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Concert Reviews

Over the Rhine Overwhelms at the Variety Playhouse!

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After a few opening songs, Linford Detweiler, half of Over the Rhine, stated “Its one of those mysteries … sad songs make me feel so good … our songs make sad people happy and vice-versa.” This sums up the music of Over the Rhine (OtR) precisely. Linford and his giant voiced wife, Karin Bergquist, form what is the OtR songwriting team.

Reminiscent of the Cowboy Junkies, OtR plays sultry melancholy songs. This is not formulaic melodies or trite lyrics … this is thoughtful and eloquent music with excellent complexity. Founded over twenty years ago, OtR has a strong fan base that flies just under the mainstream.

With a full compliment of excellent musicians, OtR put on quite a show playing predominantly from their new album ‘The Long Surrender’. Throughout the show Karin and Linford spoke as though we were old friends who had been invited into their home to enjoy their music. This is the type of connection that OtR fans have with this band. They closed the show with ‘No Kill Shelter’ a song written for all the stray dogs in all of us that was inspired by a true story of a stray that was eventually adopted by the couple. A good show for all the Over the Rhine fans in the house.

Lucy Wainwright opened the show. A folk singer with an extraordinarily clear and strong voice, many at the show were talking of her set afterwards. Lucy has deep musical roots, being the daughter of Loudon Wainwright, II and Suzzy Roche. I look forward to Ms. Roche returning to play a more extensive set of her music.

During the first encore, Lucy joined Linford and Karin of OtR for a sweet and poignant version of Bruce Springsteen’s Hungry Heart. Little did we know that long time E Street Band member Clarence Clemons was passing into that rock-n-roll heaven as they were singing.

Lucy Wainwright Roche Setlist
Statesville
Next Best Western
The Worst Part
Accident & Emergency
Wild Mountain Thyme (Francis McPeake cover) with audience sing-a-long
Chicago

Over the Rhine Setlist
The Laugh of Recognition
Rave On
The King Knows How
Undamned
I’m on a Roll
Oh Yeah by the Way
Infamous Love Song
Only God Can Save Us Now
Days Like This (Lim Taylor cover)
Trouble
Entertaining Thoughts
Don’t Wait for Tom
All My Favorite People
-Encore
Hungry heart (Bruce Springsteen over) Karin, Linford & Lucy Wainwright Roche
Drunkards Prayer
No Kill Shelter

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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