The Midday Social Goes Down TONIGHT!

Midday RecordsTonight! (Thursday, August 28) Come meet local music industry reps from all across New England! FREE / ALL GENRES / ALL AGES

Final details on tonight’s The Midday Social!

Due to this event being reschedule to tonight from a previous date Joe Graham of The New England Music Awards and Amy Nachbar are unable to join our industry panel. They will be on the panel at our next event. In their place we have:

Marc Clarkin – Music journalist for Motif Magazine
Phil Fleming – Local music DJ at WMFO 91.5FM (The Dweezil Show)
Tony Pacitti – Music journalist for Providence Monthly

John Laurenti of Boston’s Classic Rock, 100.7 WZLX will be moderating.

The Studio Cellar podcast will be set up on location for interviews again. They’ll be on the backside of the bar. Ask for Jim Schultz, Tom Ribeiro, or Jax Adele.

Also, Scarpetti of 94HJY-The Home of Rock and Roll (host of Soundcheckand The Metal Zone) and DAve Crespo of Boston’s WEMF Radio and co-host of Bay State Rock on WAAF are unable to join us due to prior commitments. They have both asked that Midday Records collect CD’s from the artists in attendance tonight for airtime consideration on their programs. So if you’re in a band make sure you turn in two separate CDs with your material to me. I will be hand delivering these to both stations.

This will be the first time Scarpetti has not been available for this event. We are honored that both he and Crespo are still providing the same opportunities for the artists that attend as if they were here. Scarpetti has played MANY of the artists that turn in material at this event. Crespo also gives artists a spin and helps promote when the bands have upcoming shows in the Boston area. Again, this is a great opportunity to get these stations, and others, your material so don’t miss out on this tonight.

I’d also like to remind bands to bring plenty of CDs to give to other stations, promoters, and the music journalists tonight. And don’t forget to turn one in to our DJ by 8:00 the latest if you want us to spin your songs at tonight’s event.

Our sponsor MusicTown (Seeking Local Musicians) and Circle-Jam Productions will still be setting up gear in the back room for impromptu jam sessions. On our main stage we have:

Tracy and Shawn of VulGarrity
Mardi Garcia of Mardi and The Astral Seekers
Jenn Lombari Jenn-Kitten of Lucky United
Mike Baker of Sgt. Baker & The Clones

And closing out the night will be a full live set by The Skinny Millionaires.

Lastly, Providence Night Out (Providence Nightout) have been good enough to bring out Elwood’s Dog House food truck for us all tonight!

We start PROMPTLY at 7:00 at Platforms in Providence, RI (industry reps should be there by 6:00 to set up). ALL AGES / ALL GENRES / FREE


52 Shows: SHOW #4 – Wally’s Cafe

Wally's CafeSo, after the first three shows of patrolling my ‘comfort zone’, show number four of 2014 found me headed to Wally’s Cafe – a family-owned jazz club that’s been open since 1947 over at the intersection of Mass Ave and Columbus.

Jazz isn’t my thing. At least I don’t think it is. The drummer of one of my bands tells me that this because I, to quote him, “suck at music and have shitty taste in everything” – an argument that has merit – but, I just really have never had any education into what it is and why I should appreciate it. This wasn’t going to be the night for that, though. I brought my girlfriend with me and we went on the Sunday night before President’s Day – a night which, it turns out, was far more funk than jazz.

Their website listed the band name as “Wally’s Stepchildren 3” and the start time as 9 pm. We showed up at 9:45 and walked inside to an empty stage. My first reaction – the room is extremely small. That can’t be underscored enough. It is EXTREMELY small. It can’t be more than 60 feet from the door to the back of the stage and there can’t be more than 10 feet between the bar (on the right-hand side as you enter) and the wall on the left-hand side.

Given that we were 45 minutes late for the show, I was concerned that the holiday had rendered the show void. But, there were 35 people in the room and only 6 empty chairs. Worth noting: it felt PACKED with 35 people in it. I grabbed a couple of Lagunitas from the bar and we grabbed two of the remaining chairs and sat down.

At 9:56, the first person carrying an instrument walked in. Bandmates proceeded to trickle in over the next 60 minutes. Given the 9pm start time, I was modestly irritated; however, it was clear that I was the only one irritated. Most people there seemed to have been there before and this was pretty clearly par for the course, so I ordered myself another drink and resolved to chill the fuck out. The jukebox fluctuated from The Clash (which I loved) to Kanye (which my girlfriend loved) and ultimately to Sam Cooke (which we both loved).

Wally's Cafe SignAt 10:51, the show finally began and it was pretty electric. The room swelled to just over 50 people, a capacity so large that it prevented us from getting up and getting new drinks or going to the bathroom – something that would have basically required us to cut through the middle of the stage area. To me this was an issue because I spent a long time in my youth playing at a SHITTY fucking bar where the patrons literally had to walk through the center of the “stage” to get to the bathroom. It sucked. A lot.

The band was great and the frontman was better. According to the website, they’re in permanent residency on Sunday nights. Reader take note – if you want a sure thing, find a permanent residency. Clubs don’t give those things out unless they work EVERY time. The club and the artist get comfortable with each other and then some really fun stuff starts to happen. It was clear from the first note of their set, these guys wore Wally‘s like their favorite shirt.

The crowd seemed equally comfortable – paying rapt attention to every note and dancing, hooting, responding to every cue. You know that awesome feeling when you go see a band like U2 and Bono puts his hand in the air and everyone in the arena puts theirs up too? Would you believe it’s honestly better in a small room – where you can see the faces of every other person doing it with you? It’s better because you feel like you’re in on a secret. This type of thing happens every night in your city, you just have to know where to look. It’s intoxicating.

That said, there were a couple of super drunk townies who (based on the conversation I overheard) were from Lynnfield that danced their way to the front. After dry-humping in front of the band for a couple of songs, the girl started asking the keyboard player if she either could sing with them or if they would play their requests. He graciously declined. Then they both became belligerent towards the band. The ENTIRE crowd turned on them and they left minutes later. Good shit, Wally‘s.

PERFORMER SIDEBAR: If you go to a show and approach the performers asking to be included in anyway, FUCK YOU and FUCK YOU HARD. Chances are the person on stage has spent hundreds of hours refining their performance. The last thing they should have to do is cede the spotlight to you because “like, guy I fahkin play the shit outta Tohm Petty, dood”. If you were ever this person, you suck. Know that everyone thinks so and know that it will NEVER get you laid.

Anywayyyyyy….around 11:30, the room opened up a tad, dropping back down to 35. I seized the opportunity to grab another round, asking for a scotch this time. The bartender – who was extremely friendly – poured me one and realized that he had poured another of the same brand erroneously earlier in the evening. He commented on the fact that he appreciated both that I’d tipped well and that he hadn’t seen me before and gave me the other free of charge. Good shit, bartender. Good shit.

Come midnight, the place filled back up to 50+ – a clear indicator that the club has its own built-in regulars. We caught a few more songs, but my reluctance to approach the stage to use the restroom came home to roost. So, around 12:35, we decided to hit the road. I feel like I didn’t get the ‘genuine’ Wally‘s experience (given that it wasn’t pure jazz), so I will go back.

But, if I want a place to enjoy reasonably priced drinks and flawlessly executed music in an environment built to crave it – I’ll go back to Wally‘s. As I mentioned twice before – good shit.

– Mick Greenwood

TONIGHT! Thursday, February 27th THE MIDDAY SOCIAL!

The Midday Social goes down TONIGHT!

If you’re in a band or a musician in the New England area get down to Platforms at 165 Poe Street Providence, RI for the areas fastest growing music related networking event! The areas top radio stations, promoters and venues all in one room for a night networking and it’s FREE!

Just look at the list of reps in this event page!


Quilt – Held In Splendor | Review by George Dow

Quilt – Held In Splendor (Mexican Summer)

QuiltWith Held In Splendor, Boston trio Quilt modernize their early-seventies psych-pop sound with contemporary production. The influence of Revolver-era Beatles and Rumours/Tusk-era Fleetwood Mac are still readily apparent throughout but with layer upon layer of vocal effects, guitar pedals and droning loops, it is impossible to mistake Held In Splendor as anything but a thoroughly modern creation.

Across 13 tracks and 40-plus minutes there is not a down moment. “Arctic Sharks” opens the record with Anna Rochinski’s breathy vocal riding a middle-easternized, country-tinged rhythm. “Tied Up In Tides” sounds like a tripped out Abba tune with the cheese-pop trimmed off by Hammond-sounding organs. “Mary Mountain” and “Tired & Buttered” crank up the psych-rock with their fuzzed out girl/guy harmonies and tinny, distorted, clanging guitars. “I Sleep In Nature” is a 5-plus minute mind-journey that comes in waves. Warbling affected vocals and tempo changes throw the excursion off balance – like experiencing the song from the deck of a keening ship.

Experience New England’s psych-rock revival for yourself when Quilt returns for a homecoming show at Allston’s Great Scott on March 1.

– George Dow

Mick Greenwood On The Closing Of Radio

radioSo, after waiting until the right time, I’m gonna throw my two cents in, now that it seems the news has officially broken about Radio. I read Richard Bouchard‘s detailed perspective and have nothing new to offer – I think he was every bit as accurate as he was fair. I was in one of the bands that Ashley turned away because we weren’t her style. Aimee learned of this and went out of her way to make the room accessible to me and the bands I was a part of – something I always appreciated.

When I started The Interrobang, Aimee immediately offered her support, giving us the last Saturday of every month to work with and grow our presence in a safe and friendly environment. During that time, I got to know the regulars and the staff pretty well – I saw people I liked (Kyle, Jobian, Richard) come and go with varying levels of bitterness. I also saw a show I had put months of work into get double-booked – but when I came in to ask what had happened, I got met with tears of confusion and contrition. Aimee, to Richard’s point, entered this endeavor with a perspective of wanting to please everyone. And while that may have made business a challenge, it’s a perspective that I wish more of our so-called “pillars” of this community had.

In a town populated with shitty fucking asshole promoters who obsess over checkmarks, Aimee was the one who would (again, to Richard’s point) waive the fee to get bands paid. In a town where certain people get off on the “It’s MY club and YOU aren’t in it” attitude, Aimee took the opposite approach (firing Ashley was an early, but powerful example of that). I had more than a few happy nights catching/playing shows there, staying till after 2am when the ashtrays came out from under the bar where the drinks were free and the conversation even freer. It was in these conversations where I’d come to realize that she loved the idea of her club being not a manipulator of what the scene could be – but a true meritocracy – a place where everyone got a chance and those that played well (not necessarily drew well) would come back. What a novel concept.

RadioI can’t (and won’t) defend the errors in execution against these concepts. However, I will say that that I have fairly detailed knowledge of Aimee’s business partners and am resolutely confident that, had she had even one hold their own, the club would be open today. The employees I saw come and go have their gripes, and they are more than entitled to them. I just know that some of what made those gripes exist was her refusal to make the IMMENSE behind-the-scenes problems become visible. Ultimately, this strategy failed as, today, the world learned what a a few of us already knew – Radio won’t open again.

Today Aimee struggles to speak, the stress of this caused her to suffer a stroke and ruined her business and credit. No matter what you feel about how she ran her business, the ideal on which she entered it in the first place was irrefutably solid. To see the consequences of such a beautiful idea and beautiful ideals be so dire is so incredibly sad.

I think that the closing of Radio is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on what we can do to Save our Scene.

Artists – STOP working with parasite promoters. I’m so fucking tempted to name names, but I don’t have to – you know who they are. WORK WITH EACH OTHER. And, for fuck’s sake – BE HONEST. You don’t have to draw…just don’t lie if you can’t. There’s room on every bill for a band that needs to grow if you’re doing it right.

Tastemakers/Journalists – STOP being so fucking cynical and self-righteous and let the scene shape itself. Your job isn’t to MAKE it, your job is to FACILITATE it. You can do so much good but you can suffocate growth more easily than I think you realize.

I don’t mean to steal my boss, Steve Katsos‘, schtick – but you CAN begin again, Boston. Let’s be better. Let’s work together. Let’s stop trying to make Boston INTO something and start maximizing what it is.

We CAN be better. So let’s fucking be better.

– Mick Greenwood

The Midday Social

The Midday Social

We’re excited to bring you the next Midday Social New England musician networking event! RSVP:

When: Thursday, February 27, 2014
Where: Platforms Nightclub | 165 Poe Street Providence, RI | 7:00 PM
This is a FREE event open to ALL genres.


Starts promptly at 7:00 PM | FREE | All Ages – All Genres!

The Midday Social is one of New England’s fastest growing music related networking events. These events have hundreds of attendees and representatives from the areas best radio stations, venues, magazines & publications, promoters, etc. including 94 HJY, 100.7 WZLX, 90.7 WXIN, 91.5 WMFO, 88.3 WQRI FM, 990WBOB, 95.5 WBRU, Unregular Radio, Limelight Magazine, Providence Phoenix, Motif Magazine, 13 Folds Magazine, Go Local Prov, Rock Karma Promotions, WARL 1320, The Steve Katsos Show, General Assembly, Firehouse 13/Fete, and many more.

This is an opportunity for musicians and industry professionals to make new connections and strengthen old ones. Bands/artists are encouraged to bring press kits and CDs. This event is open to ALL genres across New England.

ANNOUNCEMENT: 13 Folds Magazine will be releasing Volume 2 Issue 1 at this event!

If your a musician or band that wants your music played over the house system during the event you need to hand in a CD to the DJ by 8:00 PM the latest. We cannot accept submissions after that time.

The event will start promptly at 7:00. Industry reps are encouraged to be there earlier in order to set up their tables.

Food: TBA
Drinks: Full bar with 4 dollar Narragansett Tallboys.


Throughout the night we play a mix of music by bands in attendance and have a few acoustic performances. Closing out the night we have two live acts performing.

There will also be gear set up in the back room for folks who’d like to perform or just jam. The back room is open to anyone who would like to rock out!

Also, The Studio Cellar will be set up to do record a their upcoming Podcast and interview bands/artists.


The panel will be moderated by John Laurenti of Boston’s Classic Rock, 100.7 WZLX.


Joe Graham – The New England Music Awards (Awards Show)

The goal of NEMA is to celebrate and recognize some of the areas best musical achievements. Every year NEMA will nominate over 100 artists and/or bands spanning a number of categories and genres of popular music in New England, including the coveted individual state awards which will select one band/act from each of the six states as its Best In State.

Chris Conti – Providence Phoenix (Publication)

Chris is The Providence Phoenix’s music journalist. In addition to his work for the Phoenix, Chris is very active in the local music community. He also often serves as a judge for 95.5 WBRU’s annual Rock Hunt.

Ashley Ann Goldberg – 90.7 WXIN & AAG Booking (College Radio)

Ashley is a DJ on Rhode Island College’s radio station, 90.7 WXIN. She also handles booking for the station and books events and shows on campus through her company AAG Booking.



100.7 WZLX – John Laurenti (Boston Commercial Radio)

94 HJY – Steve Scarpetti (Commercial Radio) – Host of The Metal Zone & SoundCheck

95.5 WBRU – Brian Manfredi (Providence Commercial Radio) – Pal & Crew (Internet Radio)

90.7 WXIN FM – Nate Grist (Rhode Island College Radio)

Citywide Blackout – Max Bowen (Internet Radio)

The Dweezil Show – Phil Fleming (Radio)

91.5 WMFO FM – Phil Fleming (MA College Radio)

The Steve Katsos Show – Mick Greenwood (TV Show)

Dig Boston Radio – Max Bowen (Internet Radio)

The Studio Cellar – Jim Shultz & Tom Ribeiro (Podcast)

Sully’s Cafe – Daniel Sullivan (Podcast)

1320 WARL AM / The Tony Jones Show – Tony Jones (AM Radio)

RI FREE Radio – Tony Jones (Internet Radio)

The Franchise with Ferro – Joe Ferro (Internet Radio)


GoLocalProv – Rob Duguay (Publication)

Motif Magazine – Marc Clarkin (Publication)

Providence Phoenix – Chris Conti (Publication)

Adam Parshall – Freelance Journalist

13 Folds Magazine – Dave Sorgman (Publication)


DUSK – Rick Sunderland (RI Venue)

Manchester 65 – Jay Palmeri (RI Venue)

The Parlour – Greg Rourke (RI Venue)

The Red Room – Arianna Soto (Boston Venue)

The Spot Underground – Nick Cardi & Tim Davis (Talent Buyers/Venue)

182 Productions – Mitch Candiano (Promoter)
Books Gemstones & Blue-Shamrock (Lowell, MA), and others)

Simons 677 – Simon Sarkisian (RI Venue)

Justin Sane – (Promoter)
Books Simons (Providence, RI), Fete, and others

OTW Live – James Mclaughlin (Promoter)

Ghost Town Entrainment – Matt Melia & Jarred Difazio (Promoter)

Fusion Bar & Nightclub – James McLaughlin (MA Venue)

Firehouse 13 – Kristen Kohler (RI Venue)

Fete – Kristen Kohler (RI Venue)

Handsome Factory Entertainment – Martin Newell (Promoter)

Presidents Rock Club – Martin Newell (Venue – Quincy MA)

The Sad Cafe – Eric (NH Venue)

Rambudikon Booking & Productions – Mike Carp (Promoter)

Full Scene Ahead (Promoter)

BB Entertainment – Nina McCarthy (RI Promoter)

P.E. Entertainment – Psycho Eddie (Promoter)

Ashley Goldberg – Booking for Rhode Island College shows

Fat Cats Events & Marketing – Christopher Coderre (Promoters)

Degenerate Booking – Lauren Peter Theroux (Promoter)

Platforms Nightclub – Davey Moore (Venue)

Mardi Gras MulitClub – Davey Moore (RI Venue)


Do617 – Adam Parshall (Web Service)

ArtistBomb – Mitch Candiano (Web Service)

Full Stream – KC Hoye (Multi-Media)

Get Punched Clothing – Matt Beauchemin (Apparel)

Honor Roll Management – Marcus Ohanesian (Artist Development)

Perfect Evolution – Marcus Ohanesian (WebDesign)

EVO Audio Group – Brian Poillucci (Recording Studio)

Turbulent Studios – Jim Shultz (Recording Studio)

Providence Night Out – George Nasser (Online Site)

Nate Grist – Photographer

Midday Records – Davey & Mark (Label/Promoter)

Tony Timpano – Entertainment Attorney

24 Hour Music Project – Kimberly Ann

Tim Batty – (Artist)

If you would like to raffle off artwork, photography, Band swag, such as T-shirts & CDs, please find the raffle table. This is a 50/50 raffle where the artist will receive half of the proceeds and half helps cover costs of the event.


Get Punched Clothing (Bundle)



Organizers: Davey Moore & Mark Charron of Midday Records/Satellites Fall
Sound: David Begin of Satellites Fall
Door: Kait Clavette
Raffle Station: Nina McCarthy of BB Entertainment
Extra Hands: Bryan Yebba & Ken Parker of Satellites Fall, Pat Keister of PALS

52 Shows: SHOW #3 – Mad Satta, Somerville Symphony Orkestar and The Step Kids at The Middle East (Upstairs)

Middle EastShow number three brought me to The Middle East Upstairs. This venue and I have a rough relationship with one another. In 2008, I had the worst gig experience of my life there (and I’m a guy who has played a gig next to an active carousel AND had an oxy-head take a REALLY SLOOOOOW SWING at me during a song) and I STILL consider one of my MidEast UP gigs the worst of my life. I have since gone back and had better experiences there, but I knew going in that it would be hard to be impartial. So there’s that.

All that being said, I was actually pretty excited to catch this show because my friend Joel’s band was playing and he and I have been friends for far too long for me not have seen his band. It was up in the air right up until the moment I showed whether or not I could make it. My girlfriend was pretty under-the-weather and I initially gave up the gun on going to the show. But when she went to bed, I realized that my go/no-go deliberation is part of what this blog can be. Let’s be honest – most of us go to a show because we want to see the one band we have a connection to, and this was my case. I knew Joel’s band wasn’t opening, so I figured not showing up not-on-time would actually be a more realistic representation of the true ‘fan experience’ and so, off I went.

Mad SattaTo enter the venue, you must enter the door of The Middle East restaurant, (not The Corner, not ZuZu) and head directly for the back. I walked up to the door at 9:20 pm to a show that was advertised to start at 8pm only to find out I’d missed exactly 8 minutes of music (so there’s that). The band, Mad Satta, was outstanding, something I point out only because I want it made clear that my showing up late wasn’t a slight to them, they’re worth your buck and I’ll leave it at that. (not a band-review blog, will probably bring that up all 52 times). That buck was more accurately 10 bucks. Fairly standard cover charge.

First thing worth noticing, there were about 60 people in the room when I walked in. Not bad for a Thursday night. The crowd was intensely diverse, ranging in age from 22 to 62. The first thing I noticed was that most of them opted to keep their coats on (it was a little cold). As I cut my way across the room, I also noticed that that room SUCKS for moving around – the space in front of the stage is bookended on both sides by walls with ‘middle-eastern’ doorways which have the two bars that the room contains. So that means, most people gather between the two walls and aren’t paying attention to anything other than the show. That is awesome theoretically and a nightmare logistically.

I, in fairly short order, located the back bar and found Chris Keene, lead singer of Mean Creek (from my first show) tending it. I grabbed a Jack on the rocks and seven bucks later, found my friend standing guard by his merch stand. From outside the ‘stage area’ we discussed the merits of merch stands, during which I noticed something else – The Middle East Downstairs has improved its sound system to the point where he and I could actually talk. That’s a pretty big and non-standard deal.

When the first band was over, I went outside to the Middle East Restaurant which, had a closed-circuit tv into the venue so I could enjoy the quiet and diminished crowd before going back in. While I was out there, I became cognizant of my own fatigue and so I asked the bartender for a Red Bull. He tried 4 (no lie) 4 different ways to convince me not to drink it or to go elsewhere for it. For the first three, I appreciated the sentiment – Red Bull is gross and tastes like burnt gummy bears, but I’m a caffeine addict and I know when I’m jonesing – not proud of it. After the fourth attempt, I was more perturbed – it’s behind the bar, I’m offering you money, fork it the fuck over.

Somerville Symphony OrkestaOnce you’ve had a Red Bull you’ve pretty much told your mouth you give no shits about its opinion, so I ordered a 4-dollar Bud Heavy Tallboy and, seeing from the tv above the bar that they were about ready – I went in to catch the band I came to see. Again, not offering a review here, but it’s worth pointing out that The Somerville Symphony Orkestar were fantastic, and my personal connection to the group made me enjoy it even more. For the uninitiated, you know how excited you were when you were there to watch your friend make the big play in their sporting event? Imagine that for 45-straight minutes. SSO KILLED it, 45 minutes of goals/interceptions/tackles/saves..whatever. I had a blast. Now…worth noting that I’ve gone to see friend’s bands that I’ve hated, too and it’s pretty much like watching them drop the big pass for 45 straight minutes, so you take your chances.

The StepkidsI noticed when the crowd turned over, that the total dipped form 60 to 45 and promptly rose back to 70. My friend in SSO informed me that his brother was a member of the New York-based headliner (The Stepkids) and all of a sudden the demographics in the room started to make sense. When siblings collaborate, the family comes out of the woodwork and infiltrates clubs they’d NEVER step foot in otherwise. So parents, cousins, grandparents all of a sudden will be mixed in amongst the populace, something I think is extremely cool.

After a very similar intermission between the 2nd and 3rd band as had been between the 1st and 2nd, I resumed my spot in the room. What’s funny, is that I had initially thought I needed to watch the entire show to do this accurately, but I actually think that may not be the case. I watched 6 of the headliner’s songs, but just didn’t climb on board – I got that they were good – they just weren’t my kind of good. I made the pledge to check out the show and, that’s what I did.

I think that’s the number one reason I don’t want this to be a band review blog, who the fuck cares what I think about a band? Those dudes could PLAY. I just wouldn’t seek out their brand of music in my day-to-day. Now I know that and THAT is the point – I came, I heard, I know.

So the end result was that I had a blast and woke up with less of a hangover Friday morning. The Middle East sound was great, logistics were shit and the prices were so-so. I’ll go back. We’re not in a fight anymore.

 – Mick Greenwood

52 Shows: SHOW #2 – Unplanned trip to see Dan Blakeslee at The Plough and Stars

As I advertised on the 52 Shows Facebook page, I was planning for show number 2 to be Sunday at TT The Bears (which will now be show number 3), but plans change. I live in Central Square Cambridge, something I highly recommend. So I was at the Cambridge YMCA gym when I got a text from my friend Dan (keyboardist of The Steve Walther Orchestra and formerly of Southern Lust Club). Dan and I were supposed to grab a drink that evening, and he was texting a potential location change. He and some of his SWO bandmates had decided to head over to The Plough & Stars on Mass Ave and extended the invite my way.

The Plough and StarsFull disclosure – I love The Plough & Stars. I’ve had two last-second gigs there (the kind of gigs where a promoter puts up a Facebook SOS due to performer cancellations) and enjoyed myself immensely. It’s a small, rectangular shaped room that, at first glance, you’d think “There’s no way they do music in there – where would they put it?” But they do and they put it in the back-left corner of the room. I’ve seen a number of shows in there and it always sounds great – they have an appropriately-sized sound system and book acts that either fit the room, or are smart enough to fit themselves to the room.

Hearts For BostonSo, it wasn’t hard to twist my arm into meeting there. I didn’t know who the act was going to be, but was quite pleasantly surprised to walk in the door and find Dan Blakeslee‘s cheerful and talented self sitting in the performer’s position. For those unfamiliar with Dan’s work, in addition to his numerous accomplishments in the folk music world, he’s most recently known for being the artist that designed the “Hearts for Boston” print that raised a TON of cash for One Fund Boston and other charities in the wake of the marathon bombing.

ASIDE – This is my weekly reminder that this is not a “band review” blog. That said, in rooms so small, it’s hard to describe the night without describing the performance because it tends to dominate the experience.

I showed up around 10:15, which meant it was too late for me to get food (which sucks, because the only thing that sucks about their ever-changing menu is that it never sucks). I found my friends sitting across from the stage at the back and received a cheerful mid-song hello from the performer (not because he recognized me, but because that’s his thing). The chair I selected could not peossibly have been any closer to the performer, but I was still able to immediately make conversation with my friends that were already seated.

DanThe club holds about 60 and, when I walked in, I counted roughly 45 or so (give or take a smoker). It appeared some were there for Dan, some were there to drink and some were there because they were already drunk. Two, in particular, stood out. There was one fan who kept leaning on the attractive girls seated at the corner of the bar and would make a mariachi-style whoop loudly before, after and during Dan’s songs (again – folk music). The other kept yelling out dumb requests by artists that ranged from redundant to terrible.

PERFORMER’S ASIDE: My goal with this blog is to make music accessible to everybody. But, it only took two shows for me to be reminded that what makes it most accessible is for assholes to stay home. So, if you’re the kind of jackass that sees a performance going on and says “How can I make this about me?” – stay home. “Freebird” is every musician’s “Get Your Shinebox”. You’re not funny, you’re impressing no one and you just suck. Rant concluded.

Dan adeptly handled the back/forth of the crowd dialogue, cheerfully forcing his hecklers to come join him on stage and allowing them to recognize what they should have known from their seats – it’s not enjoyable to be in the spotlight if you don’t have any talent. Dan managed to do this in a way that let them off the hook and was non-vindictive, keeping the crowd engaged the whole way – nice work.

DanJust prior to the first set break, Nate, the friendly, bearded bartender, dispatched the assholes and the night was purified. Dan took about 25 min off before re-taking the stage at 1130 and playing straight through till 1am. When he stopped, he still had about 25 people in the bar. Nate confirmed my suspicion that the night was a success by The Plough‘s standards, acquiescing that an end-to-end sellout is always preferable, but there were no complaints on the establishment’s behalf.

For the next hour, up till last call, the crowd organically dwindled and departed. There was no need for anyone to be shown the door, it was a peaceful and civil dissipation that perfectly fit the night.

And so, without grand ceremony, show number two went into the books. End-to-end it was a pleasant experience and I think the most important takeaway for you, the reader, is this: I didn’t set out to go to a show that night, I set out to meet a friend for a drink. We succeeded in that endeavor, had plenty of time to talk and catch up, enjoyed ourselves same as we would had we gone to a pub with a jukebox except the music was way way better and the experience was a lot more unique, inclusive and fun.

 And that’s the point.

– Mick Greenwood

52 Shows: SHOW #1A – Take 2 – The Fagettes, Earthquake Party! and Mean Creek at Great Scott (a benefit for Lianne Segar)

Great ScottBecause we were late in making our way over, I was concerned that we’d walk in halfway through the first band. Turns out our timing was perfect. This was one of the many Friday nights that Great Scott was sporting a two-show bill. The first show was, as it often is, “The Gas” hosted by Anderson Comedy – a comedy show featuring some of the top local, regional and national comedic acts. I’ve seen acts as big as Marc Maron in there, so it’s nothing to sneeze at.

Many of the comics were still milling about as we walked in at around 9:09 pm. Their show had wrapped and the stage was being built for The Fagettes, the night’s opening band. We were met at the door by a friendly door guy who took our IDs and our $10 cover charge (apiece) while reminding us (in a helpful, non-obnoxious way) that Great Scott was a cash-only establishment. In fact, hanging over the bar at Great Scott is a sign that says “CASH ONLY Great Scott encourages you to live within your means” – a knowing nod to the neighborhood and clientele.

Let’s talk about the neighborhood first. Corner of Comm Ave and Harvard Ave in Allston. As an alum of Boston University, I know the neighborhood exceptionally well. Friends from the suburbs have described it as dirty and dangerous. It is neither. It is busy, it is gritty and it is full. If you want clubs, you are in the wrong neck of town. There is beer, there is music, there is food and the T runs right up its spine. We were using Uber that night (because we were cold and lazy) but it would have been 2 buses and 30 min if I didn’t feel like using Uber – not undoable at all. If I’d driven, there are meters pretty much everywhere and they never seem to be full.

Back inside the club, I recognized three groups of people – the first was a table of comics, recapping their recently-ended show. The second was a group with Chris Decarlo, a writer for The Noise – a local music mag. I had gone to high school with Chris’ brothers and gotten to know him better when he stumbled across my band a few years ago at a show at the now-closed Rosebud Cafe. The third group was members of local rock group, The Luxury. Their lead singer, Jason Dunn, is another musician that goes into the ‘socially affable’ bucket, for sure. I spent time conversing with people in all three groups throughout the night and also spent some time on my own with my girlfriend, just enjoying the music. Point being – none of these people were my best friends – most of them I had met only 2-5 times prior to that night. But local shows are kind of like parties and, when you show up, most everyone is glad to see you.

Fagettes at The Rock & Roll Rumble. Photo courtesy of Daykamp Music.

Fagettes at The Rock & Roll Rumble.
(Photo courtesy of Daykamp Music.)

PBRs are cheap at Great Scott – $3.50 for a tallboy, cheap. Since I’d splurged on scotch at the last stop and was paying for the rides, I joined about 80% of the crowd in drinking Milwaukee’s finest Union Made lager. The girlfriend would suffer no such swill. So beer snobs, rejoice – there are options for both demographics. The show, advertised for a 9:30 start, began at 10:01 (this is typical) when The Fagettes took the stage. I have stated before that this is not a band review blog, so I’m not going to review their performance, or anyone else’s.

When the show started, I counted approximately 60 people in the room. During the first band, probably the least overpoweringly loud of the three, the crowd was even dispersed – about 25 right up front by the stage, about 20 in the narrow channel/hallway between the bar and the stage and about 25 standing at the high-top tables facing the stage in the back near the bar. We stood at the high-top in the bar that was closest to the stage, as my failure to protect my ears on stage lo these past 9 years has taken its toll. The fact that I had an option is a very strong endorsement of Great Scott as a place to catch a show.

Earthquake Party!

Earthquake Party!

After a 34 minute set from The Fagettes, the turnover for the second band began. For the next twenty-eight minutes, people socialized, smoked, refreshed their drinks, took shots and hit up the restroom. The second band (Earthquake Party!) was much, much louder than their predecessors. Their guitarist was, by his own admission, trying out a LARGE new amp rig and he was getting his money’s worth. I expected the distribution of the audience to shift when they started – and they did – the crowd actually went CLOSER. The bar all but cleared out and the area by the stage filled in. Take a lesson, noobs – loud can be fun. There was no hope of conversing while they played, so the crowd did something that shouldn’t seem so surprising – they listened to the music they came to see, instead.

It was around this time we learned that we were at a benefit for a girl named Lianne Segar, whom I have never met. She was hit by a car while crossing the street and the show’s organizers had pulled together a hasty raffle offering tickets to local venues and gift certificates to local businesses. Tickets were five bucks, I only had a twenty and felt like a dick asking for change from charity – so I bought four. Also, random aside – if you really want to go catch a local show at its best, go to a benefit. Local musicians love doing them, their friends love being a part of them, everyone (for the most part) tends to drop their rockstar bullshit for a night and play like a part of a community – a community they’re only too happy to welcome you into.

Mean Creek (Photo from The Hard Rock in FL)

Mean Creek (Photo from The Hard Rock in FL)

Earthquake Party! wrapped their set at 31 minutes, and 27 minutes after that, at exactly midnight, Mean Creek took the stage. Sometimes in local music “headliner” means “the band that a promoter or organizing band is fucking over by making them wait the longest and making sure the crowds from the other three bands have had a chance to leave before you go on”. Sorry, but it does – if you disagree go have a nice warm bowl of ‘getoveryourself’. That said, every once in a great while “headliner” means what it’s supposed to mean – “the band that people will wait all night to watch.” That certainly seemed to be the case.

The crowd stayed roughly the same size from start to finish – between 60-75. A solid (and happy) crowd, but well below the club’s capacity. The room’s booker, Carl Lavin, was hanging around so I asked him what his feelings were on the night. He acknowledged that he’d always prefer to see the club sold out, but was definitely happy with the turnout and the result. He cited the holiday and the weather as reasons why a night like this typically carried low expectations, but refereed to the crowd in the room as “the home team” who had rallied for the cause for which funds were being raised. Very cool.

Halfway through Mean Creek‘s set, they halted to draw for the raffle. Turns out I won twice (whoops), so I auctioned one of my winning tickets right there on stage to try to drum up a little extra cash. I am known in some corners of the scene, but not super well in this one – taking home two prizes wasn’t really the intro I was looking for. I was just there to say some hellos, make some new friends and see some music.

At the conclusion of Mean Creek‘s set, we said our goodbyes and hooked a ride home. With three rides, 2 admissions, 4 raffle tickets (two of them won), 9 beers, two shots and one scotch between us – total out of pocket for gf and I was under a hundred bucks.

Good start, Boston.

Get well, Lianne.

Mick Greenwood

Read part 1: (Show #1)