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Walking into the Masquerade on Friday night, I could tell something was up.   The usual crowd of indie-hipster kids had been replaced by a pack of wild party animals, straight out of some 80’s nightclub.  Mohawks, off-the shoulder t-shirts and glow-in-the-dark accessories abounded and the early crowd seemed primed for a good time.

First up was local band Wowser Bowser.  The crowd seemed to know them and as they launched into their set, the band threw inflated balloons into the crowd.  Although they looked like they could have been in high-school, Wowser Bowser had at least a few really solid songs, although the computer loops backing their music were sometimes a little confusing to the overall sound.  The trumpeter they brought up about halfway through the set was a nice addition, as was the female vocalist who joined the band for the last few songs.

Next on stage was Bobby Birdman, a backing member of headliners YACHT, now supporting the band as a solo artist as well.  Birdman is a multi-instrumentalist and a talented one at that.  As the crowd grew, Birdman upped the energy for his final few songs.

Finally, the rest of YACHT joined Birdman on stage, and the real show began.  Lead by vocalist Claire L. Evans and Jona Bechtolt on multiple instruments, YACHT came out strong and never let the energy fade.  The crowd danced and sang along, the entire venue transformed into a dance club from three decades ago. Evans writhed and danced, even wrapping herself up in her microphone chord at times and Bechtolt, along with the rest of the band, stayed in motion throughout the almost two-hour set.  The crowd was ecstatic, and the glowing bracelets and necklaces were soon flying through the air.

Although musically, YACHT is not exactly my taste, they put on a great show.  I’ve never seen the Masquerade as alive as it was on Friday night.  If you like to dance and have a penchant for neon, YACHT is a live band not to miss.

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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