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Concert Reviews

Dean Balkwill + Justa Bar = Good Night!

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So here I am at one of my fave local clubs, Justa Bar in the “WoodHood” covering a cover band … boy do I feel “Almost Famous” tonight. Well at least its Kill the Keg night with 50¢ beers.

Promptly at 8, The Dean Balkwill Band exploded on the stage with a punky version of “What You Won’t Do” followed by an incendiary version of “Brown Sugar” … and we never looked back all the way to the show closer cover of the Eminem monster hit “Lose Yourself”.

Formerly seen on Broadway in productions like Rent and the Lion King, Dean Balkwill is a showman extraordinaire. Calling their show high energy is an understatement. Dean exhibits the showmanship and energy of the Broadway star of his past.

The Dean Balkwill Band is rounded out by a group of equally talented musicians including Steve Cunnigham on guitar and pedal steel, Mike Haid on drums and vocals and Sean McIntyre on bass and vocals. But its Dean who makes the show with all of his top notch dance moves. The only drawback was their normal set was shortened with the show ending at 11. These guys are a high-energy, variety dance band, featuring modern rock, classic rock and dance party music, that is not to be missed at a club near you.

Setlist
What You Want Do (Bobby Caldwell)
Brown Sugar (Rolling Stones)
Sweet Home Chicago (Blues Brothers & others)
I Wish (Stevie Wonder)
Jump Jive and Wail (Stray Cats)
T-R-O-U-B-L-E (Elvis and others)
Georgia On My Mind (Ray Charles)
Bust A Move (Young MC) – Stayin Alive (Bee Gees) Mix
Keep Your Hands To Yourself (Georgia Satellites)

Break

Streets With No Name (U2)
Anyway You Want It (Journey)
Sweet Home Alabama (do I have to write the name of the band here)
What I Got (Subllime)
Pride and Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
Friends In Low Places (Garth Brooks)
I Will Survive ()
Hard To Handle ()Kiss (Prince)
Lose Yourself (Eminem)

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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