First Night is an annual all-day event held in Greater Boston on New Years Eve that celebrates the generosity and vibrance of the Boston arts community. It's a day that begins with art, movies, free tours, dance, and puppet shows and ends with music and fireworks. It's also a great opportunity to stalk me if you want to follow me around all day. It's New Year's Eve--put a cheese ball and some crackers in your purse and meet me at the MFA at 10AM. You can check out the full First Night schedule here, but here's my agenda.FULL ENTRY
Tonight in Harvard Square's Oberon Theater, Jaggery will perform as one of the acts in a performance called Org: Last Day on Earth which has a theme somewhat related to the Mayan version of the Y2K bug.
As tongue-in-cheek concepts like joking about the end-of-days have become as ironic as an ingrown toenail, it's important to remember that music, if not the medium, can always be worth venturing the unknown for.
If a volcano the size of Rhode Island started to erupt, I wouldn't go and see Jaggery tonight, but under any other circumstances, seeing them is a delight. At the center is the mercurial magesty of Singer Mail (piano/vocals), who is not so much mercurial for her moods as in the conventional sense of the expression, but more for the molten metallic drip that her vocal phrasings weave around the rhythms of the music.
Admit it, we all looked in admiration and horror at fingernails man in the old Guinness Book of World Records. Today is a new era, where everyday people just like you too can try and break a world record too! Today, Boston electro-smash duo Bang! Bros are actually trying to break the Flaming Lips record by attempting to play 12 shows in 12 different cities within a 24 hour period (get it? 12/12? Oh, and the Flaming Lips record was 8). Meanwhile, Cotton Candy have released their newest LP, Off-the-Hook and Out-of-Control, with 33 tracks clocking in at just shy of 17 minutes. That's got to be a world record, or something?FULL ENTRY
Just in time for a break in the run of the Slutcracker across the street at the Somerville Theatre comes a two-night run of Jo Carol Pierce's Bad Girls Upset By The Truth. The humorous production splices country-tinged ballads with dramatic monologues that explore one woman's realization of the "truth" about love.
Unlike Slutcracker (which I love too), Bad Girls reminds us that not all bad girls are created equal. Not all of them are raging extroverts, or conventionally sex-positive, or are particularly socially well-adjusted for that matter. Sometimes that geek girl with the ugly sweater is just that, a geek girl with a sweater--and that thing ain't getting whipped off to a disco soundtrack.
The instrumental pleasures of the Invisible Rays and the Weisstronauts @ Armory - 12/6 and Midway - 12/7
In that tiny splinter of time that existed between the great first wave of American rock & roll and the British Invasion, there was a place and time for the brief rise of the instrumental group. Outfits like the Ventures and Shadows helped paved the way for the unit-mentality and melodicism of the Beatles, and surf-guitarists like Dick Dale were of course hugely influential on left-coasters from the Beach Boys to Jimi Hendrix. Two of Boston's best instrumental groups have events this week, and despite all the differences in their sound and philosophy, they have more in common than I first would have guessed.
It turns out that both the Weisstronauts' Pete Weiss and the Invisble Rays' Rafi Sofer are both recording engineers/producers in the New England area. A pretty significant point to have in common other than the way they look in reddish lighting based on the pictures included here! Sofer works in Cambridge at Q Division, while Weiss runs Verdant up in Vermont. Could it be that each formed his instrumental band a decade or so ago (the Weisstronauts in '99 and the Invisble Rays in '01) to escape the musical ego machine that is best embodied by the persona of the lead singer? There might be a bit of truth to that.
About the authorJonathan Donaldson is a Boston-based musician, writer, and second-generation music junkie. An Ohio native who moved to Boston in 1998, Jonathan's musical loves include R&B, psych, punk, bubblegum, country, electronic, More »
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