Concert Mini-Reviews: Tiger Lillies (7/15/2013), Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys (7/19/2013), Hot Club of Somerville (7/20/2013)

I had to work too much overtime this week to keep up with my concert reviews, so I’m giving you a quick three-fer of theatrical musical performances from the past week.

Last Monday I went to the always-lovely Oberon in Harvard Square to see the Tiger Lillies. I think of them as a real “love it or hate it” kind of band, although I may be the exception that proves the rule – I’m more in the “like” camp. They’re a lot of fun, and they know how to put on a good concert, but I can’t say their music really reaches me on any deeper level. That said, there’s definitely a place in my life for bands that are just fun!

They are a unique three-piece band featuring mostly-falsetto lead vocals and a variety of instruments including accordion, drums, upright bass, piano, and theremin. Their music recalls theatrical styles like cabaret and vaudeville, while their lyrics tend to be both filthy and macabre. Monday night’s show was a lot of fun, they received a very enthusiastic response from a fairly diverse audience. (I’ll be honest, the people sitting next to me were scaring me a little. But that’s a story for another day.) The band took some requests for the encore, which made a lot of their fans very happy.

This video will give you a good idea of their sound and style:

The other two concerts of the week were part of the Outside the Box Festival on Boston Common, at the Spiegeltent, which turned out to be a (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…)