Thursday February 22nd 2018

Stop Calling Me Frank / State Of The Union / The Only Things / The Angel Martins

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Stop Calling Me Frank / State Of The Union / The Only Things / The Angel Martins
Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain     1/13/18

 

As I pop into the Midway on a weekend afternoon, as I am wont to do, that is if I’m guaranteed I’ll be hit with the music we cover and love- punk, metal and hardcore- and lo and behold, it seems I picked a good day to pop in!

What I’m hit with is some jangly, garage-y, melodic punk that recalls the eighties to me. I guess that would be my decade, too, as I spent most of my twenties there.

And most of my twenties was also spent at The Rat or other rock dives like it and this band recalls those times to me.

I see the drummer from Stop Calling Me Frank and he informs me that this is their guitarist side band- and they’re called The Angel Martins.

And then I hear the band play The Dogmatics “Thayer Street” and that might not mean much to a lot of young folks reading this, but that was the place in Boston that had practice places, underground lofts, my first underground shows I went to, took place on that street.

Too many years, too many substances at the time disallow any recall to where this street might have been- I’m fine with it only existing in my imagination, though I assure you, that’s not really the case.

I only hear a few songs by this band but they have a cool song called “Indie Film.” And they play some perfect- punchy, poppy punk.

The Only Things are next and are one of my favorite bands. They released an album that landed in my Top 15, very close to the top, and two songs that made it into my Top 15 songs of last year, so I guess you could say- I like them.

And I believe there’s a bit of eighties influence here as they sound like what an excellent eighties pop/punk/indie band might sound like- taking elements from The Replacements and The Pixies but taking it to the moment now. I just feel they write some of the best songs of about every band I know!

They play one of my favorites, “Walk On Home,” which is really a waltz ballad but has a shimmering, guitar lick that would be worthy of being on Television’s first album and a melody that is elegant, emotional and excellent.

And they play many songs off their great, last album “Hit List” but also, new ones off their soon to be released next one.

They play an energetic, fun set and I await anxiously for their new album.

State Of The Union is up next and I’ve seen them a few times. They have an eighties sound to them as well, taking various punk and new wave influences.

Their second song is a cover of Agent Orange’s “Fast Cars” and later they play a song by local eighties band The Neighborhoods, but nothing about this band seems nostalgic or dated to me.

And I notice their female drummer whomps the drums like a metal drummer! She reminds me of Amy from the hardcore/metal band Red Mantis. And I notice though, as I said, I’ve seen them before- but they seem even more powerful and potent today.

They end with a cover of “Beat On The Brat” but also have some great originals including one about the Boston Marathon Bombing called “Boston Bombs.”

This is the best and most energetic I’ve seen them play and how can you not love a band that ends with a Ramones cover?

You might have noticed an eighties trend in this review, in fact, I just counted how many times the word “eighties” is used and it is, surprisingly, eighty times!

But Stop Calling Me Frank! (I don’t think they use the exclamation point anymore) is an actual local band that Andy and I saw many times in the eighties playing in places like Chet’s Last Call in North Station that was near the Boston Garden/Fleet Center.

And while most of the bands we saw were playing a kind of garage rock mixed with punk lyrics and Chuck Berry guitar solos, this band was playing music heavily influenced by fifties rock’n’roll and fifties rhythm and blues and had a sax player playing most of the solos to boot!

This is the second time I’ve recently seen them and this is the second time I’ve seen them blow the roof off the Midway! Not sure I’ll see them here again as the club just can’t cover the costs of repair.

The lead singer is named Frank and he has a bit of that Bon Scott higher register yelp in his singing and the band has a lot of swingin’ rock’n’roll in their beat.

My good friend Sam, the female Sam, has created her own individual mosh-pit so I join in just the same. The band plays a ’86 release with the lyrics, “I don’t wanna taste nobody like you.” The Jameson and Bud Lights are flowing through my veins along with the rock ’em, sock ’em, rhythm and blues, rock’n’roll with enough fun and energy to burn through the snow and ice of Antarctica.

This is what music is about, my friend. This is what good times are about as well.

Writing about it has been great, but being here has been more than twice the fun.

(Slimedog)

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