I headed over to Brighton Music Hall in Boston on Saturday night for a rather exciting pair of bands: first, a local band, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys; second, the Brooklyn-based punk cabaret band World/Inferno Friendship Society.
Aside from the location, which is probably very convenient to a lot of people who aren’t me, Brighton Music Hall is one of the better places in Boston to see a small rock-oriented concert. The capacity is around 400, there are plenty of bars, some pool tables in the rear of the venue (handy for keeping people who don’t want to pay attention to the band away from people who do), it’s generally clean and the staff seem like decent people. Sound and sightlines are as good or better than similar venues in the area.
I was mostly interested in seeing the opening band (Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys) so I got there early enough to get in the front row for the first set. I’d seen them once before at one of the Amanda Fucking Palmer’s Late Night Fucking Cabaret events at Oberon a couple of years ago, but it was a pretty short set and I’d been looking forward to seeing them again. (I had planned to see them more than once since then, but they are one of those bands that fate seems determined to keep me away from. E.g., I had a ticket to see them in March with a friend, but my friend ended up having her travel plans rerouted through Albany and having her hotel reservation lost, and as a result we didn’t even get to eat dinner until 11 o’clock, let alone make it to a concert that night.)
They are sort of a difficult band to describe – genre-bending, gender-bending, psychedelic blues, maybe? I usually subscribe to the “I don’t care what kind of music it is, as long as it’s the good kind” philosophy of music fandom. And they are, indeed, the good kind of music. They also have entertaining costumes, if you like that sort of thing (the first time I saw them, the lead singer was wearing what appeared to be tentacles and helium balloons attached to his head; for this show it was a bit more toned down, with some giant sunglasses and a feather headdress).
I didn’t bring my camera, so I don’t have any SarahPOV videos, but here is one of the songs they played on Saturday:
They’ve got lots of cool stuff available at their Bandcamp page, from limited-edition vinyl to name-your-price digital downloads. Check it out here. I’ll probably be dropping a few bucks over there myself in the next few days. I really liked every song they played, so I’ll have to do a little exploring to figure out where to start in their discography. (Feel free to leave some advice in the comments!)
I decided to stick it out in the front row for World/Inferno Friendship Society, in spite of being at least five years too old for that level of mosh pit. (The spirit is willing, but the body is weak – a problem tendon in my shoulder makes it extremely painful to have people slamming into me from that side.) Luckily for me (maybe less lucky for him?) my friend Matt was between me and most of the crowd, and it seemed like his presence protected me from about 80% of the craziness. I didn’t plan it that way, but I think if he hadn’t been there I would have had to bail out of the front section pretty quickly for the sake of my shoulder.
This video may give you a bit of an idea of what a World/Inferno show is like at the front of the stage where we were…
…yeah, it’s quite a scene!
As a live music aficionado, I often find myself in the position of being in the front row (or at least near the front) of a show where I’m not terribly familiar with the band. Most of the time this is not a big deal; but every now and then, like this concert, the band turns out to have a truly fanatic audience, and I end up having a rather strange experience – I feel like the only person there who doesn’t know every word to every song, who isn’t singing along, who doesn’t get the in-jokes, who doesn’t know the special dance moves or whatever the case may be. It can be an alienating experience, but in this case it was fun. You couldn’t ask for a more energetic crowd (well, not safely, anyway) and the band seemed to be putting forth their best efforts as well. I got the sweatiest handshake of my life from the lead singer and a couple of good bruises, but all in all it was a really fun night!