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Concert Reviews

Mayhem at the Masquerade

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Black Metal. Dark, viciously aggressive Metal that makes Thrash look like Folk music. The genre is also known for extreme amounts of controversy from church burnings to murder and Mayhem sits at the top of the Black Metal throne with their relentless music and controversy such as the suicide of the lead singer Dead to the picture of his corpse at the scene of death being used as a cover for a bootleg live album. I suppose if there is one genre of Metal that actually tends to believe and stick to what is preached it would be Black Metal and Mayhem certainly proves that to be true over their 25 years of existence. On this night they proved that they are still kings of Black Metal.

The night itself was a presentation of varying forms of extreme Metal; Post-Black Metal, Death Metal, and Black Metal. Abigail Williams started of the hellish night with a showcase of new songs that rang more of Post-Black Metal than their traditional Black Metal sense, either way still performing a technically astonishing set. European Death Metal was displayed in an excellent form with Hate, they shredded through their songs with an intensity and hate that could only come from regions that know pain and struggle such as Poland. Norway’s Keep of Kalessin had the honor of direct support to Mayhem and they crushed the crowd with their extreme mixture of epic Black Metal and Death Metal, scorching the eardrums of each attendee.

Even though each band was of such an extreme intensity that night, none could hold a torch to or prepare one for Mayhem. If I were to summarize their performance I would just say that they were the heaviest show I’ve ever seen. The extremes that Mayhem played to were so violent and aggressive that one would ask if they had died and gone to hell. Through out the entire show Attila marched around the stage grasping onto a skull attached to a noose as if it was the power to how intense his vocals were, from the famed Black Metal screams to an almost operatic howl he spewed dark vileness with every breath leaving the crowd only wanting more. The band gladly answered the wishes of everyone by putting on a set that roughly lasted an hour and a half, no breaks and no banter in between, just every second packed with Black Metal sweetness. I can say with certainty if you are a true fan of Black Metal that night was the night to be at the Masquerade because it showcased the genre in its purest form perfectly and Mayhem proved that they are the kings of the genre.

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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