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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Friday, November 02, 2007

Mp3s: The Waterboys acoustic in Boston

I've got a bit of a backlog of live recordings to share, so I'm going forego my "once a week" tradition and just let them loose as they're ready...

I'll admit up front that I lost complete track of Mike Scott and his Waterboys for oh, about fifteen years or so. I initially discovered them as many on U.S. shores likely did, back when U2 invited them along to open some dates in the mid-80's, and kept playing their songs as tour intro music for months afterwards. I think the first time I heard "The Whole Of The Moon" (which I still count among my favorite songs) was waiting for U2 to take the stage in Montreal in 1987, and picked up the Waterboys' third album (and last featuring future World Party frontman Karl Wallinger), the sweeping "This Is The Sea", shortly after that gig. My love for that record (yes, when it was actually a record) prompted me to grab their self-titled 1981 debut and the sophomore "A Pagan Place", though I was not nearly as struck by those two, nor by 1988's "Fisherman's Blues". I liked them well enough, but found myself going back to "This Is The Sea" far more frequently.

By the time 1990's "Room To Roam" came out, my musical tastes had drastically transformed, and the Waterboys fell off my radar until a two-disc remastered version of "This Is The Sea" was issued in 2004, inspiring me to finally replace my well-worn vinyl copy. In the intervening years, I discovered the band had released a few more albums, a couple of greatest hits collections, as well as a live disc.

Which brings us to the Waterboys, present-day. Mike Scott and his mates are still making music, and in August released a new disc called "Book of Lightning" on Decca Records (it came out in the UK in April). The five-piece (a lineup that has changed a bit over the years) just kicked off a short North American tour for the album last night here in Boston, with a stop tonight at Webster Hall in NYC, and winding up in San Francisco on the 13th. While I didn't see them play here last night, the band is back on my mind after a free, WBOS-sponsored acoustic show they put on at the First Act Guitar Studio back in late August. Mike was joined by longtime collaborators Steve Wickham on fiddle and Richard Naiff on keys, and the trio ran through a full set of songs, most from the new album, with a few old ones and an excellent Willie Nelson cover as well (alas, no "Whole of the Moon", but I won't fault them for skipping the obvious). No doubt about it, Mike Scott still has that voice, and as when Dinosaur Jr. played an in-store earlier this year, I've got much respect for a band who will give it their all for even a small (and non-paying) crowd. No three-or-four-song token performance was this.

During an in-set anecdote, Mike off-handedly said "... just as people might bootleg this concert", and he was right on. Here's the full Waterboys set. Tour dates are below, and I'll share a couple of Mike's anecdotes down there as well...

A couple of anecdotes...

  • You'll notice that the last song, "Bring 'Em All In", is stopped and started again, and this was a deliberate choice by Scott, who was suddenly inspired to slow it down. Before the restart, he told us of his late-seventies obsession with Patti Smith bootlegs (he was "mad about them", but not mad angry... mad crazy). He'd collect recordings from the same tour and be fascinated how the band would slow certain songs down (specifically, Smith's "Kimberly") from rockers to heavy, powerful dirges. So in the middle of "Bring 'Em All In", that's exactly what he decided to do... slow it down and give it the "Kimberly-treatment".

  • While the song "The Crash of Angel Wings" is a new one, its title has been around since 1982. Back then (and this was news to me), Mike was in a short-lived band called The Red & The Black with bass player Matthew Seligman (who would go on to be one of the Soft Boys with Robyn Hitchock), eventual Waterboys Anthony Thistlethwaite on sax, and Kevin Wilkinson (who would later play in Squeeze, and sadly commited suicide in 1999) on drums. All four bandmates would actually end up contributing to "This Is The Sea". The reason for the history lesson? It was Soft Boy Seligman who came up with the song title "The Crash of Angel Wings", and it took Mike Scott a mere 25 years to use it. And as of this late August performance, he still hadn't told him.

    Some Waterboys links...
  • Their official site, MySpace page, and Wikipedia entry.

  • Additional Audio: No officially-sanctioned Mp3s to speak of, unfortunately, but you can stream a few songs on their MySpace page.

  • Video: MySpace hosts many Waterboys clips. And, of course, there's always a Waterboys YouTube search.

  • Photos: My shots of the acoustic Waterboys appearance are here. For many more photos, here's a Waterboys Flickr tag search.

  • The Waterboys' Fall 2007 Tour Dates:
    Friday, Nov. 2nd, 2007
    Webster Hall, NYC

    Saturday, Nov. 3rd, 2007
    Keswick Theatre, Glenside, Pennsylvania

    Monday, Nov. 5th, 2007
    The Music Hall, Toronto, Ontario

    Tuesday, Nov. 6th, 2007
    Park West, Chicago, Illinois

    Friday, Nov. 9th, 2007
    Moore Theatre, Seattle, Washington

    Saturday, Nov. 10th, 2007
    Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver

    Sunday, Nov. 11th, 2007
    Aladdin Theatre, Portland, Oregon

    Tuesday, Nov. 13th, 2007
    The Fillmore, San Francisco, California
  • Stream all 'Nac-shared Mp3s on the Hype Machine.

  • the fine print... If anyone has an issue with these Mp3s being made available, just let me know (my contact info in the 'nac faq). Live sets recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps Mp3s. Files are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.


  • featured mp3 download
    neil halstead
    live in cambridge, ma
    on november 14th, 2008
    previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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