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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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

[Thanksgiving Nutshells] David Bazan, TW Walsh, Fuzzy, Ben Gibbard, Tanya Donelly, Lemonheads, Now Now, more

Greetings, and happy official-start-of-the-holidays, dear readers. All 12 of you. I keed, I keed... there are at least a couple dozen of you out there, I'm sure. One of these days I'll check my stats and find out.

I've got plenty of things in my life to be thankful for, though "blogging time" is not one of them. As I've said, I seem to be spending my non-work, non-being-a-dad hours seeing shows rather than writing about them. There was a time I could do both, but lately it's just not happening. Que sera, etc.

Thanks to my place of employment, I was set free a little early today, so I had a couple unexpected hours to spare. How did I spend it? Enjoying some Kiwi Rising and sharing up some songs. You're welcome.

David Bazan, former Pedro the Lion focal point, current solo-but-with-a-band guy, and longtime personal fave, brought his "Control" tour to Brighton Music Hall last week, and it was maybe the best I'd ever seen him. That's saying a lot, because I've seen him oh so many times. The sound was great, the crowd was psyched, his 3-piece band (which includes Andy Fitts on bass and Alex Wescoat on drums) was tight as hell. A well-oiled machine, as they say. And that machine was playing the entirety of what may be Pedro The Lion's best album, though "It's Hard To Find A Friend" holds a perfectly special place in my heart. First love and all.

The trio played "Control" side one, then a handful of other well-chosen Bazan-penned songs, and finished up the show with side two. No encore, as per usual, but there was one major bit of unusual: Dave's friend and former Pedro the Lion bandmate (and ace songwriter on his own) Tim "TW" Walsh took Alex's place behind the drum kit for a couple songs, including "When They Really Get To Know You They Will Run" from the aforementioned "It's Hard To Find A Friend". Considering they only ran through it once in soundcheck, he nailed it. Here it is...

Check out the setlist from the show, which gives (spoiler alert) the list of songs that Dave & co. draw from for the non-Control creamy filling of the set. The rest of my photos from that night are here.

Speaking of TW, his fans successfully (over-)funded a vinyl pressing of the the two fantastic Soft Drugs EPs he released in 2006 and 2008.  They'll be joined together on one slab of undoubtedly-expertly-mastered colored wax (with bonus digital goodies), and you can get an early peek at the artwork on the Kickstarter page

Want to know what "When They Really Get To Know They Will Run" would sound like without drums? Have a listen to this live version from a recent episode of the Live Wire Radio variety program podcast. Check out the full stream of the show for a live take on "The Fleecing" as well...

Can't remember the last time I had as much unfiltered fun at a show as I did at former Fuzzy member Chris Toppin's birthday bash at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain a couple weeks back. She turned the big Five-Oh, and the place was packed with friends and fans to wish her a happy. Fuzzy reunited, Buffalo Tom rocked the smallest room they've played in awhile, Tanya Donelly sang a couple of Belly songs (with Buffalo Tom backing her), and a celebratory crowd was treated to some surprising covers.  One of those was "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around", with Tanya playing Stevie Nicks and Buffalo Tom's Bill Janovitz channeling his best Tom Petty. Nailed it...

Photos from that special night are here.

The next day, during some random Fuzzy-related surfing, I happened upon this short video of Chris Toppin and her bandmate Hilken Mancini doing a bit of "Pulp", a Smudge song the band used to cover back in the day. The clip, however, is a recent one, recorded over the summer during an interview segment for an in-the-works music documentary called "If It's Catchy, It Means You Stole It". The subject? Australian musician and Half A Cow record label founder Nic Dalton, a one-time member of Boston's own Lemonheads. The connection? Fuzzy and Smudge were Half A Cow labelmates. Here's the trailer...

When Chris Toppin's birthday party (above) was announced, I knew I'd be going, but I was bummed it went up against Now, Now's set at the Paradise, opening up for Motion City Soundtrack. While I'm no fan of MCS, I'm a longtime admirer of Now, Now (fka Now, Now Every Children), and they don't play around here often enough. Back in 2009 I wanted to see them play so badly that I set up and presented a rare Almanac show at TTs, the trio's first visit to Boston. I hadn't been able to catch them since, and the fact that I had conflicting plans was painful.

Fortunately, RadioBDC had the band on for a "Live In The Lab" acoustic session that I was able to attend that very afternoon. While I was there, I discovered they'd be playing early enough at the Paradise for me to catch their set before I headed to the Midway. The scheduling gods smiled on me, for once. Y'know what else I learned? That 2009 show was the first time the band met their latest bandmate, Jess, who came down from Maine for the show. Proud to have played a small part in their band history.

Here's one of the stripped down songs they played at RBDC (and one of my favorite songs of the year)...

My photos from the Live in the Lab session, and a few from the Paradise show that night, are right here. You can watch & listen to the band perform their 3-song acoustic set, which also includes"Dead Oaks" and "But I Do", over at RadioBDC. Area music blog They Will Rock You reviewed their Paradise show here.

When Death Cab's Ben Gibbard stopped by the Somerville Theatre a couple weeks ago in support of his new solo record, "Former Lives", I figured we'd get a cover or two. What I didn't expect was an old Lemonheads number. Major kudos for the local hat tip, Mr. Gibbard...

Ben's setlist from that night pulled from all over his songwriting history...
Ben Gibbard live at the Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA

* from "Former Lives"

Shepherd's Bush Lullaby *
Such Great Heights [Postal Service]
Oh, Woe *
These Roads Don't Move [Farrar/Kerouac collaboration]
Dream Song *
Cath [DCFC]
When the Sun Goes Down ['Arthur' soundtrack]
Grapevine Fires [DCFC]
The Dream Of Evan & Chan [Dntel]
Something's Rattling (Cowpoke) *
Couches in Alleys [Styrofoam]
Passenger Seat [DCFC]
Duncan, Where Have You Gone? *
Unobstructed Views [DCFC]
My Drug Buddy [Lemonheads cover]
Soul Meets Body [DCFC]
Cleveland [All-Time Quarterback!]
Teardrop Windows *
Crooked Teeth [DCFC]
You Remind Me Of Home ['Home' EP w/Andrew Kenny]
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight [Postal Service]

Broken Yolk In A Western Sky *
A Movie Script Ending [DCFC]
I'm Building A Fire *
I Will Follow You Into The Dark [DCFC]
More photos from Ben's show are here.

Alright, enough outta me. Gotta head home before the big Metz / Pile / Speedy Ortiz triple-punch at the Middle East tonight. Jeez, I can't remember the last time I was upstairs at the Middle East. Sad fact, that. Glad the Bowery has stepped in and given me a reason to go. See you there?

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

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