Sunday November 19th 2017

M.A.T.B. / Some Kind Of Nightmare / Whoopi Sticks / The Knock Ups / Color Killer


M.A.T.B. / Some Kind Of Nightmare / Whoopi Sticks / The Knock Ups / Color Killer
Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain, MA     10/21/17


I’m walking up to The Midway, hearing music. I’m wondering if it’s the Whooopi Sticks I hear. But, lo and behold, when I step inside it’s a trio of very tiny humans playing instruments.

These guys, called Color Killer, are dwarfed by their instruments, which is no surprise as they stand only two or three feet tall. They are Lincoln, Nate and Matt from Marlborough, Mass. And their ages are 8, 10 and 12. And my first thought, well, this is one band that certainly has roadies because no way these guys could hoist their amps.

And my second thought is how good they sound. They play covers of Green Day, Offspring, Misfits and other punk related bands and do so in a surprisingly, efficient way.

My third thought is how they remind me of BarRoom Heroes which started about the same ages as them and are still going strong. They get a great crowd reaction and I hope they stay around to “grow” as musicians.

The Knocks Ups are next and they play in a kind of rock’n’roll/riot grrl type of style. They start off with their usual one-two punch of their stellar songs “Knock You Up,” into “Busted,” and then deliver the T.K.O. with my favorite song by them, “1969,” which is about the Manson Family and is a moody, minor key, moderate song that is emotional and moving.

They have two gals fronting this band, Gretchen, who sings lead, plays guitar and writes great songs and Cat who adds vocals and is one of my favorite bassists- she always plays enough to fill up the song but never adds too much and kicks ass with a punchy, gutsy style recalling to me, the many great punk bassists of the eighties.

A high light for me if when they do a cover of “Violet” from the great album, “Live Through This,” by Hole. They play it slower, almost goth like, that works quite well with the somber lyrical content.

They end with the blast of “Talk To Me,” to complete their great set full of passion, guts and emotion. I always enjoy hearing these guys, so much.

Whoopi Sticks is up next, another trio with a solidified lineup with Kyle on guitar and Paul on bass joining Lindsey on drums and vocals. They’re a intoxicating  mix of surf beats, Devo rhythms, X-Ray Spec/Riot Grrl vocals and punk/garage/No wave music.

Early in their set they play two early songs- “Mumbling” and “I Don’t Wanna Be A Person,” two of my favorite songs by them and the former, I’m told, played especially for me. But when I think of the two great EP’s they’ve released, how many great songs they have now-  I might have to revise my favorites.

And they mention, on stage, that they’re recording tomorrow. But they warn people not to show up at their practice place where they’re recording as they wont let them in!

I think they should reconsider this and let the folks in and call it a live album. Hey! it worked for Kiss and Peter Frampton!

The new songs sound great- “Ice Cream & Vandalism”, and “Sniffing The Mike.” And they play a totally, great, fun set.

Some Kind Of Nightmare is next and it’s finally dawning on me that I saw three-fifth’s of today’s show this summer at Opus (meaning The Knock Ups, Whoopi Sticks and Some Kind Of Nightmare all played that show I reviewed.)

If I knew that, I would’ve just copied that review and just put the two different bands who played this show, in place of the bands that instead played this one- I’m sure no one would’ve noticed.

But to reiterate, perhaps, Some Kind Of Nightmare, is an awesome melodic punk/hardcore band that hails from San Diego but really, since they’re so dedicated to their music, their home is on the road, meaning they tour constantly. Which takes a lot of commitment and stamina. I find it funny that Molly, the singer/bassist, has been to probably every corner of the country but never ventured ten minutes over the border into Tijuana! (I’ve been to San Diego and did both.)

But what they create is truly great, a lot of songs have political content or issues they believe in or concerned about like breast cancer. Their singer is a survivor and so is my mom, whom I live with- she’s a twice survivor of breast cancer. And this is the third trio in a row with a female lead vocalist!

Molly’s voice is a great low range female punk voice that draws influences from Wendy O. Williams, Joan Jett and Courtney Love to my ears, and to my ears they play a powerful, passionate set.

I especially like their song “On My Way Back,” and their ending song “Back To San Diego”.

M.A.T.B. is up next, their initials stand for “Most Anxiously Timid Beekeepers,” or maybe something else.

This is my first time seeing them live but I liked their latest album, “Every Path,” enough to review. (On-line at the same time as this one). They’re a Worcester based band led by Mark, who is also the drummer for Slitswitch, though here he sings and plays guitar and writes the songs…and books the shows and puts gas in the van.

As I told Mark today, “Some bands try very hard to be punk and miss it by a mile. And some others just play what they feel and the essence of punk just hits me hard from their music, how ever non-traditionally punk it would appear.” And they are one of those bands.

I hear several favorites from their album today- like “Johnny,” Pasture” and “Brace Yourself.” And they turn in a great punk set with a style that I’d call a beautiful collision of punk, garage and alternative.

Great time today, all great bands- I make a note to myself that I should do this more often.


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