Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Live Shows: Not Bad Not Well, One Fall, Kooked Out, and Tysk Tysk Task, Sonia, Cambridge, MA 4/22/23

Part of the great thing about the return of the Rock & Roll Rumble is seeing bizarre four band bills that end up working perfectly. I doubt we'll ever see the likes of Tysk Tysk Task, Kooked Out, One Fall, and Not Bad Not Well all playing together again, and that's a shame. Sometimes the most oddball groupings of bands make the most cohesive shows.

Tysk Tysk Task opened the evening, and I was a bit nervous for their performance. Their regular drummer was unavailable that night, and they had to use a fill in drummer, which is never ideal... unless that drummer is Cutty from Paper Tigers. With only five days of practice, the show should not have gone well at all, but five seconds into their set and all trepidation I had was gone. Cutty seemed to inject a new sense of excitement into the band, and Samantha Hartsel and Amy Gee seemed to up their game to match that excitement. Plus, turns out Cutty is a phenomenal drummer. Tysk Tysk Task's songs are ever evolving, even from when I saw them nine days prior. "I Need This" was my least favorite song off last year's You're Sorry More (it's my favorite album of 2022, and even that can have a least favorite), but Saturday night saw it injected with new life, and it's now a favorite. The closer of "Flies" has turned into an absolute powerhouse. Let's start a change.org petition to get Cutty to join Tysk Tysk Task full time.

Kooked Out came on next, and at first I did not like them. They seemed like a typical college cover band even though they were playing originals. Slowly, as I admittedly was half paying attention, I started getting over my own music snobbery and realized I was actually kind of liking it. As I gave them more and more of a chance, I started getting it more. They play an ultra peppy and poppy version of garage rock that turned out to be infectious and fun. It might not have been my personal taste, but that's the beauty of the Rock & Roll Rumble: You can get exposed to bands you normally wouldn't see and end up understanding their appeal.

I really like One Fall's three song EP from last year, and expected to like their live show. Instead, I was absolutely smitten with their set. Their blend of thrashy melodic punk was even more addictive live, and they completely drew everyone in attendance in by the end of their thirty minute set. The true secret of One Fall's appeal is singer Helen McWilliams. She was endlessly compelling and charming, and has one of the greatest Boston accents in the history of the Boston music scene. "Rats Abandon Ship" has been crammed into my skull since Saturday night with no sign of it slowing down. They also got a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" in, which is almost mandatory for a band with that sound. Just such a seriously great thirty minutes of music. 

Not Bad Not Well closed out the evening, and I didn't really know what to expect from them. They only have one song officially released ("Sleeper") which I had kind of half listened to before Saturday night. Sonically the Worcester based band sounds like a more melodic version of At the Drive In, which turns out to be far better than you would expect. They're the kind of band you instantly want to know more about, and had this mysterious energy to their set. Just about every single song in their set is an arena ready post-punk anthem, which doesn't sound possible, but Not Bad Not Well prove is more than possible.

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