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Concert Reviews

MonstrO and The Sword

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Well, where do I start! I really didn’t know what to think when Ange gave me the call. I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to see MonstrO live, but didn’t know what to think about the rest of the lineup. However, we are talking about MonstrO. This was my chance to really watch and review their stage performance. As a person who loves working with artists and bands, specifically in the rock genre, I have a desire to learn what works and what doesn’t. What fans love and don’t. Well I have to say, MonstrO will NOT  disappoint! These guys have the full package. I am referring to their performance ladies. One of the tightest bands I’ve seen out of Atlanta since Mastadon. I think we are in the beginnings of a hard rock and metal rising! Georgia seems to be on the forefront of that. Mark my words!

Right from the beginning of their playlist to the MonstrOus close of their performance, MonstrO delivered their EXTREMELY tight musical genius. All veteran rockers, these guys know what it takes to keep you at your feet and close to the stage. As rockers that have honed their skills hopping from one band to another trying to find their fit, these guys have found theirs. Kyle and Bevan held the group tight throughout the entire set, allowing Juan and Charlie to lay the icing on the cake. Bevan by far has to be one of the tightest and most technical drummers I’ve seen perform in a long time. Precision is the key when trying to keep a band tight and he delivers on each and every song. Another treat for me was to experience Juan Montoya. WOW! I never knew. I have always seen him around town at different shows and always knew he belonged to several different bands, but never knew he could lay it down like that.  With a mixture of what I would call some hard hitting songs and masterful ballads (I know, bands hate ballads cause they think it will end their career), you can tell some serious time and patience went into each and every song. As the Intro brought you into “Fantasma” the crowd was coming in and Heaven (Big room upstairs in Masquerade for those who aren’t familiar) filled up in no time I couldn’t believe the crowd already that early in the evening. A true testament to how hard these guys work. Amazingly, throughout the set of “Anchors Up!”, “Solar”, “Concertina”, and “Parallel” the crowd not only remained, but grew even tighter in the room and spread even further into the back of the room. I was proud that I knew the guys! As I rubbed my knuckles against my chest in a boastful manner! LOL The finale was what took me over the edge with these guys. “Helios” is the perfect song to conclude any performance with. Bevan laid it down like only he knows how to do.  Later when reading some of the lyrics of the songs, I found that these songs are no bull. They have a meaning and they have a message. REALLY? Crap songs with crap lyrics are a thing of the past? NO WAY! Believe me when I say it, YES! And thank God! These are the type of bands I will go see over and over again no matter how many times.  Go check them out at HERE and their CD is available on iTunes.

BUT WAIT! There’s more! The Sword kicked total rump roast! Not knowing much about the guys I had to ask around as the set was changing. Everyone threw names of other bands at me that they thought they sounded like. With every band that was mentioned, I began to grow an appreciation for them. Now I wanted to really see them. And sure enough, I’m glad I stayed. Melodic guitars and tight beats took me back to my Maiden days. I’ve always been a rocker to the core. Drove my mother crazy with the music I would bring home. Old school Metal was in session that night. Let me introduce you to J.D. Cronise (Vocals and Guitar), Kyle Shutt (Guitar), Bryan Ritchie (bassist), and Trivett Wingo (Drummer) this however, blew me away. They have written the album, “Warp Riders” as a story. It’s the coolest thing! I love it. I remember other concept albums that bands of the past came up with. For quite a few of them, I couldn’t follow the story line. But being a Dungeons and Dragons Dwarf, I get this one. The whole concept is about good and evil meets real life and fantasy. For you Dragon*con fans, this is the band for you. I can completely see METAL OPERA in the makings. Even though the vocalist tells the story, those dueling leads tell the story of the struggle between good and evil. Impeccable precision between the guitars and the driving beat keeping all on point just kept you mesmerized and intrigued. These guys didn’t just want to right a bunch of good songs and create an album; they wanted something over the top that would keep you coming back for more. They have accomplished just that. From song to song we followed the Archer named Ereth (which I read about later). I won’t give the story away! You have to find that out for yourself. These guys are tight and alluring! I will go see them again and it would behoove any metalist or metal fan to go and catch this! I will be buying their CD as well, because I want to see what happens with Ereth. I sure hope the sequel to this album is the continuing saga, but you just never know what these boys have up their sleeve next. MOVIE maybe? Who knows, but this is a story to tell and I will be writing another article about these guys once I can dig in deeper. Check them out at HERE

Both bands currently on tour with Kyuss Lives! thru October 8th. You need to catch this show. If you find yourself in a city they are passing thru and just happen to have a gig where you are. GO!!! You won’t be disappointed. Worth every penny!
09/29 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
10/01 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s
10/02 – Dallas, TX @ Southside Music Hall
10/04 – Denver, CO @ Summit
10/05 – Santa Fe, NM @ Santa Fe Brewing Co. Patio
10/06 – Phoenix, AZ @ Marquee
10/07 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
10/08 – Pomona, CA @ Fox Theater

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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