Every performance by Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys is truly unique and special. Saturday night's show at ONCE Ballroom in Somerville was unique in that it was a pretty straightforward rock show. The eight piece band took the stage and played a collection of audience favorites as well as new songs. The three new songs the band played seemed to sum up the evening the most. While a lot of Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys's newer material has been on the quieter, more moody and ethereal side of the spectrum, the new songs are much more loud and thrashy. The band is definitely letting their metal flag fly on a few of these. The political climate is influencing the band quite a bit, as they brought back a song that they haven't played in eight years ("No Room") and one of the new songs contemplated the fear of bringing up a child in the current world that includes near constant school shootings ("War Gospel" may have been the name.)
It wasn't all doom and gloom for the evening. Well, it was, but also in the fun way. Any performance by the Army of Toys is uplifting in the way that it brings all the weird kids together for a night of community. There's literally no wrong way to attend a live show of theirs, and everyone is accepted. Plus, there is no possible way to not enjoy their performance of "Dull Boy," which is their ode to The Shining. The only disappointment of the night is that Sickert teased a cover of Bell Biv Devoe's classic "Poison," which wasn't followed through on. Maybe next time...
The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing advertise themselves as "the UK's biggest, loudest, heaviest SteamPUNK band." Not being an expert on the UK's SteamPUNK scene, I'm going to assume they are correct since I can't imagine it getting much heavier. Their music comes across as sea shanties filtered through punk and metal, the way Motorhead played it. If that sounds like something you'd enjoy, you're going to love them. Their show was an insane amount of fun, despite songs about babies being thrown into rivers instead of being adopted ("Baby Farmers") and more angry politics. "Baby Farmers" was used as an example of what happens when women don't have access to reproductive rights, and a very anti-Trump theme was expressed throughout the night. (Of course, unless you're going to see Kid Rock or Ted Nugent, I'm sure that's a pretty standard theme.)
Apologies to Frenchy and the Punk and Radiator Kings. I meant to get there early enough for all four bands, but unfortunately didn't make it.