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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

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The 'Nac at XX Merge: Gone Mergin'!

Greetings from below the Mason-Dixon line, y'all. In case you haven't been following me on Twitter, I'm down in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina area for XX Merge - the 5-day 20th anniversary blowout celebrating the magic made by Merge Records. They're one of my favorite labels, perhaps the fave, and when this thing was announced earlier this year I was compelled to make the journey down south from Boston. Actually, the Boston area is well-represented here at XX Merge, with at least a dozen attending fans I could name off the top of my head, and likely many more I haven't met. Warms the heart, it does.

As I write this, we've hit the festival's halfway point - it kicked off on Wednesday at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro (the event's main venue), and what followed were three consecutive nights of massively varied, rarely disappointing, passionately delivered sets by artists who are clearly grateful to be here, and to be part of the Merge family. 17 bands so far, with at least 16 more to go: a free outdoor show this afternoon in the parking lot behind the wonderful Orange County Social Club, then one more Cat's Cradle show tonight, and a grand finale at UNC's Memorial Hall tomorrow evening. Then home, where I will clearly require a post-vacation vacation.

One of the best parts of this shindig is the lack of a mapped-out lineup for all four of the Cat's Cradle shows - you only know what time the first band's on, but you don't know who they'll be, or who will follow them, unless you're looking for clues on the merch table or the equipment setup. It's added a lot of extra fun to this thing, and has also helped keep the crowds solid for just about every act.

I'm planning (ok, more like hoping) to write up a post on each day, but for now I'll just share a few links for you to experience XX Merge vicariously, through my eyes and others...
  • As I mentioned, I'm Twittering this sucker when I can, so follow up if you're game. There are plenty of others doing the same, so do an easy #XXMerge hash tag search for the collected crowd consciousness.

  • While I don't have much extra time to write down here (too busy, um, having fun), I have been using what I do have to upload my photos. Check out my XX Merge Flickr collection for shots so far from XX Merge Day One, XX Merge Day Two, and the Friday afternoon Merge FANily BBQ Picnic & Kickball Game. I've got some great pics from the day three show to share, but I wanted to fire off this post first.

  • By far the best pre-XX Merge coverage I read was the wonderful work done by the local Independent Weekly, who pulled together an extensive seven-part preview, and who are adding more content as the fest progresses. A must read. I'll have links to coverage from other publications in my individual posts.
  • By the way, I can feel your envy from here... best not to bottle that up. You can take comfort in the fact that this party is being very well-documented, with at least five-camera video being shot, participating bands being interviewed, and from what I hear, special acoustic take-away performances being laid down. Esteemed director Jem Cohen is involved, so there's little doubt the footage will see the light of day, somehow, somewhere, somewhen. And hopefully sometime before XXV Merge. Which, given the absolute blast I've been having, I'll be at as well.

    More later... back onto the humid Carrboro streets I go...


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

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