Sunday November 19th 2017

Nervous Eaters / Barroom Heroes / Revilers / Fast Times


Nervous Eaters / Barroom Heroes / Revilers / Fast Times
Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain, MA          7/30/17


When I met Andy in 1980, working together in a mail room for a company, long gone, but I now live within walking distance of where the place stood. We both found out we liked going to punk clubs, unlike nearly all our friends. But I soon found out from Andy’s friends- that if you were going anywhere with Andy, there was no discussion on who would drive, it was acknowledged to be Andy. (I still haven’t been in a car with Andy in the passenger seat and I still don’t know the origin of this ritual.)

So though, Andy was far from sober, he sure knew how to get us home safe and I guess, he became my designated driver in the eighties, long before that term existed. Meaning, I have less recollection of the time than he does.

Meaning, I knew that The Nervous Eaters were one of the best bands around at that time, they did record on a major label, but I did not realize, until recently, what a great catalog of songs they had.

The rhythm guitarist of The Nervous Eaters, Alan, is the father of Nick the singer/guitarist of Fast Times. This is the third show that their bands have played together, all at the Midway, but this is the first time that Nick will fill in on bass for The Nervous Eaters. (As his father normally, switches to bass when their original bassist can’t make the gig.)

Fast Times is up first and the Cape Cod crew is in full force. They are an awesome crew and probably, my favorite. Rachael, Chester and Sarah, Crobar, Margaret Jane, Sparrow Cat, Jess and Peter plus more.

This band’s style is melodic punk played over hardcore rhythm. Jay, of the late Red Line Rebels, jumps on stage to sing an Operation Ivy cover of “Knowledge.” He is, systematically, beaten to death for his actions.

Chester, the lead singer of Crimespree, sings along onstage during “The Key Of Dynamite.” He, too, is dealt the violent fate befallen on Jay.

The play a cover of Darkbuster’s “Cheap Wine & Cigarettes,” while Lenny Lashley, manning the bar, wisely stays put and nods his head in approval.

They play a wild, fun set- no surprise to me. My favorite part being the medley of “Butt Shot,” into “Waste Of my Time.” But what does surprise me is them ending with, their seldom played crowd favorite, “Taco Time.”

I know that the Revilers were a top band from Cape Cod when TNB started six years ago though, I can’t recall if I saw them live.

I see Crobar on guitar and Peter on bass- two musicians I’m more familiar with playing with the great metal/thrash band Led To The Grave.

This band sounds more proto-punk to me than hardcore. I make a note on my phone that says, “More Dead Boys than Dead Kennedy’s.” Then shortly after they do a great cover of “I Got Nothin’,” by The Dead Boys.

I really enjoy their set, their style is more rockin’ than hardcore, more early Boston punk/garage with just a dash of hardcore in the vocals.

And I especially liked their song, “Sick Of Being Sick & Tired Of You,” but this song did not makes me sick or tired but just grateful in hearing some great music.

The BarRoom Heroes are a band I’ve seen grown up. Well, not really as they’re still pretty much midgets- but during TNB’s time, I’ve witnessed the two brothers, Jake and Nick, grow from early teenage years into late teen young adults. And the growth musically, far exceeds their physical growth and that would still hold true even if they were both now six-foot-seven. From fledging youngsters to professional musicians I’ve seen them grow.

Today is a bit different as they’re playing with a new drummer and an added guitarist, as well.

They start their set with Nick, their bassist on bagpipes playing an instrumental that eventually leads into an Irish/punk song. They follow this with a ska/punk tune and their set and style is reflection of the history of punk and it’s many genres.

They play an awesome, tight set that has a couple of covers. “Trying To Make It Right,” one of the very best songs Lenny ever wrote, still trying to make drinks right behind the bar. And a cover of the sixties classic “Dirty Water,” a song about their love for Boston, and Boston should love them because they reflect all that’s best of this great city- things like passion, truth, loyalty and guts.

Nervous Eaters are up to take us out, and I notice Nick, from Fast Times, is doing a wonderful job filling in on bass. This is not his usual instrument, nor his usual style. This is early Boston punk/garage music that calls for concise, tight bass lines and he’s doing it up right.

Listening to the great songs the Nervous Eaters produced I realize what foiled them was not the music but too blatantly, real lyrics- too raw for the mainstream then.

My favorite song by them, “Last Chance,” brings tears to my eyes as it strikes my heart deep.

But as I said to Nick earlier, “You’re dad was close to achieving what The Cars did. You could’ve been a rich man’s son. And today instead of being here, you’d be saying, “Daddy, I don’t want to play my guitar. I want to go skiing in the Alps.” And he’d toss you a couple of grand and that would be that.

So the band dishes out their garage/punk songs filled with Chuck Berry riffs and the young crowd seem to get it and respond.

And the years turn and the years burn away and I seem to be still standing in the same spot- listening to the Nervous Eaters play, just like I did, who knows? Maybe on the same date, forty years ago.

But the music still rocks, the beer still creates it’s intended purpose, while the young girls still move their bodies, beautifully to the beat. The emotions  and day to day, city life- strife and joys this band sings about still exists in the hard and gritty streets of Boston.

And I feel blessed to still be in a room, in a club in Boston where I feel, like many shows before, that the most important, most fun thing that is happening in the city, at this moment, is happening right in front of my eyes.


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