Thursday, November 16, 2023

Live Shows: Razor Braids, Mint Green, and Matilde Heckler, The Rockwell, Somerville, MA 11/14/23

Razor Braids have been one of those bands I've enjoyed and have wanted to see them live since discovering their music last year. When I saw the Brooklyn quartet were playing The Rockwell, I wanted to go but was kind of on the fence. Once they announced Mint Green was opening, I immediately bought a ticket. Despite them being local and playing around a lot, seeing them just hadn't worked out yet. Turns out I made the right decision since I also got to discover the fantastic Matilde Heckler, too!

Recent Berklee graduate Matilde Heckler opened the show with a short set. They played an electric violin shaped like a flying "v," and with their band played a great set of violin based indie rock/alt pop songs. I believe they only have two songs out to date (with a third due on Friday), so they're in the very early stages of a music career. But sometimes even this early on, you can just tell someone is going to be great someday. They also busted out a cover of Olivia Rodrigo's "Get it Back" which won over anyone in the crowd not yet fully onboard.

Mint Green played next, and after listening to them for a number of years, and hearing about how great they were live, my expectations were high. They destroyed any expectations I had and made me a diehard fan. Singer/guitarist Ronnica is one of the most compelling frontpeople in Boston, and a song like "Body Language" off 2022's All Girls Go to Heaven is even more impactful live. It was one of those shows that you're going between bopping around and having fun and standing there awestruck. The band was breaking in two new members Tuesday night, and I can't imagine how great they will be after they have more time to play together. Plus, they broke out a cover of Radiohead's semi-forgotten classic "Creep," which is always a great decision.

You ever see a band and wonder how they're only playing a show in front of a few dozen people and not a few thousand? That's how Razor Braids were at The Rockwell. They were one of the most compelling live bands I've seen this year, and the mixture of harder edge punk songs with jawdroppingly beautiful ballads was astounding. They had gorgeous vocal harmonies over songs that were at times punk, at others groovy. "Megachurch" was a highlight of the set, with vocal harmonies between Hollye Bynum and Jillian Karande equally joyful and painful. Razor Braids also played the ultrarare real encore. They had finished up their set with "42," when the audience asked for another song. They agreed to play "Not Dead, Not Yet," calling it their heaviest song, but said the crowd needed to match the energy, which they happily did.

One last note about the vibe of the entire evening. Razor Braids curated a certain feeling for the entire night. They were in the audience for most of the other band's sets (they were hard to miss dressed in outfits that were the exact shade of red, right down to their shoes) cheering and dancing around. It's unusual to find the exact right mixture of audience interaction to enhance a live show and not derail it, but they found it perfectly. Every single time an audience member said something to the band, they found a way to turn it into a plus. The band just exudes this natural sense of charisma, and if there is any justice in the world, they'll be rocking the largest stages in town quite soon.

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