Category Archives: concert recap

Forest Hills Stadium Works Out 2013 Kinks For Brand New/Modest Mouse Show

By Vasilis       

When Mumford & Sons played the first show in over 20 years at the legendary Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in Queens NY (the venue previously hosted the U.S. Open tennis tournament until 1978), it was understandable that the venue would had some problems. While the band’s performance was top notch, some of the bigger issues, including the unbearably long wait time to exit the venue and people with a ticket being refused entry, were so bad that it made the local and national news. With a number of hot-ticketed events scheduled for the summer of 2014 (including The Replacements and a Lil Wayne/Drake co-headlining show), all eyes returned to Forest Hills to see how the venue’s staff would handle these complaints in order to create a better experience this time around.

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When Brand New, one of my all-time favorite bands, was announced to perform a co-headliner with indie rock giants Modest Mouse, I jumped at the opportunity to attend the show that would be taking place less than 15 minutes from my home. The show eventually sold out, bringing up questions about whether the venue had once again oversold the show and about how this would affect the overall experience and the ease of getting in and out. Luckily, after arriving at the venue early in order to ensure less problems, there was a considerably higher number of police and event staff in the surrounding streets (already more reassuring than the previous year). Additionally, parking was far easier to find in the surrounding area than had seemed possible after reading the pre-show announcements and lines to enter were shorter. And probably the greatest change the arena made was sectioning off seats so as not to create an “every man/woman for themselves” scenario of procuring a seat or standing room spot in GA. GA tickets were sold and guaranteed to the ticket holder, as were individual seats, and benches were added in place of sitting on the hard, uncomfortable concrete (although I was lucky enough to get a standing room spot on the floor, I was happy for that change for all the people sitting down, as those concrete seats were not comfortable at all.)

            Brand New promptly took the stage at the unusually-early time of 6:30 under a partly cloudy but still bright sky. Frontman and local Long Island fan-favorite Jesse Lacey greeted the sold-out crowd of over 15,000 quickly with “Hello New York” before diving into the aggressive “Sink” off their latest EP Daisy. As Brand New has become accustomed to doing, they sectioned their setlist off by album, beginning with Daisy before moving into Deja Entendu and Your Favorite Weapon and ending with a heavy dose off The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. The band, which have been known at times to not sound their best in larger venues or outdoor arenas were on-point in front of their hometown crowd, who received them warmly from the get-go. Even tracks off Daisy, which has received a lukewarm-at-best reception from critics and fans, got the crowd moving, as a mosh pit opened up during the slow 6-minute epic ”You Stole”.

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The usually secretive band opened up to the crowd moreso than they usually do, as Jesse proclaimed, “I get used to telling people that it feels good to feel like you’re at home, but it feels even better to feel at home when you are home, so thank you so much.” Brand New, who have picked up their touring far more this year, seemed to be fully enjoying their 90 minute set and relishing in the crowd’s enthusiasm. The middle of the set inspired raucous participation from the adoring audience, especially on the band’s most beloved songs “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades” and “Seventy Times Seven”, which got the crowd singing along to the song’s famous bridge. While Jesse’s vocals at times appeared strained, he didn’t let that stop him from unleashing his full range of emotions on the audience. Musically, the band was connecting on all levels even in the scorching summer heat. The band closed their set with the emotionally-draining “Degausser” and “You Won’t Know”, resulting in 10 minutes of cathartic chaos. The only downside was the band being forced to cut “Soco Amaretto Lime”, which appeared on printed versions of the setlist.

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Headliner Modest Mouse took the stage half hour later as the sun finally finished setting and gave way to darkness. While small sections of the crowd emptied out after Brand New, a majority of the audience stuck around for the Washington band. Though I have never been a big Modest Mouse fan, I was impressed by their energy and their stage presence. Having only listened to a few songs (which I could not identify with), I found their live sound much more enjoyable than their recorded music and found Isaac Brock to be very funny and forthcoming with his adoring crowd. The group went nuts and warmly received the band, who even broke their reputation for skipping their most famous song and played “Float On” in the encore.

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            Overall, the venue fixed many of the biggest problems from their lone 2013 concert and gave the crowd of over 15,000 tri-state area folks a memorable experience. While ATM and food lines remained long, the entry and exit was far easier and security and personnel were far more helpful this time around. With only three concerts held at Forest Hills Stadium in over 20 years, the venue could have done far worse, and with three more shows planned through September, things look to be improving rapidly. Fans heading to Forest Hills for any of those shows should be ready for a fun time.

 

 

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Boston Calling: Already a Success in Second Year

by Cherie

New Englanders have a history working hard to overcome all obstacles. We’re fiercely proud of our local heritage and our place in national history. We also love a good success story, and what better example is there than the Boston Calling Music Festival? The festival is only in its second year but it has already integrated itself into the local community with ease. Crash Line Productions, the folks responsible for bring the festival to life, grew out of the ashes of the now defunct Phoenix Media Group, and they aim to breathe life into the music scene. The festival also works closely with many local companies to sponsor the event. Food and beverages were provided by Tasty Burger and Wicked Wines. Official merchandise for the festival was produced by Fenway’s own 47 Brand Entertainment.

Boston Calling prides itself on being “one big party”. It’s a three day event featuring live music from artists representing a wide range of genres. The festival itself is in its infancy; May marks only the second year that the festival has been around and it was the third weekend overall. With that in mind I expected the festival to still be experiencing some growing pains, but I was pleasantly surprised by my experience when I attended the festival in May.

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First of all, the volunteers were absolutely fantastic. The whole setup was well organized and very efficient. Walking in you were first subjected to a wand search and bags were searched as well. After that your ticket was scanned by one person and bracelets were given out by another. Both days that I went it never took more than a couple of minutes to get through security, and re-entry had its own section and went even quicker. IDs were checked at a tent just inside the entrance, and that process took a matter of minutes as well. Not only was the process efficient but the volunteers themselves were all cheerful and pleasant. Just about every single one I encountered said hi and asked how I was. It was a pleasant surprise to encounter such cheerful people working the event. You could tell that everyone wanted to be there and was doing their best to make the festival a good experience for everyone.

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The stage setup was slightly different from last year from what I’ve heard, and I had no complaints with how they were set up this year. With two stages in such close proximity it meant that you were almost forced to watch every single band if you stayed the whole day. Rather than traipsing across large distances you could stake out a spot and get a good view of both stages if you so chose. Festival goers also had the option of leaving the festival and coming back throughout the weekend (with the exception of Friday), which added to the casual vibe of the festival.

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Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls played Saturday afternoon, and were just one of the many highlights of the festival. Effortlessly drawing in the crowd of 20,000 people, it wasn’t long before the crowd was stomping and dancing around to the music. Frank’s blend of punk rock enthusiasm and upbeat melodies easily had the crowd transfixed from the first chords of “Photosynthesis” which he used to open up his set. Frank has always been known for crowd participation, and chose a fan from the crowd to come up on stage with him to play the harmonica solo in “Dan’s Song.” The young man in question, Tom, came to be something of a local celebrity after his musical debut, and was seen walking around and taking pictures with festival attendees after the set. I think it’s safe to say that this was one concert experience he’ll never forget.

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Another highlight of the festival was seeing indie rock band, The Box Tiger, start things off on Sunday. The band, an up and coming band from Toronto/Portland, ME won a contest by Sonic Bids to perform at the festival, and they put on a fantastic live set. Singer Sonia Sturino’s vocals were perfectly suited to the open air festival. The band played early on in the day but there was a solid supporting crowd there to cheer them on.

Boston Calling might be a young festival, but it’s worked hard to become a reality and it’s already made a name for itself on the festival scene. Most festivals take place somewhere where there’s a lot of open land, but there’s something striking about holding a festival in downtown Boston amidst all the concrete buildings and cobblestone paths. The ability to come and go as you please also adds to the casual vibe of the festival and makes the experience that much more relaxed and enjoyable. Though it’s true that the festival is still trying to work out some kinks, it’s fair to say that it’s already a success and we look forward to the upcoming September dates.

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The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation Tour, April 17 2014

by Vasilis

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New York City… goddamn… is it good to be back”. Wonder Years Vocalist Dan “Soupy” Campbell proclaimed this over a visible grin following the wild and energetic start of the band’s 90 minute set at The Best Buy Theater on Thursday, April 17. The excitement and awe was clear in Dan’s sweat-soaked face and in his voice; just a few short years ago, the band was playing to a handful of kids in basements, VFW halls, and small clubs around the New York City and Long Island areas. On this Thursday night, they were playing in front of 2,000 crazed fans in the heart of Times Square at a show that sold out over two months in advance. To mark this special occasion, the band brought along a veritable “who’s who” of trending and popular bands in the scene, helping the show become one of the most anticipated tours of the spring.

Upstart emo band Modern Baseball took the stage at 6:30, and it was clear this was no ordinary opening slot. Whereas most openers are met with polite applause, head bobbing, and toe tapping, the crowd surged forward when Modern Baseball took the stage and sang along to every word. The band ripped through a 7-song set, which mostly consisted of wacky banter and songs from their stellar new album You’re Gonna Miss It All. The band’s youthful exuberance shined throughout their set and they seemed genuinely enthused to be playing music together. The band has been steadily gaining steam since the release of their 2012 debut album SPORTS, and if this performance is any indication, their stock will only continue to grow.

Setlist:

Tears Over Beers

Broken Cash Machine

Rock Bottom

Charlie Black

Two Good Things

The Weekend

Your Graduation

 

Popular pop punk band Real Friends took the stage next to much fanfare from the young audience. Much like when The Story So Far held the second slot on the last Wonder Years 5-band headlining tour (The 2012 Glamour Kills Tour), Real Friends received the largest reaction next to the headliner. The band’s detractors have criticized their lack of creativity and have labeled them a comical stereotype, but you would not have known the hate existed from the crowd’s intensity. They made the most of their 30-minute set, powering through 9 songs spanning their 3 EPs. Vocalist Dan Lambton even poked fun at pop punk conventions when chants of “pizza!” began, saying the band doesn’t approve of the association between pizza and pop punk. The love they received is especially impressive because they have not released a full-length album, but chances are when their debut drops this fall on Fearless Records, their popularity will increase even more.

 

Setlist:

Floorboards

Alexander Supertramp

Skin Deep

Lost Boy

Anchor Down

Dirty Water

Home For Fall

I’ve Given Up On You

Late Nights In My Car

 

Citizen followed and switched up the pace, performing a heavier, grunge-influenced style of music. Though Citizen began as a pop punk band, they have shed that label with resounding force. Their set consisted of choice cuts from their 2013 debut album Youth along with one older song (“Drown”). While the group may appear out of place on the bill, the crowd loved every minute of their set, and sang along loudly from start to finish, even the slower, moodier songs. The band didn’t say much, only stopping to thank the other bands and the crowd for their support; The group let the music speak for itself, and clearly the crowd was listening and enjoying it.

 

Setlist:

The Night I Drove Alone

Roam the Room

Drown

Sleep

How Does It Feel?

Figure You Out

Speaking With a Ghost

The Summer

 

Fireworks were the last band to take the stage before The Wonder Years, having replaced Defeater (who had to drop off before the tour began when their vocalist fell ill). This is the third time Fireworks have toured with The Wonder Years in the past three years, and their close friendship is well documented. Although their sophomore album Gospel is critically acclaimed and their new release Oh, Common Life was a stellar follow-up, they received a disappointingly lukewarm reaction compared to the openers, despite being the most veteran band on the bill next to the headliners. Still, Fireworks seemed genuinely pleased with the kids who sang along and their infectious enthusiasm was notable over the course of their 11-song set. The crowd showed the most energy when the band finished the night with their classic closer “Detroit”.

 

Setlist:

X’s On Trees

Summer

Glowing Crosses

The Wild Bunch

One More Dizzy Creature With Love

Arrows

Teeth

Flies on Tape

Oh, Why Can’t We Start Old and Get Younger

When We Stand On Each Other We Block Out the Sun

Detroit

 

The Wonder Years finally took the stage at 9:50 to deafening applause and screams from sold-out crowd at Best Buy Theater. They opened the set with the hushed whisper of “There, There”, the first track on their fantastic album The Greatest Generation. The crowd sang along as the song reached a crescendo and exploded into the pure, unfettered emotional climax. From there, the intensity never waned over the course of the night as the band charged through a 16-song set equipped with choice tracks from their last three albums. They had the rare opportunity to play some deep cuts like “Me vs. The Highway” and “Dynamite Shovel” and some new songs like “Raindance in Traffic”, “The Devil in My Bloodstream”, and “Cul-de-Sac”. As always, the group squeezed in the fan-favorites, as “Local Man Ruins Everything”, “Washington Square Park”, and “Passing Through a Screen Doors” inspired the entire audience to jump along, crowd surf, and scream at the top of their lungs.

 

Dan’s on-stage presence felt like a mixture between a preacher and a professional wrestler as his emotions took center stage and his voice fell just short of shouting. Dan spoke about how fans have gone to eat at Melrose Diner after the band released the song, despite the fact that the food is horrible and the service is terrible. He later asked fans who had their album Suburbia, I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing and, upon seeing the entire crowd cheer, said “well, shit then, I guess this song is for all of you”. He chose a more serious and surreal tone when discussing how the band struggled mightily to book a New York show in 2006 (before securing a basement show in Bushwick) and now the band’s faces are plastered on a billboard in Times Square for a sold out show. Dan seemed on the verge of joyful tears as he looked out on to the sea of faces smiling and singing back at him, and for a moment you could see the immeasurable happiness this tour has brought every member of the band. When the band took the stage to close out the show with the epic 7-minute “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral”, which closes out The Greatest Generation, the band left every last bit of energy they had left on the stage, and their fans did the same.

 

The band’s rapid rise in popularity has been a direct result of their sincerity, their tireless work ethic, their down-to-earth demeanor, and most importantly their ability to produce stellar, challenging pop punk music that refuses to conform to conventions and connects deeply with their audience. They have never sounded crisper live, playing through their headlining set with precision and ease. The Wonder Years are still relatively young yet commanded the stage with a veteran presence, and they demonstrated that they are in fact ready for center stage and to take the reins as one of the biggest bands in the scene today. As the American leg of their Greatest Generation tour comes to a close and the band prepares to head to Europe, it’s safe to say that The Wonder Years have a lot left to give.

 

Setlist:

There, There

Passing Through a Screen Door

Local Man Ruins Everything

Woke Up Older

Me vs. The Highway

Melrose Diner

A Raindance in Traffic

Everything I Own Fits In This Backpack

Dynamite Shovel

The Devil in My Bloodstream

Cul-De-Sac

Dismantling Summer

Don’t Let Me Cave In

Washington Square Park

Came Out Swinging

ENCORE:

I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral

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Beans plays Boston: Beans on Toast at O’Briens Pub 3-4-14

By Cherie

I learned two things last week.

The first lesson I learned was to never take public transportation to an interview. Your bus will have a broken alternator belt and be delayed more than a half an hour. Then your red line train will, of course, be delayed another half an hour or so because it gets stuck behind a disabled train. And to top it off when you transfer to the green line you will, naturally, be so stressed and frazzled that you’ll end up getting on the wrong train and have to back track (I have no excuse for this one, I mean the trains are clearly labeled, yet somehow I hopped onto the D train instead of the B).

The second thing I learned was that Beans on Toast, aka Jay, is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Playing gigs is what Jay was meant to do. He’s a people person, equally at ease meeting new people and hanging out with old friends. He’ll buy you a drink without even thinking twice about it, that’s just the kind of guy he is. Tipping baffles him, at least when it comes to tipping in America that is. His confusion can be explained by the fact that he’s a long way from home; Jay is the man behind Beans on Toast, a British musician who somewhat jokingly calls himself a drunken folk singer. He’s put out five albums to date, the most recent of which, Giving Everything, was released just last December. This is first proper US tour as a headliner, and I got the chance to meet him when he kicked off the tour in Boston last week.

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When I finally got to the pub and introduced myself to Jay, a full two and a half hours after I was originally supposed to meet him, the first thing he said to me was “you’re late!” He then followed up with “if the girl who emailed me because she wanted to interview me was late I was worried no one was going to show up!” The show was at O’Briens, a small pub located in Alston, and was an ideal location for the show. The crowd was small but loyal, singing along to old and new songs alike. Jay’s set was informal and felt more like a living room show than anything. Ditching his shoes and socks, Jay instantly made himself at home on stage. There was no planned set list, and Jay asked the crowd several times if they had any requests, prompting him to play M.D.M.Amazing and an older song that he forgot the words to and gave up on halfway through. His set was interspersed with hilarious anecdotes and made up words, keeping the crowd in stitches for most of the show.

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Afterwards I got a chance to chat with Jay for a bit. At one point I asked him to tell me a little bit about his first album, Standing on a Chair, which is a fifty song record and has guest vocals from Emmy the Great, Frank Turner, the Holloways, and Mumford and Songs, among others. Jay revealed that doing a record in the first place had never really been his intention. “I was touring at the time and my label approached me about doing an album. I said I wanted to do a double CD, that was the only thing I wanted and they came back and said it wasn’t going to make any money.” Jay pauses for a second, before laughing, “and they were right; it loses money every day.” Jay didn’t seem to be too upset by the idea though. Playing shows is what he loves to do most, and as long as a couple of people show up each night he’s happy to play for them.

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Seeing Jay perform and seeing how much he loves what he does was truly an inspiring experience. What matters most in life is that you love what you do and I can’t think of anyone who embodies this spirit better than Jay.

You can check Jay while he tours the US for the remainder of March before heading home to England.

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Also be sure to check out his latest record, Giving Everything, available now on iTunes or through XtraMile Recordings.

 

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Bayside Celebrate Cult

by Vasilis, contributing writer

Bayside is a four-piece punk band that has been around for fourteen years. They write loud, ambitious songs and play high-energy shows. But for many, Bayside is more than a band; Bayside is a family. “Bayside is a cult”.

From the beginning of their existence, fans have adopted this rallying cry to show the community the band’s music has created. There is nothing negative about this cult. There is no psychotic leader, no brainwashed followers, and no mass suicides. The term “cult” is an endearing symbol of the struggles and hard work that exemplifies not only the band, but their fans as well.

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When Bayside announced that their sixth album would be called Cult, it felt like a second self-titled record and a refresh for the band. Following a bad relationship with Victory Records and an uneventful one with Wind-Up, the band signed to indie giant Hopeless Records (Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard, The Wonder Years), and marched ahead with resolve and determination. Leading up to the reveal of the Cult album cover, the band posted images of each of their prior albums, showing signs of a unified effort that drew on all their past work.

Musically and lyrically, Cult is the same Bayside you have come to know. The Queens NY rockers pull no punches on this 11-song album, delivering an unrelenting attack with the typical anger and aggression that has defined their back catalog. For those who thought frontman Anthony Raneri’s marriage and the birth of his child might slow down his bitter, scathing lyrics, they’ll be happy to know it has not. “Pigsty” angrily asserts “Your name is dirt/and I got you under my nails/from clawing to freedom/I’ve been buried below your dark trails”. The topic of Anthony’s ex-wife drives the album’s lyrics, continuing the trend from their 2011 album Killing Time. The chorus of “You’re No Match” proves to be as catchy as anything the band has ever recorded; the lines “you’re the monster I was scared you’d be/and now you’re blaming it on your surroundings/and your horns came out so gradually/but honey, you’re no match for me” are infectious in large part to Anthony’s confidence and bravado.

Musically, the album doesn’t fall too far from the band’s past work, but that doesn’t mean they sticks to one formula. Opener “Big Cheese” is heavier than most fans are accustomed to, charging in with Chris Guglielmo’s explosive drum work and Anthony and Jack O’Shea’s dynamic riff. Like most Bayside songs, Jack O’Shea steals the show with a face-melting guitar solo on almost every track. Lead single “Time Has Come” is the closest the band has come to writing a catchy radio-ready punk song. The middle section of this album shows how Bayside can continue to create relatable hits by sticking to their unique, identifiable sound.

The album hits its stride with “Transitive Property”, a rare Bayside love song which sees Anthony asking forgiveness from his wife after a fight that almost ended their relationship. The song is the closest the album has to a slow ballad and works due to its anthemic chorus and honest lyrics. “Objectivist on Fire” is one of the most well-thought out Bayside songs in recent memory, a slowed-down tune that showcases Anthony’s vocal range as he questions if he will ever find the true love he has desperately searched for and lost. To anyone who has ever lost “the one”, the chorus, “And I am feeling older all the time/running out of days to get it right/I can’t believe I’ve wasted all my life/chasing after something I was never meant to find” will hit very close to home. Cult is a stellar addition to the Bayside collection and one that fans will continue coming back to.

To celebrate Cult’s release, Bayside cleverly planned a secret show in a small bar in Amityville, Long Island. The band released a video for “Hate Me” which was performed by the imaginary band Caraboo. A Caraboo twitter page popped up and announced they would be playing their first show on Tuesday, February 18. The venue posted an image of the Bayside bird and announced that Caraboo tickets would be sold in person the night before at the bar at 9pm Fans wised up to the surprise but the anticipation and excitement at seeing such an intimate Bayside show was palpable.

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Following an acoustic performance at Looney Tunes in West Babylon, Bayside took the stage shortly before 10pm in front of 200 devout fans and drew a wild ovation. The band opened their set with the first five tracks from their new album. As fans cheered on the live debuts of the new songs, the band announced they would play some older tunes before diving into “Devotion and Desire”, “Montauk”, and “Blame it On Bad Luck”. These cuts whipped the audience into a frenzy, inspiring the sweat-soaked crowd to sing along to these Bayside classics. The band played everything from old (“Guardrail”) to new (“Big Cheese”) and even threw in a cover of “Good Things” by The Menzingers for good measure. The crowd gave every last bit of energy they had when the band closed their 13-song set with their Bayside closer “Dear Tragedy”, sending the fans home happy.

Though only playing for about an hour, Bayside commanded the stage with ease and showed their consistently solid live show is just as good in a small room as it is in a large concert hall that holds thousands. The band seemed genuinely enthused by the crowd reaction and happy with the work they have put in with Cult. Bayside has stuck around for so long mainly due to their hard-working attitude, great songwriting and live show, and die-hard fanbase; these elements were on full display on February 18, a day the band celebrated the release of their newest album and fans celebrated the love and devotion they have for Bayside. It was a special night for everyone involved.

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Johnny Flynn at Brighton Music Hall 1-17-14

by Cherie

Boston loves folk music.

Every time I’ve been to a folk show in Boston the audience has been incredible, and it doesn’t matter what the venue is. I’ve seen Laura Marling play at Berklee just a year after she played a small bar in Allston, and the crowd was just as respectful at the bar as they were at the performing arts center. This past week I had the honor of seeing one of my favorite folk artists, Johnny Flynn, play a sold out show at the Brighton Music Hall in Boston and the experience was simply amazing.

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The opening band, The Melodic, put on a great opening set. The band apologized for not having their bass player with them, explaining that he was denied a visa because he didn’t pay his train fines. “You might think we’re just a folk band, but we’re actually rock and roll,” Huw Williams, the lead singer, joked. Captivating the crowd with the hauntingly tragic “Ode to Victor Jara,” the band quickly won the crowd over, despite being relatively unknown. By the end of their set they had the crowd clapping and dancing along with them. Part of the reason they were able to win the crowd over so easily was because of their obvious love of music. Despite being an opening act, and only having one album under their belt, the band played with confidence and a contagious sense of joy. They were the perfect opening band for Johnny Flynn and I look forward to seeing them the next time they are in town.

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After The Melodic played, Johnny Flynn came on and put on a captivating performance. Despite lacking his backing band (Johnny joked they heard about the Polar Vortex and were scared off), Flynn commanded the stage and the attention of the entire crowd from start to finish. You could hear a pin drop during his stunning performance of “Been Listening”, even when he elongated the pause between chords. The crowd was fully invested in the performance, and showed that they were familiar with both old and new songs. When playing a song he hadn’t played in years, Shore to Shore, Flynn forgot the lyrics and looked slightly lost. The crowd didn’t let a beat go, singing the song for him until he was able to get back on track.

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Not one to let a lack of band or partner deter him, Johnny announced mindset that he was going to play a duet. He invited the crowd to sing along with him if they knew the words and the resulting performance went on to steal the show. The crowd not only sang along with Johnny, but they provided the best backing vocals I’ve ever heard at a concert. No one tried to out sing their neighbor, and the overall sound was on key. It was one of those moments that happens every once in a while at a concert and it makes you fall in love with music all over again. Words can’t even describe how perfect the moment was.

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When it came time for the encore, Johnny appeared back on stage mere minutes after exiting it. As he tuned his guitar in anticipation for a new song, he appeared to be pondering what to play next. An enthusiastic crowd member shouted out a request for a “hillbilly song,” prompting a chuckle from Johnny. Inspired by the request, he chose to play “Linden Lea”, an old English folk song he had adapted in 2012 for A Bag of Hammers film soundtrack (which he wrote and preformed). He tuned the guitar for another minute or so, joking that he had to remember how to play it and prompting the crowd to laugh. Johnny ended the set with Tickle Me Pink, and he once more invited the crowd to sing along with him. When it got to the last chorus the crowd took over once more, and Johnny stepped back from the mic and just listened with a smile. It was a beautiful moment, and the perfect end to a great set.

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All photos from this article are taken by Kenami. You can check out the rest of his photos from Johnny Flynn’s set at Le Poisson Rouge over on his tumblr.

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Measuring a Year in Music

by Cherie

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I kicked off the year with a bang, going to see the Vaccines play a headlining show at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. The Paradise Rock Club is one of my favorite Boston venues, because its just small enough that there’s really no bad spot in the house. The openers for the show were a (relatively) unknown band from Australia named San Cisco. I looked up their music ahead of time and was impressed by their catchy first single, Awkward. San Cisco is group of young kids, just barely out of high school, but they put on a great live set. I was an instant fan after seeing them live. The Vaccines put on a tremendous set as well. Some might criticize Justin’s vocal performance, which was less than perfect, but he puts so much energy into his live sets its hard to not be won over by his passion and enthusiasm.

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Next I got the chance to see English folk artist Benjamin Francis Leftwich play a set for Radio BDC at Naga in Boston. The venue was beautiful, with hanging glass above the bar; but the crowd was less than respectful during the show. Leftwich is a very mellow artist, its just him and his acoustic guitar, and there was a group of obnoxious people over at the bar who were disrespectfully loud throughout his set. He made sure to call them out on it though, causing the rest of us to laugh. I got the chance to meet him after and he truly is a sweet guy.

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Not long after I saw San Cisco open for the Vaccines I was thrilled to hear that the band was coming back through Boston for their first US Headlining Tour. They played Great Scott in Alston, another one of my favorite venues. The support bands were great, and I discovered a great local artist (Steph Barrack) when she opened for the band. My fellow concert goer was more impressed by Chaos Chaos, who won me over with their live vocals but also for having a oboe in their backing band. San Cisco put on a great live set, and we even got to meet the band afterward. The band swung back through one more time in July, and we were there front and center once more. Mark my words, they really are a fantastic band and they have such a bright future ahead of them. It will be fun watching them grow over the years.

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It was a long, hot July, but the hottest day by far was the day I saw Frank Turner in Portland, Maine. There’s no reason the show should have been as hot as it was, the day was actually cool and rainy but for some reason the temperature inside the venue was off the charts. After just a couple of songs Frank was drenched in sweat and joked about it being the hottest show he’d ever done. It was an amazing experience getting to see Frank perform songs off of Tape Deck Heart which is one of my favorite albums of 2013.

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I also got the chance to see the amazing Ben Marwoos, sorry Ben Marwood, open for Frank Turner; which ended up being a more momentous experience then I realized at the time. After every show I go to I try to find the setlist and burn a copy of the setlist onto a CD. I make personalized art work and everything (though its really nothing that special to be honest). When I realized that I probably wasn’t going to find Ben’s setlist on setlist.fm (my usual source for the information), I felt like I was facing a brick wall. On a whim I reached out to Ben via e-mail, not expecting to ever hear back from him. To my surprise he responded almost instantly, revealing that he actually keeps a notebook full of setlists and promptly sent me the information I had asked for. Realizing what a great opportunity I had I immediately thanked him and asked him if he’d be willing to do a short interview for my music blog and he instantly agreed (you can read the article here and the full interview here). It was the first “big scoop” for the blog, and I will always be proud that my first interview was with Ben (seriously, he’s such a talented guy, you should check out his music if you haven’t yet).

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August brought one of the biggest concerts of the year. Mumford and Sons had announced a show in Queens, NY and with the help and company of some good friends, I had the chance to go. It was an unbelievable experience. The crowd might have sucked, but the company I was in certainly didn’t. Forest Hills Stadium was an incredible venue, being a converted tennis stadium, and despite the hiccups I hope they finish the restoration project and restore it to a concert venue in the future. I fell in love with the opening band, Bear’s Den, who put on an amazing set despite only having three members. The Vaccines came next, and the highlight from their set was when Winston Marshall, from Mumford and Sons, came out to play guitar on a couple of songs.

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Mumford and Sons themselves were, of course, amazing. Words can’t express my love for this band. They are such a great band, and their songs have helped me through some really hard times. Their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover shows are such an amazing experience; I’m glad I got to experience not just one but two of them. When news broke a few weeks later of their temporary hiatus I was sad, but happy I got to see them twice before they went on break. Rumor has it the boys will be back in the studio in February working on the new album. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t take them as long to write album #3 as it did to write their second album!

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My last concert of 2013 was Noah and the Whale, and what a fitting way to close out the year. This was my second time seeing the band, but this year they were playing the House of Blues; a step up from their last show at the Paradise Rock Club. They blew me away once more. NATW are one of those bands that are made to perform live. Not only did they sound fantastic, but they also dug deep and played songs off their debut album that don’t get played much more. A highlight for me had to be hearing “Mary” played live.

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After the show we stuck around for a little bit hoping to meet the band. We picked a time to hang out until and decided that if they didn’t come out by that point we would give up. It was cold and windy and with our light jackets we were soon freezing. The time came and passed and no band. I didn’t mention the time to my friend, hoping she wouldn’t realize it and we could stick around a little bit longer. Eventually our patience paid off and the band exited the venue. They seemed surprised to see so many people waiting for them, perhaps because of the weather, but they cheerfully stuck around for pictures. They were the band that really introduced me to British indie folk music, and getting the chance to meet them was truly awesome.

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But the biggest highlight of 2013 for me had to be Lyrically Addicted. For years I’d had the idea to start some sort of music project, though the specifics were always vague in my mind as to what exactly that project would entail. In May I finally solidified the idea, creating Lyrically Addicted as a sort of music blog, and inviting two of my closest friends to take part with me. It’s been difficult at times, trying to come up with new ideas for stories and debating the relative merits of various albums that were released this year. The whole thing has been a blast so far, and if you’re reading this right now, thank you so much. Your support (even if it’s just silent support) means a lot to me and the rest of the team. I’m proud to announce that by the end of 2013 we reached 2,023 views!

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