Month: March 2011

Keep Us on the Road – Review of Motörhead and Clutch at House of Blues Boston

Motörhead and Clutch
House of Blues Boston, Kenmore Square, 03/01/11

The last note still reverberated throughout Newbury Comics as I left in haste for my second show of the night. Once outside I was surrounded by trendy shops, Berkley hipsters, lustful Cougars, and individuals with more money than I. Looking about, I acknowledged that my scene was soon to be flipped on its head, and as I walked East towards the House of Blues, I prepared myself for stark change. I had just seen an intimate set of acoustic Freak Folk attended mostly by reclusive shoegazing stoners, and now was on my way to hang-out with multiple generations of Metalheads.

Lemmy

Lemmy

Turning onto Landsdowne Street I was awash in a sea of people who had black t-shirts, leather, long hair, beards, and the smell of whiskey close to their breath. A strange combination of Hells Angels, Punks, Outlaws, Rednecks, Speed Freaks, and Union Members were in-line waiting to get in. Thankfully I had Foundation Room access, so while avoiding eye contact with these assorted characters, I cut underneath the velvet rope and budged my way into the show.

Thus far in 2011 I’ve paid my respect to some of the great rock elders of our past. I’ve given homage toRobert Plant, raised a toast to President George Clinton, and now was about to give Fraser Kilmister, or as he’s better known as – Lemmy, his just due. Lemmy is a legend, the once Jimi Hendrix roadie is now a Rock God of his own, and his legend has been on the tip of many tongues following the documentary on his life, “LEMMY: 49% Motherfucker. 51% Son of a Bitch”. Lemmy is the Evil Cal Ripken Jr. of the Rock ‘n’ Roll circuit, outlasting all, while changing none.

I’m not, and never was, that into metal, but there’s certain bands I was able to appreciate from the periphery, and Motörhead was one. The crowd went ecstatic upon hearing the first curls of Lemmy’s bourbon growl burst from the Marshall’s behind him, but I have to admit – the whole experience seemed to be lacking a little for me. The drum kit was obscene, and much larger than necessary, and the guitar solo’s were poorly executed and generic. Lemmy was a powerhouse, but his voice was as monotonous as a machine gun, never allowing you to forget it’s power, but being repetitive enough to put you into a trance. I appreciated it all, and the fact that Lemmy’s doing this at the age of 66 is as big as an inspiration as any, I couldn’t help but be a little bored though, and I blame part of that on Clutch.

Clutch rocks the House of Blues.

Clutch is for real.

Clutch was the middle band on the bill, and by my ear had the superior evening on stage. While Clutch peaked in the mid-90’s with album sales, I think it’s today that they’re truly finding their style and way. They pounded through a bluesy psychedelic attack that had branches to numerous cousins within the rock family tree. The feel and vibe of their music still has a tough dirty finger nail quality to it, but the changes of rhythm along with their improvisational tendencies made them appear to be a metal jam band.

Motörhead was the reason for me being at the House of Blues, and seeing Lemmy was something I needed to do at least once in my lieftime, but on a night where I was tipping my cap to the consistent one note act of Lemmy & Motörhead – Clutch ended up changing my perspective on both their diversity and music – all the while stealing the show.

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Puppet to the Man – Review of Kurt Vile at Newbury Comics

Kurt Vile
Newbury Comics, Back Bay, 03/01/11

Kurt Vile, Newbury Comics, Boston USA. (D. Hixon Photo)

Kurt Vile, Newbury Comics, Boston USA. (D. Hixon Photo)

There’s something about Kurt Vile. Ever since 2008’s Constant Hitmaker his music consistently has nestled itself between my headphones, making for an adept soundtrack as I meander about Boston, getting lost in whatever thoughts are pertinent at the time. Much like a favorite t-shirt that finds its way into your wardrobe, you instinctively wear it until the thread’s worn thin and perfect. Such is how Kurt Vile’s music has been for me – it’s seeped into my daily existence without realization, and slowly has become a favorite of mine. This past Tuesday I was able to see Kurt perform at Newbury Comics in the Back Bay, just as the sun was setting.

You can’t expect too much from in-store performances as there typically is an off-kilter vibe clinging about. The lighting is fluorescent bright while the instruments and equipment are shaved to a naked state. It’s far away from the smokey clubs where alcohol and marijuana linger with the buzz of an impending show. For the most part it’s a stale and awkward environment, with little or no room to maneuver for both the artist and fan alike. This was the case on Tuesday, however, it seemed to strangely fit with the music played by Vile, and for 45 minutes or so it was as intimate as a bedroom jam.

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Episode 39 – The Majestic Chichen Itza

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Episode 39 - episode 39 - The Majestic Chichen Itza

Episode 39 – The Majestic Chichen Itza. (Artwork – D. Hixon)

  1. Air Waves – Knockout (Dungeon Dots – 2010)
  2. The Clean – Anything Could Happen (Boodle Boodle Boodle EP – 1981)
  3. James Blake – CMYK (CMYK – 2010)
  4. Cut Copy – This Is All We’ve Got (Zonoscope – 2011)
  5. Cookies – 1,000 Breakfasts With You (Boycrazy 10” – 2011)
  6. Tame Impala – Island Walking (Innerspeaker – 2010)
  7. Dirty Beaches – Lord Knows Best (Badlands – 2011)
  8. Lower Dens – Tea Lights (Twin-Hand Movement – 2010)
  9. Ryan Adams – My Winding Wheel (11-15-2000 @ Bristol Flyer; England)
  10. American Analog Set – Punk As Fuck (Know By Heart – 2001)
  11. The Glands – Lovetown (The Glands – 2000)
  12. Joe Tex – The Love You Save (May Be Your Own) – 1966
  13. The Rockin’ Ramrods – Bright Lit Blue Skies – 1966
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The Shadow People Are Everywhere – Review of Dr. Dog at Paradise Rock Club

Dr. Dog
Paradise Rock Club, Comm. Ave. Boston, 02/20/11

Dr. Dog. Paradise Rock Club. Boston USA. (Photo - D. Hixon)

Dr. Dog. Paradise Rock Club. Boston USA. (Photo – D. Hixon)

The night started across the street from the ‘Dice as I enjoyed some margaritas with good friends Jesse & Emily at Sunset Cantina. As we raised everlasting toasts to dead Presidents of the past we prepared for our evening of fun on Commonwealth Avenue. This was my first time seeing Dr. Dog, and from speaking with fellow friends who have, I was expecting some good old fashioned, high energy rock – and the boys from Philly were certainly up to the challenge.

I was lucky enough to be hooked up by the good folks at Blue Ribbon BBQ with appreciative VIP admittance, and entered a club packed with twenty somethings dressed in their Sunday Thrift Store best. Leaman, McMicken, and the rest of their mates took the stage in winter beanies with balls on top, however, the show they were about to put on, would be anything but cold. Beginning with the opener to 2009’s brilliant album “Shame, Shame” – I Only Wear Blue, they grabbed the crowd in an instant.

I was struck by how young these guys seemed on stage, but this made the joy in their songs that much more realistic. The light spun around in hues of orange, yellow, and red, bouncing with Dr. Dog’s rhythm and the audience’s energy. It was like hearing a frat rock band from heaven, playing with smiles, as they stood framed by the stained glass behind them. The song that appeared in most contrast for me was another song from “Shame, Shame” – Shadow People. A song that will forever be in my personal Hall of Fame, and as the chorus whirled to an anthemic end, they plead with hope over and over again, inquiring “Where did all the shadow people go?” A song about lost places & friends, that all in Paradise that Sunday night acknowledged with earnest eyes while staring into the crescendo. For they were right there, in the shadows, going nowhere.

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