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Concert Reviews

Lefty Williams at Smiths Olde Bar

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There are actually two stories here……a music review and the triumph of the human spirit.   Jason Williams got the nickname of “Lefty” because he was born with only a left arm – At the tender age of 4 he decided he wanted to play the guitar, his father and grandfather not only encouraged and taught him, they also helped customize and develop the special strap he uses to pick and strum. With that, the young ‘Lefty’ could make it happen and thru his dedication and practice, made it happen in a big way.  People who make things happen against the odds amaze and inspire me, Jason “Lefty” Williams is one of those people.

Now onto the music—–>  This guy can play…..and write……and sing! To get the crowd’s attention, Lefty opened the set by firing off a few licks from Led Zeppelin’s, Out on the Tiles,  then jumped straight into Snake Oil, the title track from his 2nd album.  Although most of the music he plays is his own compositions, he did include a little CCR with Bad Moon Rising.  Lefty’s band, [guitarist, Adam Cain, who swaps lead and rhythm duties and the solid rhythm backing of Steve Saunders (drums) and Bryan Hall (bass)] brings the bluesy, down home feel to all the tunes. A couple  “wife inspired” tunes with thoughtful lyrics like You and Myself, and  A Little Bit of Faith  got every woman in the room’s attention (not that he every lost it). For me, the best jam of the night came out in Sounds Like a Plan, a song inspired by getting into trouble with a friend when he was younger, the tune had a smooth sound reminiscent of the Allman Brothers – it was awesome!   Showing his versatile talent, Lefty pulled out the slide for  I’d Rather Be Blind.  And anyone who has a “past” relationship and is happy that it is “passed” will enjoy Thank You, a song he wrote thanking his ex-wife for kicking him out.  Gotta love a man that can find the humor in life and put it to music!  Lefty Williams is talented, smooth and real.

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Song List

Out of the Tiles

Snake Oil

Maybe in Time

Big Plans

Let it roll on

Bad Moon Rising

Crescent

All Your Way

Sweet Love

You and Myself

Sounds Like a Plan

After all this Time

Sunny

I’m Fine

I’d Rather be Blind

A Little Bit of Faith

What I believe

Thank you

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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