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Concert Reviews

The Reverend Heats Up Heaven

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Reverend Horton Heat brought his psychobilly freakout to the Masquerade before Halloween! On Thursday, October 27th, Reverend Horton Heat along with Dan Sartain and The Supersuckers rocked Heaven out in the Masquerade. Whether you are a diehard rockabilly fan or just wanted to see rock ‘n’ roll royalty with a bit of arrogance thrown in – this show had it all!

On tour for his fifth album, 2010’s Dan Sartain Lives, Sartain opened the show with his style of rockabilly and blues mixed with smart and often funny lyrics. After Sartain, The Supersuckers held the middle spot and teased quite often that the Reverend had to wait on them to finish before he could even get near the stage. The self-proclaimed “Greatest Rock N’ Roll Band In The World,” played some of their classic songs including, “Bad, Bad, Bad,” “Paid,” “Evil Powers of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Records (Ain’t Selling This Year),” and even included a few new ones like “Something About You.” With two matching gold guitars, a beat up bass, a cowboy hat, and three out of four members sporting shades, The Supersuckers knew when not to quit as they synchronized kicks and guitar movements to the beat.

And then… “it [was] a psychobilly freakout!” with rockabilly legend Reverend Horton Heat. After opening with “Psychobilly Freakout,” Reverend Horton Heat continued on to play one song from each of their albums in chronological order. An old favorite, “Martini Time,” got the crowd moving and dancing to the beat. They then played “Jimbo’s Song” and mixed it up with “Run, Run Rudolph” where lead singer Jim Heath switched his guitar for Jimbo Wallace’s upright bass – a pretty gutsy move on their part by switching instruments and playing a Christmas song in October! Finally they concluded the evening with one off their latest album, 2009’s Laughin’ and Cryin’ with the Reverend Horton Heat, titled “Drinkin’ and Smokin’ Cigarettes.” Their first encore song was the dirty, sexy, “Jezebel.” Then Jim “Reverend Horton” Heat spotted a member of Atlanta’s own rockabilly royalty out in the crowd. Next thing the audience knew – the Reverend pulled Hot Rod Walt (Walt Richards) of the Psycho Devilles up on stage and put a Gretsch guitar in his hands. They rocked out and played “Spend a Night in The Box” off Reverend Horton Heat’s 2000 album of the same name. Other songs included “Rock This Town” and “The Devil’s Chasing Me.” To conclude the evening, there was rumor of a man throwing a beer bottle on stage and getting punched by the Reverend. This was reported to me by my very tall friend, Justin Marlow, who – at somewhere around 6’5″ tall – always had a good vantage point of the stage. Justin was celebrating his birthday that night and from all accounts looked like he was having a rockin’ evening. All in all it was a solid night of good music with a great, enthusiastic crowd!

photos by Ann Bodan

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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