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Concert Reviews

Thrashing the Night Away with Kreator

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Thrash is a universal language in metal. No matter where it is, everyone understands thrash. It’s the link between the new and old. It’s loud and fast, and that is why it got the world’s attention. Nothing took the technical ability of metal and blended it with the speed and aggression of hardcore hunk like thrash. Though it hit big in America, thrash really blew up in Germany—and Kreator was at the head of it all. The band took the stage at The Masquerade last Wednesday in support of recent release Phantom Antichrist, putting on a show well worth it for any true fan of metal.

Area band Disfigurement opened the night, a joyful death metal outfit that crushed eardrums by taking notes from old-school groups like Vader and Morbid Angel. They gave that good old assault on the senses just like any true death metal band should. Their sound reverberated in the late 80’s style—brutality without repetitiveness. The performance was great as well. No frills, just aggression. I hope to hear these guys again soon, because they left a tremendous impression.

Now, this was actually supposed to be an off-night from the tour, but Swallow the Sun and Kreator decided to just keep on going. Swallow the Sun changed the pace of the evening; before the show, I was surprised that they were playing with Kreator just because their music is very down-tempo compared to high-tempo thrash. I don’t blame Swallow the Sun for being an inert show though, because that’s just doom metal in general. It is very heavy, but lacks a lot of energy. Swallow the Sun is a great band, but the live show left a lot to be desired.

The band Accept bowed out for the night, so the show was only three bands long. As a result, we got more Kreator. Who wouldn’t want more time with kings of thrash? Their set spanned quite a bit of their career, from songs such as Flag of Hate to their newer ones like Civilization Collapse, giving fans a taste of everything they wanted. Getting the chance to hear songs from all the way back to their first album was quite the experience.

As for the performance, it was probably one of the most exhilarating and energetic shows I ever saw. The speed and volume that they played was so intense that I could literally feel my brain vibrating inside my skull. It was a first for sure. The crowd response as a whole was nothing short of energetic and positive, being one of the strongest pits I’ve had the privilege of seeing. Every moment was a shot of adrenaline, just pushing the crowd more and more, creating a whirlwind of energy between the band and the audience. Kreator is hands down one of the best shows you will ever get to experience and if you pass up that chance, well, you’re just going to have to regret that for the rest of your life.

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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