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Concert Reviews

Dir En Grey

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I look back to a few years ago when I saw Dir En Grey at The Roxy, it was an interesting experience for me cause it was the first time I was seeing a foreign band in an American environment. They seemed back then to almost shy away from the crowd on stage and just revert into themselves, but when I compare that show to this show there has definitely been a turn around in that sense, and it clearly causes for a much more explosive performance.

As I took my seat The Birthday Massacre had just taken stage, and never seeing them before I was wondering what this band that I had listened to over the years was going to present live. Their crowd interaction was that of love and admiration, even standing with the crowd once Dir En Grey had taken stage, showing that they really do embrace their fans. As for their performance it was one of grand song presentation, but generic in stage presence. When it comes to it though, when they come to town again, I probably would go see them cause the song performance was so above par.

While waiting for Dir En Grey to take stage I sat there observing the crowd, and thought to myself that as a band they are exceptionally talented, yet are subjected to be pigeonholed as a band for only fans of anime. I just feel that they should be given the opportunity to really get out there, at least more into the Metal community. After dwelling on this idea for 20 minutes they finally took stage and only reinforced this idea.

The show Dir En Grey puts on is one of amazement, with technicality and energy and this time around even a form of crowd interaction that was displayed through body language due to obvious vocal language barriers. Kyo’s vocally ability is astonishing, ranging from high-pitched female like vocals to extremely deep guttural growls and showcases him as one of the most talented singers out there today in any genre. The remainder of the band display that they are all just as equally talented with their instruments, showing off technicality barely touched by most other bands out there and a stage presence that is monstrous. All in all they are an amazing band and have grown in stature with time to a true heavy weight that could take on most other bands out there today.

With the current state of Extreme Metal starting to lack in inventiveness nowadays, Dir En Grey brings a fresh breath of air each time around with experimentalism and thinking outside the box that even shows in the live performance. So, some advice, next time they come to town and you love the harsher side of Metal, but want to experience something a little different go and check them out.

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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