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Concert Reviews

Enders Game at Sweetwater Bar & Grill on January 14th

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On January 14 at Sweetwater Bar and Grill in Duluth, the local thrash metal band Enders Game played.  This band has been on hiatus for a while due to their drummer leaving the band.  Thanks to Chad Blackwell (formerly of the Billboard-charting deathcore band Impending Doom), Enders game is back.  Best of all they have a new album out also, called What We’ve Lost.

It is so nice to have some local thrash metal in the Atlanta metal scene. Enders Game provided a great fix of metal Saturday night. They played most of their new songs, my favorite being A Flawed Design, which starts with a fabulous scream by singer Shon Harp, and then it continues with a fist-pumping beat and rip shredding guitar playing.  Dave Merrill is swinging his hair around while delivering some awesome shredding, and Jarrod Johnson is standing on a speaker in front of the stage ripping out an awesome solo!  Chad Blackwell delivers some awesome pounding on the drums while Shon sings his guts out.  Many of Enders Game songs follow in this same pattern, a few are slower, but still metal!!  All in all these guys deliver on stage and musically.  Now that are back in the scene I hope they can build momentum again.  Having opened for such bands as In Flames, Soilwork, Chimaira, Daath, I am sure they will do awesome!

My only complaint of the night is Sweetwater still can’t provide a good mix for the bands. Microphones are still going out and speakers are still feeding back at times.  The band had a video intro prepared for the show, but for some reason it wouldn’t run on the projector at the venue, and the technical issues related to that delayed their start time, and this probably hurt their crowd a bit.  One would think that Sweetwater would upgrade their gear a bit (being one of the top music venues in town), but to be fair that can get really expensive.  Long story short, if you like bay area thrash such as Forbidden, Death Angel, Slayer, Testament, and the like, give Enders Game a look.

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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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