Sunday, February 28, 2010

Interviews and Local Rock

Local Bands, The Middle East, Feb 27th 2010

So last night, I had the opportunity to interview a group of local bands before their show at the Middle East. Nerve wracking? Yes. Awesome? Absolutely. The interviews will be posted online later on, and I'll link to them when they are, but for now, my minor musical geek out:

The first band interviewed was Thick as Thieves. I observed for most of this one, and fumbled in a question or two when I could, but I picked up the flow and the pacing and how everything was supposed to go. The second was Beneath the Sheets. I was a little more on my own for this one, but I stuck pretty closely to the outline of questions before me and got a little lost in who was answering what and when. The third interview was with Jarrett from Cure for Static. This one was far smoother and almost completely on my own, so that by the time I interviewed The Lights Out I was comfortable enough to ad lib in questions based on the answers that the band gave. And, though it may have been just polite flattery, their drummer commented that it was the best interview they had ever had.

It was fun. So much fun. All of the guys I talked to were beyond nice, and they let me talk to them about music! Most of the time, I have to ply people with baked goods to get them to let me talk about music that much, but the bands and a couple new friends were more than willing to do so, no cookies required. As an added bonus, I was "on the list." This is a new and glorious novelty to me. I didn't have to pay to get in and what may be my last set of "thou shalt not drink" X's became B's.

Beyond that, it's a completely different experience going to a show after talking to the bands. First because they recognize you, and with a venue as open as the Middle East that means that they occasionally wandered by to throw a word or two into a conversation or to chat for a few minutes. It's mainly different, however, because it means that when they start playing, you were just talking to them about these songs and their music. Suddenly, I knew why those boys were playing their instruments, why they wanted to be musicians, and how they came up with the songs they were singing.

The first band that played was Beneath the Sheets. They're very enthusiastic on stage, from the lead singer bouncing around with an old style hand mic to what looked to be choreographed guitar moves. A quick glimpse of their style is the song "Cold Feet." It's by the book pop-punk, and the influence of bands like Fall Out Boy is very obvious in their guitar sound. They had a loyal group of followers, a crowd that wore their merch and knew all the lyrics.

Next up was Thick As Thieves. Most notable is their versatility with their instruments: the bass guitar was traded among three members, guitars were switched around, and a mini-keyboard and slide guitar rounded out the set. Of course with three members from Berklee, I'd expect nothing less. Though a bit slower than the rest of their set, I was a fan of "Here's to Waking Up." More indicative of their sound is "First News from the Zephyr." It's all got a bit of a 70s edge to it, but it works.

Midatlantic was next. They're an Irish rock band, and the accents made me smile. Nothing huge stood out about their set, but it was good, steady music. The crowd liked them a lot. It was good feeling music and it just kind of washed good vibes through the club.

Next was The Lights Out. It was their 100th show, and they were excited. They play something bordering on classic rock, with four part harmonies and obvious experience with their instruments. 100 shows had given them a stage presence that ranged from bouncy and energetic, their guitarist playing in the crowd, to focused and rocking. The crowd loved them, and I'd deem it a successful centennial.

Finally, Cure for Static. I'm a huge sucker for strong bass lines, and their bassist's awesome, so they had me there. The lead singer also spent most of the night with an acoustic, and I liked how that played into the harder music. Usually acoustics are reserved for quiet stage shows, but this was mixed right in with the electric. It worked very well. "Wait it Out" is a good description of their sound.

So what's in the future of my musical life? Hopefully more local shows, more interviews, and more nights of getting home at 2am and waking up at 7am to get to work. Please, who needs sleep when you can have music?

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