Around a year ago I came across demo from a particular band called Deafheaven and upon finishing it I realized that I had found a band that was finally doing something that I had always wanted to hear and doing it right, they had perfectly taken passion found in the more aggressive genres and turned it into a stunning and sophisticated experience. Fast forward to present day and my chance to finally see this played out live had come and to say that I curious and thrilled was a vast understatement.
So the show started off with a stellar performance from local band Odist, who proved by the end that their ability far outshines most other instrumental acts out there with the intensity on stage and songwriting ability. Russian Circles ended out the night with what I would call a show that was somewhat lacking, although the idea that they had was cool, it just didn’t play out well in my opinion, but that’s not to say they are not a great band and I still highly enjoy listening to them. But this review is for Deafheaven, it is for them cause they truly stand out as an amazing force in the modern scene and their live performance only expands upon that.
As the members of Deafheaven took stage they had a certain presence about them that was quite unusual, but in a good way. They softly started going into Violet and lead singer George displayed an emotionally struggling state that wavered from reclusive to animalistic that he would continue to whirl through as their show went on. The crowd appeared to be transfixed by their performance the whole time, just set in stone and sucked into the performance by the band like they had never experienced something of this sort before. The band themselves, and in combination with the music they were putting out, made me think of a painting that would come out of the Medieval period depicting a scene from Hell with all the painful emotions that were being displayed as each song went by. The grandest achievement by Deafheaven that night was how eloquently they present in a live performance their ability to take these painful emotions that are so ugly and turn them into something absolutely beautiful that leaves you unable to turn away and never wanting it to end. Deafheaven has created something that will, no matter what, remain a vibrant part of the extreme Alternative scene and a live experience permanently burnt into the memory banks of my mind.
Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad
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.
Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair
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.
Years & Years at Royale Boston
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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