Monday, April 8, 2024

Live Shows: Lovina Falls, Wire Lines, Other Brother Darryl, and Condition Baker, The Middle East Restaurant & Nightclub, Cambridge, MA 4/6/24

The Rock & Roll Rumble has been an institution in the Boston music scene for over forty years, showcasing the best up and coming bands in the Boston music scene. I try to go as often as possible, and made it to night three of the first round which featured one of the most diverse line ups in recent memory: Lovina Falls, Wire Lines, Other Brother Darryl, and Condition Baker.

Condition Baker opened the night with a set of 90's style pop punk. They were playing at a disadvantage Saturday night without their lead singer who had to miss the show because of a family emergency. The remaining trio soldiered on (which is pretty punk rock) and delivered a solid thirty minute set. Considering how many lead singers have trouble remembering their lyrics, it was impressive that the guitarist and bass player of Condition Baker were able to fill in so well. They played the only cover song of the evening, which was Sublime's "Santeria." Unfortunately, they weren't at one hundred percent, so I'll make it a priority to check out a full band show as soon as possible.

In the first left turn of the night, Other Brother Darryl played next. All seven members crammed onto the tiny stage of The Middle East Upstairs and played a solid alt-country/folk set. The band included a vintage television on the stage that seemed like it was there to add ambiance to their set, but changed to footage of their late bandmate, Dave Mirabella, which was a beautiful touch. Other Brother Darryl play a gorgeous version of alt-country, and they kept getting better and better with each song. They ended with what I felt was the best song of the entire night, which closed with a crescendo that silenced even the chattiest members of the crowd. Simply and amazing set.

Before I head out to a show, I always like to at least check out all the bands playing. With the Rumble, I try to go in as blank as possible since I think that just adds to the experience. I did that with Wire Lines, and it was the perfect way to experience them. The New Bedford quartet exploded right from the start and just kept the pedal to the floor for their entire thirty minute set. They played a loud and rowdy version of art rock edging into punk territory that reminded me of The Jesus Lizard. They commanded the attention of the entire crowd immediately and just never let go of us. Singer Kevin Grant was a revelation as a performer, owning the stage and even the floor of The Middle East for a song. Wire Lines are a band you're going to want to check out.

Lovina Falls closed out the night. The solo project of former Mistle Thrush singer Valerie Forgione, on recordings they sound more baroque pop, but live they combined that sound with an indie rock base. They somehow fit eight members on stage (nine if you count that a violin player and a second back up singer swapped out after a couple of songs) which included two other members of Mistle Thrush. Following the raw energy of Wire Lines had to be a tough task, but Lovina Falls were more than up to the challenge with an impossibly engaging set. All members of the band took the stage wearing spectacular outfits of varying levels of formal wear, which just added to the vibe and performance. Yet another band you'll want to check out in the very near future.

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