Category Archives: Concerts

I Believe in a Thing Called The Darkness

The Darkness are rock & roll. Guitars, bass, drums and vocals. All cranked to eleven. Whatever you may think you know about The Darkness is irrelevant. See them live. Witness the dual guitar attack from the Hawkins brothers. Hear the blistering vocals. Feel the tight rhythm section. They put on one of the most entertaining shows you’ll ever see.

Justin Hawkins

The Darkness came to Boston and conquered. For two solid hours the band tore through their catalog with blazing bravado and cheeky camp. Early on singer/guitarist announced that the band was “here on business” and it sure felt like it. The band was a machine, cranking out riffs, sing-a-longs and smiles from the entire crowd. Highlights included “One Way Ticket,” “Hazel Eyes” and “Concrete.” The show ended with a massive jam with “Love On the Rocks With No Ice” where Hawkins mounted the shoulders of a security guard and played a sick solo while walking throughout the crowd. [Pictured above]. He then climbed to the balcony and did a huge dive and crowd surf back to the stage. He was a golden god.

Irony is a confusing topic for Americans. There is nothing ironic about The Darkness. They are a hard rock band from England where sensibilities are a little different. I believe that many “fans” of The Darkness think the band is some joke and that all that falsetto singing and spandex is meant to get a rise. Their Boston show was sold out and had a good mix of fans that only new “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” and others that appreciate the band for their classic seventies and eighties rock vibe. Hopefully those who came to be simply entertained were, but they aren’t laughing anymore.

The Darkness are a fierce and seriously diesel band that can rock with the best of them.

Darkness

Check out the set list on Spotify below. (Not listed: “Best of Me,” a b-side from their first record that was played around “Love Is Only A Feeling.”

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Tegan & Sara: Heartthrobs

Tegan and Sara’s new album Heartthrob is easily my most anticipated record of 2013. It is to be officially released in a few short weeks, but we now have three songs to start to get an idea of what this album is all about. I love there direction. Poppy, great vocals, stellar production and writing, all while not dumbing themselves down. They’re clearing “going for it.” What that “it” is remains to be seen but this is clearly their chance to cross over and be huge. I think back to almost a year ago when fun. released Some Nights. There are some very big similarities between the two. I’m still not sure if Tegan and Sara will get the same radio push as fun. received but you never know. They have grown as artists and are trying new and creative things. I can’t wait for the full album.

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Rustic Overtones at The Davis Square Theatre

Rustic Overtones

Rustic Overtones returned to Boston on Saturday, November 3 to give Let’s Start a Cult a proper Bean Town record release party. Massachusetts’ capital has always been a second home to the Portland, ME based band and fans flocked to Davis Square to hear the band kick out jams old and new.

The Davis Square Theatre is a relatively new venue in the heart of Somerville, MA. Tucked away in a basement off Elm St., the performance space offers an intimate experience for a show. There is tiered seating, an open floor and a bar in the lobby. The club has potential, but they are clearly still working out the kinks.

Rustic Overtones hit the stage a little before 11 p.m. after a rushed and confusing sound check. The tiny stage could barely hold all of their gear, forcing amps and members to stand on the floor. The group tore into their opener  “Combustible” but singer Dave Gutter immediately experienced issues with his mic as he walked into the crowd. Moments of terrible feedback also persisted for the first few songs. The sound guy was either having a really bad night, or was way out of his league trying to mix the complex arrangements of the band’s seven members.

Visually frustrated, the band pushed forward like professionals and gave the crowd and excellent show. Early highlights included “Simply in Love” (the band’s bongo and horn stab remix of their own “Simple Song” and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”), a killer sax solo from Kyle (Ryan Zoidis’ stand-in for the night) during “Iron Boots,” and the haunting ballad “I Like it Low” off their new album.

Rustic Overtones is a live band in every sense of the word. In recent years they have started experimenting more on stage, extending conventional songs like “Crash Landing” and “Gas on Skin” into percussive jams with tons of tight improvisation.

MVPs of the night had to be stone-faced Mike Taylor on the keys and harmonies and Jason Ward with the baritone sax, flute, and bass clarinet. Taylor’s intense vocals and slick playing brought texture to Gutter’s melodies and Ward’s multi-instrument attack kept the low end rocking on “Carsick” and their cover of Morphine’s “Honey White.”

The Overtones closed their set with “Going Out with a Bang” and it couldn’t have been more fitting. As the crowd sang along with Gutter, the vibe in the room couldn’t have been more perfect. “We’ll never be alone again because we’re your friend,” the room chanted along with their Cult leaders.

The band returned to the stage for a two song encore that was punctuated by the soulful “Feast or Famine” featuring a masterful trombone solo from Dave Noyes. While Rustic’s career has certainly been feast or famine is the past, their future couldn’t be more promising. They have a great new album, are about to start working on the sequel and continue to entertain crowds all throughout New England. Rustic Overtones are not to be missed.

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The Hold Steady Live in Boston

The Hold Steady has been called the greatest bar band in America. I’ll go a step further and call them the best rock and roll group in the country. Great songs, intelligent lyrics, stellar live show. All their talents were on display this past week in Boston as they played to a sold out room of hipsters with huge frames, Springsteen wannabees and the jeans and blazer set looking to cut loose for a night.

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Rustic Overtones Live at The Stone Church

A Ryan Zoidis solo is worth the price of admission to a Rustic Overtones show. The saxophonist absolutely killed it during the Overtones’ set at the Stone Church in Newmarket, NH on Friday. Zoidis blazed on “Love Underground,” “Everybody Wants to Be Somebody’s Friend,” “Girl Germs” and “Iron Boots.” I’d pay to see this guy busk in a train station. Continue reading

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Paramore Live in Atlantic City

I’ll be the first to admit that I was originally down on Paramore. I saw them as a flash in the pan scene band that had a decent single and might have a short underground run. But Haley Williams wore me down and won me over after the release of brand new eyes. The band has ditched the scene haircuts, and traded in their pop-punkyness for big riffs and a simply great rock show.

Fun opened the show and surprisingly, they actually pulled off their complexly layered songs live as a six piece band. Their set was short, but they did their job  warming up the crowd. Quick tangent: Enough with the drummers who overly rock out with the head banging and raised sticks, over emphasizing each hit. The drummer for fun. was a good player, but he was rocking out way too hard on songs that totally didn’t call for his (over)enthusiasm. Anyways, great band. Expect good things from them.

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Rustic Overtones Live

In my continued efforts to whore myself and this site to the Rustic Overtones, I highly recommend spending some time and watching the four videos below. The clips are from WHSN’s 2010 Acoustic Showcase to Benefit the Nat’l MS Society, Maine Chapter that took place on April 3, 2010 at the Gracie Theatre on the campus of Husson University. The production from  WHSN 89.3 FM & NESCom (The New England School Of Communications) is top notch. My only gripe is that the “Nuts & Bolts/Iron Boots” medley cuts out right after Zoidis’ solo before the big climax ending. Word is that more video exists but the station has yet to post it. I’ll be waiting. Enjoy.

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