Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Live Shows: Amanda White Band and The James Rocket, Lilypad Inman, Cambridge, MA 4/14/18

After ten years of following the musical exploits of The James Rocket, one of their rare trips up to the Boston area finally worked out for my schedule. Not to mention that our new discovery Amanda White was also playing the show, and I knew I had to head out, despite unseasonably cold temperatures and showtime confusion made worse by whoever was working the door.

Amanda White started off the show with her backing band, which also includes Joe Elliott, drummer for The James Rocket. She had some sound issues for the first two songs, which is a little disappointing since her classically trained vocals are one of the main selling points. She stuck mostly to songs off her latest album, Kittens Give Zero Fucks, mostly so she could say "Kittens give zero fucks" as much as possible. (Her own admission, not my speculation.) As someone who tends to go to very earnest indie rock shows, sometimes it's just fun to see an artist that just rocks out and has fun with it. And live, the Amanda White Band shreds. There is more than a little of an 80's metal feel to it, but in the best possible way. They're like a less hokey Darkness or a Steel Panther without feeling dirty.

Next was The James Rocket's mixture of songs about frontman James William Roy being a "big, fat liar" and a "big, fat failure." (Once again, his words, not mine, but I suddenly get why I'm drawn to his music...) Live, The James Rocket come across as a mix of Elvis Costello and Superchunk, or like a fun loving Fugazi on other songs. A song like "Paper Valentines" is far better than I remember it, and "Derby Girl" was just a great, fun indie rock song. Seeing as Amanda White is local, she was the bigger draw , and it was a late, late night for us old timers, so the crowd slowly thinned out as The James Rocket's set went on. (Since most of the early leavers made sure to personally stop to say goodbye to Amanda White and wish her a happy birthday, I can't imagine it had anything to do with The James Rocket's performance.) The odd thing is, as the crowd got smaller, they got much more into it, until it was a small but enthusiastically dancing crowd. 

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