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Gavin DeGraw, Matt Nathanson to co-headline summer tour

Posted by Emily Wright March 17, 2014 11:24 AM

Lexington's hometown boy, Matt Nathanson, will head home to the Bay State for a pair of shows with Gavin DeGraw this summer.


5 times Justin Timberlake left us speechless during his Feb. 27 concert

Posted by Emily Wright February 27, 2014 11:49 PM

Update: We found the selfie! See below.

Thumbnail image for bridge.JPG

Justin Timberlake delivered a TKO in Boston on Thursday night.

"The 20/20 Experience Tour" visited the Hub for its first of two 2014 stops (the second is on July 19), and Timberlake put on a spectacle that puts his former tours to shame. From having a flying stage, to performing some classic hits, here are the five times that he left us speechless during the show.

Spoiler alert: If you're going in July and want to be surprised, don't read further.


Bruce Springsteen announces 15 tours dates, but none in Boston

Posted by Emily Wright February 10, 2014 10:40 AM


Schalk van Zuydam/AP

The Boss is hitting the road, but the Hub isn't in his sights -- not yet, at least.


12 characters you may encounter at Country Fest

Posted by Glenn Yoder August 22, 2013 02:45 PM

(Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Festival headliner Kenny Chesney's style has inspired some characters you may find at Country Fest.

New England isn't exactly known as "Nashville North," but one will nary be able to tell when a sea of cowboy hats and ripped denim invades Gillette Stadium for this weekend's
New England Country Music Festival, otherwise known as Country Fest. The two-day party brings Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Eli Young Band, and Kacey Musgraves to the hallowed football field Aug. 23-24. If you’re a first-timer, here’s a quick guide to the types of characters you may run into.


Extended Play: Robert Plant

Posted by Sarah Rodman July 21, 2013 08:30 AM


(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)


In today's Sunday Globe we have an interview with Robert Plant, who comes to the Bank of America Pavilion on Thursday with his new group, the Sensational Space Shifters.

After exploring Americana and roots music in the last few years with a superb group of musicians, including Buddy Miller and Plant's close friend Patty Griffin in the Band of Joy, the former Led Zeppelin frontman is delving into what he's calling the "urban psychedelia of Bristol, England and West Africa." And he's doing it with some old friends with whom he’s worked on earlier albums like "Mighty Rearranger" --including Massive Attack's John Baggott—and new ones like riti player Juldeh Camera.  

As is often the case, I was able to ask more questions than we could fit into the newspaper, so here are a few of the others that Plant fielded.

When the singer came to the phone, he apologized for being a bit late, saying "Hello Sarah, I was just doing a bit of ironing."

Q. What are you ironing? Your hair?

A. Ironing my hair, yeah. You know I did actually once have my hair ironed for a birthday present. John Paul Jones decided that curly hair was not hip. So for my 21st birthday, which was 1969, he took me to a very hip haute-couture hair dresser's in London called Sweeney Todd, and they straightened my hair. 


What did you think of the Boston Pops Hatch Shell performance?

Posted by Rachel Raczka July 5, 2013 09:16 AM


Soul singer Ellis Hall and Nowell's own blues songstress Susan Tedeschi joined Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart for this year's Fourth of July concert at the Hatch Shell. Former "American Idol" contestant Ayla Brown and singer-songwriter Howie Day also made on-stage appearances, contributing their own local ties to the "Boston Strong" theme of the evening. (Day is of Maine while Brown is a Wrentham native.)

Check out the review of the performance here.

What did you think of last night's Boston Pops performance? Comment here and take our poll below.

Timberlake's announces '20/20' Vol. 2, world tour to follow

Posted by Emily Wright May 6, 2013 02:41 PM

Justin Timberlake fans have several reasons to be happy today, and we can count 11 of them. The first 10 reasons: 10 new songs on the upcoming "The 20/20 Experience" Vol. 2, due out on Sept. 30. The last: a world tour to follow the release.

Timberlake announced the album release date on Instagram and Twitter Sunday, and " The 20/20 Experience World Tour" on Monday.

"The 20/20" tour will come on the heels of "The Legends of the Summer" stadium tour that Timberlake is co-headlining with Jay-Z. Timberlake and Hov will play a pair of shows at Fenway Aug. 10 and 11, but Mr. "Suit & Tie" won't make any additional stops in the Hub on his solo bout around the globe. See the list below for dates and details:

"The 20/20 Experience World Tour" Dates:
Oct. 31: Montreal, QC (Bell Centre)
Nov. 13:Raleigh, NC (PNC Arena)
Nov. 15: Nashville, TN (Bridgestone Arena)
Nov. 16: Columbus, OH (Nationwide Arena)
Nov. 18: Memphis, TN (Fedex Forum)
Nov. 19: St. Louis, MO (Scottrade Center)
Nov. 21: Tulsa, OK (BOK Center)
Nov. 29: Las Vegas, NV (MGM Grand Garden Arena)
Dec. 2: Phoenix, AZ (US Airways Center)
Dec. 4: Dallas, TX (American Airlines Center)
Dec. 5: Houston, TX (Toyota Center)
Dec. 11: Indianapolis, IN (Bankers Life Fieldhous)
Dec. 12: Cleveland, OH (Quicken Loans Arena)
Dec. 14: Pittsburgh, PA (Consol Energy Center)
Dec. 15: Louisville, KY (KFC Yum! Center)
Dec. 17: Atlanta, GA (Philips Arena)
Dec. 19: Orlando, FL (Amway Center)

Jan. 13: Edmonton, AB (Rexall Place)
Jan. 17: Seattle, WA (Key Arena)
Jan. 22: Denver, CO (Pepsi Center)
Feb. 7: Fargo, ND (FARGODOME)
Feb. 9: St. Paul, MN (Xcel Energy Center)
Feb. 10: Omaha, NE (CenturyLink Center)

Timberlake released "The 20/20 Experience" Vol. 1 on March 19, his first album in more than six years, which sold more than 968,000 copies in its first week.

Are you excited about the second CD? Were you pleased with the first? Planning on going to any concerts this summer? Let us know in the comments!

Rolling Stones to play TD Garden June 12 on '50 and Counting' tour

Posted by Sarah Rodman April 3, 2013 09:43 AM

[Photo credit: Brian Rasic]

The Rolling Stones announced dates for their upcoming "50 and Counting" tour including a stop at the TD Garden on June 12. (Full tour itinerary below.)

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood will hit the road in the U.S. and Canada in May and June.

In the press release Jagger said, "'50 And Counting' has been pretty amazing so far. We did a few shows in London and New York last year...and had such a good time that we thought...let's do some more. It's a good show. Lots of the classic stuff everyone wants to hear...with a few little gems tucked in here and there. The stage is shaped like lips and goes off into the venue so I get to run around in the crowd. It's great fun to be able to get that close to the audience."

"From day one at rehearsals it sounded so fresh. You could tell that everybody was dying to get their teeth into it. It was like... open the gates...let us out!" said Richards. "'Cause man, it is the life and blood of us to play in front of people."

Ticket details for the Boston show are TBA but tickets for Oakland, San Jose, Toronto and Chicago go on sale beginning Monday, April 8 at 10AM local time and will be available at

Mick Taylor, who was a member of the Rolling Stones from 1969-74, will be a special guest throughout the tour.


TBA Los Angeles STAPLES Center TBA

May 5 Oakland Oracle Arena On sale April 8 @ 10AM PST

May 8 San Jose HP Pavilion On sale April 8 @ 10AM PST

May 11 Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena TBA

May 15 Anaheim Honda Center TBA

May 25 Toronto Air Canada Centre On sale April 8 @ 10AM EST

May 28 Chicago United Center On sale April 8 @ 10AM CST

June 12 Boston TD Garden TBA

June 18 Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center TBA

Lady Gaga cancels tour dates, including Boston

Posted by Sarah Rodman February 14, 2013 11:32 AM


Lady Gaga has canceled the remaining dates on her "Born This Way Ball" tour due to a labral tear of the right hip. The injury will require surgery and recuperation time. That means all the Little Monsters planning to pay homage to their Mother at the TD Garden on Feb. 27 should now be looking to their point of purchase for a refund.

Eddie Van Halen has emergency surgery, band postpones tour until 2013

Posted by Glenn Yoder August 30, 2012 10:19 AM

Van Halen lead guitarist and namesake Eddie Van Halen has undergone emergency surgery for a digestive disease called diverticulitis, which the band's website called "severe."

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Harris)
Eddie Van Halen in 2007.
According to the medical encyclopedia by ADAM, "Diverticulitis is small, bulging sacs or pouches of the inner lining of the intestine (diverticulosis) that become inflamed or infected. Most often, these pouches are in the large intestine (colon)."

While no further surgeries are needed, the 57-year-old guitarist's recovery is expected to take between four and six months. The group said it is rescheduling a tour of Japan originally set for November and issued a brief statement on its website, saying "the band looks forward to seeing and playing for their fans in 2013."

Jay-Z, Ron Howard teaming up for concert documentary

Posted by Glenn Yoder August 15, 2012 03:04 PM

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Jay-Z in Philadelphia on May 14, 2012.

Jay-Z will receive his close-up on film courtesy of Hollywood royalty.

The hip-hop mogul and director Ron Howard are currently shooting a documentary that will offer a behind-the-scenes look at a music festival Jay oversees, according to the New York Post. The Made in America festival will take place in Philadelphia Sept. 1 and 2 and showcase 20 artists, including Drake, Pearl Jam, Run-DMC, and locally-bred Passion Pit.

The news of the film collaboration was announced by Howard's Oscar-winning production partner Brian Grazer ("A Beautiful Mind"), who told the Post, "It is going to be born through Jay-Z’s perspective ... how he puts the event together." He also offered kind words for his subject, telling the paper, "I can’t even begin to explain how [Jay-Z] is capable of remaining relevant. He is a phenom, like a musical Michael Jordan."

Jay-Z has previously appeared in another documentary, 2004's "Fade to Black," a profile of his career leading up to his "Black Album," and also acted in 2002's "State Property." While there's no word on a title or release information for the new film, check out a quick tease for the festival it centers around.

Spice Girls reunite, heat up London stage during Olympics closing ceremony

Posted by Katie McLeod August 13, 2012 01:27 PM


From left: Victoria Beckham, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, and Melanie Brown of The Spice Girls performed during the Closing Ceremony at Olympic Stadium in London on Aug. 12. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The Spice Girls are back -- or at least they were last night during the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic games. Making a grand entrance in glitzy taxi cabs, the all-time best-selling girl group performed hit songs "Wannabe" and "Spice Up Your Life," dancing on top of the taxis around Olympic Stadium. The British group, who formed in 1994 and rose to worldwide fame in 1996 with the release of "Wannabe," previously reunited for a tour in 2007. Watch their performance at

MixFest 2012 lineup announced

Posted by Rachel Raczka August 6, 2012 12:20 PM


(Photo credit (from left): Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR; Brad Barket/PictureGroup; Handout

This year's MixFest is quite the boys club with feel-good rockers (from left) Train, Gavin DeGraw, and Andy Grammer leading the lineup. The acts for the free Sept. 8 concert at Boston's DRC Hatchshell were announced this morning on 104.1's Karson and Kennedy.

Last year's concert featured Grace Potter, Lifehouse, Sara Bareilles, and Michelle Branch, as well as Javier Colon, winner of "The Voice."

Thoughts on this year's show? Will you attend?

Usher covers 'Pumped Up Kicks' by Foster the People

Posted by Glenn Yoder June 14, 2012 12:43 PM

Ready to get, er, "pumped up" for Foster the People's show at Boston's Bank of America Pavilion tomorrow? Relive summer 2011 with their catchy jam "Pumped Up Kicks," thanks to a new cover from Usher:


Cambridge River Festival canceled

Posted by Glenn Yoder June 2, 2012 11:36 AM

Today's rainy weather has shut down the Cambridge River Festival for the first time in its
33-year history. The free event, which was slated to kick off at noon, has been canceled due to inclement weather and water spilling over from the Charles River, according to the city's website. There is no rain date.

"Water was running under the stages and posed too serious a threat to the power," said Toad and Lizard Lounge booking agent Billy Beard, who handled the festival's folk and roots acts. "And it is supposed to get worse."

The Cambridge Art Council's annual event, which draws about 200,000 people each year, combines performances from local music acts with dance, art, and family activities.

WFNX alumni plan send-off party at Paradise

Posted by Glenn Yoder June 1, 2012 04:31 PM

After news broke two weeks ago that local alternative radio station WFNX is being sold to conglomerate Clear Channel Communications Inc., causing massive layoffs, one last party is in the works.

We Want The Airwaves: A WFNX Celebration will be held at the Paradise Rock Club on June 30. The night will feature performances by locals, including the reformed O Positive, '90s rockers Orbit, lounge pop band Parlour Bells, and 2012 Rock 'n' Roll Rumble runners-up Garvy J, as well as DJ sets from WFNX alumni and a look at the upcoming film "We Want The Airwaves: The WFNX Story."

"Boston musicians, WFNX listeners, people I don't know, folks I haven't heard from in decades tracked me down to say, 'Let's do something,' too," the show's promoter and former WFNX music director Bruce McDonald wrote in an email. "There seems to be an honest-to-goodness need for this."

Tickets went on sale today at noon for $20 with benefits going to the Progeria Research Foundation.

Before the show, relive some of the good times with WFNX through the years.

Il Divo fan Q&A

Posted by Mawuse Ziegbe May 30, 2012 11:39 AM

Opera quartet Il Divo is in Boston for a two-night stand at the Wang Theatre June 2-3. The group, which has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide and released the album "Wicked Game" in 2011, is in the middle of a world tour. You can get more information about the Boston shows and the rest of the tour here.

On May 31, Divo member David Miller answered questions from fans in a live chat on Press replay to check out what he said!

tags chat, Il Divo

In Levon Helm's honor, Midnight Ramble concerts carry on

Posted by Glenn Yoder May 28, 2012 10:11 AM

A month after Levon Helm’s death, the legendary Midnight Ramble concert series held at his home studio in Woodstock, N.Y., returned Saturday night with performances from friends and fellow musicians. The show marked what would have been the 72nd birthday of the longtime drummer of The Band. Helm died April 19 after a long battle with cancer.


Kiss Concert Saturday in Mansfield

Posted by Glenn Yoder May 18, 2012 05:42 PM

Kiss 108's 33d annual Kiss Concert takes over the Comcast Center in Mansfield Saturday with a diverse lineup of hit-makers and up-and-comers, including Gym Class Heroes, Flo Rida, Enrique Iglesias, Adam Lambert, Foxborough native JoJo, and one-time Berklee duo Karmin.

Doors open at noon and the show kicks off at 2 p.m. with a performance by local pop rockers One Step Away. As of this post, tickets are still available. Those unable to score seats can watch a live stream on Kiss 108's website and join other fans in the Twitter conversation using the hashtag #KC12.

The concert's schedule, which can change without notice, is as follows:

Noon - Doors open
1:30 p.m. - Preshow
2 p.m. - One Step Away
2:20 p.m. - Lily Halpern
2:40 p.m. - Wallpaper.
3:20 p.m. - The Wanted
3:45 p.m. - Dev
4:10 p.m. - Carly Rae Jepsen
4:35 p.m. - JoJo
5 p.m. - Karmin
5:25 p.m. - Andy Grammer
5:50 p.m. - Adam Lambert
6:25 p.m. - Intermission
6:45 p.m. - Hot Chelle Rae
7:10 p.m. - Sammy Adams
7:30 p.m. - Enrique Iglesias
7:55 p.m. - Neon Hitch
8:15 p.m. - Flo Rida
8:50 p.m. - Outasight
9:15 p.m. - Gym Class Heroes

Are you going to the show? Which act are you most excited to see?

Jay-Z to curate Budweiser Made in America festival

Posted by Mawuse Ziegbe May 14, 2012 12:54 PM


Entertainer Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, right, shook hands with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on May 14. The rapper announced plans for a two-day music festival at Fairmount Park, featuring nearly 30 acts "that embody the American spirit."

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Hip-hop veteran Jay-Z will headline and curate the Budweiser Made in America festival in Philadelphia on Sept. 1 and 2, Rolling Stone reports. The rap star will perform during the event, alongside roughly 30 other acts representing a range of musical genres.

Tickets go on sale on May 23, and proceeds will benefit the United Way.

Dropkick Murphys to perform with Boston Pops at 'Red Sox Night'

Posted by Glenn Yoder May 9, 2012 05:01 PM

Tipping their scally caps to Fenway Park's 100th anniversary, Boston punks the Dropkick Murphys will take the stage at Symphony Hall on May 24, joining conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for "Red Sox Night."


TOUR DIARY: Mean Creek reflects on touring with Counting Crows

Posted by Glenn Yoder May 8, 2012 03:00 PM

[Saturday night, Boston-based band Mean Creek finished up their US tour with Counting Crows, and band members have been offering a glimpse of life on stage and in the van on the band's biggest tour yet. Read the first post from bassist Erik Wormwood about returning to Boston, a second installment from drummer Mikey Holland about Foxwoods and Atlantic City, a check-in from the south by singer and guitarist Chris Keene, and some thoughts heading into the final show from Holland. Below, singer-guitarist Aurore Ounjian follows up with this wrap-up on the drive home.]


TOUR DIARY: Mean Creek wraps up with Counting Crows

Posted by Glenn Yoder May 5, 2012 02:27 PM

[Tonight, Boston-based band Mean Creek finish up the final leg of their US tour with Counting Crows, and band members are offering a glimpse of life on stage and in the van on the band's biggest tour yet. Read the first post from bassist Erik Wormwood about returning to Boston, a second installment from drummer Mikey Holland about Foxwoods and Atlantic City, and then a check-in from the south by singer and guitarist Chris Keene. Holland follows up with this dispatch from the Tabernacle in Atlanta, Ga., where the band played Friday night.]


HBO dedicating Rock Hall induction show to Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys

Posted by Glenn Yoder May 4, 2012 05:51 PM

While the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was certainly celebratory, tomorrow's 9 p.m. premiere of the footage on HBO will be met by a somber tone in the wake of today's news that Beastie Boys founding member Adam "MCA" Yauch has died. The seminal rap group was immortalized at the musical shrine during the April 14 ceremony, though Yauch was reportedly too ill to attend. HBO is now planning to dedicate the show to Yauch, according to Billboard.


TLC to tour with digital Left Eye

Posted by Mawuse Ziegbe April 26, 2012 11:42 AM

It seems that the late Tupac Shakur is still a major trendsetter. Just a few weeks after a holographic projection of the hip-hop icon blew minds at Coachella, '90s girl group TLC has announced that they will hit the road with a digital image of the trio's late femcee Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in tow.


Passion Pit to release new album, 'Gossamer,' on July 24

Posted by Mawuse Ziegbe April 24, 2012 12:40 PM

Passion Pit, the dance-pop outfit from Boston packed with Berklee alums, announced on April 24 that they will release their next album, "Gossamer," on July 24. The record will be the follow-up to the group's acclaimed 2009 album "Manners," which features cheery dance floor staples like "Sleepyhead" and "The Reeling."

Passion Pit will return to the Boston area for a show at the Bank of America Pavilion on June 22.

Coachella 2012: Hologram 'Tupac Shakur' plays set with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg

Posted by Mawuse Ziegbe April 16, 2012 02:48 PM

He may be dead, but that hasn't stopped Tupac Shakur from stealing the show at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 13. Nearly 16 years after he was gunned down at age 25, the iconic California MC appeared with his Death Row cronies Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg during their all-star set through the magic of technology, as a gruff, tatted-up hologram. Snoop and Dre got current - and living - hip-hop superstars like Eminem, Wiz Khalifa, and 50 Cent to perform during the set, but it was pretend 'Pac's appearance that got the Web - which wasn't even really a thing when the rapper was alive - abuzz.

Decked out in a computer-generated chain and digital desert boots, e-Pac started with a rendition of "Hail Mary" from his final album, "The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory." The hologram 'Pac also shouted out Coachella fans and riled up the crowd in a convincing version of the MC's throaty, fiery voice. Then a somewhat stiff "Shakur" joined Snoop for their '96 collabo "2 of Amerika's Most Wanted." And just as the crowd seemed to be getting used to the technology-assisted performance from beyond the grave, "Tupac" evaporated into a flash of light.

See the whole video of the performance at Entertainment Weekly. Note: the video contains strong language.

Madonna's Super Bowl halftime reign

Posted by Mawuse Ziegbe February 6, 2012 12:07 PM

The rumble of the bass line, the crack of the finger snaps, the thump of dozens of beefy guys in breastplates marching across the field, and there she is: Madonna. Pulled along in a litter carriage and heralded by dancers who are presumably less than half of her 53 years, she's giving us Cleopatra realness and -- as we always expect -- an epic spectacle.

After years of trying to idiot-proof the halftime show in the post-"Boobgate" era with a lineup of graying rockers who have been safely confined to pop-culture's sidelines, Madonna's high-energy medley of dance floor fillers from "Vogue" to LMFAO's gleefully brainless "Party Rock Anthem" was a much-needed spurt of well-choreographed yet still freewheeling fun -- especially for the under-30 set.

The pop veteran went into the show with the elaborate game plan of a star with a preternatural knack for both pleasing crowds and getting into trouble. With 30 years of hits to her name, Madonna could have "Vogue"-ed in, crooned "Hung Up," clapped to "Holiday" under some jets of pyro and called it a night.

Instead, she enlisted younger stars like hip-pop hitmaker Nicki Minaj and electro agitator M.I.A., whose middle-finger salute the press is trying to make into a thing. She also smartly nestled a bit of LMFAO's club smash into her twitchy disco track "Music," very likely aware that she hasn't had a new song on the charts since the 2008 release of Hard Candy. She also used the 100 million-viewer audience for the first live performance of her unabashedly peppy single "Give Me All Your Luvin,' " a risky move that hasn't been attempted in recent memory.

Sure, she was a little rickety on those pins, but athletic nonetheless, pulling off a decent leg extension, doing back walkovers with the Cirque Du Soleil dancers, busting out a whole bunch of whatever this move is, hopping onto the shoulders of LMFAO's RedFoo and later wriggling into some handstand twist maneuver as he gripped her ankle. And in case you didn't want to see her do all the crazy footwork, she had tons of dancers working rhythmic wizardry, including that insanely agile and adventurous tightrope acrobat.

For those who think she was good for her age, consider if you would expect this level of theatricality from say, Rihanna or Katy Perry. And yes, she definitely appeared to lip-sync the whole thing, but really, who buys a Madonna record for her voice? But if you really wanted to see Madonna at least try to sing, she trotted out a choir, donned on a glam, beaded Givenchy robe, and got on her knees to belt out "Like A Prayer," with Cee Lo riffing away in his own fabulous beaded gown.

If you're not into her music or image, that's fine, but this is the Super Bowl. It's a moment of excess, pageantry, guts, will, and triumph -- all in a wholesome, Disney-movie way, of course. Madonna brought it, corralling two female rappers, a circus act, gladiators, cheerleaders, a choir, and more for a seriously exhilarating 12 minutes. She also found ways to invigorate 26-year-old tracks like "Open Your Heart" by throwing a marching band in the mix. And on top of all of that she looked like she was having a ball. With that performance, the real Super Bowl winner is arguably Team Madonna.

Read: "Madonna was the Super Bowl's real champion" (The Angle)

Survey: Your thoughts on the halftime show

Pictures: Halftime highlights and star sightings

Foo Fighters rock solid at TD Garden

Posted by Michael Brodeur November 17, 2011 11:30 AM


Dave Grohl, foreground, and the Foo Fighters perform at the IZOD center in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Monday night. CREDIT: Karsten Moran for The New York Times

It's hard to think of a band that's been more consistent over the last 15 years than Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters. The group's popularity has never really flagged, and its albums have never really strayed very far from their basic sound, while still avoiding the trap of repetition

That's probably why newer songs like “Bridge Burning” and “Arlandria” didn't disrupt the flow of the nonstop barrage of Foos classics the band delivered last night at TD Garden: They were, in all respects, cut from the same cloth. “Bridge Burning” kicked things off by surging right from the start, while “Arlandria” alternated moments of heavy grace with full-brunt power chording. Next to the floating momentum of “Breakout” and the sledgehammer impact of “The Pretender,” they maintained the band's strengths without a hiccup.

By the end of the night (45 minutes past the Garden's curfew), Grohl was as energetic and buoyant as “Everlong” wound down as he was at the start of the show, so animated throughout that he looked like he might fly apart. At one point, he asked the audience, “Why you gotta make me work so [gosh darn] hard?” As if Grohl looked for a second like any of it was work.

Read Marc Hirsh's full review of the show in Friday's Globe.

Marc Hirsh can be reached at

HEAR HERE: Cate Le Bon, tonight at Royale

Posted by Michael Brodeur November 4, 2011 12:09 AM


Cate Le Bon, tonight at Royale with St. Vincent. Photo: Force Field PR

If you're one of the lucky ticket-holders heading out to see Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) tonight at Royale, consider grabbing that parking spot a little early.

We're going to guess that Edrych yn Llygaid Ceffyl Benthyg wasn't on your shortlst of favorite records from 2008, but the EP was a stunning little introduction to Welsh songstress Cate Le Bon. Since then, she's collaborated with the likes of Gruff Rhys, Boom Bip, and Megan Childs of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. Despite her biggish peeps, she keeps to a smallish sound -- one that reminds us that intimacy is never that far from discomfort.

Fans of Camera Obscura and/or certain formulas of Robitussin will delight in the slack autumnal pop of "Puts Me To Work," an early charmer off of CYRK, her sophomore effort, due January 17, 2012.

Cate Le Bon "Puts Me To Work" by Controlgroupco

Cate Le Bon plays a sold-out show at Royale tonight with St. Vincent.

Jay Sean talks Joe Jonas tour, 'The Mistress' mixtape

Posted by Mawuse Ziegbe September 6, 2011 05:36 PM

Pop heartthrobs Jay Sean and Joe Jonas kicked off their 18-city fall tour, which also features Foxborough-bred songstress JoJo, in Boston on Sept. 6. As the trio hits the road, caught up via phone last week with Sean, the British crooner behind party-starting megahits like “Down,” “Do You Remember,” and “2012 (It Ain’t The End).” The crooner spoke candidly about his sultry new mixtape, The Mistress, not letting a natural disaster screw up his hair, teaming with Joe and JoJo, and Lil Wayne’s infamous jeggings.


Cults struggle to sway at Brighton Music Hall

Posted by Michael Brodeur June 13, 2011 04:40 PM


Guitarist/vocalist Brian Oblivion (left) and Vocalist Madeline Follin (right) of Cults' performing in NYC at the Knitting Factory, August 2010.

Tom White for the New York Times

With: Guards and Writer
At: Brighton Music Hall, Sunday

The music of Cults have enough of the trappings of 1960s girl groups – glockenspiel parts, beats snatched from the Ronettes and the Shangri-Las, a thick echo suffusing the whole shebang – that it's tempting to categorize them as eager devotees. But there was something missing Sunday as the band (bumped up from a duo to a five-piece) played the Brighton Music Hall. That something just might have been magic.

Certainly, they were given no help by the sound mix, which was uniformly terrible from the openers on down. Feedback was rampant, and the reverb was so oppressive that what might have been intended as a wall of sound was a river of murk instead. The handclaps that kicked off opener “Abducted” were just about the last things to come through with their edges intact.

But Cults revealed their own weaknesses throughout their brief performance. Key among them was frontwoman Madeline Follin. A bland singer of no special ability or tone, she had a marked tendency when raising her voice (as in the choruses of “You Know What I Mean” and “Rave On”) to sound more petulant than emphatic. The only time she displayed any discernible attitude was during the slow, bluesy “The Curse"; when she swayed her hips with the beat, she came off not sultry so much as tacitly threatening.

The rest of Cults gamely soldiered on, but none of the group's songs was ever more than the sum of its parts. The plonky bass of “Most Wanted,” the frantic, high-fretted tremolo picking of “Never Heal Myself” and the alternating vocal between Follin and guitarist Brian Oblivion on “Bumper” all sounded perfectly nifty without adding anything in particular. Cults ultimately seemed to be simple twee indie pop along the lines of Tennis, dolled up in girl-group clothing.

Whether the echoey guitars were intentional or just a result of the mix, opening band Writer sounded like a two-person Walkmen with tighter songs. Following them were Guards, who were boppier (even as they dipped into elements of psychedelia and sludge rock) and, with their constant and effusive thank-yous, unfailingly polite.

Marc Hirsh can be reached at

Live Review: Odd Future at Paradise

Posted by Michael Brodeur May 13, 2011 05:05 PM


Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe

Odd Future on stage at the Paradise on Thursday, May 12.

At: Paradise Rock Club, Thursday

Before taking the stage to a riotous, sold-out crowd at the Paradise on Thursday night, Odd Future's chief architect and leading man Tyler, the Creator fired off a Tweet that, for once, betrayed his standing as hip-hop's top ranked agitator: “Nervous as [expletive]. BOSTON.”

To those who have followed Tyler and his group -- a multi-talented crew of teenage misfits from California who excel at pleasing their fans and angering everyone else -- this seemed out of character. After all, Tyler had already made the news for a chaotic appearance at Newbury Comics earlier that afternoon, which he used less for signing copies of his new album “Goblin” and more for jumping on the roof and gleefully inciting a near-riot amongst the frenzied crowd of young fans gathered outside on the street, who exalted him by hurling abuse at the police trying to control them. If anyone should have been nervous, it was Boston, or maybe just the Paradise's security team.

But by the time Tyler bounded on stage in his signature green ski mask and knee high-socks around 8:30 that night, his trepidation seemed justified. The male-dominated crowd had been swelling near the stage for 45 minutes already, falling into each other and squeezing for every available inch of real estate, while Odd Future's DJ and lone female member Syd played tracks from spiritual forefathers the Beastie Boys and fellow internet phenom Lil B.

“Who the hell invited Mr. I-Don't-Give-a-...” Tyler demanded to know as he charged out to “Sandwitches,” the menacing track that officially announced Odd Future's national arrival when they performed it on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in February. Whatever nervousness he might have felt was quickly converted to visceral energy, as he launched into the first of many stage dives and stomped around on stage in an awkward, jerky dance.

Tyler's cohorts Hodgy Beats, Mike G, Domo Genesis and Jasper Dolphin followed their leader by jumping into the crowd and performing their own songs, but Tyler's presence was the lightning rod. As security struggled to either pull the performers back on stage or push invading fans (and there were many) off it, Tyler boasted of “threesomes with a triceratops” on his grimy, Wu-Tang-esque single “Yonkers,” while offering other, unprintable feats of sexual prowess on the schizophrenic “Tron Cat.” Yet even as they enthusiastically espoused their explicit rape fantasies and led chants of “Kill People! Burn [expletive]! [Expletive] School!,” it was difficult to tell if they, or their fans, actually believed any of the ridiculous things they were saying. “Tell Satan I want my swag back!” Tyler screamed, maybe trying a bit too hard.

By the time he finished, Tyler and his crew looked spent, but the crowd was still hungry for more. As they ducked backstage, kids began climbing the barriers and jumping on stage until it was packed with people who didn't necessarily know what to do, only that they wanted to be a part of this unique, unpredictable event. In a sense, it was as much their coming out party as Odd Future's.

Martín Caballero can be reached at

And your Rumble winner is...John Powhida International Airport!

Posted by Michael Brodeur April 23, 2011 11:21 AM

John Powhida International Airport at the Rumble Semi-Finals, April 15. Video via

With: Spirit Kid, John Powhida International Airport, OldJack, and special guests the Shods
At: T.T. the Bear's Place, last night.

CAMBRIDGE – Don’t call it a comeback. A brand new beginning will do. Five years after his old outfit, the Rudds, flamed out in the semifinals, veteran showman John Powhida and his audaciously named new(er) band last night took home a champagne-soaked crown as winners of the 32nd annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble. As Friday’s outpouring of goodwill and good vibes made clear, the history-steeped contest’s own rejuvenated return after a one-year absence represented, in and of itself, a triumph for the local music scene.

The victory by the glammy, hammy, ridiculously self-referential John Powhida International Airport last night (okay, technically this morning since the winner was declared at 1:16 a.m., T.T. the Bear’s time) followed a tremendous showing by all three Rumble finalists, each of whom turned in galvanizing performances in the quest for nearly $20,000 worth of grand prizes.

Wild-card winners OldJack set a high bar early by opening the evening with a scorching set that fused rock muscle and soul sinew to marvelously self-assured style and showmanship. Dramatically late in their set, OldJack’s bearded, bespectacled, and charismatic frontman Dan Nicklin tore away his outer torso trappings to proudly reveal an “Underdog” cartoon T-shirt, defiantly celebrating the eight-piece group’s wild-card climb to the top.

Exuberant indie upstarts Spirit Kid, led by elfin-voiced Emeen Zarookian, closed the night’s contest with a wholly charming, tightly focused set spring-loaded with Kinksian pop, Merseybeat bounce, and transistor radio sing-alongs. In contrast to OldJack’s and J-Po’s bodaciously expansive lineups replete with back-up singers, dancing girls, and dueling guitar wizards, the Kid’s succinct five-piece looked and sounded positively stripped to the bone.

And the night’s bonus (as if we needed one)? A boisterous barn-burning set by special guests and 1999 Rumble finalists the Shods, who returned to their old sweaty stomping grounds under the hot stage lights. And stomped. When Shods singer-guitarist Kevin Stevenson furrowed his brow and quipped he had no idea which of the three contenders he’d have voted for (this was before the Shods busted out their gleefully haphazard encore cover of the Who’s “The Kids Are Alright”), he expressed a sentiment no doubt shared by many in the sold-out room.

Ultimately, it was the John Powhida International Airport’s night – as it had been on both of the two previous Rumble outings, when J-Po and Co. had bested a crowded field of contestants (24 bands competed in this year’s event), including Spirit Kid and OldJack. With his assorted tall tales of cocaine rosaries, hooking up and cooking up – all delivered with wah wah guitar pedals set to stun – softcore-sleaze anthems like “Daddy’s The Man” and “Surrender To The Disco Knightz” played to Powhida’s hyperbolic strengths. Add to this a Paul Stanley impersonation, cringe-worthy pun concerning a can of nuts and his long-haired keyboardist’s passing resemblance to Gregg Allman (“Almond, brother?” Get it?), and a welcome jab at John Mayer and Taylor Swift in song, and you had a complete entertainer: a frontman as frolicsome as his band was funky.

When 2009 Rumble winners the Luxury were summoned to the stage by Rumble organizer Anngelle Wood and unveiled a handmade creation worthy of passing their victorious legacy – literally a spiked crown, bejeweled with bling – the moment signified much more than just celebration and champagne for the winners. It felt like nothing short of a celebration of, and for, the Rumble’s return to the scene. Not so much a comeback, as a new beginning.

Jonathan Perry can be reached at

Hear Here, Saturday: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, "Cigarettes and Wine"

Posted by Michael Brodeur April 22, 2011 05:36 PM

We loved him in the Drive-By Truckers, we loved his first two solo albums, and now we love his third, "Here We Rest." In short, we love Jason Isbell. A great storyteller, ripsnorting singer, and terrific chooser of gifted backing musicians for his band the 400 Unit. He plays with Hayes Carll at Brighton Music Hall tomorrow night and if you're a Truckers fan, an alt-country fan, or a great songwriter fan he might just have something you'll love too.

Check out Isbell on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter.

Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys take Night 2 of the Rumble; Night 3 preliminaries tonight

Posted by Michael Brodeur April 5, 2011 07:56 PM


photo: Justin Moore

Night Two victors Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys.

Last night, our own Jonathan Perry called it again -- sort of -- as his dark horse selection, Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys, took Night 2 of the Rock & Roll Rumble at T.T. the Bear's. Videos are starting to surface of the magic (warning: explicit top hat w/feather content), but it's safe to say you'll want to catch the Army all up-close-and-personal-like in the semis (April 14 and 15 at T.T.'s).

And there's still plenty of time to polish up your proverbial brass knuckles and practice your sneer in the mirror before tonight's Rumble kicks off. Tonight's contenders include the rootsy gusto of the Autumn Hollow Band (9:00 p.m.), the rawk snarl of Cult 45 (9:45 p.m.), the "rock, disco, soul, pop fuzion entertainment unit" known as the Jon Powhida International Airport (10:30 p.m.) and the spirited smile-cracking pop of Spirit Kid (11:15 p.m.) After the jump, enjoy a little helping of each.


Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents take Night 1 of Rumble; Night 2 preliminaries tonight

Posted by Michael Brodeur April 4, 2011 12:27 PM


photo: Matthew J. Lee

Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents performing at the Liberty Hotel last year.

If sudden tremors woke you from sleep around midnight last night, you're either a late eater (which is not very good for you) or you're particularly attuned to the Boston rock scene. The first rumblings of the renewed Rumble were sent tumbling through the city last night from T.T. the Bear's, carrying news of Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents Rumble-launching victory. And in case it's not already perma-lodged in your head, here's a reminder of why JD may have taken it:

Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents

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Hear Here, Weekend Edition: Joe Robinson, Destroyer, and Weekend

Posted by Michael Brodeur April 1, 2011 12:24 PM

FRIDAY: Joe Robinson, "It's Not Easy"

A true wonder from Down Under, Joe Robinson has got fingers of fire. You can see why he won first place on "Australia's Got Talent" and has made fans out of Steve Vai and the late Les Paul. So he's a natural to heat up the crowd tonight at the Center for the Arts in Natick before Kaki King. Six-string enthusiasts can only hope the pair do a little dueling.

Check out Joe on YouTube, Facebook, and Myspace.


SATURDAY: Destroyer, "Kaputt"

Hot ladies in leotards! Teen geek in glasses! Desert mirages! Flying whale! Did you really need anything else to start your weekend on an acid trip? The surreal video for Destroyer's "Kaputt," off the psychedelic rockers' new album with the same name, has all of that and then some. Led by Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Bejar, whom you might also know from his work with the New Pornographers, Destroyer comes to the Middle East Downstairs tomorrow night with the War on Drugs and Cuffs in the opening slots. (You should also check out Kelefa Sanneh's amusing profile of Bejar's doppelganger in The New Yorker recently.)

Destroyer on Facebook and MySpace. And Bejar on Twitter.


SUNDAY: Weekend, "Monday Morning/Monongah, WV"

Weekend "Monday Morning/Monongah, WV" from Slumberland Records on Vimeo.

Those crushing to the front of the Paradise for post-punk pioneers Wire this Sunday may want to crush a bit earlier to experience the full-frontal-feedback of San Francisco's Weekend. Critics were all kinds of a'gush when the band's debut, "Sports" (Slumberland) dropped this past November, and their ears are likely still ringing. Take the next seven minutes to yourself and enjoy the washed out reverie --- and the masked, muddy, Super Soaker smackdown -- of the "Monday Morning/Monongah, WV" two-fer above.

More of Weekend on Myspace.


Hear Here: Weekend Edition: Parts & Labor at Great Scott, Papercuts at Brighton Music Hall

Posted by Michael Brodeur March 25, 2011 02:25 PM

SATURDAY: Parts & Labor, "The Gold We're Digging"

It's hard to get more for your skronk-rock dollar than a scintillating hour spent in front of Brooklyn's Parts & Labor. This little doozy up above is off of their 2007 album "Mapmaker"(Jagjaguwar), and provides a good example of the band's ferocious approach. As the uncertain backdrop of the performance suggests, a P&L song is never exactly the same experience twice.

Saturday night at Great Scott, they'll likely be sticking to a heap of new material from their wildly catchy new album, "Constant Future" (Jagjaguwar). They join local gusto-core heartthrobs Hallelujah the Hills, who are celebrating the release of their most recent 7" single, along with Boston-to-Brooklyn transplants, Tallahassee.

Find more Parts & Labor on MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook.


SUNDAY: Papercuts, "Do You Really Wanna Know"

This is just a guess, but the audience in this video is probably wondering why a thousand souls are streaming out of singer Jason Quever's body, like a Neil Young from the sweet hereafter. Let's just say reverb is a good friend to Papercuts, Quever's dreamy indie-pop band that's often compared to Sub Pop labelmates Beach House. On the road for its excellent new album, "Fading Parade," Papercuts performs at Brighton Music Hall on Sunday. Get your tickets here.

Find more Papercuts on Facebook and MySpace.


SXSW: A Weekend Recap

Posted by Michael Brodeur March 21, 2011 11:55 PM


Das Racist performs at SXSW 2011. Photo by Rahav Segev.

After a Thursday night jam-packed with heavyweights like B.o.B., TV on the Radio and the Strokes, a more subdued Friday evening allowed for some much-needed musical off-roading.

Seeking a quieter place and slower pace than the city's crowded bars and clubs, I headed to the Central Presbyterian Church, a spectacular space that put every other Austin venue's sound mix to shame. I took a shot in the dark and checked out Lanterns on the Lake, an English sextet that created grandiose rock soundscapes from the simple sounds of bowed guitar, flittering violin and lead singer Hazel Wilde's wispy vocals. The music's triumphant swoops and ascents were made all the more dramatic by the church's glorious acoustics – by the time the band tore through the tension and release of set-closer "I Love You, Sleepyhead," it was pure goosebumps.

An entirely different demographic soaked in rap group Das Racist's set at Emo's. An Indian-American and a half-black kid who met at Wesleyan University, Himanshu Suri and Victor Vazquez have built serious buzz through recent mixtapes "Shut Up, Dude" and "Sit Down, Man" (not to mention their abrasively witty Q&A with the New York Times' Deborah Solomon in December). The duo delivered a dizzying display of stream-of-consciousness rhymes that referenced everything from U.S. race relations to Pat Sajak and Danny DeVito. They mixed political barbs and social commentary with a slapdash attitude and even a goofy rendition of Usher's "You Make Me Wanna."

[After the jump, photos and video from SXSW 2011.]


Crystal Castles at House of Blues: Partially broken Glass still shines.

Posted by Michael Brodeur March 21, 2011 12:19 PM


Crystal Castles vocalist Alice Glass, seen here at SXSW 2008. Photo by Richard Perry for the New York Times

At: House of Blues, Saturday

In the current musical analogy, laptops are the new guitars, and electro is the new indie. For Crystal Castles, who performed at the House of Blues on Saturday night, it's also the new punk.

The brash Toronto duo punch a defiant fist straight through any meaningful genre boundaries whenever they take the stage – sometimes literally, as in one case of onstage fisticuffs last year. Controversies like that and others including feuds with tourmates, a generally surly and indifferent attitude toward the press, and the occasional canceled gig over sound complaints make it clear this isn't your mother's polite keyboard music.

At its harshest, you might not even call their throbbing synth pulses, chopped-up sample assault and glitchy video game soundtrack explosions music at all. That's the point precisely, and what made their performance on Saturday -- complete with seizure-inducing strobe lights, and the maniacal stage thrashing of wraith-waif vocalist Alice Glass, who roared like an adorable dinosaur hatchling on songs like "Doe Deer" -- so hypnotic to a sold-out all-ages crowd of futuristic ballerinas from space in warpaint makeup and their be-hoodied, but barely bewhiskered boyfriends.

When it was announced pre-set that Glass had broken her ankle, the moan from the crowd seemed to reveal a collective anticipation of some inevitably expected mishap. Her appearance soon thereafter complete with a boot cast and crutch was an impressive relief. On hits like "Crimewave" and "Celestica," Glass summoned all of her 100 odd pounds of furious inhumanity, dancing one-legged, not so much singing as blasting oxygen through a computer. Her wielding of the crutch in the glare of the strobes underscored her cyborg pixie affect. The aggression makes sense; the group's trek through the pixelated soundscape of barely-controlled computer chaos from their two self-titled albums is the contemporary analogue for fighting in a mosh pit, (although there was a regular old one of those as well).

Glass, in what was one of the most heroically punk performances in recent memory, hurtled herself into the crowd, broken ankle and all, and performed entire songs, like the abrasively bewitching “Alice Practice,” on the upraised hands of fans, sounding out the exhalations of a wounded animal robot amidst the entropy of a bouncily cascading synth line. Who needs guitars when you've got that?

Luke O'Neil can be reached at

Hear Here: Blondes, 'Virgin Pacific'

Posted by Michael Brodeur March 21, 2011 09:00 AM

BLONDES - Virgin Pacific from Camilla Padgitt-Coles on Vimeo.

Brooklyn's Blondes make lush, bright, textural techno with their hands -- that is, with lots of boxes, buttons and knobs, and a table covered in cables. In days where some bands are launching their career by thumbing the space bar, Blondes' easy, breezy, laptop-free steezy feels like a breath of fresh air -- even though it sounds more like a perpetual zoom into a pastel tropical fractal. (Whoa!)

Zach Steinman and Sam Haar met at Oberlin -- a reliable hive of accidental artrock -- and spent some time together in Berlin, ostensibly soaking in its rich electronic scene. But don't let the pedigrees fool you, Blondes seem far more concerned with the present than the past, making it happen right there in front of you. The songs hover at around 100bpm, making them not only the perfect soundtrack to a slow spring thaw, but the perfect on-ramp for tonight's Simian Mobile Disco show at the Paradise, where the band will warm the room up for The Juan Maclean's DJ set.

More Blondes on MySpace and Facebook.

SXSW: Friday afternoon recap: Cults, David Wax Museum, AgesandAges, James Blake

Posted by Michael Brodeur March 18, 2011 10:39 PM


photo by Adam Conner-Simons

Concertgoess at the French Legation Museum in Austin.

Even with the plethora of big names at SXSW, the focus of the festival ultimately rests in the inexact art of discovering new music. While thousands of late-night revelers peacefully slumbered, Oregon-based outfit Ages and Ages proved a delightful lunchtime treat at Barbarella, with handclaps, harmonies and a battery of shakers and noise-makers figuring prominently on upbeat numbers like “No Nostalgia.”

At the venue's outside patio, Boston folksters David Wax Museum performed a few rambunctious Americana songs as raging heavy-metal bands played at ear-splitting volume on either sides of the tent. Some vocal participation from the audience helped the group somehow overtake all the musical madness around them.

Worcester fuzz-rockers Dom played an unshackled set at Stubb's earlier in the afternoon, rattling the walls with surf-punk gems like “Jesus” (which concerns, of all things, an LSD trip). “It's so sexy to be living in America,” the singer proudly proclaimed. It wasn't clear whether he was being ironic, but the crowd was too busy banging its collective head to care.

Elsewhere, the Under the Radar party – despite its name – managed to reel in some high-profile indie acts, from the warped power-pop of Surfer Blood to the violin antics of Owen Pallett, who looped beats and motifs with fine-tuned dexterity.

Over on the east side of Austin I caught a few songs from Fang Island, a Providence-born band that describes its music as “everyone high-fiving everyone.” (They even requested that the whole Scoot Inn audience partake in exactly that activity halfway through the set.) The group's propulsive instrumentals featured slithery '70s rock riffs bursting into hummable shoutalong choruses, as on the show-closing single “Daisy.”


Adam Conner-Simons

Cults perform at SXSW 2011.

The French Legation Museum, a historical building that dates back to 1841, served as a beautiful backdrop for the unique sounds of rising talents Cults and James Blake. Both artists came into the festival with only a handful of songs to their names, yet expectations from the press illuminati were at a fever pitch.

Alas, Cults suffered from significant mixing problems that muddied its doo-wop-infused indie-pop. Singles like “Go Outside” and “Curse” lost their giddy girl-group luster with all of the feedback issues and overpowering bass lines.


James Blake performs at SXSW 2011. Photo by Rahav Segel.

For Blake, SXSW represents his first American gig outside of a New York show earlier this week. On record, the Brit's slow-building compositions give off a captivating intensity, as he samples, chops and distorts his bluesy white-boy warble into a rainstorm of twitchy electronic soul. That nuance and musical arc didn't take the same shape live – the 21-year-old seemed uncomfortable on-stage, and even tracks like the haunting “The Wilhelm Scream” sounded limp compared to the pristine multi-tracking on the album. Some listeners got restless, and headed back to 6th Street to take in the overload of other acts around town.

Hear Here (Weekend Edition): Jesse Rose at Rise, Tiny Animals at Great Scott, Elizabeth Cook at Johnny D's

Posted by Michael Brodeur March 18, 2011 02:05 PM

FRIDAY: Jesse Rose at Rise

MTP036 Black Rose - Anthem Single by Made to Play

L.A.-via-Berlin producer Jesse Rose could have had his moment in 2008, when he accidentally coined the term "fidget house," but this prolific producer has been having moments all over the place since his 2009 breakthrough "What Do You Do If You Don't" dropped.

With his sinuous beats strung together with staples of vocal samples and clipped brass sections, Rose's take on house is wry, rhythmic and has a way of summoning feet to the floor. Right now he's preparing a new solo album and soaking in the love that his debut Black Rose EP with Henrik Schwatz is getting in blogland (hear "Anthem" above). Tonight, he'll make an appearance at Boston's beloved after-hours haunt, Rise. It's private, but you can get with the guest list here.

Jesse Rose on Facebook and Twitter.


SATURDAY: Tiny Animals at Great Scott

Tiny Animals, "Useless" (North Street Records)

Just what you need after a few rainy days and the first sun streaks of spring: sweet, sassy rock from this New York trio which appears neither small nor beastly. Tiny Animals cavort in the same power pop playpen as folks like Fountains of Wayne and shares some antic DNA with Blink 182 and their latest album "Our Own Time" is chock full of candied goodness. They play Great Scott tomorrow night. Everybody into the pool!

Tiny Animals on Myspace, Facebook and Twitter.


SUNDAY: Elizabeth Cook at Johnny D's

Elizabeth Cook, "All the Time" (Thirty One Tigers)

Elizabeth Cook might just be the perfect hybrid of female country artists past and present. The proof is in this video for "All the Time," a spirited love-me-or-leave-me song from last year's "Welder." Cook's voice carries a bit of Dolly Parton's sweetness; the lyrics conjure Loretta Lynn's sass ("I don't like suspicion layin' in my bed/ Do you wanna wander/ Or do you wanna wed?"); and, if we're being frivolous, she's just as easy on the eyes as contemporary stars Carrie Underwood and Faith Hill. See and hear for yourself when Cook comes to Johnny D's on Sunday night.

Elizabeth Cook on Facebook and Twitter.


SXSW: Thursday night recap: The Strokes, B.o.B., Janelle Monáe, Wiz Khalifa

Posted by Michael Brodeur March 18, 2011 11:24 AM


AP Photo/Jack Plunkett

The Strokes perform at Auditorium Shores Stage at SXSW.

“Who are the headliners at South-by?”

People have been asking me the same question for three weeks, and when they are (inevitably) dissatisfied with my answer – a stammering “Uh, well, it doesn't really work like that...” I bring up the Strokes, the rockers who gave SXSW a major jolt earlier in the month when they announced a free concert tonight at Auditorium Shores Stage. Festival-goers didn't disappoint: an estimated 40,000 people trekked across the Lady Bird Lake reservoir for the show.

Outside of an “SNL” appearance and a Vegas gig earlier this week, Julian Casablancas and crew had never performed any of the songs from their upcoming album “Angles,” out Tuesday. While there was space in the 75-minute set for a handful of new tracks – “Life is Simple In the Moonlight” and first single “Under Cover of Darkness" sounded particularly well-honed – the group ultimately relied on fan favorites from “Is This It” and “Room On Fire.”

Clad in his standard black leather jacket ensemble, Casablancas gave an inspired frontman performance, his hair blowing in the breeze like some indie-fied L'Oréal commercial. He's grown as a singer, nimbly shifting between lounge croon, arena-rock bombast and unhinged howl. Things reached a fever pitch in the encore, as a cascade of fireworks illuminated the skies over Lady Bird Lake, the last clanging notes of “Last Nite” reverberating across the water and onto downtown Austin.


photo by Rahav Segev

Wiz Khalifa performs at SXSW 2011.

A few hours later, a chaotic game of musical chairs was at play: with Lupe Fiasco losing his voice and Cee-Lo unable to make it to Austin, the Rolling Stone/Atlantic Records party roped in new headliners B.o.B. and Janelle Monáe to perform alongside Wiz Khalifa. The replacements filled in admirably, even if the crowd at La Zona Rosa seemed a tad disappointed to not be singing along to Cee-Lo's obscenities.


photo by Rahav Segev

B.o.B performs at SXSW 2011.

B.o.B, who in the space of a year has gone from “the guy who did that song with the Paramore chick” to a prolific hip-hop hit-maker, brought a lot of elements to the stage: he sang, rapped, played guitar, and energized the crowd with the help of his high-octane live band. He sped through his radio singles, like the Rivers Cuomo collaboration “Magic,” the Bruno Mars-assisted “Nothin' On You,” and, of course, “Airplanes,” while also playing deeper cuts like “Voltage,” which interpolates the funky clavinet riff from Led Zeppelin's “Trampled Underfoot.”


photo by Rahav Segev

Janelle Monáe performs at SXSW 2011.

Janelle Monáe, meanwhile, exhibited an immaculate degree of showmanship that had been lacking all night. Her rubber-band-tight eight-piece band was decked out in white dress shirts, black bowties and top-hats – an ode to the past that seemed oddly apt in its jarring opposition to Monáe's theatrical, futuristic R&B. While the bass and guitar frequently threatened to overtake her vocals, she proved a transfixing presence on stage as she switched outfits, threw on masks, experimented with different cadences and jump-roped from genre to genre.

[A previous version of this post erroneously referred to the Strokes as "British rockers." Haircuts aside, they are not.]

St. Patrick's What? In Austin, Everyone's Attention on SXSW

Posted by Michael Brodeur March 17, 2011 11:20 PM


photo by Adam Conner-Simons

AUSTIN, TX -- While Bostonians celebrated their Irish heritage today, over in Austin all eyes were on the equally debaucherous affair known as the South by Southwest Music Festival (SXSW). The annual five-day event, which kicked off Tuesday, showcases a dizzying amount of music, with 2,000 bands playing hundreds of venues.

The first two-and-a-half days have already seen an ungodly number of surprises, including the Foo Fighters playing new tunes at a secret show at Stubb's Bar-B-Q and Jack White busting out an acoustic guitar for a set of stripped-down White Stripes songs in a parking lot on 4th Street. On Wednesday night, Duran Duran repped for the “aging fiftysomethings” demographic, showing up bands 30 years its junior with a propulsive set that kicked off its looming world tour.

At the 512 Bar earlier on Wednesday there was a younger, home-spun vibe with Converse/DigBoston's “Boston to Austin” party. A stacked line-up of local outfits like Dirty Dishes and Mean Creek steamrolled through concise 25-minute sets in front of an almost entirely new audience. The acts, while frazzled by the non-stop gigging around town, were downright giddy about having a showcase centered around Boston talent.

"It's been complete chaos, running from show to show,” said Kingsley Flood lead singer Naseem Khuri. “But it's great to have an event like this that will make people take notice and help put Boston on the map.”

The diverse musical mix spanned Mystery Roar's throbbing disco-funk and Viva Viva's explosive garage-rock. Bodega Girls ran through a few club-ready tunes from its cheekily-titled new EP “Et Tu Bootay?”, which has a record release March 30 at Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge.

Kingsley Flood, meanwhile, delivered some foot-stompin' roots-rock with the occasional trumpet solo performed from within the crowd. Busting out tracks from last year's “Dust Windows,” the sextet revived the sleepy early-afternoon audience and set the stage for concerts for Dirty Dishes and Viva Viva.

"I don't wanna go home,” Khuri sang halfway through the show, and, with a rapt group of newfound Kingsley Flood fans soaking in the music, you can't quite blame him.

Elsewhere, listeners looking for a break from the unending parade of white guys playing guitars took solace in the rollicking R&B of Raphael Saadiq, who steamed up the windows and classed up the joint with a smooth late-afternoon show at Cedar Street Courtyard for Filter Magazine's Culture Collide party.

[Check back through the weekend for continued updates and photos from SXSW 2011]

The return of OMD

Posted by Christopher Muther March 9, 2011 11:24 AM

Andy McCluskey of OMD, photo by Josh Reynolds for the Boston Globe

By Christopher Muther
Globe Staff

Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark
with Oh Land
Monday at Paradise Rock Club

In the pantheon of 1980s Britpop, they were not the heartthrobs -- that was Duran Duran. They were also not the goths (Depeche Mode), the dour ones (Tears for Fears) nor the ones who kept feeling fascination while working as waitresses in cocktail bars (Human League). Still, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark hold a sacred honor that none of their counterparts can touch -- the duo provided the prom soundtrack in the John Hughes teen tear-jerker "Pretty in Pink." That song, "If You Leave," led to misty eyes and a massive, hands-in-the-air sing-along when OMD played it before a sold out audience at the Paradise this week.
It may have been their first tour of the US in 23 years, but OMD still sounded as remarkably fresh as they did at their mid-1980s peak. Their synthesized songs of heartbreak ("Messages") and unrequited love ("Dreaming") were rendered with technical perfection to an adoring crowd, one member of which even hurled a bra on stage -- take that, Duran Duran. During their Boston stop. Andy McCluskey, the more energetic of the pair with a shock of wiry black hair, bopped, hopped, and windmilled his was through the band's 90 minute set with admirable determination. His voice unchanged from 25 years ago. He continually poked fun at his own dancing, before confessing to the audience that he had planned to return to touring with more dignity, but then decided "[expletive] it, I'm 51 years old."
OMD is touring behind a new album, "History of Modern," their first album of new material as a duo since 1986's "The Pacific Age," and they bravely offered a pair of songs from the new album, most notably the buoyant "New Babies: New Toys." But make no mistake: This was an evening for time travel. McCluskey and the more demure Paul Humphreys, who spent most of the evening grinning with delight from behind his keyboard, reached back to stark, electro early hits such as "Souvenir," to sublime later commercial offerings, like the underrated 1986 single "Forever (Live & Die)" and their US breakthrough hit "So In Love."
But the appreciative audience truly erupted when the band reached back to its early synthpop classics. Songs such as "Joan of Arc" and "Electricity" are still hugely influential for bands such as Ladytron and MGMT, but to hear these songs delivered from the source with devastating precision was almost worth the 23 year wait. Fortunately, McCluskey promised a shorter wait until the band's next tour.
Opening act Oh Land, the stage name for Danish export Anna Øland Fabricius, can trace her musical lineage back to OMD, but sounded closer to an amalgamation of Bjork and Yelle. In her too short and very charming opening set, Fabricius shined with the fully formed pop of the catchy "Son of a Gun" and proved herself a worthy opener for the synthpop legends.
Christopher Muther can be reached at

Hear Here: Oh Land, 'Wolf & I'

Posted by Michael Brodeur March 7, 2011 02:08 PM

Oh Land- Wolf & I (Live) from Oh Land Music on Vimeo.

[Hey folks, we're just tickled to introduce "Hear Here," a new daily feature on the Sound Effects blog. Check in every day to hear a great new song by an artist in town that night. Enjoy! - MB]

I'm not even going to pretend that I can dislodge "If You Leave" from the coiffed heads of frothing OMD fans gearing up for the reunited pop powerhouse's return to form at the Paradise tonight. BUT: I can assure those OMD fans that there's a good reason to show up early tonight -- apart from that "secret" parking spot of yours.

Meet former ballerina Nanna Øland Fabricius, a/k/a Oh Land (that's much easier). Hailing from Copenhagen and currently blowing the holy-heck up, Fabricius offers what I can only describe as a downier take on the recent steely-sweet storm of Scandinavian electro-pop that Robyn rode over to our shores last year. Feather-light vocals, thumping beats and all sorts of synthy thingamadoos are the three main ingredients of her self-titled sophomore release, which drops next Tuesday.

She performed her first single "Sun of a Gun" on Letterman the other night to much fanfare -- with a chorus of floating balloon heads and flashing crags of fake ice, no less -- but this live performance of "Wolf & I," gives a hint of her softer, moodier, smokier side. Get hooked on this song now, and you'll officially be cooler than all of those snotty festival types who will soon claim to have discovered her at SXSW in Austin. You'll be like, "Oh Land? Oh, please. I was on that days ago." And that will feel good.

Check out more Oh Land on Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo.

Black Dub gets it together at Paradise

Posted by Michael Brodeur November 16, 2010 03:42 PM


Black Dub

Concert review by Scott McLennan.

A comfortably full Paradise Rock Club greeted Black Dub on Tuesday with a heightened reverence. At one point in between songs the silence was so complete that a bartender was shushed for rattling ice cubes.


Hallelujah for Leonard Cohen

Posted by James Reed May 30, 2009 06:17 PM


Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

By Sarah Rodman
Globe Staff

A review of Leonard Cohen in concert could consist of nothing but perfect couplets from his esteemed body of songs, each a world unto itself, and still not get at the depths of what transpired onstage. The quiet power, the original hipster cool, the resonant voice simultaneously evoking angels and demons, the unerringly tasteful nine-piece band attuned to Cohen's every lyrical nuance, the mordant humor, and amazing grace.

Stepping into the Citi Wang Theatre last night (the show repeats tonight) was like crossing the threshold of a grand and elaborately decorated mansion mid-party, where each room housed a guest offering wicked, witty, or wise advice on the ways of the world.

The only piece of advice the impressively lithe 74-year-old, who occasionally skipped about the stage and frequently went down to his knees, imparted during the bountiful three-hour-plus performance was to stay away from those lighted, magnifying hotel mirrors. Good advice.

Otherwise, 15 years after his last visit to Boston, Cohen and his band -- operating in the same lite jazz-rock neighborhood as Steely Dan but with more focus on ambience than groove -- dedicated themselves to the music.

Although he's generally not lauded as a vocalist but rather for his songwriting skills, Cohen's deep, chalky voice was a glorious thing. Whether he was pushing it to its limits on his most famous song, the majestic and oft-covered "Hallelujah"; applying sinister edges for the cynic's anthem "Everybody Knows"; or simply reciting the dark poetics of "A Thousand Kisses Deep," it was the perfect instrument for the job.

The attentive crowd bathed him in ovations and cheers at the ends of classic lines in famous songs including the vivid and devastating epistolary "Famous Blue Raincoat," the suddenly hopeful sounding "Democracy," and the dark sweep of "First We Take Manhattan." Cohen reciprocated with hat-on-his-heart gratitude.

If there's a quibble to be made, it's that, as tastefully as it was played, the music sometimes felt edgeless and occasionally alarmingly close to smooth jazz. But given the sharp lyrical shards roiling beneath the placid surface, maybe that was a necessity. There was no quibbling, however, with the band, which played with suppleness and telepathy, especially the chameleon-voiced trio of backing vocalists.

Part of the impetus for this tour stemmed from Cohen's recent financial problems, yet never has a performer seemed less like he was doing it for the money. As he told the crowd, "With so much of the world plunged into suffering and chaos, it is a real privilege to gather with you and the music." The feeling was mutual.

Sarah Rodman can be reached at

The Luxury takes the Rumble title

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase April 25, 2009 12:10 PM

Correspondent Scott McLennan was our man at the WBCN Rock ’N Roll Rumble Friday night:

The finals of the 31st annual WBCN Rock ’N Roll Rumble pitted polish, flamboyance, and grit against one another at the Middle East Downstairs Friday night, and in the end, polish conquered all as the Luxury took home the prize.

The pop rockers, playing in the wild card slot, faced off against the glam rock of Gene Dante and the Future Starlets and the guitar rock of the Dirty Truckers. A panel of five judges was left to decide which finalist, culled from an opening field of 24 bands, best played to its particular strength, and the Luxury left little room for argument.

The Luxury went on first, never the desired position in a battle of the bands. Yet rather than merely building up sandbags against formidable opponents, the band set a high standard with a wildly entertaining performance that never felt forced. It deftly deployed vocal harmonies and smartly employed keyboard-bolstered song arrangements to bridge arena bombast with club intimacy. Well-honed material such as the psychedelic “Malcontent” and gauzy “Rockets and Wrecking Balls” grounded the set, while new songs like the hard-charging “Next in Line” injected new energy.

The Luxury’s convincing Rumble win (one judge said the band was the runaway favorite) followed its selection to open for Coldplay last year at the TD Banknorth Garden, setting the stage nicely for a Luxury record release in July.

Singer Gene Dante and his Starlets offered a bit of lusty decadence that drew from such glam wellsprings as David Bowie and Duran Duran, while the Dirty Truckers kicked out old-fashioned rock bound up in roots and twang. Somewhere between the polar span separating the two, the Luxury found the sweet spot.

The Outlets, a Rumble band from the Class of 1981, performed a blistering special-guest set after the competitive rounds. The Barton brothers -- Rick on guitar, Alex on vocals -- expertly led their band through such past glories as “Knock Me Down” and “So Wired” that once defined Boston’s garage-punk-infused scene.

Witnessing the vets and aspiring Rumble participants together, it was easy to appreciate the expanse and continuity of the city’s vibrant music scene.

Metal mania

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase April 20, 2009 11:58 AM


Correspondent Scott McLennan reports back from the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival in Worcester last Friday:

For heavy-metal fans, the opening of the 11th New England Metal and Hardcore Festival at the Palladium was like an early Christmas. Only louder. And sweatier.

Metal is not a style of music lauded for its nuance, but a creatively packaged fest brings to light the twists and turns the genre has to offer. On Friday, the bill ranged from the dire menace of the Acacia Strain to the subhuman thrash of UK vets Napalm Death to brutal diatribes from Suffocation to the taut wallop of All That Remains (above). It was gratifying to see the locally bred Acacia Strain and All That Remains deliver on the promise of so many previous Metalfest sets, which served as stepping stones in their respective careers. North Carolina's Between the Buried and Me delivered Friday’s most memorable set, rising above the din with manically paced epics that pushed the quintet past the traditional boundaries of aggressive music.

Best T-shirt of the night: a Spinal Tap-inspired “This festival goes to 11.”

With Saturday’s show headlined by Lamb of God sold out in advance, it seems Metalfest was able to trump the recession blues.

U2 and you

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase April 3, 2009 07:03 PM


If you weren't one of the 72,000 people who snapped up tickets on Monday to the Sept. 20 U2 show at Gillette, pull yourself together and gear up for another try. The Irish rockers have added a second Gillette show on Sept. 21, and tickets go on sale Monday, April 6, at 10 a.m.

Tickets -- $32.50-$252.50 -- are available at and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers, online at or by phone 800-745-3000.

Get on your boots, people!

Ride like the wind ... to Kowloon

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase March 5, 2009 12:17 PM


There's nothing like a Christopher Cross tune to help the fried rice and egg rolls go down. Especially if he's singing it right in front of you.

The artist behind "Sailing" and "Ride Like the Wind" is performing an acoustic show at Kowloon restaurant in Saugus tonight at 8 p.m. $35 will get you in; $75 will get you a great seat and a reception with the man himself. And the proceeds are going to a good cause: the Music Drives Us Foundation. Call 781-233-0077 for tickets.

All-you-can-eat Chaos

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase March 2, 2009 09:12 AM

Correspondent Scott McLennan reports back about Friday's Taste of Chaos show:

WORCESTER -- The annual Taste of Chaos tour looked like another victim of downsizing when it was announced that this year's concerts would be held in smaller venues with fewer bands. But when the fifth annual edition of the show arrived Friday at the Palladium in Worcester -- with Cancer Bats, Pierce the Veil, Bring Me the Horizon, Four Year Strong, and headliners Thursday -- a packed house got way more than a taste of chaos; it got a hard-core banquet. Here’s a look at the menu:

The Jersey boys of Thursday, around since 1997, have long defied whatever label the music industry wants to apply to them. Not emo, not screamo, not even the all-encompassing "post-core" can corral Thursday, which just released its fifth album, the sharp and angular “Common Existence.”  The songs are thoughtful, powerful, and smartly constructed, and the live set Friday was genuinely heartfelt. The band sounded like what U2 might sound like if Bono wasn’t trying to be the Pope of Rock ’n’ Roll.

Four Year Strong nabbed pre-headliner status by dint of being Worcester guys who could attract a boatload of people to the Palladium. Yet they did not coast, delivering versions of “Bada Bing Wit’ a Pipe” and “Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die” that turned the theater into a throbbing mosh pit.

Decadent UK import Bring Me the Horizon wrapped its taut metal-core around themes of sex, drugs and mayhem. The kids loved it; the parents will hate it once they catch wind of it. The band's "Chelsea Smile" is a front-runner for “Song to be Played when the Apocalypse Occurs.”

With its meticulously tailored trashy looks, disjointed music, impassioned pleas mistaken for singing, and ironic cover tune (“Billie Jean”), Pierce the Veil was the most stereotypical Warped-core band of the night. Even if you’ve never seen this band before, you have -- at least if you’ve been to a summer rock festival in the past five years.

Cancer Bats started things off by turning punk and metal influences into a bit of raw lunacy that handily lit the night’s fuse.

Sunday night sounds

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase February 23, 2009 05:01 PM

You must be sick of hearing me (and the rest of the Boston media) go on and on (and on) about Highland Kitchen, the fabulous year-old Somerville bar and restaurant, but I have yet another thing to praise: bands on Sunday nights. I've seen the Coachmen, a Johnny-Cash-meets-Willie-Nelson-by-way-of-Junior-Brown kind of band, and Al Kooper, the rock legend who played keyboards on Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd (among other astounding feats). It's crowded but not mobbed, and the drinks, food, and service are exceptional, as always. Oh, and it's free.

On tap for coming Sunday nights at the Kitchen: New Orleans funk and the Delta blues -- a truly fine way to start the week.

Phish tickets on sale Saturday

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase January 28, 2009 11:21 AM

Phish is playing the Comcast Center June 6, one of 10 reunion shows the beloved jam band is playing that month. Tickets ($49.50) go on sale Saturday, Jan. 31, at 10 a.m. at the Comcast Center box office, 877-598-8689, or

Pedal to the metal

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase January 23, 2009 10:41 AM

Like swallows to Capistrano, metal bands and metal fans will flock to the Palladium in Worcester in April for the 11th annual New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. The most comprehensive fest for aggressive music on the East Coast, if not the country (if not the planet), Metalfest opens April 17 with heavy hitters All That Remains, Acacia Strain, Suffocation, Napalm Death, plus scads more. On April 18, dozens more take to the theater’s two stages, with the mightiest of the day being Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying, Children of Bodom, and God Forbid.

Tickets are $40 for Friday, $45 for Saturday, and $79 for a two-day pass, on sale tomorrow through Check for schedules and full lineups here.

--- Scott McLennan

Animal instincts

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase January 21, 2009 12:35 PM

The new House of Blues has a number of great concerts coming up, including a highly anticipated appearance by Animal Collective May 14. And if this week's New York shows are any indication, tickets to the Boston performance will be in great demand.

According to a trusty New York correspondent, Animal Collective fans in New York have been clawing themselves apart in search of tickets. The first show was last night, at the Grand Ballroom (check out pix at, and the second show is tonight, at the Bowery Ballroom; both sold out almost immediately. The demand for tickets is fevered: on, tickets were going for up to $150 – some seven times the face value. (On bigger corporate sites, scalpers were unloading tix at considerably higher prices.) All this for a band that stressed on its most recent album, "Merriweather Post Pavillion," the need to look past "material things."

You can avoid those crazy resell prices by buying tickets to the Boston Animal Collective show ($20, plus hefty fees, of course) when they go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. Tickets are available at, and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers, online at or by phone 800-745-3000.

Jan. 20 show at the Grand Ballroom. Photo by Zach Dilgard

Going Strong

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase December 30, 2008 12:28 PM

This just in from correspondent Scott McLennan:

Four Year Strong put on its second annual holiday homecoming concert Saturday at The Palladium in Worcester, once again shaking the sold-out venue with the next wave of pop-punk thrills.

Last year the band was capping a successful tour promoting the indie record “Rise or Die Trying,” and this year it's readying the masses for its next album, due out on the Warner Bros.-backed Decaydance label launched by Fall Out Boy honcho Pete Wentz. The buzz Saturday was that the record will come out in late spring or early summer, and that Four Year Strong is in contention for a few big summer tour packages. The band will also be joining Thursday and Bring Me the Horizon on the Taste of Chaos tour, coming to the Palladium Feb. 27.

The festivities Saturday included an indoor blizzard courtesy of strategically placed snow-effect machines and a lineup of bands that highlighted rising pop-core acts Lions Lions, Energy, and A Loss for Words. The show also included several calls for remembrance for Dominic Mallary, a well-known singer in the Central Mass. punk circuit who died earlier this year after a freak injury.

California's Set Your Goals (ably assisted by Bay State guitar shredder Jon Strader of No Trigger) lit the fuse with a chaotic set before the homegrown headliners sealed the deal with a razor-sharp performance. Singers and guitarists Alan Day and Dan O’Connor, synth player and singer Josh Lyford, bass player Joe Weiss, and drummer Jackson Massucco looked like they were having a blast belting out such signature tunes as “Bada Bing Wit’ A Pipe!” and “Maniac.” And the onstage frenzy proved infectious, igniting massive mosh action and overall joyous mayhem among the audience.

Expect good things in ’09 from Four Year Strong.


His truth is driving on

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase December 12, 2008 03:49 PM

Driving five hours roundtrip to see a show on a cold December night might seem a little nutty, but when the destination is the cozy Club Helsinki in Great Barrington and the musician is former Soul Coughing lead singer Mike Doughty, it's actually an incredibly sane thing to do.

We made the trip last Friday night after work and arrived just in time to have dinner (we split a plate of chicken apple sausages with warm cabbage and potato latkes) before the show began. The tiny club is charming, with antiquey light fixtures and an intimate dark red glow -- a perfect spot for Doughty's Question Jar show, in which audiences members submit handwritten queries for Doughty and his cello-playing sidekick Scrap to answer -- or mock. We were four feet from the stage, close enough to see every smirk, every chord change, every crumpled question hit the floor.

It was a magical evening, and we made it back to Somerville safe and sound at 2:30 in the morning, fueled by gas station coffee and "Busting up a Starbucks" on the iPod. Club Helsinki hosts great artists -- Maceo Parker, Levon Helm, Odetta, even the rowdy Gogol Bordello -- and I'd make the drive again in a heartbeat.

[We were sitting so close I didn't even have to zoom in for this shot.]

He really got us

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase December 11, 2008 11:42 AM

Correspondent Ami Albernaz reports back from the Ray Davies show in Providence Wednesday night:

At Lupo's last night, Ray Davies blended old (Kinks stuff) with new (songs from his two solo albums), graciously shepherding the eager audience through the decades of his career. He dwelled in New Orleans, the provenance of numbers like "Morphine Song" (off this year's "Working Man's Cafe"), written as a tribute to the hospital staff that took care of him after he was shot in the leg during a mugging. Much of the largely middle-aged audience, as expected, was there to hear the songs of their youth -- and with characteristic charm and wit, Davies obliged. "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" and "Shangri-La" still rang true, and a high-voltage rendition of "You Really Got Me," aided by a full backing band, proved that 64-year-old Davies has still got it.


Last call at the Abbey Lounge

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase November 28, 2008 01:36 PM


Globe Scene & Heard columnist Jonathan Perry reports back from the final Abbey Lounge show Wednesday night:

Perhaps the bathroom walls said it best: “Goodnight Abbey – Thank You! Was Real” someone had written, excitement trumping grammar, over a scarily neglected urinal. It was one of many scrawled men's-room tributes to the Somerville club, which hosted its last show on Wednesday night. A moment of silence – flush nothwithstanding – please.

The financially troubled venue, which officially shut its doors after months of speculation about its fate, had billed its final 10-band blowout as a “Last Blast.” Indeed, it was that and much more: a celebration and a commiseration, fueled by shared memories of nights spent in the beloved dive bar that soon became synonymous with Boston’s punk and underground rock scene when the revered and (ultimately) reviled Rat closed its doors in 1997.

“It felt like home for the band,” said Muck & the Mires frontman Evan Shore, surveying the stage he would take for the last time later that night. “We’ve played 35 shows here and we never had a bad time. When they started booking music, it was a clique – you were considered an ‘Abbey band’ and sometimes, you’d get heat for being an ‘Abbey band.’ But that’s what made it so great, because everybody knew each other.”

The joint was already filling up at 7 p.m., with a good chunk of folks raising Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboys and looking a little stunned but ready to give the good times one last go. The beginning of the end came with opener Jay Allen’s frisky set of off-the-cuff acoustic punk-pop. Ahh yes, for those of us lucky enough to catch it, “Twist My Nuts” was certainly a catchy highlight.


By the time local music scene-maker Billy Ruane materialized with a stack of pizzas and plopped them on the bar cartoonishly crowded with empty beer cans, you began wondering just how many more mourners could fit into the viewing room. It was only 9:30, but already there was barely enough room for all the beer, guitars, gear, and bands talking about their best, and worst, nights on the Abbey’s well-worn stage.

The Sprained Ankles took over after Allen, and the night became a beautifully loud buzz and blur: from the Auto Interiors and Acrobats to Curses and Spitzz. Muck & the Mires gave way to the Coffin Lids and the Konks, who ceded, finally, to Triple Thick.

“I brought along some extra tape because I heard it was gonna be a crazy night,” said Lars-Erik J. Sirén, a well-groomed young man filming the festivities. He wasn’t the only one documenting the last hurrah. “This is the last original, real punk bar you can go to,” lamented Christina Ritchie, 29, of Somerville, as she snapped a friend’s picture. Later in the evening, there were reports -- and evidence -- of bar stools being carted from the premises as keepsakes and jagged chunks of bathroom wall being ripped away and pocketed as souvenirs.

In a far corner behind the bar, a portrait of Elvis Presley hung on the wall, looking regal in his iconic white Vegas-era jumpsuit as he watched over the spectacle. The King was silent but still singing in that picture, as if alive forever and frozen in time, a big aloha necklace draped around his neck. Gone from the terra firma perhaps, but after all these years, far from forgotten in the places that matter.

[Chris Brat & Daniel Brat of the Acrobrats]

[The Sprained Ankles: Ryan Logsdon (guitar), Michael Patterson (drums), Emily Vides (backup vocals)]

[Kurt Konk of the Konks, front left; Coffin Mike of the Coffin Lids, front right)

Photos courtesy of Justin Boucher (to see more of his photos from the Abbey's last night click here).

Finger on the pulse and all that

Posted by Matt Shaer February 5, 2007 10:57 AM

On the horizon:

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, April 11, at the Pearl Street Night Club, in Northampton.

Cold War Kids, April 11, Pearl Street Night Club, in...

Wait a second. I just realized that... well. You get the point.

Remixed, and Holding Steady

Posted by Matt Shaer October 31, 2006 10:17 AM

Spoke last night with Architecture in Helsinki's Cameron Bird, who said his band has just sent off the final copies of a new disc of remixes (undertaken by acts like New Buffalo and Safety Scissors) to the label. AiH is a traditionalist pop band is a lot of ways, but their music is a popular target for remix fiends: Hot Chip's take on "Do the Whirlwind" is a great piece of laptop art.

In other news, went to the Hold Steady show last night, and I can think of only a few shows in recent memory where the sobriety of a singer was so much in question.

So far I've got:

1) Jack White, at the Opera House, last fall.
2) Ryan Adams, at the Avalon, last summer.
3) Ryan Adams, at the Hampton Beach Casino, last spring.
4) Ryan Adams, at the Iron Horse in Northampton, last spring.

Political scientist

Posted by Matt Shaer October 18, 2006 01:00 PM

Well, after twenty years of waiting, I finally got to see Randy Newman last night at Berklee. I'm going to save the gushing (OK, just one gush? Man. It was good), and get to something you might actually be interested to reading about/seeing.


A few nights ago, Randy was on the Colbert Report, for a short interview. He also played his song "Political Science". The clip is here. It'll take a few minutes to load, but it's worth it. Newman spends a few minutes deflecting Colbert's good-natured jabs and then gets down to business: A fun, two-minute romp through one of my favorite tracks.

Stay tuned for Joan Anderman's review of the show -- should be running in the Globe in the next couple o' days.

Howl-o-ween with the Rudds

Posted by Matt Shaer October 12, 2006 11:22 AM


God, I love the Rudds. What other band (Caveat: The Upper Crust) brings such a welcome sense of levity to Boston's rock scene? Anyway, got a press release today from bassist Tony Goddess that reads, in part:

"We brought you the songs of Cheap Trick in '04, and Prince in '05. Now we're putting it all together in '06.

The Rudds' Hall-and-Oates-O-Ween will be on Saturday October 28th, 2006:

9PM - The Silver Lining as The Who
10PM - The World's Greatest Sinners as Sly and the Family Stone
11PM - The Rudds as Hall and Oates
12PM - The Rudds as....themselves!

at TT the Bears (
Saturday October 28th
9pm / 18+ / Nine Dollars"

Take away her soapbox.

Posted by Matt Shaer October 3, 2006 12:49 PM


As Linda Laban wrote in yesterday's Globe, Be Your Own played a noisy, short set at the Mid East on Saturday night. But I'm going to take exception to the characterization of the band as "uber-focused," mostly because on Saturday night, Be Your Own Pet was anything but focused, and also because the four-piece managed to cover up all traces of its somewhat-considerable talent with, like... noise. Yeah, so Be Your Own Pet is young, and Jemina Pearl is pretty, and energetic. And yeah, there are even a few good pop-hooks here, and some solid song-writing. But there's also a lot of theatrics masquerading as performance art; and a lot of head-shaking and mosh-pit-baiting tremors for the sake of head-shaking and mosh-pit-baiting tremors. Looks, Karen O. rocks, and she's certainly an admirable role model for a young up-and-comer. But the Yeahs channel mood, emotion, and (!!!) socio-political commentary (!!!) through their tunes, while BYOP just channels played-it-before teen angst through the blown-out mouthpiece of a bullhorn. Someone take away the kid's soapbox, yo.

Better? The Black Lips' set. Raucous, tight, and then spilling-out-at-the-edges; fuzzed out, angry, and equal parts Clash and Black Keys. These guys rock.

A hard rain fell.

Posted by Matt Shaer August 28, 2006 10:58 AM


Sorry, couldn't resist the play on words. Anyway, saw Bob Dylan play in Manchester last night, and the place was absolutely soaked -- it rained through the entire two hour set, at varying degrees of intensity. But what a show. As is often said of Dylan, catching one of his gigs is a bit like shoving quarters in a slot machine: half the time it's amazing, half the time the man seems to be out to totally confound the audience. But last night, we got a speak-sing rap version of "It's Alright, Ma"; a spooky, swaggering take on "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum"; a soaring rendition of "Tangled up in Blue"; and a sinewy, riff-laden "Highway 61 Revisted". (Alright, Bob, so you forgot a couple verses; you have written roughly 3 million songs. We forgive you.)

Curiously, Dylan didn't touch anything from the new disc. Since "Modern Times" hasn't left my headphones for the past three days, this was a bit disheartening.

On an unrelated note, Beirut pulled off a [expletive] great show at the Mid East Downstairs on Saturday. Lest anyone be turned off by the fact that Zach Condon plays Eastern European Gypsy music, let me say this: The band has a hypeman. How sweet is that?

Dispatches from the posh pit.

Posted by Matt Shaer August 25, 2006 11:52 AM


Hold your breath, folks. Globe reporter (and unabashed Justin Timberlake fan) Meredith Goldstein hopped a train and then a plane last night, just to catch Timberlake perform at a club show in Philly. Here's her report:

High points: Song called “What Goes Around,” which
borrows from “Cry Me A River,” and a funked-up,
‘80s-inspired tune called “Love Stoned” with ending so
good I was inspired to write down the note, “righteous

Low points: None. He delivered. And he can play a
guitar and dance at the same time. So there.

What was probably more telling about Timberlake’s new
interests was the music the venue played when he
wasn’t on stage. It’s been said Justin picks those
tunes (I read that ‘Nsync played the Rolling Stones
before shows to please the crew). Thursday’s pre-show
soundtrack included music by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
Beck, Black-Eyed-Peas (pre-Fergie), and Modest Mouse.
The song that played when it was all said and done?
“The Scientist” by Coldplay. Deep.

Apologies and Gram

Posted by Matt Shaer July 3, 2006 10:58 AM

Sorry here, folks, we've been seriously delinquent on posting to the Sound Effects blog (it's a busy time of year, natch) -- but a couple things of note.

First, on July 26, Sound Team (below) -- another heavily-hyped upstart indie group (see CYHSY) -- are in Cambridge. Go.


Second, caught the new Gram Parsons documentary last night. It's called "Fallen Angel," and it's getting released with the Parsons' "Complete Reprise Sessions" (If you own "G.P." and "Grievous Angel" already, you should still check this out. The quality is sharp). The whole thing is meticulously researched, and there is some great material here (although a smattering of hokey effects dulls the edge -- make sure to catch the flames consuming Gram's body. Ouch). The best? The interview with photographer Dominique Tarle, who shot Parsons and the Stones together in France.

The photos are big and expressive and beautiful (see a sample shot below), and director Gandulf Hennig spends a lot of well-used time exploring Keith Richards' influence on Parsons.


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The latest news, commentary, and reviews on music in Boston and beyond.


Sarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

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