Monday, October 23, 2023

Live Shows: The Jacklights, Double Star, and Harry & The Hot Flashes, The Square Root, Roslindale, MA 10/20/23

Despite The Jacklights and Double Star being local bands that each play out a lot, I had yet to see either of them. Sometimes schedules don't work out, and that kept being the case over and over and over again. Finally, things worked out and both bands played a double EP release show at The Square Root, a new-ish venue I've been meaning to check out!

Harry & The Hot Flashes opened the evening up. I had never heard of them before, but according to their Facebook profile they are "Harry and three menopausal chicks." They might need to update their profile, since their membership has ballooned to six total members. They seemed like a group of friends that share a love of music and get out and play every so often. It was a garage rock meets blues kind of style that fits a local bar band quite well, especially when they play such a covers heavy set. Of course, what set them apart from other such bands is the mix of songs they played. Their set included Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son," Portishead's "Glory Box," Jonathan Richman's "Pablo Picasso," and Shocking Blue's "Venus." 

Double Star played second and played their just released Late at night inside my head EP in full right up front before going back to some old favorites. My expectations were probably unreasonably high for Double Star, but they met and even exceeded them. Their blend of pop-rock that dips into punk and maybe ska sometimes was perfect for a live show, and the members have an awkward charm and confidence that comes out through their live show. A song like "I know U say" is an absolute delight live, and really had a chance to expand in a live setting that you just can't get from a recording.

The Jacklights closed out the show. They leaned into the Halloween aspect and dressed like Batman villains with singer/guitarist Nilagia McCoy dressed like Poison Ivy, bassist Mike Allen like The Riddler, and drummer Mike Gaylord like Scarecrow. (The scarecrow costume was from The Wizard of Oz and not Batman. Unsure if that was a schtick or an actual miscommunication, but it added to the oddball aspect of the evening.) They also played their new EP, but spread the songs from Final Girl out over their entire set. My expectations for them were also quite high, and like Double Star they exceeded them. Their blend of melodic pop punk always sounds better live, and The Jacklights were surprisingly tight for a new-ish local punk band. Songs like "Haunted," "Final Girl," and "Carolyn" not only sounded great live, but they're also perfect for a Halloween show.

To close out the evening, Leah Bakst and David Kurimsky of Double Star joined The Jacklights for a pair of covers. They played The Replacements' "Can't Hardly Wait" and a song from X-Ray Spex (who I know, but not nearly enough). The X-Ray Spex song saw a truly firey performance from McCoy as she embodied Poly Styrene's delivery for the song. It was one of those moments that will never be repeated the same, and it was a perfect way to close out the night of music.

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