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Concert Reviews

Almost Kings: Kings of the Stage

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In October, I was called out to The Masquerade to meet a band and see them play.  Unfortunately they were the first set and there was a miscommunication of time.  I hung out with the guys and had fun taking pictures and getting to know them all.  I was told a band called Almost Kings was about to go on, but I had to run back inside for another thing I had going on.  When I walked back out to the amphitheatre I was instantly struck by the sound from stage.  I bee-lined it straight towards them and got some shots of Almost Kings, but it is sad to say I missed most of the show.  Fast forward to last Friday night.  REHAB’s tour dates showed a Clarksville, TN show and opening act of Almost Kings. Serendipity? I think so….

My car is packed with directions in hand. My nephew, Nick, and I hit the road at 5 PM EST.  I was told the show starts  at 8 PM so I am already freaking out as I cannot miss both bands AGAIN!  Half way to the venue in TN, I realize they are in a different time zone so my stress eases a little.   Nick and I are chatting away having fun and it was nice to hang out with the oldest of the nieces and nephews. Two sore butts later and some fast food, we arrive at The Warehouse in Clarksville, TN.  I gather up my stuff because it is 8:30 and I have to get into the venue!  Walking in, I am asked for ID. I hand it over and explain that I am on the list.  Ten minutes and a little confusion later, I am in and talking to the men of Almost Kings.  I am told they do not go on until 10:15!  What?!?  I am early?  Never happens . . . seriously.  So at this moment I am feeling proud of myself.  I go out and chill with Nick in the car and try and take a little nap.  Nope, doesn’t happen in this town.  People walk by, say hi, and talk.  Makes the time go by so much quicker and before I knew it, Almost Kings was heading to the stage.

If you have never seen Almost Kings, you need to.  The music coming at me from the band sounds like a mixture of hip-hop, rap, rock, and skater music.  I am thrilled! The performance these guys put on will amaze and excite your senses.  I have a hard time focusing my camera because they jump all over and never stand still.  But, no complaints here because I came to see a show!  I have heard a song that these guys play called On Like That.  I am sitting on the speaker trying to get some good shots and BAM on comes the tune that has not left my head since Friday!  The crowd goes nuts and I do too!  Have you ever seen a man get eight feet in the air?  No?  See the pictures.  I am astounded by these guys.  They truly come out and make sure that the audience gets their money’s worth.  I have to mention these cats are from Atlanta and grew up in my HS district.  Makes me proud!  The ATL represents in the music scene and the Almost Kings stands to represent us for a long time!  I just saw a post today that an Atlanta Almost Kings show for 2011 has been confirmed.  Check out their Facebook page HERE!  I will be there, and you should be too!  Almost Kings, to me you ARE Kings of the stage!

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Concert Reviews

Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad

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Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.

Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”

Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.

The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.

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Concert Reviews

Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair

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The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.

What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.

Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.

Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.”  The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.

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Concert Reviews

Years & Years at Royale Boston

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During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.

Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.

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