Showing posts with label kaitlin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kaitlin. Show all posts

September 13, 2013

Reviewed: Boston Calling Fall 2013


I must admit, I expected Boston Calling to flop. There were too many things that could go wrong. The inaugural lineup wasn't unique in any way, the venue seemed awkward, small, and ugly, and many locals were frustrated by the lack of local flavor.

I have officially been proven wrong. A week after sweating out half my body weight in the giant mass of people that was Made In America, the accessibility and moderate size of Boston Calling was a welcome change of pace. The second time around, Crash Line Productions, those behind the festival, tweaked the stage locations, separated the daily lineups by genre, and made things a whole lot better. The sound was relatively good, and because of the small venue, you always had a pretty good view of what you wanted to see. The food was shockingly cheap for a festival and by bringing Sonicbids into the mix this time around, two additional acts made it onto the bill for the early risers to check out.

The first day saw the indie/rock bands hit the stage. Lucius kicked things off with a bang, letting the audience know why they should be excited for the October release of their debut album, Wildewoman. Dressed to match (as always), the group's lead singers were in fine form as they previewed new doo-wop tracks and they sing-along title track from their upcoming record.


Unfortunately, the energy subsided for a bit after their set when Okkervil River brought a little too much psychadelia and not enough folk to their set. After they bowed out, Deer Tick played a set of almost exclusively new tracks off their upcoming album, Negativity. While it was interesting to hear the slower direction the band is heading in, some fan favorites wouldn't have hurt.


Later that evening, Boston mayor Tom Menino took the stage to commend the festival and introduce one of the best performances all weekend. Local Natives were hilariously wide-eyed from their mayoral intro and couldn't stop bringing it up. The charming LA-natives played a solid selection of tracks from both of their critically acclaimed discs, closing with the foot-stomping "Sun Hands." This set, and the audience's rapt attention got me thinking that with a little more material behind them, these guys will be a great headlining act. Their material has been remarkably consistent, as have their energetic live shows.


Ezra Koenig and the rest of Vampire Weekend closed out night one in style. With a flowery backdrop, they ran through a lengthy set of the finest prep-pop this country has to offer. I find it very easy to forget how many great tracks they have, until I hear twenty of them in a row. Leading things off with one of my favorite songs of the summer, "Diane Young," and closing with the catchy and Massachusetts-appropriate "Walcott," they had a set packed with hits. The fans new nearly every word and proved why Ezra & Co. were worthy of a headlining slot.


Day two brought a significantly younger (and more brightly dressed) crowd thanks to the EDM-heavy lineup. Starting with Flume, a producer who makes perfect, chill head-bobbing beats, the crowd kept dancing all day long. Beyoncé's funkier sister Solange brought her soulful jams to the center of the city. There must be something in the water at the Knowles' household because it turns out that both daughters are ridiculously talented.


Following the funk, three huge electronic acts rocked the fest with their various takes on dance music. First, Chicago trap-masters Flosstradamus got things "turnt up" with their hip-hop inspired beats with coordinated shouting at the crowd. While I would never listen to their music in my room, their no-holds-barred attitude, booming bass, and squelching synths fit in perfectly among the rest of the lineup.


Wolfgang Gartner was next, taking a more traditional dance music route. His electro-house beats, however, show off his deep musical knowledge, utilizing chord progressions inspired by classical music and rhythms slightly more complex than those often found in EDM.


The climax of the evening came somewhere during the Major Lazer - Kendrick Lamar one-two punch. Diplo, the man behind the dancehall project, put on one of the craziest shows I have ever experienced. With precise command of the crowd, he and fellow members Walshy Fire and Jillionaire led what could have easily passed as a celebratory riot, filled with outrageous dance moves, scantily clad dancers, and a festival-wide clothing swap.

Mr. Lamar had by far the most anticipated set of the weekend, thanks to his hugely successful album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, and renowned live shows. This time, however, he left a few unsatisfied. While the MC himself was on fire behind the mic, his set was unusually short, not even filling up his allocated slot. Also, his backing band seemed to have a few issues, resulting in muddy sound from all his instrumentals. Regardless, it is clear why Lamar has made such a name for himself. He is a genuine, exciting performer with enough popular tracks to keep the crowd's attention for as long as he wants.


Closing out the festival were Boston locals Passion Pit. While enjoying their records, I've never been a big fan of their live shows because of singer Michael Angelakos' weak voice on stage. Despite this drawback (and he has gotten better over time), the electro-pop group was a fitting way to end the weekend. Not only were they one of the few local groups to play City Hall Plaza, they are one of the few Boston bands in recent years to make a large national impact. Somewhat like the slowly growing festival, the band has had to prove themselves to those out of the region. Let's see if Boston Calling can keep this up!

If you enjoyed this past weekend, or wished you were there, Boston Calling will be returning next year on Memorial Day Weekend. Starting now at bostoncalling.com, you can get a weekend pass and poster for an early bird price of only $75!

See the rest of our pictures here!

Photos by Kaitlin Deveau

March 04, 2013

Reviewed: Milo Greene

The Sinclair, Boston, MA
Photos by Kaitlin Deveau

I can confidently call myself a Milo Greene veteran. I have been with them since the beginning, and since hearing the first strums of "1957" off their Hello Sessions a few years ago, they have held a special place in my heart. Last night at The Sinclair, I saw them for the third time live, and boy have they improved. While they have always had a certain casual charm live, this time they turned that charm into visual, visceral passion that made their show louder, tighter, and all-around better. They no longer sounded like rookies; they are road-worn performers who know how to knock a crowd's socks off.

The LA-natives sold out the venue, their first stop on a month-long Eastern-US trek, and brought their A-game. Aside from some oddly stiff stage banter from Marlana (is Boston really your favorite city? I didn't buy it), the night went off without a hitch. One of the things I always love of about the group is their ability to seamlessly trade instruments and lead vocal duties for almost every song. Everyone on stage last night could be a frontman of their own band, and when combined, their powers multiply. While it was no surprise that they played their entire WTTB best of 2012 debut album, they also packed in a spot-on chant-worthy version of Sufjan Steven's "Chicago" and a lively rendition of Wilco's "A Shot In The Arm." A personal highlight came when they ended their set with "1957," my absolute favorite song of 2012. Even though this was not my first time seeing the group, they managed to keep things fresh and are lively enough that I wasn't bored for one moment. Well done guys!

See the rest of the photos here!

Overheard at the show: 
A woman to her friend: "What are you doing? Get off the floor!"
Her friend: "Shut up! I'm texting my future husband!"

February 26, 2013

Reviewed: Enslaved

The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Photos by Kaitlin Deveau

There aren't many posers in the Norwegian metal world. That corner of Scandinavia takes their metal quite seriously, producing some of the most extreme, heavy, melodic metal out there. In the diverse scene there, Enslaved are the cream of the crop, respected all around the world for their consistently intriguing use of growls, speedy bass drums, screaming guitars, and guttural bass, without forgoing strong melody.

After final opener Pallbearer left the stage and their equipment was whisked off, an odd emptiness covered the stage for over 30 minutes. The Norwegians were running late due to bus troubles, but when they eventually pulled in, the crew worked at super speed to ensure that they were able to play (albeit a shortened set). Despite the fact that they were only on stage for an hour, they used every minute of it, cramming in "Thoughts Like Hammers" and others from their 2012 album RIITIIR, fan favorite "Ethica Odini," and unearthing old black metal from their 1994 album, Vikingligr Veldi. The crowd's unrest about the late arrival quickly dissipated into moshing, crowd surfing, and awe at the group's huge stage presence.

They end their tour tonight, which is a shame for all of you out there who missed them, but have no fear! Twelve albums deep into their 20 year career they show no signs of slowing down. They are one of the most prolific metal bands, rarely waiting 2 years between releases. Lucky us!

See the rest of the photos here!

Note to The Sinclair:
The venue, located in Harvard Square, is Bowery Boston's brand new plan to capture bands that would otherwise play The Middle East and Brighton Music Hall. While the layout, size, and overall feel of the place is great, they should have figured out how to do the sound for a metal show before booking one. Opener Pallbearer's doom riffs sounded awfully sludgy and the vocals were completely lost in the mix. Enslaved sounded good in comparison, but still not great considering the intimate size of the venue. The Middle East has mediocre sound at best, and if The Sinclair wants to steal their thunder, it might want to step their sound game up a bit. Also the lack of security at a show where moshing was inevitable was quite worrisome. While some people don't mind a shoe to the head in the middle of a concert, I know I speak for others when I say that the venue should have kept things a little more under control. 

February 18, 2013

Reviewed: Meshuggah

Photo by Kaitlin Deveau

I get a huge kick out of seeing two completely different bands on the same stage. Two night ago, I saw Punch Brothers kick out bluegrass jams at House of Blues in Boston, and last night I headed back to hear progressive metal titans Meshuggah mesmerize the audience with their epic, intricate, mosh-worthy tracks. For those of you who don't know their music, Meshuggah stands out in the metal world a great deal due to their creative and awe-inspiring use of rhythm. Along with riffs that weigh a sonic ton, the long-haired (and one bald) Swedes divide up measures like no other. They give complex time signatures a whole new meaning, incorporating beats that only the most diligent listener can actually follow or replicate. All this combined with ridiculous technical skill (have you heard that bass drum action on "Bleed"?) gives you one hell of a band.

Their music, filled with down-tuned guitars and a whole lot of bass, is tough to pull of in a live setting, but their sound guy knew what he was doing and the group was so tight that the sound was as good as any metal show I have attended. The setlist focused a great deal on their latest offering, 2012's Koloss but also managed to squeeze in favorites "Shed," "Bleed,"and a huge encore of "Dancers To A Discordant System." While I was looking to hear my personal favorite "Rational Gaze," I understand that filling a set with songs that average about 8 minutes long is tough.

Though singer Jens Kidman has been battling a rough flu, his growls, while impossible to comprehend, were at full force. He had complete control of the rowdy crowd and is probably one of the few people who can actually get a crowd of 2,000 metal fans to be quiet and listen when he talks. These guys garner a great deal of respect in the metal community, and its pretty obvious why; they are consistent, among the heaviest groups out there, technically astonishing, and they put on a damn good show.

See the rest of the photos here.

January 21, 2013

The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Love Ben Gibbard


1. That voice. What is it about that voice that I love so much? If you think about it (and listen to it objectively), his crooning is not always all that easy on the ears. But it works, kind of like Bob Dylan (but not that extreme).

2. This music video, for his new solo single, “Teardrop Windows.” Let’s face it, if he tried to be a “bad boy” in real life, the end result would most likely be the same as in this clip.

3. The fact that he can poke fun at himself, as evidenced by reason #2.

4. Only Benjamin Gibbard could pull off a hairstyle I haven’t seen on a male since the fourth grade.

5. Saying his name out loud is enough to entertain you for at least five minutes. Test it out. It’s fun to say. I promise.

6. His witty and slightly awkward stage banter.

7. The fact that he is able to pull off a feat that not many other musicians in a band can pull off: a solo album that not only holds its own but could arguably rival selected works of the band’s discography.

8. I Will Follow You Into The Dark. Try to listen to that song without getting goosebumps and/or starting to cry. I dare you.

9. His penchant to always seem more or less oblivious to time and space.

10. Watching him clamber behind a piano on stage, basked in a blue-green half light, and serenade the crowd without missing a single chord.

11. This.

-Kaitlin Deveau
Read her blog here

July 18, 2012

Gotye vs. Carly Rae Jepsen

Unless you have been living under a rock, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and Goyte’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” are old news. Enter Pomplamoose, an indie duo hailing from California who decided to mix things up a bit with a refreshing mashup of the two aforementioned songs. In their version, titled “Do Not Push,” the band skillfully weaves their own vocal renditions of the two songs to create a not-your-average mashup.

Warning: The accompanying music video is…ummm….creative.

Bonus Fun Fact: The name Pomplamoose is derived from the French word for grapefruit!

June 28, 2012

In Defense Of Pop

Confession time: I love pop music. I’m talking the crappiest of crappy pop music. You know, the incredibly catchy, mindless clutter that is repeated ad nauseum on countless radio stations and TV channels across the country. Case in point: I’m listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” on repeat as I write.

You’re probably wondering why I choose to melt my brain with what some would argue is substance-less music lacking any semblance of musical technicality and designed with the sole intent of procuring a hefty sum of money.

The answer is simple: discovering new music is hard.

I think back to my eighth grade days when I used to spend hours scouring the Internet on sites like purevolume.com (anyone remember that?) desperately trying to discover some remotely decent, obscure band to stick on my iPod so I would look cool on the off chance someone decided to borrow it and browse my music collection. Looking back on those days, I not only feel a sense of nostalgia, but also wonder: How on earth did I have time for that?

Which brings me to my first point: discovering new music takes a lot of time. In most cities, you can’t flip the radio on in your car while driving to work if you want to find a fresh new band no one has heard of. Instead, you have to sit on your computer clicking through various blogs and music sites. You have to haul yourself to and pay for music festivals, the land of the unwashed masses and the overpriced pretzel. You have to go to concerts in hole in the wall joints in scary places like Brooklyn. That’s all fine and dandy if you have the time or do it for a career. And while lovely blogs like this one facilitate the process, I’m old and grumpy and get tired after a long day of work. I’d rather veg out in front of the TV instead of any of the aforementioned activities.

Now, let’s say you do invest the time and succeed in discovering an über hip band. Now what? Unlike pop music, obscure bands are a social boner kill. What do I mean by this? Well, I can talk to almost anyone I know about Britney Spears, and regardless of whether they love her or hate her, at least we can have a conversation about it. Now imagine the following scenario: I ask a friend, “Have you ever heard of Boink? They’re this awesome new ska band!” Their response: “No, I haven’t.” End of conversation. Social boner kill. (True story).

Finally, there’s nothing like bonding over a shared love of a guilty pleasure pop song with someone. There’s just no replacing singing and dancing to a song that has poorly rhymed verses and way too much auto tuning in a car with the windows down and speakers blaring. And that’s why, no matter what, I will always defend pop.

-Kaitlin Deveau
Read her blog here.