Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Live Shows: Harvard Square Mayfair, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA 5/3/15

Besides free music, we also love free concerts. Luckily, being in the Boston area offers a ton of choices. This weekend was the first truly nice weekend since October, and it just happened to be the Harvard Square Mayfair. Harvard Square gets shut down, and they set up vendors and artisans, and multiple live music stages. Club Passim has always had a curated stage, and this year the Sinclair set up 2. It's a great day of street food and live music. Here are some of the musical highlights from 2015 (watched in between shoveling Indian food, barbecue, and ice cream into my face).

Photo by Ken Sears
The Funeral Advantage
I only caught a few of theirs songs, but holy heavily influenced by the Smiths. I don't mean that as a dig at all, just stating an observation. They sounded so much like the Smiths I kept wondering if they were covering the Smiths, which they weren't. Even when they covered the Cure's "Just Like Heaven," it sounded like the Smiths covering the Cure. So, if you like the Smiths...

Photo by Ken Sears
Bent Shapes
I hadn't seen Bent Shapes since they changed their name from Girlfriends, and they definitely changed their sound a bit, too. They're less experimental and more straightforward pop punk now. It's more pop than punk, but has just enough 90s indie quirk to keep them out of the Good Charlotte branch of the punk family tree. Good stuff, but guaranteed to make you feel old. Because we are.

Photo by Ken Sears
Hallelujah the Hills
I've been meaning to see a Hallelujah the Hills show for a while now, and a free Sunday show worked out perfectly. Their albums are quite good, but live is by far the best way to experience them. Their sound is this great mash up of punk, neo-folk, and new wave. They brought a ton of energy and fun to their performance, even though the stage they played on was in front of a beer tent filled with people much more interested in their Bud Light Limes than they would have been in anything else. They did mention that the best environment to see them is a dark bar. Here's hoping I can get out some night soon to see them in the preferred way.

Photo by Ken Sears
The Sheila Divine
I have no idea why I always wait so long between Sheila Divine shows. Maybe it was because I saw them pretty much bi-weekly for all of 1999, but I need to start rectifying that immediately. At an all ages outdoor venue, they brought all the hits and played them more tightly than any band who plays a handful of shows per year has any right to. They got the best audience reaction by far, possibly because they existed in a time when local bands could get occasional airplay on the radio. It was one of the few times that an audience actually went right up to the stage as a whole instead of leaving a 10 foot open area for pedestrian traffic. One of the many highlights was a medley of Rick Springfield, .38 Special, and Tone Loc that was in the middle of "Hum." For a band that can come across as moody and serious, it was a great moment of fun and levity.

For those interested in trying to recreate at least part of this day of music, Hallelujah the Hills and The Sheila Divine are playing the Sinclair together on June 19 along with Ruby Rose Fox. Guaranteed to be a great night of the rock.

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