Concert Review: Raven Bride at Outpost 186 (7/7/2013)

Last night I headed down the street to check out Raven Bride’s show at a small neighborhood venue, Outpost 186. If you haven’t been to Outpost, it’s a fairly tricky venue to find. You have to go kind of down a little alleyway to the back of a building which is next to a usually-empty parking lot behind the 7-11, and then there’s a door that doesn’t really have a sign on it and then there’s another door that doesn’t have a sign on it. It’s the sort of venue that neighborhood residents walk past for years without knowing it exists (I have lived in the neighborhood for 15 years and I speak from personal experience!). At any rate, if you’re going to go there, get proper directions ahead of time đŸ˜‰

I showed up a couple of minutes before showtime and the door was still locked, so I (and a few others) milled around outside for a little while until they let us into the building. (PSA for performers: you need to unlock both doors so people can still get in if they show up a few minutes late. Otherwise people will end up locked out of your concert, unable to hear your music and pay you and stuff. It’s also not a bad idea to tape a sign to the doors so they know they’re in the right place.)

When we walked in, Mr. Bride was already at the piano, playing and singing to an empty, candlelit room. I guess in a larger venue they usually have music playing over the P.A. when you walk in, but at Outpost you have to be a little more DIY! The show was quite sparsely attended (maybe due to the oppressive heat and humidity, no one wanted to leave their air-conditioned livingrooms) and he just went for broke and made it as intimate a show as possible, almost like we were just hanging out at someone’s apartment – asking if anyone wanted a drink, taking questions from the audience, that sort of thing. It felt a little awkward at first, but after a while everyone warmed up to each other and things got more comfortable.

I forgot to bring my camera with me, so I dug out a recording from the last time I saw him, which was at Amanda Palmer’s Salon in June. She is taper-friendly so I had my mics running. This is the solo piano cover of “China Girl” that he did that night:

That was the first time I saw him play solo and I was really impressed (enough to come and check out his set at Outpost, anyway!). His concert last night was (more…)

What’s happening this summer?

My July schedule is a bit strange, I’ve basically got 10 days with almost nothing to do (music-wise) and then there is a huge flood of good stuff happening. I thought since I’ll have no concert reviews for a week I would share a few things that are coming up and maybe help you find something fun to see.

First, I’ll mention that one of my favorite new bands, Zion80, is doing a live streaming webcast from Poland tomorrow, July 4th. 4PM Eastern (1PM Pacific/10PM Europe). According to their Twitter feed, this is the link where you’ll find it: http://t.co/pu9Vm7AUK3 Of course, if you’re in Krakow, you can probably go see them in person (click here for a complete list of tour dates). Some music, if you don’t know them:

Another notable European happening is that one of my very favorite songwriters, Joe Henry, has just announced a couple of shows in August in Dublin and Willisau. He also has one show in July in Los Angeles. He doesn’t tour very often so these shows are pretty special (I read that it’s the first concert he’s ever done in Ireland). I’m not sure if he’s planning on doing any more shows while he’s in Europe, but you can keep an eye on his schedule here. Some music, if you’re not familiar with him:

One of my very favorite musical people in the world, composer/saxophonist John Zorn, is heading off to Europe in July as well; he’s doing a number of marathon concerts (mainly at jazz festivals) in London, Rotterdam, Gent, Warsaw, San Sebastian and Lisbon. Lisbon gets three nights instead of just one, so the Portuguese are extra lucky this time around! In August and September he’ll be heading to Jerusalem and Paris, and throughout the year he is doing fantastic events in New York City. His Facebook events page remains the best place to keep up with events; the Zorn@60 page is really good, but it is a little behind the curve and missing some events that are listed on Facebook. Here is a live cut of the Dreamers, who I think are playing in all of the European concerts:

Local Cantabrigian (more…)

Concert Review: Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, World/Inferno Friendship Society (6/29/2013)

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!) (more…)