Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

[DID NOT ATTEND: March 19, 2023] The Messthetics / James Brandon Lewis Trio

I really like The Messthetics (including the name).  The band has at its core drummer Brendan Canty and bassist Joe Lally who were both in Fugazi.  Along with guitarist Anthony Pirog, they make cool and interesting instrumental rock.  They have been pretty high on my list of bands to see.

However, the timing of this show was kind of rough.

Plus, the opening band or co-band or maybe even headliner (it was unclear), was James Brandon Lewis Trio.  JBL is a saxophonist.  he is typically joined by Lally and Canty (I assume he was on this show as well, but who knows).

I just didn’t think I wanted to hear roughly an hour of jazz, even if it was really good (which I’m sure it was).

So I stayed home instead, and had a great night in with the fam.

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[ATTENDED: March 17, 2023] Quasi

I explored Quasi’s music back in the late 1990s mostly because I loved Janet Weiss’ drum work with Sleater-Kinney.  I had no idea who Sam Coomes was (he was her husband at some point but is no longer), but he was clearly the main songwriting force behind the band (Janet is credited with some song, but Sam wrote the majority).

I lost track of them during the 2000s (they release sporadically and Sam does a ton of other work with other people–for instance he has played keyboards on every Built to Spill album since Keep It Like a Secret].  They have put out about five albums that I hadn’t heard of, including their most recent Breaking the Ball of History.

Janet Weiss got into a car accident about four years ago and broke her leg and collar bone.  It seemed like she’d never play again.  But she fought through the grief and man, she was amazing to watch.

I went to this show in part because I like their older songs and in part to give Janet Weiss some support.  She clearly didn’t need the support from me as everyone was there to cheer her on.  Apparently they used to sell “Janet Fucking Weiss” shirts, but don’t any longer.

And so they came out on stage, Janet and Sam setting up their own gear.  Since it’s just the two of them, they face each other.  Sam plays keyboards (which is the most limiting way of describing his performance) and Janet pounds the hell out of the kit. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 17, 2023] Bat Fangs

I hadn’t heard of Bat Fangs when this show was announced.  But when I looked them up I was really excited to hear them. I really love duos, especially bands that can really rock even with a two person set up.

I wound up missing the very beginning of this set (parking around Johnny Brenda’s can really suck).  But I caught most of it.

Rather than being a duo, however “(Betsy Wright (Ex Hex) shreds ‘n’ howls over Laura King’s (Flesh Wounds / Speed Stick) deep-thunder drums),” there was  third person on stage playing bass.  I have recently found out that bassist was Chrissy Tashjian (lead vocalist and guitars for the amazing Philly band Thin Lips).

I was a little bummed that they weren’t a duo, but Chrissy’s bass playing was awesome and their backing vocals were pretty incredible.  Indeed, each musician was great.  Betsy Wright played some fantastic guitar solos–shredding like nobody’s business.  And Laura King not only beat the hell out of the drums, but (for some of the songs) the patterns were complex and really interesting.

However, I really didn’t enjoy the songs. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: March 18, 2023] White Reaper / Soul Blind / Mamalarky

I was intrigued by this show because I’d heard some good things about White Reaper.  But when I listened to them I wasn’t all that impressed.  But then WXPN started playing their single “Pages” and I really like it.

At some point I realized that I wasn’t going  to be able to make this show, so I haven’t listened to anything else by them so I didn’t know if I was missing out on something I really wanted to see.  Now that the show’s over I’ll give them a more proper listen.

Soul Blind was originally listed as on this bill, but it appears that they didn’t play.

A review describes them as:

Soul Blind is a four-piece group from the Hudson Valley, creating a fuzzy blend of shoegaze and alternative that takes inspiration from bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, Third Eye Blind, and Deftones.

Aside from Third Eye Blind, I think I’d enjoy their set.

I had heard of Mamalarky on NPR Music.  Their single was a boppy weird thing that I kind of liked.  But I knew that the rest of their sound could have gone in many different directions.  The singer is from Cherry Glazerr.  According to the program they said they wanted to make a psych pop record but not from “60’s dude band.”

I feel like this whole show would have been really fun.  Probably best I didn’t find out until after it was done.

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[ATTENDED: March 16, 2023] Unwound

This Unwound tour was announced with much fanfare.  It had been 20 years since the band had last toured.  And they didn’t think they’d reunite

“When we put Unwound on the shelf in 2002, we never thought we’d return to the project,” drummer Sara Lund said in a statement with today’s announcement. The band held its first reunion practice, secretly, in April 2022.


“Starting over again is a rebellious act against our failure,” guitarist/singer Justin Trosper added.

There was a compounded problem in that their bassist Vern Rumsey, died in 2020.  When introducing the last few songs of the night (the only time he spoke) Trosper dedicated the finals songs to Vern saying that he was the soul of the band.  Jared Warren filled in for Rumsey.  Scott Seckington has also joined on guitar–the band was (pretty much) always a three-piece, but I thought Seckington was an excellent addition to the overall sound.

But it turned out that the early 1990s band that I was familiar with was Unrest.  Indeed, I didn’t know Unwound at all.  But I had grabbed a ticket because the hype got the best of me.  I listened to their albums and really liked what I heard.  So I wasn’t disappointed that I got the ticket.

There was the usual pre-band music playing over the speakers, but about five minutes before the band went on, the sound was switched to a live broadcast of NOAA weather–a perfectly weird sounding recitation of ordinary weather information.  It worked perfectly.  The also played the NOAA weather when the band was over. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 16, 2023] Versus

Back in the 90s, I loved a whole bunch of band that I discovered from a compilation called Ear of the Dragon.  I had known some of the bands already (which is why I bought the compilation).  It featured bands like The Dambuilders, aMiniature, Seam and Versus.

I loved everything about Versus.  Their sound was interesting–catchy and dissonant alternately.  And I loved the vocals of Richard Baluyut and Fontaine Toups (who has the best name in music).  They put out a number of albums and EPs in the 1990s and t hen went dormant.

In 2010 they put out a new album that I missed entirely.  Same with their 2019 release (which is on a label I’ve never heard of).  I basically had assumed that they were broken up for good.

So imagine my surprise to see that they were opening for Unwound on the night that I happened to get a ticket.  (TEKE::TEKE from Montreal opened the first night–I hadn’t heard of them but they are a Japanese psych rock band, hmmm).

The band came out on stage and while I recognized Richard and Fontaine, I didn’t know the other two.  They weren’t introduced, but I think they were  the rest of the Baluyut family: James on guitar and Edward on drums.

They opened with Mummified, a track off their newest album that has a really long instrumental opening.  I didn’t know it, but the band sounded great.  And after two minutes when Richard started singing, he sounded great too.  But it was when Fontaine added her vocals that everything came flooding back why I loved this band so much. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: March 12 & March 13, 2023] Maya Hawke / Raaaatscraps / Raffaella

My daughter loves Maya Hawke.  I’m sure much of this comes from Stranger Things (which she also loves), but there’s more.  She really likes her music.

When Hawke announced a tour, I wanted to get tickets for her pretty badly.  I was shocked that the only close dates were in Brooklyn.  I was willing to take her there because I had taken her brother to Brooklyn for a show.

I tried to get tickets, but they sold out instantly.

My daughter was pretty bummed, but she understood.  And frankly I’d be really surprised if Hawke didn’t do a larger tour too.

There were two dates with a different opening act on each night.


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[DID NOT ATTEND: March 10 & March 11, 2023] Marco Benevento / Mike Dillon’s Punkadelic ft Nikki Glaspie & Brian Haas

I saw Marco Benevento at Ardmore Music Hall about a year ago.

His shows are so much fun.  He’s a fantastic performer and his band is terrific.

The fact that he was playing two venues within easy driving distance of me seems like a no-brainer in terms of me going to see him.  And yet, I felt that I needed a week without shows since i have a bunch coming up.

Sorry Marco.  I still love you. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 3, 2023] The Beths

I saw The Beths about a year ago at Underground Arts.  Since then they have now moved up from the 650 person venue to Union Transfer (1500) which they also sold out!  Great new for them!

The Beths are actually suddenly everywhere and had we played our cards right we could have seen them like four times this year (opening for The National and a couple of other places).  But this wound up being the only show we’ll see them at.  And that’s fine because it was great and certainly tides us over for a while.

The Beths are a four piece: Elizabeth Stokes, singer and guitarist.  Jonathan Pearce who plays lead guitar. Benjamin Sinclair on bass and Tristan Deck on drums.  When introducing each other, they told “fex” about each other.  The New Zealand accent is awesome–fex would be Facts.  Like the fact that Benjamin Sinclair has a blog and Instagram account with the awesome name of Breakfast and Travel Updates.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 3, 2023] Sidney Gish

As soon as The Beths announced they were playing Union Transfer, I bought myself a ticket.  And then a little while later I bought S. one because I thought she would really enjoy a night out for rocking good natured fun.

I didn’t know the opening bands.  There were originally two: Hans Pucket dropped out of the tour.  The Beths posted the rather cryptic

Sad news is that @hanspucket unfortunately won’t be joining us this time, we’re gutted about that. But we promise to drag them over another time. So it’ll just be us and the genius Sidney Gish.

I’ve been listening to the Hans Pucket album and it’s really good.  Hope they make it over here some time.

Sidney Gish is a singer I’d never heard of, although clearly everyone else in the room had.

She has released two albums (the second one in 2017) and now is about to release a third.  What’s she been doing for the last few years?  Graduating from Northeastern apparently.

Anyway, it seems that her first two albums were viral sensations (especially her second album No Dogs Allowed).  Because everyone was singing along to all of the songs (except the new one). (more…)

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