The BGN News Archive
This week it took until Thursday before we saw a bill that got us out of the house. It was Baabes at O'Brien's that got our immediate attention. They put in a wild show last May at the Middle East Up.
We saw three whole sets just missing openers Sticker Shock. They seem like a band we should catch at some point, judging by their punk output on Bandcamp.
We don’t know what the name Labor Hex means, but boy did they burn on stage. The music was a jagged wall of sound. The singer was raging the whole set. It seemed like he didn’t think the words would be as powerful unless they were yelled with all his energy. He had a Henry Rollins Band shirt on and Henry Rollins would seem like a role model for him. He was on and off the stage and often down on the floor.
The guitarist had a slightly distorted tone but it was his playing that added the constant dissonance to the overall sound. He seemed to have an endless supply of edgy chords and note shapes that scraped against some open strings. The rhythm section was super tight. Their twists and turns gave individuality to every tune. We guess you call it post punk. It’s pretty cool to get blasted like that from a band you never heard before. The cut that captures them most on their Bandcamp page is “Valentine Coast”.
We had seen The Maxims before at Great Scott’s last February but didn’t remember even after hearing the whole set. Not our fault entirely. When we saw them they were playing a blues set. But the set we saw at O’Brien’s was glorious garage rock. John Keegan saw them at the Middle East at the Muck and Mires show just in October.
They set the vocals so they sound like they are coming out of a distorted radio. The music is fuzz stoked, covered in wah-wah and sounded like it originated in the basement. The songs sounded so right. It felt like you were listening to Pebbles Vol. 11. They captured that feeling of a sixties band getting good and making those singles we have all searched for ever since. The bass and drums were so together that the guitarist could lay back and let some space open up and it still sounded fine.
Baabes also had a garage sound. The guitarist Frankie, played short fuzztone riffs that basically were the song. Baabes didn’t evoke the sixties like The Maxims did, they juiced up the form. They used it as a platform for their performance....And it was a wild performance. The singer was not only off the stage but all around the club, wherever the mic chord would reach. He had a raspy voice that he used to the great effect. The between song banter was as entertaining as the songs some times.
The singer, Johnny Brain Box, put every bit of energy he had into the performance. It was the same last time. He sings, poses, dances and jumps around until he can hardly stand up. They reminded us of Gala, another group whose stage antics are constant without short changing the music. Here's their FB page.
There was so much great music this Thursday night. The problem? No one was there. Yet, these bands played like it really mattered. You have to admire bands like this who play full out every time.
What a difference a day makes: Friday O’Brien’s was sold out for the Red Invasion reunion show.
We also wanted to see Evert again. The first time we saw then at the Midway last August it took a while to digest Joe Packard’s bass playing. We liked them even more this time. They played a version of hard rock that evokes the seventies in a big way. It gives you flashbacks to the Grand Funk/Bloodrock/Deep Purple era. The songs would go well on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack.
You couldn’t hear them for more than a few seconds before you would notice Joe’s bass playing. He plays an insane amount of notes per bar. For him it’s not overplaying – it’s his thing and it becomes mesmerizing.
Somehow Matt Burns on drums deals with this and plays a complimentary busy, but not too busy, style. Between the two of them it was a thundering roar that makes the group unique. Matt plays a lot of styles in the many groups he sits in on but he really knows this era of rock to his bones.
More good news is that the songs were good and Jim Alger has a voice that carries the melody. It was like the sweetener on top.
One song was about Daniel Pearl, the reporter that was murdered by Isis and that was powerful.
Funeral Cone have been together since 2011 but this was the first time we came across them. They made an impression very fast. There was a sense of chaos about the whole band. It felt like anything could happen in the music and on stage. The lead singer was dressed like an English Oi member with a Mohawk. The keyboard player and guitarist had yellow signs on that said ‘funeral’. The music’s most prominent sound was the keyboard that sounded like a cheesy Farfisa. It sounded like the B 52’s at double speed.
The music was punk and garage mixed together with probably other stuff that was hard to figure out in a first listen. In their last song we heard a familiar riff that took a while to recall. It was “When I Was Young” the 1967 song by Eric Burdon and the Animals. How did that make sense? A wild, unhinged and thoroughly entertaining set.
Last up was Red Invasion. We saw their other show at Sonia. That show proved that they still had the punch and had the songs down.
At O'Brien's they were jammed on a smaller stage and were complaining that they couldn’t hear themselves. They sounded rougher and we think even better! They were not in the best conditions and it sounded like they were working harder to overcome it. As a result that old scrappy punk sound came back into play. You could hear Joey’s voice well and despite what the band thought the sound was balanced enough on the floor.
The songs seemed shorter and snappier. It was all for the good as the audience went a little crazy. We don’t remember the Red Invasion fans being this rabid back in the day. We were forced to the back of the crowd by people intense on being up front. The photos reflect that. It seems that somehow the band's reputation has grown since their demise. There were a few people outside who didn’t get in. Joey talked about that on stage and seemed to say that because of this nights response that there would be more shows.
Christmas is about ten days away and Saturday we finally got in the Christmas spirit. We needed to see some holiday fun on stage. We got that at Midway at the Stop Calling Me Frank album release party when Santa showed up.
Before that it really began when State of the Union started the set and we saw Joe Perry bedecked in a loud, bright red Christmas themed suit jacket and matching tie. The first song was “Deck the Halls” done up with power chords. Video below. That was a fun holiday kick start.
The band soon got down to what has become a killer set of its emotional punk rockers. Songs like “Man Overboard”, “Small Town Hero” "Rain" and “Bombs in Boston” have an economy of lyric and melody that click because they have a soulful middle. They tug at the heart as they rock out.
One of their best segues is going from “No Place Like Home” the cover by the Neighborhoods and sung by Joey on bass into their own “Ring Me Up” that sounds like an unreleased Neighborhood song. That song off their latest album was recorded at Woolly Mammoth by Minehan. Video of that above. And you can't talk about State of the Union without fawning over Sandy Summer and her unbelievably great drumming!! She is mesmerizing. All you need to know is drummers from other bands in this show were saying "I wish I drummed like that!!"
We’ve come to love every song in their set. A lot of them are on that latest CD Panaflex Blue which you should get. (Here it is on Bandcamp)
They ended the set with Jingle Bells which set up the visit from Santa. We don’t know if you know Santa? Big guy, full of cheer? Well, he said we were all going to have a wonderful Christmas and get all the gifts we wished for. He gave a hearty “Ho, Ho, Ho” that echoed off the walls. It was some Christmas magic right there at the Midway.
Stop Calling Me Frank continued the festivities with a set that included three Christmas songs. One was their new single, “Santa Give Me a Beer”. Another one was newly written and called “Santa, Say It Ain’t So” and that one was gem. It had a moodiness to it that culminated in an extend section that repeated the phrase “Say it ain’t so” beyond what you would expect as Lenny sang over it with a soulful take on the verse. It was hypnotic and became a real moment. That has to be recorded. SCMF are on their way to a Christmas album. Do it, we say. And add some instrumentals featuring the sax!
SCMF do a generous set, they can because of the amount of material they have now. Much of it is on their new album on Rum Bar Records Spider in My Beer. They joke that they have one anti-drug song and the rest are drinking songs but that’s not entirely true. They have some off kilter material of all sorts in their set. Their set seems especially suited to the Christmas theme of the day but then again they seem to fit into every situation. Maybe that’s why they are playing at the House of Blues with the Dropkick Murphy’s for their St. Pats Day show.
To round out the festivities SCMF provided a delicious spread of barbeque, salw and cornbread from Roadworthy in Dedham. They also had Girl Scouts selling cookies in the back. The girls weren't happy with sales because they started trolling through the audience, mid-set, giving a sales pitch that made people buy up the last of the boxes if only to share with everyone else there.
It was left to Duck & Cover another Rum Bar group to finish off the night. They were all business as they just dug right into their usual set. They're like State of the Union in that they've worked for a few years to the point where they have a set of quality material. We can remember thinking at some early shows that some of the songs stood out from the others. Their Midway set was all those good songs: “Live it Up”, “Rob Them Blind”, “Wasted” and “Yeah Don’t You” make for a set full of guitar hooks, vocal hooks, and crunching punk.
There were so many times during the set where we said to ourselves that’s a favorite song or moment. They're open to any idea that makes a song work and will hit those Allman Brother like twin leads and love doing it. See it in the video above at 1.33 seconds in. They ended with their most radio played song “Stand Corrected” that has had the air of a classic from the get go. The set was so good and that’s just their standard. Anyone who considers themselves a Boston punk fan should be familiar with this band!!
And then we were off into the night with a new Christmas spirit in us.John Keegan made it out to Worcester and gives us the goods:
John K. made the trek out to Vincents in Worcester to catch Mick Lawless and Mr. President Kaiserís record release party. Lawless cherry picks the new disk, On Your Frequency Line, and throws in a few strategically placed Monkee covers to prime the pump. Vincents is shaped like a reverse image of the Ploug decorated by a hoarding taxidermist. Itís one of those nights when the band, the crowd, and the room all vibrate on the same wavelength.
Vincentís is packed with friends and strangers who howl and dance cheek to cheek. Santa Claus is in the house and gives out scratch tickets and trades shots of tequila. Prez tosses out a mix of his tasty, concise soloís. A couple of psych-outs gave the band space to interact and stretch. "Zero Minus One", "Dead on the Vine" and "Jen Canít Save You Now" show off the bandís bar rock range
More band photos below the show listings.
And in other news.....
We have another great Christmas song for this year!! “Nuttin’ For Christmas” by Color Killer. Those young rascals “ain’t been nothing but bad” so no presents for them. And they have Dickie Barrett as Sanata Claus/mad Dad in the video too! Check it out here. Definitely worth a watch...or two or three!
There's a new album out by Willie Loco Alexander (and the Fishtones); Aqua Vega It’s noirish, jazzy, electronic, beatnik like with poetry on top. Willie, as always, is in a fertile creative spot. He sort of does a Christmas song, “Joy To the World” where he lists all sorts of groups and people he’s come across in his career from the 50’s to the current time. So, very cool.
Here's some good shows coming up this week.....
December 19 (Wednesday) A Very Fuzzy Christmas ...Holiday Tunes performed by local Boston rocknroll heroes! ALL AGES! All proceeds will be going to benefit the non-profit feminist organization Girls Rock Campaign Boston 6-Midnite at The Burren. Again its a insane list of awesome talent you won't want to miss...including Stephen and David Fredette (scruffy the cat), Mary Lou Lord, Fuzzy, Tanya Donelly, Buffalo Tom and Fuzzy.
December 20 (Thursday) 7th annual Spectacular Gift Drive for DCF Wonderfund! In support of foster families in the Boston area, let's spread good cheer with this holiday celebration. with Hail Santa- Boston Rock's holiday season super group featuring Michelle Paulhus (Stars Like Ours), Ali McGuirk, Bice Nathan (Hey Zeus), Chip Nicolai (Goddamn Draculas), Peter Moore (Count Zero) also on the bill When Particles Collide and Salem Wolves- NOTE: Please bring unwrapped gifts for children of all ages—toys, books, art supplies, electronics, musical instruments, clothing, hats, coats, sporting goods, gift cards (older kids like these)...this is an 8-Midnight show at Once Somerville.
December 21 (Friday) BLOWWstice: Darkest Days (a Wrestling and Punk show!) BLOWW is back with a vengeance! Featuring a rowdy lineup of wrestlers, punk bands, and cake--lots of cake--the Boston League of Wicked Wrestlers is ready to throw down in their hometown for the holidays with special guests include WIMP and the Electric Street Queens! at The Midway
December 22 (Saturday) A Crash Course for the Ravers on WMFO 91.50 1-4PM has Smitt E. Smitty.
December 22 (Saturday) Linda Viens is hosting Solstice Gathering with Music & Friends at the Out of the Blue Gallery in Allston. Musical guests will be Crazy People (Tom Tipton & Johnny Berosh), Brass Orchid (Timothy & Judith Sprague, & Johnny Berosh), Randy Black (solo) and Parma Chai. Solstice ritual is at 8PM music follows at 9PM
December 22 (Saturday) Greg Allen's Fringe Religion, Classic Ruins, 1.4.5, Fireking - Early Show 4-8 at The Midway
December 22 (Saturday) Hardcore Stadium presents The A-Team w/ Last In Line, Down But Not Out, Rampage, MFP, Restraining Order at an early show at Middle East Up 4:30 doors
December 22 (Saturday) Jingle Punk! A Lily Black Holiday Special! with Lily Black, The Knock Ups, Happy Little Clouds at Sally O'Brien's
December 23 (Sunday) Thrash N Bang's Annual Xmas Punk Pizza Party! with Neighborhood Shit, Revilers, The Hangovers, Sewer Buddies, Coffin Salesman and Jake Tringale. 4-8PM at The Midway
And further out we have......
December 28 (Friday) Randy Black and the Heathcroppers, Richie Parsons Band, Vangelista, Trick Wallace Trio at McGann's FB page for times and directions.
December 29 (Saturday) The McGunks, Scotty Saints & True Believers, Steal Reserve, COB at The Midway for a 4-8PM show.
December 29 (Saturday) time & place, Hambone Skinny, Blame Shifters plus a very special surprise guest at a night show at the Midway
December 31 (Monday) New Year's Eve Billy Connors Project, Stop Calling Me Frank and Hambone Skinny at Sally O'Brien's in Somerville.
December 31 (Monday) New Year's Eve Bash with Something Sneaky, Native Son and Today Junior at O'Brien's Allston.
December 31 (Monday) Michael
Kane and The Morning Afters are streaming a live show on Facebook.
They'll do live sets at :
January 4 (Friday) It's tradition! The Annual NYDAY sale at 40 South St Vintage! come and grab a mimosa or a bloody mary and rock out. 50% off ALL THE CLOTHES!!!! 12-4PM FB page for more info
January 4 (Friday) OC45, The Dents, Duck & Cover, Blame It On Whitman at O'Brien's Pub
January 4 (Friday) 61 Ghosts, Little Billy Lost, JonesCreek, Thee Fightin’ Fish at Koto Salem
January 4 (Friday) Revilers, Fast Times, The Von Traps, Losers Circle, DNZL down the Cape at the Brewster VFW #9917 6-11PM
January 6 (Sunday) VAULT Punk Fest with Moist Boy, Lenny Lashley, The Pourmen, American War Machine, Total Chaos at Greasy Luck in New Bedford. Starts at 4PM FB page info
January 11 (Friday) Not A Wasted Night: A Benefit for Chris Doherty of Gang Green at the Paradise. More info to come. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates. Tix are $25 and you knwo this is a great cause!! You can buy tix here. Here's a list of performers so far: Slapsdhot, The Dogmatics, The Outlets, Unnatural Axe, White Dynomite, F.U.'s, Springa, Worm
January 11 (Friday) Red Arlington, A Bunch Of Jerks, HIXX and Ski Bunny at O'Brien's in Allston.
January 12 (Saturday) Punk Rock Aerobics - A benefit for Girls Rock Campaign Boston! at ONCE Ballroom Noon to 3PM FB page.
January 12 (Saturday) IL Mostro (CD release) w/ Cortez, Scuzzy Yeti & Wrought Iron Hex at O'Brien's
January 12 (Saturday) Gene Dante And The Future Starlets, The Gala, Tiger Bomb, Smitt E. Smitty at Once Somerville.
January 12 (Saturday) The Joe Zippo Memorial Show at KOTO in Salem. Featuring: Hub City Stompers, Michael Kane & the Morning Afters, Brix'n Mortar, COB and Matt Wall will be playing in between sets.
January 12 (Saturday) Restraining Order, Envision, Antagonize, Brother, Pummel at AS220 Provi RI
January 17 (Thursday) The next Buy Me Boston book event is at the Boston Public Library 6-8 PM Here's the FB page.
January 18 (Friday) Tsunami of Sound, Keytar Bear, The Chelsea Curve and Little Billy Lost at Sally O'Brien's in Somerville.
January 18 (Friday) The Imposers, The Radiator Rattlers, Tigerman Woah, Graneros at The Worthen Attic in Lowell. <
January 18 (Friday) Billy Connors Project, Stigmatics,Thigh Scrapers at Koto in Salem.
January 19 (Saturday) A Crash Course For The Ravers show has BAABES in to chat and spin tracks. 1pm to 4pm WMFO 91.5FM (http://www.wmfo.org/popout_player.php?bitrate=256)
January 19 (Saturday) The Gobshites, Time Out Timmy, Mongorellis, Punk Band, and Jimmy Jacked at the Midway for a 3-7PM show.
January 19 (Saturday) Nat Freedberg, Watts, Justine and the Unclean, Duck & Cover at Once Somerville
January 19 (Saturday) Franklin’s Birthday Bash at Hotel Vernon w/ MK & The Morning Afters, Origin Story, Coffin Salesman, Chris Murray and more - only $5!!!
February 1 (Friday) The Cryptics, The FUs, Secret Spirit, Triggered at UnchARTed in Lowell.
February 2 (Saturday) Welch Boys Annual Ron Holbrook Memorial Show - proceeds go to The Pine Street Inn...featuring The Welsh Boys, Ice Cold Killers, Blue Bloods and Rockin' Bob Punk Band...at Great Scott.
February 2 (Saturday) Art Thieves, Bundles, Stolen Wheelchairs, Blatch at the Midway 8PM show
February 8 (Friday) Hey Zeus Record Release & Listening Party (Argonauta Records) with Motherboar, Cocked N Loaded, Labor Hex at Once Somerville.
February 8 (Friday) Murphy's Law at the Middle East
February 16 (Saturday) Stop Calling Me Frank, A Bunch of Jerks, The Knock Ups, and Tsunami of Sound are at The Midway for a matinee show 3-7PM.
February 16 (Saturday) The Chills are at The Middle East Up.
February 19 (Tuesday) Gang Of Four at Once Ballroom!!!!!
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