Wednesday September 20th 2017

Loser’s Circle / Chanticlear / Blame It On Whitman / Coffin Salesman


Loser’s Circle / Chanticlear / Blame It On Whitman / Coffin Salesman
Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain, MA          8/6/17


“You do a pretty good impression of you,” is a real, biting line. It implies being phony, giving an impression of not who you are, but of what people expect you to be.

But that’s just my take, because when I talk to Aria Rad, (Coffin Salesman is his solo project), he doesn’t believe in explaining lyrics because he feels it can ruin it for the listener. And though I can see his point, it agitates me, greatly.

Then I beat him into a bloody pulp.

But before the ambulance arrives, I must divulge that his solo project is the first acoustic/punk recording reviewed in TNB in six years. And I’m sure it’ll be in my top ten at the end of the year. And I would claim it to have the best lyrics, this year, of anything I’ve reviewed.

Let me help hold open the doors for the EMT’s.

Which makes me immediately regret my previous actions. Violence doesn’t solve anything, though I’m sure Aria will use more precaution next time we meet. And on a positive note, perhaps, it will make him more forthcoming.

But his city/down trodden/ depressive lyrics, along with a punk delivery vocally that may recall Dylan, but more so- Joe Strummer or Jake Burns- means a lot to me.

A lot of the songs are about dreams failed and unrealized, “inspiring author, full-time waitress.” And my favorite line- “But no good decision happens after 3 am.”

Yeah, he tosses in a few lighthearted songs, one about gin and one about whiskey. But when your set includes a song that has someone walking off into the woods and never returning…well, it makes you wonder.

This is one of the best acoustic sets I’ve ever witnessed and from the audience reaction I would say- yeah, he was knockin’ them dead. (Future customers, perhaps?)

This is Blame It On Whitman’s second gig and I’ve seen both. This band consists of two-thirds of Jumper!, who were a very good fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants skate punk band, but this band is more sophisticated, may I say “debonair”? While Jumper! was more a warm can of Narragansett beer, this band is a chilled glass of white chardonnay.

Eh, I wouldn’t go that far. This band still, basically plays melodic punk but there’s snatches of country, funk and even jazz in their tunes.

Truth be told, some of the songs drift too far away from punk for me, but judging by the crowd’s reaction, this may be a popular band soon to come.

Chanticlear is the next band and I’ve been looking forward to seeing them as I’ve never seen them live but enjoyed their bandcamp immensely.

Alas, all my high expectations are dashed into smithereens just like a wave crashing against a rocky shore.

I’m only kidding! This band rocks hard and plays melodic punk like their lives depended on it. Perhaps being inspired by the unfortunate happenings to Aria earlier.

Their songs combine lyrics that are open, true and heartfelt with music that is energetic, passionate and exciting.

I notice they have Paul on guitar, who I’ve know as the bassist for The Dimwits, a favorite punk band of mine a few years back. I notice that Joey Riot, the singer and songwriter of the band, is keeping his equilibrium today, unlike our first meeting. And what I believe to be a new tune, “What Are You Doing Tonight,” is a song I really like.

And I must say they play an awesome, thrilling set.
Loser’s Circle is up to take us out and they just completed their first tour which took them to the darkest, hottest regions of the Congo all the way up to the most desolate, coldest parts of the North Pole. Okay, okay- so maybe they just went to Ohio- I don’t know- I’m too drunk and lazy to actually look up where these cats actually played.

I do see that they’re all decked out in Hawaiian shirts and look and sound like if Jimmy Buffet’s band had, collectively, snorted angel dust before they took the stage. And that, of course, means they sound awesome.

They still have Matt on drums who replaced Matt, the original drummer, who couldn’t play the tour, I’m guessing due to restrictions from his parole officer.

They made the replacement Matt have plastic surgery in order to look like the original drummer. Now, the original Matt is playing guitar tonight and they’ve required him to get plastic surgery, as well, to look like the drummer who replaced him. Now, if you ask me, this seems like a lot of waste of time and energy and money and quite the roundabout way of doing things-

But at this point I’m having LSD flashbacks so that everyone in the band, and in the club now resembles Kim Kardashian to me.

I can tell they start out with “Small Town Wasteland,” one of their best songs from the new album, the best album I’ve reviewed this year! And Hey!- this is their record release party!

I notice bassist/singer Jaime’s voice is shot from touring, but that just adds a bit to the grit to it all and also, with cowboy hat and Hawaiian shirt he now resembles Kenny Rogers on acid, which only adds a bit of grit to my hallucinations.

They end their exciting, exhilarating set with a Misfits cover, “Hybrid Moments” and one of my favorite songs from their new album, “Scars.” And sound great.

Then I see the walls of the Midway evaporating, they’re disintegrating in long, wavy forms. Someone in front of me is offering me plane tickets to Louisville, Kentucky and cards are being shuffled, faces of the past appear before me, like pages of a calendar enfolding.

I think it was an excellent show. I think I had a very good time.

I think I need a drink to come down.


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