rock ‘n roll stylings. Some times like on “Bloody Opus” and “Hobbies,” there is some Brit in him…at least it seems. “Hobbies” particularly shimmers with some oldies charm until transitioning into an unexpected Lovely Feathers sorta charge. That’s one of my favorite specific moments of the album definitely, but there’s that kind of fun running all throughout. When there’s the familiar repetition of verses and choruses as on “Accidental,” the listen never ends up tiring or monotonous even as there are more sticky transitions and repetitions. Getting back to vocals again – “Local News” is a tidy example of a long list of dynamics. After the what you’d expect from a song called AMPHETAMINE, the crash sets in and no no I don’t mean a bad crash or anything. Just a slower, Hamilton Leithauser just stole your mic and Matt Barrick conveniently got behind the kit, deal. That sorta early ’00s NYC reverby guitars and (all time period) hollering continues on through “Problems,” and “Critters” has some instrumentation/technique not previously as apparent…until now. Closing tune “Vacation Holiday” is pure pop dynamite. This one takes its time and sends me off reminiscing of everything Ravi Shavi did right in the making of this record. Good work.

klyamrecommended

Concert Review: Ravi Shavi CD Release @ Firehouse 13

Bands: Ravi Shavi, Atlantic Thrills, The Rice Cakes, Napoleon
Date: Saturday January 26, 2013
Venue: Firehouse 13 [Providence, RI]

IMG_1182
Act INapoleon – Things get started right with Napoleon from Brooklyn. This four piece played a dark and danceable set that included some memorable tracks from their latest record, Success. They had their act together, showing some nice moves that ought to be appreciated by more than New York basement attendees. The songs themselves are very New York, which is sort of a weird thing to say, but if you are familiar with dudes like mid 2000s Walkmen, Interpol, and their oversea counterparts, Editors, you might get what I mean. There also was some upbeat jangle in there – so I’m not talking a totally dark experience; I enjoyed these clingers a bit more than the rest. And the hi-hats were nice, as testified by an enthusiastic man who related his feelings to the drummer after the set. I used to be way more into this style of rock and roll, but I found myself really appreciating this young group and the way that they played since it is not really what I hear often at shows I usually attend.

IMG_1192
Act II Atlantic Thrills – The Thrills, I will state off the bat, are the kind of band that makes me always want to drive down to Providence. Providence/Boston, not too far apart, but only for truly special bands do we like to go out of our way. The Thrills are special – I mean they are not musically unique by most measures, but they’ve held the torch of messy, fuzzy, fuckitall r n r pretty high since it was handed to them by wild teens from Peru. Seeing them on the stage tonight brings to mind some great show moments, a handful now involving these guys. I’m going nuts the whole time and hey, fellow KLYAMer Chris seems to be enjoying himself a good deal as well. The increasingly packed crowd gets more and more into Atlantic Thrills as the set progresses.  The Thrills’ set nowadays is as impressive as ever – there are the perennial classics, “Acid Rain” and “On My Mind,” a re-energized “Ain’t Enough,” and a handful of newer songs that I am sure will find their way on the Thrills upcoming LP. The energy of these guys is outstanding, climbing on amps, spewing mouthfuls of Jim Beam on the crowd, spilling more than half of that bottle of Beam on the ground. Not caring.  If you live remotely close or far from Providence – it is well worth a journey to see the Thrills. Do it!

Set-List
Ain’t Enough
Holy Mountain
Booze
Beach
On My Mind
Try & Try
Blindfold
Lies
Light Shines
Drugs
Shotgun
Acid Rain
Hold Your Tongue

Act III – The Rice Cakes – I didn’t know what to expect from The Rice Cakes, but certainly they made good with their output! Their tunes tended to be lengthy and melodious. A more folky take on rock and roll. A cover of Pixies “Gigantic” surprised me as they certainly put their own three-piecy sspin on it. Another tune that particularly remains with me is “Magma”. It drew a more than pleasant response from the crowd and like I said – it’s memorable!

IMG_1193
Act IV –
Ravi Shavi – At last, we see the arrival of Rafay Rashid and his three band-mates onto the stage. This ain’t no ordinary show for Ravi Shavi – it’s their record release show. A big deal for a band that’s certainly been making a name for themselves for some time now. They have a very strong following of devoted fans, at least from what I’ve witnessed each time I have seen them. And the reason is clearer than ever this evening. They play pop rock that is loose and messy. While their references might be more along the cleaner side of power pop and garage rock, Ravi Shavi created a raucous and positioned themselves far from safety. I wasn’t really expecting a mosh pit of any kind, but it happened and it was awesome. Everyone reacted to Ravi in some way… how could one not? I can’t really pick any one highlight, it was just one of those situations where I felt extremely satisfied throughout.  Everyone can agree.