Thursday February 22nd 2018

The Grommets / Cotton Candy / Invisible Hours / Kermit’s Finger / The Instamatics

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The Grommets / Cotton Candy / Invisible Hours / Kermit’s Finger / The Instamatics
Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain, MA     1/20/18

 

I almost didn’t go to this show because I heard that nepotism was at play in the construction of this show’s lineup today. I  heard that The Grommets, who put on this show, gave a spot to one of the promoters other band! I conveyed my disapproval to Nick, the fine booker of the Midway, where he patiently explained to me that most shows are set up this way. He said that bands ask other bands they know and it’s a common accepted practice.

Well, now I know.

And though I still feel this is a horrendous abuse of power, I think of the abuse I suffer to Mr. Winky every night and I realize- what a hypocrite I truly am.

And actually, the end result is not too bad. Because Eric, bassist of The Grommets is also, the bass player of The Instamatics, who are first up today and they are superb, instrumental trio surf band.

They remind me of the small, surf scene that existed in Boston in the mid nineties, The Ray Corvair trio was my favorite band. (Of course, no one in the band had that name.) But it was always a treat in the dead of winter to go to a surf show.

And this band takes songs you wouldn’t think would fit in surf music- like a song by The Cure and my favorite, “The Model” by German krautrock synthesizer band Kraftwerk.

And I especially like the fact that they play, instrumentally, “Too Drunk To Fuck” by The Dead Kennedys- who were a punk band that took surf licks to make their style and now here’s a surf band to revert it back to it’s original form.

Anyways, I think instrumental surf music is great as I do this band.

Up next is Kermit’s Finger who will be playing my twenty-second birthday party show here in May. It’s really been great legally drinking for the last year, but to tell you the truth, I only snuck a few beers before that.

I feel modern hardcore kind of paints itself into a corner at times while the original hardcore was all over the map, much like the original punk music. This band harks back to that free open style where they used the energy of punk to create odd songs that really didn’t fit neatly in anywhere.

They play a wild, passionate set playing my favorite song, “I Need” three songs in and dedicate to me as they mistakenly, thought I’d passed away. (I do have a rather pale pallor). They insert “Love Stinks” by The J.Geils Band in the middle of one of their songs making me recall their unbelievable cover of “House Party” by the same band. (Maybe I should insist they play a whole set of J.Geils songs for my party?)

And they end with a great new song “Ape Shit” where Pete Pasted, who is a wonderful guitarist to not only hear but watch, (no matter what his bassist says) and plays a guitar solo by grabbing notes, above and below the neck, frequently during the same line, in a kind of wild, noise solo.

Great set by the band but right now, I nominate that solo for best of the year, that is until I catch them again.

The Invisible Hours are next and they describe themselves as psych-punk-noir.

I describe them as a moody, jangley, echo-ey band. And the truth is, I am so disconnected from this type of music I am not qualified to comment on it. They seem to do a great job and it’s just not my thing.

But I love punk music and noir writing- but what is noir music? And believe me, there is not one ounce of punk in any part of their music though they may want it to be.

But again, if this is your thing, then you may well love them. But please, use protection if you do.

I’m told to expect the unexpected in the next band Cotton Candy and I’m certainly surprised.

This is a boy and a girl doing a cappella (no instruments) songs and both are dressed as if they were in the forties, fifties. And the “songs” they sing are old TV commercials, radio station Id’s or theme songs to old television shows.

And each song is about thirty seconds long so they do about thirty during their set.

They have perfect harmonies and such great stage presence that I’m very surprised, when I ask them after, to find out they’re not professional theatre actors. In fact, the boy is the singer for The Unseen.

Very different, very funny and very well done.

Now, The Grommets are my very definition of a punk band conjuring up the sounds and feeling of ’77 to me but in a modern tone. They are a trio where only the bassist is of the weaker(male) sex.

They have informal stage patter and not picture perfect playing but when they hit it right on, it roars with the energy, the humor, the vibrancy and the sharpness of the original punk scene.

Their song “Cerveca” is a favorite but their new one “Into The Night” is also.

And become I’m the oldest person, usually at their shows, they require me to hobble on stage to sing along with “We’re Getting Old,” which I, barely, manage to do so.

Though I might say, I feel say this is the musical high-light of the show.

But then I could be mistaken.

But I’m not mistaken when I say, that this was another great show I saw at The Midway. And that this is the blood of my life that feeds me to exist in my nocturnal, vampiristic ways.

(Slimedog)

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