There's just something about the first really nice day of the year in Boston. Winters can be brutal, and even if an eighty degree day comes early and we know it's going to get chilly again, there's just a certain energy in the city on that day. Plus, we're in the middle of the first Rock & Roll Rumble in three years, so there was magic in the air Thursday night at The Middle East.
First up were The Freqs out of Salem, MA. I've been enjoying the trio's recorded music since discovering them last year, but I wasn't prepared for their live show. They are a monster live, with a very specific blend of metal meets alt-rock that is always much better in a club than a computer speaker. "Witch" is my personal favorite of theirs, and they both opened and closed with the song. The Freqs make fast and loud rock that is actually clever and interesting, which can be rare in the genre. They definitely made my list of bands I'll need to see again and again.
The Endorphins were up next. They also play a heavier version of alt-rock, albeit more indie rock based than metal. Their songs almost have a dream-like quality to them, as heavy as they are. "Voyager of a Daydream" was a definite favorite of their set, and sounded like a more fuzzed out version of Foo Fighters. Plus, The Endorphins pack a much heavier punch live than they do on record. They had a ton of energy and kept the audience engaged throughout.
Next up was Tysk Tysk Task. If you've been reading this blog for the past year, you'll know that I've seen them a lot (possibly an embarrassing amount...). Something was just different about Thursday night's show. While their album release party was a magical night, this one seemed much more like a performance than I've become used to. It seems like the current line up of Tysk Tysk Task have gelled into an absolute live force with songs like "Contagion," "Colors," and "Flies" taking on a completely new life. Their songs keep morphing as time goes on, so they never get stale. Plus, they cranked everything up past eleven and sucked the audience in for this one. It was a glorious thirty minutes of sludge and noise, and I'll definitely be going for more ASAP!
Ruin the Night closed out the evening and completely changed up the sound of the night. Rock & Roll Rumble nightly line ups are chosen by drawing names out of a hat, so Boston's preeminent and newest dad rock band played last. They have a much more chilled out sound that seems to almost be perfect for those that grew up with ska but want a more mature version of that sound in middle age. Chris Duggan's vocals have that punk growl even if the music sounds more brunch than late night dive bar. But that is the true pleasure of Ruin the Night. This is punk rock for grown ups that still want music with an edge but don't want anyone landing on the back of their necks anymore.
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