Great Scott opened its doors to a cluster of people who were definitely tired of this goddamned weather, and it showed, thanks to the down coats piled and stuffed on one of the window sills. The coat rack was full. That Noble Fury brought a welcome fervor along with their guests Jon Menard and Sunshine Riot to the crowd that night.
I’m sorry to say that I missed Jon’s set, but arrived in time to hear Sunshine Riot’s sound check before they launched into their opening song. Singer Johnny Orton prefaced it by saying, “This song’s about a real shitty place—it’s called ‘Providence’.” The outlaw country tinged “This is a Raid” followed.
Sunshine Riot had in their performance an interesting blend of rock and blues and hints of alt-country and boy, could they nail all of those genres. Before launching into “Interstate”, a sturdy and rousing road song that showcased the band’s knack for Americana, Orton said they’ve played all around the country. But Boston is their musical hometown. That fact reflected in Sunshine Riot’s stage presence, a wild and punk audacity that infected the room. One of the craziest aspects of their performance came from Jeffrey Sullivan’s maneuvering of his fretless bass, which elicited a song-like quality from the instrument.
Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad
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.
Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair
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.
Years & Years at Royale Boston
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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