How To Dress Well, Panda Bear, Ty Segall, and more!
Friday 9/19 (10:00pm) –– Tauk (w/ Mammal Dap) @ Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Saturday 9/20 (2:00-11:00pm) –– Tarot Sync // Alto Jeffro // God Cage // Scald Hymn // Harmoos // Un Men Mitchel Violins // Grab Ass Cowboys // Birdorgan // Cruudueces // Vapor Attack // Wild Gone Girls @ Flywheel Arts Collective, Easthampton, MA
Saturday 9/20 (10:00pm) –– Slow Club (w/ Nick Mulvey) @ Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Boston and Beyond:
Monday 9/15 (9:30pm) –– Little Daylight (w/ White Prism, Mainland) @ Great Scott, Allston, MA
Tuesday 9/16 (7:00pm) –– How To Dress Well (w/ Nite Jewel) @ Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA
Friday 9/19 (8:00pm) –– Panda Bear @ Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
Friday 9/19 (9:30pm) –– Ty Segall (w/ BOYTOY, La Luz) @ Great Scott, Allston, MA
Sunday 9/21 (7:00pm) –– Slow Club (w/ Nick Mulvey) @ Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA
Image: How To Dress Well (Pitchfork)
On September 10, I saw Sylvan Esso perform at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Mass. The duo released their self-titled debut album just four months ago, and the LP quickly became one of my all-time favorite records. Having watched countless sessions of the band online, I knew that seeing them perform live would be an unforgettable experience that I wouldn’t want to miss. Boy, was I right,
At around 9 p.m., Brooklyn, N.Y., native Doe Paoro opened the show, providing the crowd with a stellar performance. Paoro’s ethereal and engaging vocals over indie-pop, R&B, and electronic tones alternately subdued and amped up the crowd. Standout songs from the roughly 45-minute set included upbeat tracks like “New Lows” and more somber tunes like “Born Whole.” Other notable songs, including “Nobody” and “Walking Backwards,” were off Paoro’s recently released EP, Ink on the Walls.
Paoro and her backing band were extremely well received by the crowd, garnering cheers and keeping the audience engaged and moving to the music throughout the performance. Those interested in seeing Paoro live need not fear. While no longer supporting Sylvan Esso on the rest of their tour, Paoro is set to support the band My Brightest Diamond on some of their upcoming dates, including a show at The Sinclair on September 22.
Concertgoers continued to arrive at The Sinclair throughout Paoro’s set, so by the time she left the stage, the venue was practically bursting at the seams. During the brief intermission that followed Paoro’s performance, I could feel the atmosphere of anticipation swelling, until finally, to roaring applause, Sylvan Esso came onstage.
The floor began to shake to the pounding feet and raucous cheers of the sold-out crowd. With grins as wide as their faces, the band––Nick Sanborn (production) and Amelia Meath (vocals, dancer extraordinaire)––jumped right into “Hey Mami,” the lead track off their album. Silence fell over the room as Sanborn and Meath worked hand in hand to build up the song. Meath’s airy, folk-inspired vocals were expertly layered atop Sanborn’s breezy, electronic tones. As the progression reached its peak, the bass dropped and energy exploded throughout the room.
This energy stayed high throughout the set, which lasted more than an hour. Playing through their entire record, Sanborn and Meath transitioned smoothly from song to song, stopping here and there to appreciate the crowd’s immense enthusiasm and engage in playful banter.
Even down-tempo tracks like “Wolf” and “Uncatena” were brought to life in a lively and original manner. Rather than easing their way through an exact replica of their record, Sanborn and Meath vibed off each other to create unique renditions of their already addictive tracks.
More up-tempo fan-favorites, like “Dreamy Bruises” and “Play It Right,” kept the crowd singing and dancing. And we weren’t the only ones dancing, however, as more than once Meath broke out into her signature, unapologetically energetic dance moves, to encouraging cheers from the audience.
Finishing their set, the North Carolina-based duo thanked the crowd and left the stage to ear-splitting cheers and applause. The applause continued unabated, and a few minutes later, the pair graced us with their presence for a two-song encore.
Coming back onstage, Sylvan Esso reminded us that there wasn’t much left to play, given that they have released only one record to date. While true, this is easy to forget when you watch them perform: They exude experience. Although Meath is one of three vocalists in the folk band Mountain Man and Sanborn is an accomplished producer under the moniker Made of Oak, they have been working together as Sylvan Esso for only about two years. Their charismatic energy and chemistry is palpable, making it hard to believe that the collaborative project of Sylvan Esso is so new to the scene that they have penned only 10 songs.
Having almost exhausted their track repertoire, and to further showcase their talents when performing live, Sylvan Esso leaped into a cover of “The Cosmos,” a popular track by Porches off the LP, Slow Dance in the Cosmos. While the original track is very much a stripped-back rock tune, the song took on new life when Sylvan Esso performed it. Meath’s beautifully chilling tone and Sanborn’s expansive and enveloping instrumental backdrop left the crowd in a trance.
Finally, to flashing lights and swaying bodies, Sylvan Esso ended their encore and the gig with a powerful and mesmerizing rendition of “Come Down,” the penultimate track off their record. The song––starkly minimalistic compared to the rest of the record––capped off a perfect and unforgettable evening.
-Chloe Doyle, WMUA 91.1
Images: Sylvan Esso (Chloe Doyle)
White Denim, Sylvan Esso, Sexy Girls, and more!
Monday 9/8 @ 7:00pm –– SALT Presents: Odd Dates // Alex Young // Sexy Girls @ Cape Cod Lounge, UMass Amherst Student Union
Monday 9/8 @ 8:30pm –– White Denim (w/ Clear Plastic Masks, LuxDeluxe) @ Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Wednesday 9/10 @ 7:00pm –– Elephant Revival (w/ Michael Roberts of Wooden Dinosaur) @ Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Saturday 9/13 @ 8:30pm –– Typhoon @ Pearl Street Ballroom, Northampton, MA
Boston and Beyond:
Wednesday 9/10 @ 9:00pm –– Sylvan Esso (w/ Doe Paoro) @ The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Saturday 9/13 @ 9:30pm –– Bahamas (w/ The Weather Station) @ Great Scott, Allston, MA
Image: Sylvan Esso (Partisan Records)
The Gardens & Villa show on Wednesday, April 16, at Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall, left me with a rather weird taste in my mouth. Although the evening was filled with great music from two amazing bands, the ambiance left a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, the low turnout affected the vibe of the audience as well as the performers, with the overall mood of the night being that of utter indifference.
Opening the show was Boston-based Vundabar. The indie-rock three-piece, composed of Brandon Hagen (vocals, guitar), Drew McDonald (drums), and Zack Abramo (bass), played a set consisting of tracks off their debut LP, Antics. While the songs were fast-paced and heavy, the band’s energy did not mirror that of their sound. And unfortunately, the few concertgoers in attendance remained in their seats, awkwardly far from the stage, throughout the band’s performance.
Vundabar, clearly annoyed and put off by this, made a few oblique remarks alluding to the fact that the crowd was less than lively, presumably in hopes of getting a more pumped or enthusiastic reaction, but sadly, their attempt failed. After playing catchy and memorable songs like “Greenland,” “Holy Toledo,” and “Sad Clown,” Vundabar concluded their set rather abruptly, with Hagen breaking a couple of guitar strings and gruffly calling it quits.
It is completely understandable that the band would be so disappointed, and I do not hold their attitude that evening against them. I greatly enjoyed Vundabar’s surf-rock sound, and I hope to have the chance to see them again in concert — hopefully with a livelier and more interested crowd. This band certainly deserved more recognition for their talent, and I recommend trying to catch one of their shows in the future. The band, who will be on tour in Europe in May and June (with a handful of festivals thrown in as well), have the potential to become quite successful, so be on the lookout for big things to come from Vundabar!
After a brief intermission, Santa Barbara, Calif., natives Gardens & Villa took the stage. Chris Lynch (vocals, guitar, flute), Adam Rasmussen (synthesizer), Shane McKillop (bass, vocals), Levi Hayden (drums), and Dustin Ineman (keyboards, vocals) did their best to raise the energy in the room, managing to get much of the crowd on their feet. Opening with “Purple Mesas” off their new record, the band played a set including songs from their self-titled debut album, Gardens & Villa, and recent sophomore effort, Dunes.
The five-piece, known for their attractive synthpop sound, played fan favorites “Black Hills,” “Orange Blossoms,” and “Spacetime,” which drew some excited cheers from the audience. Gardens & Villa’s sound remained crystal clear and mesmerizing throughout, as they performed other notable songs off the new record, including “Domino” and “Colony Glen.” For some songs Lynch swapped his guitar for a flute, adding to the band’s light and airy vibe.
Similarly to Vundabar, put perhaps less so, Gardens & Villa were clearly affected by the crowd’s low energy. Although their sound isn’t exactly conducive to the standard high-energy, get-on-your-feet-and-dance performance — their tone is more subdued and trancelike — it would have been nice if the crowd at least energetically cheered after each song. As a result, Gardens & Villa’s set ended rather awkwardly, with one lone concertgoer chanting “Encore! Encore!” and the band slowly leaving the stage.
Although I was disappointed with the show’s ambiance, I greatly enjoy the music of both bands, and being able to see them perform some of my favorite songs live was a treat for me. Gardens & Villa is an internationally touring band that have garnered critical acclaim far and wide for their music, and Vundabar is an up-and-coming band who have gained much popularity in their hometown of Boston, even opening for Mac DeMarco recently. In short, both bands deserved a far more populous and enthusiastic audience on Wednesday, and it was unfortunate that both left the stage undoubtedly disappointed.
-Chloe Doyle, WMUA 91.1
Dirty Heads, Feist, and more!
Danny Brown @ Pearl Street — Northampton, MA (8:30pm)
Sugar Biscuit (ft. DJ Le Fox) @ The Basement — Northampton, MA (10pm)
Lechior Benefit Show (ft. Banditas, Fancy Trash ) @ Flywheel — Easthampton, MA (7pm)
Chris Pureka @ The Parlor Room — Northampton, MA (7pm)
Dirty Heads @ Pearl Street — Northampton, MA (8pm)
Feist @ Calvin Theatre — Northampton, MA (8pm)
On Tuesday March 11, peace activist Frances Crowe and “Democracy Now!" anchor Amy Goodman spoke at Bowker Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts. The event encompassed Crowe’s 95th birthday celebration, and included an interview with Crowe given by Goodman herself.
Crowe’s interview focused on many aspects of her life as an activist; from her initial anti-war effort following World War II to her most recent work at Vermont Yankee Power Plant. It also gave a look into her personal life, her time spent in the Pioneer Valley, and how she brought “Democracy Now!” to the valley.
Goodman spoke on the role of journalism and media in a democratic society. She stressed the importance of independent media saying “There is a reason why our profession is the only one explicitly protected by the U.S. Constitution, because we’re supposed to be the check and balance on power.” She also touched upon the third anniversary of the Fukashima incident, corruption in the media, and what it means to be an activist. All were fitting themes for a night honoring a woman like Frances Crowe.
WMUA News directors Despina Durand and John O’Neil also spoke onstage with Democracy Now! producer and WMUA alumnus Mike Burke. They discussed the challenges of producing a live daily newscast, often booking guests only hours in advance - and dropping everything in an instant when news breaks. They also talked about Mike’s transition from student media into his professional career - working at WMUA; the Collegian; and founding The Indypendent and Flywheel Easthampton.
Check out all the photos HERE
Deer Tick, California X, Potty Mouth, and more!
Brooks Williams @ The Parlor Room — Northampton, MA (8pm)
Comedian Hannibal Buress @ Hu Ke Lau — Chicopee, MA (7pm)
Deer Tick @ Pearl Street — Northampton, MA (8:30pm)
Antigone Rising @ Iron Horse Music Hall — Northampton, MA (7pm)
California X, Potty Mouth, and more @ Flywheel — Easthampton, MA
Shannon McNally @ Iron Horse Music Hall — Northampton, MA (7pm)
Image: Deer Tick (VICE)
If you weren’t able to make it out to Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall on Feb. 26, then you certainly missed out on an unforgettable evening. Surfer Blood, the indie rock band from Florida known for their surf rock tone, brought the house down with a set pulling from the band’s two LPs, Astro Coast and Pythons, as well as their EP, Tarot Classics.
The evening began with a solid performance by Lake Worth, Florida-based indie rock band Wake Up. Their set, consisting of roughly 10 songs, featured tracks from their upcoming debut EP, Forever Home, which is slated for release on Mar. 11. While their stage presence left a bit to be desired, they more than made up for it with standout songs like “Asleep for Days” and “Bad Days.” The energy, although low at the beginning, did increase throughout their set, with lead singer Evan Mui (vocals and guitar) even breaking a string at one point, while Bryan Adams (drums), Bobby Yapkowitz (vocals and guitar), and Austen Bemis (bass) rounded out the band’s addictive garage rock sound.
Following Wake Up was Brooklyn, New York-based indie rock band Fort Lean. The band performed a set consisting of tracks from their self-titled EP, Fort Lean, and their most recent release, Change Your Name. Fort Lean had dynamic and vibrant energy throughout, with Keenan Mitchel (vocals and guitar) delivering lively washed out vocals. Sam Ubl (drums), Zach Fried (guitar), Jake Aron (bass), and Will Runge (keyboard, guitar) rounded out the psych-pop/rock sound of the band, with each member of this five-piece group keeping the energy fast paced and lighthearted. My favorite track, “Dreams (Never Come True),” showcased Mitchel’s vocals the best, and saw Fried holding the weight of the song on his shoulders as he provided the uncomplicated and flawless guitar riffs that held the track together. With two EPs under their belt and live shows quickly garnering them attention, this band promises to continue to deliver a steady stream of solid indie rock tunes with the release their debut LP in the near future.
Finally, it was Surfer Blood’s turn to take the stage, and they delivered a seamless performance consisting of fan-favorite songs “Floating Vibes” and “Weird Shapes.” The crowd, noticeably larger and livelier than earlier in the evening, was on their feet and dancing throughout the roughly 12-song set, while the group kept the energy high with little to no break between songs.
One notable moment was when frontman John Paul Pitts (vocals and guitar), during the band’s performance of “Take It Easy,” jumped off the stage, climbed the railings, and waded through the crowd. After a few embraces, a couple of one-on-one serenades, and a swig of one woman’s beer, Pitts returned to the stage to finish off a truly memorable performance.
Thomas Fekete (guitar), Kevin Williams, (bass), and Tyler Schwarz (drums) rounded out the band’s grungy washed-out surf-rock sound and brought to life popular songs like “Demon Dance” with a lively spin. After they played their last song of the set, Surfer Blood soon returned to the stage to deliver two encore performances. Up first was “Gravity,” but the more notable of the two was the penultimate song, “Anchorage.” Venturing out into the crowd once more, this time with guitar in hand, Pitts and crew kept it loud and fast right until the end.
-Chloe Doyle, WMUA 91.1
On Nov. 9, I was fortunate enough to witness GRiZ as he provided a stellar performance at Northampton’s Pearl Street Nightclub, elegantly confirming how electronic music is pushing forward in ever possible directions, influencing and being influenced by every style of sound an artist wishes to delve into.
Enter the force that is GRiZ: Armed with a classically-trained saxophone and a forward approach towards music, he coolly serves his brand of 70’s soul and jazz-infused electronica to those who lend an ear. With vivid, bright, soundscapes like his, people ARE listening, not to mention his groovy basslines that somehow manage to combine the griminess of Noisia’s reese and the downright funkiness of Ron Carter.
The show had quite a tasteful and diverse list of openers: The resident DJ got the crowd that was just trickling in, settled with some deep house. Then came The Floozies, the future funk duo of Matt & Mark Hill of Kansas. They did a quality job hyping the audience up with a combination live, funky, polyrhythmic drumming from Matt and DJ-ing and bass-playing from Mark. In my opinion, their jazzy sound made them perfect for a GRiZ concert. It was only after the concert that I learned that these guys were signed to Liberated Music, GRiZ’s record label! Given the fact that most of their tunes are available for free online, I strongly suggest that they be checked out!
Up next was bass music duo, The Pegboard Nerds, cranking up the room’s energy level. I found them through their record label, Monstercat, and absolutely dug their aggressive, bleepy tunes that ranged from heavy dubstep to slick drum n’ bass! I must say, they did not disappoint live! Going one heavy tune after the next, these blokes showcased their DJ-ing and production skills with an extremely clean mix.
Finally, the moment peeps had been waiting for. Snapback baseball hat, setup with a drum machine, a CDJ controller and a saxophone: GRiZ had arrived. Starting off with a tune off his Rebel Era Album (the main focus of this tour), GRiZ floored all instantly. Bright soul loops skillfully sampled from an 80’s funk record, embedded in a grimy, beat-heavy backing track. GRiZ had elements of every performance that preceded him that evening. Beyond that, I was amazed by his ability to harmonize with all his tracks, using his saxophone. From playing basic chords as accompaniment, to exquisite elaborate solos that went perfectly with his more spacey tracks, this man played it all. And if that was not enough, he had an epic light show to go with it. Tiles of triangular LED panels that quite reminded me of Feed Me’s Teeth setup, were synched with the music; a brilliant performance in all respects.
I feel like the diversity in his set was noteworthy. Besides all the future funk goodness of his rebel era and mad liberation albums, he went back to his Detroit roots and played a good amount of hip hop in his own unique style. A country tune sat well in his set as well, as everyone whipped out their square dance moves to the strumming!
GRiZ and all the others who were part of the tour absolutely smashed it and proved that versatility of electronic music. Go support him and his crew, I say! They’re all set to go way beyond where they are now and that time will be soon. Crowd-slaying at its finest.
Check out GRiZ HERE
-Aman Sardana, WMUA 91.1