Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Live Shows: Rebuilder, Ramona, and Hell Beach, Deep Cuts, Medford, MA 12/30/23

I'm not one of those people that absolutely has to do something on New Year's Eve, but I at least like to do something around New Year's Eve so I can pretend I'm still fun. This year I was presented with Rebuilder's ten year anniversary show, which also doubled as my last show of 2023.

Seeing as they were celebrating their tenth anniversary as a band, Rebuilder decided to do the "Eras" thing and play songs from each of their releases in little segments by album/EP. They started off with a song from Dead Ellington (a band some of Rebuilder was in before Rebuilder) called "North Station" they used to play live to fill out a full setlist. From there it was just a greatest hits set from Rebuilder from "Everything That I Hate" and "Heroes to a Sun" off their first EP, through "Le Grande Fromage" from Rock & Roll in America to "Get Up" from Sounds of the Massachusetts Turnpike. They even played "Antarctica" off their Christmas EP, just to make sure they hit it all. They closed out with three songs off their latest album, Local Support. While not as popular (yet!) as a song like "Le Grande Fromage," these three songs showcase just how far Rebuilder have come as a band, and how they've elevated the genre of pop punk to something that adults can listen to without it just being nostalgia or a guilty pleasure. Local Support is truly pop punk for grown ups.

If you've seen Rebuilder live, you're just as gobsmacked as I am that they're not one of the bigger bands out there today. They have a killer stage presence, a high energy show, and some of the catchiest pop punk songs released in the last ten years. The band has some of the funniest and most charming between song banter around, mostly based on how they've tried selling out but haven't been successful at it. This is a band that deserves to be stars, and hopefully some day soon they will be, if there is any justice in the world.

Ramona was one of the opening bands, and were a perfect fit for playing with Rebuilder, and not just because co-singer Diego is Rebuilder's Sal Ellington's brother. They play this ridiculously charming version of pop punk that is infectious and quickly made anyone at Deep Cuts that was unfamiliar with them a rabid fan. Also in the pop punk that isn't embarrassing to be a fan of, Ramona crushed it and made it impossible to decide if you preferred songs fronted by Diego or Abby more than the other. Some vocal pairings are just perfect together, and this was the case with these two. They also played a cover of U2's "Vertigo" which they promised to play until Diego messed up, and they almost got through the entire song.

I only caught four songs from show opener Hell Beach, which was my loss. (Sorry to Hell Beach, but Bob Marley (Comedian) was apparently playing at the Chevalier up the road which made parking atrocious.) Pop punk out of Manchester, NH, they were also an absurdly charming band made even more so by the inclusion of keytar, which makes pop punk even more endearing. The four songs I did see were fantastic, and I'm now determined to catch a full set of theirs ASAP.

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