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The BGN News Archive

March 2, 2020

We've seen posts and write ups about the Whistle Stop for months now. Last night it finally arrived in town. Expectations and excitement were high. The brilliant conception and execution of this galapaloza extravaganza were immediately on display. John Keegan’s initial interview with the principals is here

Besides 11 bands there was loads of band merch and a few vendors as well. They really had the whole place buzzing. The attendance varied but was always good. Some people made it a thing to do the whole day, from 3pm to 12:30. John Keegan was one. He has a great slide show from the whole night - right below this.

All bands benefited from Once’s raised stage and the excellent sound all night. Once has a big PA but they don’t turn it up to the extreme or unnaturally pump up the bass as some venues do. The volume was at a humane level and the mix perfect.

Keegan writes about the first three bands....

Justine and the Unclean's opening slot ensured a healthy, welcoming crowd. At this point, these guys have it down: great tunes, Charles Hanson's on-fire guitar bursts, hopped up rhythm section and Justine's acerbicly titled, sharp takes on the follies of amore.

The recently constituted Shang Hi Lows certainly meet the definition of a local super group. Dan Kopko (Watts), Jen D'Angora (The Dents, Downbeat 5), Lee Harrington (The Neighborhoods) and Chuck Ferriera (Eddie Japan). These guys don't need no primer on how to assemble 60's-tinged, perfect rockpop with you take the root, I'll take the fifth, harmony, a stellar debut that expands on the catchy groove side of each members day gigs - not to mention Kopko coming through on his promise/threat of sexy poses.

Heather Rose in Clover are a Providence based power trio. They bring back good memories of nineties indie rock. They don't shy away from an eclectic mix of influences, soft here, big bass there, an underlying touch of singer songwriter chops, a splatter of grunge and grind. Playing a southpaw guitar, Heather Rose exudes a warm and welcoming rock qal personality,

In a bit of BGN division of labor, Blowfish will be writing about Chelsea Curve, Cold Expectations, Lockette and Kid Gulliver ......

Chelsea Curve
Chelsea Curve
Photo: Blowfish

We first caught Chelsea Curve at one of their first shows at Sally O’Brien’s in January 2019 and they were good then. They had more material and were sounding even better last time we saw them in October at Jungle. But the band we saw at Once had that something extra, some spark that puts them on a higher level. We knew that after a few songs. The band was tight yet playful on stage and when they cranked out three originals in a row that were gems that made us just gasped in admiration. We just enjoyed every minute of the set.

Linda Bean Pardee has a very appealing mid-range voice. Her dark maroon dress with a black stripe was an eye catcher. Her bass playing locks in with the drummer, text book style. The drummer had an ACL injury but you would never know by his playing!

Tim sounded sharp with his red Telecaster. We saw him in his own group The Steamies at the Midway a couple weeks ago. They play early English punk influenced music. In that vein The Chelsea Curve played their perfect rendition of the Jam’s “In the City”, always a crowd pleaser.

Cold Expectations
Cold Expectations
Photo: Blowfish

Next band off the train was Cold Expectations. That’s Steve Prygoda's band. They have had several lineup changes and we heard that this show was the last with the current guitarist Bob. We’re sorry to hear that because Bob was jaw droppingly good. He had a silver smoth tone serving tasteful licks.

Cold Expectations are in a different place than most bands even on this bill. They are a combo of twangy country, folk and rock. The songs were hitting some personal and emotional points. At times it had a singer/songwriter vibe. The words held up to the extra emotional weight and made for some hard hitting moments. A lot of this centers on Steve and this group is a good vehicle for his ideas.

Photo: Blowfish

We've been looking for a chance to see Lockette. We had one of their song Compromise on our Top Ten. We liked the low buzz topped with the clear vocal on that song. As it turns out that’s what they do live.

They admit to using “copious amounts of fuzz." The main guitarist however often had a clear tone and whipped out a few metalish solos. The bass though was buzzing and that gave the group their trademark sound. The lead singer is the not so secret weapon, she has a powerful voice and it drives the melodies and makes the lyrics count.

Like all the Whistle Stop groups this band is strong on songs. They are not trying to rock you more than anyone else.

And when you talk about song writing you are talking the game of the next band Kid Gulliver. We've seen Kid Gulliver a lot and it’s been a joy to see them advance in every way through these last few years.

Kid Gulliver
Kid Gulliver
Photo: Blowfish

They've had ear catching melodies from the get go. In the Once set they played some of that first batch of songs like “I Like Your Hair” and “I Want To Be a Pop Star” but they've added many new songs with the same melodic flair.

Simone Berk is a singer extraordinaire. She made it look so easy. She always was pitch perfect and she made the melodies glide along while making every word clear. We were captivated by the song "Carousel" about wanting to go back to childhood and that was all from the magic of her voice.

Kid Gulliver
Kid Gulliver
Photo: Blowfish

For us the whole set led up to “Suzie Beat Chemotherapy” That song has been a standout from the beginning. Just recently they nailed it in the studio. They have been getting plays on music blogs which is where you get plays these days. Then it shows up in Pandora and Spotify. That’s the current model for success.

When David the guitarist hit that Buzzcock like hook at the beginning of the song we were ecstatic. That’s the height of it for us. They extended the song a bit with some jamming at the end and that showcased Sandy Summers, one of our favorite drummers, who now is with the group. It seemed like everything came together at that moment: the music, the crowd, and the good vibe. This was the fulfillment of the Whistle Stop Rock plan. They did it.

Tiger Bomb continue to show off the mad talent level on this bill. Chris Horne and Lynda Mandolyn and crew up the garage and Ramones quotient. Horne's vocal on Baby Come On is incendiary and kicks the crowd into delirious hip flip high gear. Mandolyn totally brings the girl group pop punk. Oh the ohhh's and ahhh's of it. Horne, behind black wraparound shades, is the epitome of cool RnR front woman.

Whistle Stop Bass player
Photo: Blowfish

Powerslut. Do I really need to say more? Linnea Herzog is the mad scientist, pan sexual, swirling emissary of sexy love and inclusion. The crowd comes to a peak. The alphabet is out in force loud, proud and rockin'. John Bragg's guitars are insane, it all goes off the chart when Linnea stomps the fuzzface or brakes out the glass dildo for a burst of in flagrant slide. The end of the road for Powerslut reminds me of when Fagettes/Barbazons pulled the plug on their equal opportunity fuckfest dance party - a deliciously naughty memory that you never forget.

Gretchen Shea and The Knock Ups trade in the sequences and shimmy for big bass trio hard rock. They were in a black leather, take no prisoners, in your face mood. They kept their boot on the throttle throughout with the exception of a brief respite for a tender but tough version of the soft rock chestnut Angel of the Morning.

Eight hours in and I was toast. So it was a pleasant surprise when the DC based last band, Teen Cobra's primitive drums and guitar thing resuscitated the late night crew. Their White Stripes, husband and wife team with Cramps, swamp-ass punk blues shake some primal gut muscles and all clock in at about two minutes. Neil plays dirty guitar and Veronica stands and bangs on a tambourine taped to the tom plus snare Moe Tucker minimalist kit.

Linda Bean Pardee
Chelsea Curve
Photo: Blowfish

Whistle Stop gave us a local taste of a long tradition of a cavalcade of bands invading a town to play rock n roll. The fact that it is home grown and featured the best of our local women-led rock scene gives us plenty to be proud of. There are a few more stops on the tour. Dont miss it if it comes to your neck of the wood.

The Whistle Stop idea could be a game changer! Think about it - like minded groups could do their own version of it. It focuses attention on the shows and groups in a way that single groups just can’t manage.

The day before the Whistle Stop Rock show we went to the Hong Kong in Harvard Square. A lot of bands sound different at the Hong Kong because no guitar amps or drums go through the PA, and that PA is on the small side. You hear the bass and drums more and the voice less.

Black Helicopter
Black Helicopter
Photo: Blowfish

That was the case on Friday when we saw Black Helicopter. They've been around for a while and we’ve seen them, two times in 2017. (Read it here and here.)

In the past they have had two guitarists, this time just one. Even with that, and most of the vocals buried, this was still a great set. Their sound is often like Mission of Burma’s, which is to say a noisy din. If you give into it and get immersed in it, it'is very rewarding. There's a rhyme and reason to it all which is what makes it work. You can catch their tricks that shape their wave of sound. Some rhythmic and some are harmonic. With only one guitar you could see where at times there was one chord shape being pushed around the neck.

At the Hong Kong it seems the bass is always upfront in the sound. The Black Helicopter bass player was minimal but always at the center of what the song was doing. He did more with less than any bass player we can recall. The drummer reminded us of Roger Miller’s guitar playing. If Roger plays a simple G chord somehow it sounds like a three ring circus. Why? Don’t know. This drummer was the same, when he played it kicked up a whole world of sound that you had to pay attention to.

All of this is to say that you could dig in and enjoy this set close up at the Hong Kong. There’s not going to be that many opportunities to see MOB these days. Those fans should be hitting these Black Helicopter shows to get a fix. Their next show is March 3 at the Midway.

Green Piece
Green Piece
Photo: Blowfish

Next up was Green Piece. We saw them at this same venue last August. They are from Lowell and play a tuneful indie/art rock. They sound a little different than most groups, which is refreshing. They have a small Moog but don’t play much on it. The drums, bass and vocals are done well but traditional. The twist to their sound is the guitarist who is way out there. He only had three small pedals but his sound was completely shaped by them, but not to the expense of hearing the notes.

He basically kept up a constant barrage of backgrounds. This was not soloing, it was all with the intent of coloring the song and backing the vocals. Once you caught on to the dynamic, it was very entertaining.

Their final song was called “Stacy’s Dad”. The beginning mimics “Stacy’s Mom” so it is an answer song of some sort and it’s good. Here is “Stacy’s Dad” on Bandcamp

Click Here for more band photos.

John Keegan hit another show up in the Medford club Porch. It was the country band that plays anything but country songs. That would be Slim Jim & the Mad Cows. Click photo below for review and photos.

Slim Jim

WAAF And in other news.......

People are still posting on the Bay State Rock Facebook page, even though the show is kaput. Carmelita has kept posting with comments on the WAAF ending. She’s been very positive and looks like she’s working out a way to take her radio show to another format. That would be an online radio platform or a podcast.

Mark your calendars for:

Tottoo convention April 3-5 is the Boston Tattoo Convention. They have some great local bands playing:

Friday 4/2, 7-10PM: Baabes, The Gala, Salem Wolves, Devils Twins and Saturday there's an After Party (9:30PM) at Kings Boston with Brix & Mortar

Here's some good shows coming up this week.....

March 6 (Friday) Mercy Union, Coffin Salesman, Secret Spirit, The NightBlinders at O'Brien's

March 7 (Saturday) Nervous Eaters, Ace Makers, The Manglers at The Square Root

March 7 (Saturday) The Gala, Muck and the Mires, Dangereens, The Downhauls at The Midway (night show)

March 7 (Saturday) Cortez, Mighty High, Test Meat, Bone Church at OBrien's

March 8 (Sunday) Kenne Highland Clan, Mad Painter, The Fools Agenda, Spaces For Two at The Jungle

March 8 (Sunday) 45 Adapters, Rockin Bob, Skum City, Faction Zero, The Black Snakes, Model Citizen at Niagra's NYC - FB Page for more info This is part of The New York Hardcore Chronicles Page series Back to teh Roots of NY HardCore.

And further out there is....

Skytigers March 9 (Monday) SkyTigers, Brix'n Mortar, Circus Battalion, Rage//Quit at Charlie's Kitchen

March 13 (Friday) Murphy's Law at the Middle East Up

March 13 (Friday) Set Fire, Black Helicopter, Ringtail at The Midway

March 13 (Friday) U-Ey at the Buoy, Classic Ruin, Crunchtime at The Square Root

March 13 (Friday) This is Night 1 of a 2-night Whistle Stop Rock festival in Salem!! Featuring: The Knock Ups, The Cold Expectations, The Chelsea Curve at Koto Salem

March 14 (Saturday) A Crash Course for the Ravers featuring Lucretia’s Daggers! WMFO 91.5 - 1-4PM

March 14 (Saturday) Sapling, Heavy Hands, The Freqs, Brian George of Motel Black 3-7 matinee at The Midway

March 14 (Saturday) The Hong Kong's 1 Year Anniversary Party w/Mint Green, Doom Lover, FonFon Ru - at The Hong Kong

March 14 (Saturday) Eldridge Rodriguez, Minibeast, Blood Built Empire, Sweeping Promises at Great Scott

Hong Kong show March 14 (Saturday) Dead Kennedys (three originals and NO Jello Biafra) at Big Night Live - here's the FB page- be sure to read everything you CANNOT do there before you go!!!

March 14 (Saturday) This is Night 2 of a 2-night Whistle Stop Rock festival in Salem!! Featuring: Kid Gulliver, Heather Rose In Clover, Justine's Black Threads... And special guests: The Dents!! at Koto

March 15 (Sunday) SkyTigers, C.O.B., Captain Martini and the Key Stoners, Colin Moran - a 2PM matinee- at Thirsty First in Lowell.

March 15 (Sunday) Anti-Flag, Grade 2, Doll Skin, Evan Greer at Brighton Music Hall

March 17 (Tuesday) Sonic Libibo, Duck & Cover, Skytigers at O'Brien's

March 17 (Tuesday) Greg Rekus (Winnipeg), Donny McHale, and Tim Hollhouse at Thirsty First in Lowell @ 8:00

March 18 (Wednesday) Randy Black & The Heathcroppers Plough & Stars Residency

March 20 (Friday) Wine Lips, Zip-Tie Handcuffs, Baabes at O'Brien's Pub FB page

March 20 (Friday) Loser’s Circle with special guests No Accion, Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One, and Live Nude Girls at Thunder Road

Knock Ups March 21 (Saturday) Pigeon Man, Motel Black, The Knock Ups at The Square Root

March 21 (Saturday) Jonee Earthquake Band, State of the Union, Kenne Highland's Air Force, Tsunami of Sound at The Midway

March 21 (Saturday) Brockton Hardcore Punk Shows presents In Cold Blood, Departed, Sick Minds, Divided Life, Eternal Reach at Dylan's in Brockton. FB page.

March 21 (Saturday) POST PUNK II with Chuck Ferreira, Duncan w Johnson, Anthony Kaczynski at Sally O'Brien's

March 21 (Saturday) The Return of the Bentmen w/ CMB at Once FB page

March 21 (Saturday) The Knock Ups, Motel Black, Pigeon Man, The Runouts at The Square Root

March 21 (Saturday) Vanity, Strange Passage, Sonomax, Loretta, Invisible Rays at The Democracy Center Mt Auburn St Cambridge

March 21 (Saturday) The Only Things "You Can't Rush Genius" Record Release Show at The Worthen House Lowell FB page.

Nervous Eaters March 22 (Sunday) Rodentt, The Doom Buggies, Classic Ruins - 3-7PM matinee at The Midway

March 23 (Monday) Crisis Actors, OVER (PDX), Loretta, Sticker Shock at Charlie's Kitchen

March 25 (Wednesday) Louzy, Pigeon Man, Hippocrisis, Wastebuds at O'Brien's

March 26 (Thursday) Waiver Wire, Scare City, The Planes, The True Jacqueline at the Hotel Vernon Worcester

March 27 (Friday) Hey Zeus, Labor Hex, Razorburn City at O'Brien's

March 27 (Friday) Modern Day Idols CD Release with the Hi-End at The Burren

March 27 (Friday) Loom River, Billy Connors Project, The Instamatics at the Square Root

March 27 (Friday) Little Caesar, Diablogato, Little Billy Lost, Pink Mahalares at Koto Salem

March 28 (Saturday) The Burning Lights, Only On Weekends, Blame It On Whitman, and Breaking Up 3-7PM Matinee at The Midway

March 28 (Saturday) Downhauls, Motel Black, Von Traps at Sally O'Brien's

March 28 (Saturday) Hobo Chili, Uncle Dan (PA), Michael Kane & The Morning Afters, CE Skidmore & The Damn Fine Band at The Midway (night show)

March 28 (Saturday) Bombpops, MakeWar, Pass Away, In the Meantime at The Hong Kong

Brian Young WMFO March 28 (Saturday) The Zulus at The Paradise

March 28 (Saturday) WhistleStop Rock Festival Portland with Tiger Bomb, Heather Rose In Clover, The Knock Ups, PowerSlut, The Chelsea Curve, Kid Gulliver, Justine and the Unclean at Sun Tiki Studios 6PM start!!! FB page

March 31 (STuesday) Stubborn Hearts, Nowhere Fast, Lotus Kid, The War In Kids at the News Cafe Provi RI

April 3 (Friday) Kid Gulliver, The Steamies, The Winter Project, A Bunch of Jerks at The Jungle

April 4 (Saturday) Gypsy Moths, Justine and the Unclean, The New Frustrations, Ghost Truckers 3-7 matinee at The Midway

April 4 (Saturday) Actor|Observer tour homecoming with Girih & Dreamwell at The Hong Kong

April 4 (Saturday) Loser's Circle, Hopeless Otis, The Bad Reminders, Taken By Vultures at Club Bohemia

April 4 (Saturday) The Dents, Duck and Cover, The Shang Hi Los at Sally O'Brien's

April 4 (Saturday) Dark Spring Festival Boston at Once "bringing the best of dark post-punk to Boston from near and far" Early show at 5PM

April 4 (Saturday) Uncomfortables, DNZL, Joe Division, The Damaged at the 13th Floor Music Lounge, Florence MA

April 5 (Sunday) The Grommets, The Fatal Flaw, Trusty Sidekick, Kermit's Finger. MC: Poet Jake Tringali 3-7PM matinee show at The Midway

Damned Interviw April 5 (Sunday) Wet Specimens, Chain Cult (dark punk from Greece), Final Gasp, Loretta, Cartridge at The Dorchester Art Project FB page.

April 6 (Monday) Knock Ups, blindspot, Gene Dante & the Future Starlets at Charlie's Kitchen

April 8 (Wednesday) Mad Painter Live on the Heavy Leather Topless Dance Party

April 10 (Friday) Little Man with special guests The Knock Ups, Falling Stars, and Baabes at Thunder Road

April 10 (Friday) Citizens Arrest, Maniac, Peace Test, Mangled at Hardcore Stadium Bishop Allen Dr

April 10 (Friday) Cadillac Heart Reunion, Crunchtime, Doug MacDonald, Loom River at Club Bohemia

April 11 (Saturday) DJ Easy Ed presents the Cranktones with Sax Gordon, the Fathoms, and Easy Ed's Record Hop 3-7matinee show at The midway

April 11 (Saturday) Courtney From Work, The Holts, Rawstrum, OTP at The Jungle

April 17 (Friday) FU's, End of Hope, Northern Skulls, & More at O'Brien's

BGN archives 12 years worth April 17 (Friday) Dark Thoughts, Conmen, Spiral Heads, PCP + the Knives at The Hong Kong

April 17 (Friday) Appendix, Destrucktions, Innocent, Bloodsuckers at the Democracy Center 45 Mount Auburn St, Cambridge FB page

April 17 (Friday) The Dogmatics, Stop Calling Me Frank, The Billy Connors Project at Sally O'Brien's

April 18 (Saturday) A Crash Course for the Ravers has Kid Gulliver as guests!! 1-4PM WMFO 91.5

April 18 (Saturday) Rock and Bowl at Cape Ann Lanes, Gloucester with U-ey at the Buoy, The Heavy Denims, Jittery Jack FB page for more info

April 19 (Sunday) The Undertones at The Paradise

April 24 (Friday) StrangeColorSky, blindspot, The Only Things, Silvertongue at The Worthen House Lowell.

April 25 (Saturday) Punk Night at The Office with Color Killer, Loser Birds, Jerry’s Got Jokes, Pigeon Man, + More bands TBA at The Office
121 South Ave, Whitman, Massachusetts FB page for more info

April 25 (Saturday) WhistleStop Rock Festival Western Massachusetts - featuring: Heather Rose In Clover, Kid Gulliver, The Cold Expectations, OTP and special guests State Of The Union at HiLO North Adams - FB page

April 26 (Sunday) The Macc Lads at Once 7PM doors. FYI: "The Macc Lads are an English punk band from Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. Self-proclaimed the "rudest, crudest, lewdest, drunkest band in Christendom", the Macc Lads used irreverent, foul-mouthed and politically incorrect lyrics; common lyrical themes were binge drinking, sex and fighting."

April 30 (Thursday) GBH at Brighton Music Hall

Billy Connors May 8 (Friday) Salem Answers-Night 1: This is a music fest to celebrate and encourage the arts, magic, equality, and diversity of Salem! 7-9 at Koto: Accoustic sets with Pink Malahares, Coffin Salesman, Jenn Lombari - 9:30 to close at Koto: Salem Wolves, Oh The Humanity!, Radio Compass, Bad Larry's....9:30 to Close at Opus: Marianne Toilet and the Runs, Losers Circle, Red Ledger, Hyber, Subourban Sunrise FB page

May 9 (Saturday) A Crash Course for the Ravers featuring Glider WMFO 91.5 - 1-4PM

May 9 (Saturday) Divine Sweater, Eagle Jesus, Louzy, Jailbait matinee show 3-7PM at The Midway

May 9 (Saturday) Salem Answers-Night 2: 7-9 at Koto: Acoustic sets with Live Nude Girls, C.Murray, C.Okeeefe - 9:30 to close at Koto: Diablogato, Brix'N Mortar, Hellbound Hitmen, Skytigers, Motel Black...9:30 to Close at Opus: The Gala U.S., Z28, The Von Traps, The Downhauls FB page

May 10 (Sunday) SalemAnswers-Night 3: 7-9 at Koto: Accoustic sets with Carissa Angelo, Opus, Vilanvs, - 9:30 to close at Koto: Stiff Propisition (Glamtastic covers members of Bacterial Husk, Sexcrement, and Brix'N Mortar), Master of Beers (Metallica), Aces High (Iron Maiden), Warthog (Ramones ). FB page

The Square Root show May 14 (Thursday) The Thigh Scrapers , 61 Ghosts, GLiDER, and Sara & the Scaliwags at Thunder Road

May 16 (Saturday) Baabes, The Knock Ups, Mister Vertigo, Motel Black at The Jungle

May 16 (Saturday) The Hi - End Record Release party at The Square Root

May 22 (Friday) Guilloteenagers, Stigmatics, Acrylic Killers at The Square Root

May 24 (Sunday) Negative Approach, ACxDCx , Bandit at ONCE Ballroom

May 30 (Saturday) Stray Bullets, Duck & Cover, Disco Rice, Silver Screams at O'Brien's

June 5 (Friday) Booze & Glory (punk/Oi - U.K.), The Drowns, Battery March at Great Scott

June 6 (Saturday) Straight Johnny, The Cretins, Electric Joey, Bad Sandy at The Midway 3-7PM matinee

June 6 (Saturday) Jay Allen and the Arch Criminals Record Release Show at The Square Root

June 13 (Saturday) Lyres and GLiDER at ONCE Lounge early 6:30-9PM show

Skybar June 13 (Saturday) Sugar Cones, Diablogato, Bunch of Jerks at The Square Root

June 14 (Sunday) Fourth Annual Out of the Blue Art Gallery Benefit FB page for more info as it comes.

June 27 (Saturday) Stop Calling Me Frank, Nat Freedberg, Brad Marino at The Square Root

July 3 (Friday) Andrea Howlett’s X-Ray Specs Tribute Show at The Square Root

September 17 - 21 The New England Shake-Up! Year Seven! in Framingham FB page

CONTACT US Send us your gig listings, your anything else ya got!! You want your CD reviewed?? Contact us for that too.

Green Piece
Green Piece
Photo: Blowfish
Black Helicopter
Black Helicopter
Photo: Blowfish
Cold Expectations
Cold drinks during Cold Expectations
Photo: Blowfish
Cold Expectations
Cold Expectations
Photo: Blowfish
Chelsea Curve
Photo: Blowfish


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