Friday, June 14, 2024

Live Shows: English Teacher and Paper Lady, Sonia, Cambridge, MA 6/12/24

I didn't really know what to expect with English Teacher's first Boston show. I tend to live in my own pop culture bubble unaware of what is known or popular. There are bands I think are obscure that end up playing the House of Blues, and other times I'll be shocked a band is playing a place as small as The Sinclair and they end up only half filling the venue on a Friday night. I had no idea how known English Teacher is, so I didn't know what the crowd would be like on a Wednesday night.

They might not have sold out Sonia for their Boston area debut, but they came closer than I would have thought they would. I entered the venue about half an hour after doors opened and half an hour before the music started. Typically there might be one or two people right in front of the stage with most of the crowd milling about towards the back or by the bar. Wednesday night there was no indie hipster half circle in front of the stage as the audience was right up front in anticipation of English Teacher. During their set, the majority of fans knew every word to every song of an album that had been released exactly a month prior. This wasn't the folded arm indie rock crowd that applauds politely between songs. Everyone was dancing and rocking out, erupting in extended applause between every song.

And they had reason to. English Teacher played an absolutely epic show. While they had a little bit of the awkwardness of a young band discovering themselves on stage, it only added to their endearing show. Songs like "I'm Not Crying You're Crying" and "Not Everybody Gets to Go to Space" came across as completely brilliant live. "Nearly Daffodils" become my personal favorite Wednesday night, beating out "R&B." Their Britpop meets indie rock sound translated perfectly to stage. Everyone who made it out to their Boston area debut will be bragging about seeing them when for years to come. The entire night just screamed legendary.

Boston's Paper Lady opened the show. I missed their set that weekend since they were playing opposite Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls. As great as that set was, Paper Lady's performance at The Sinclair started to give me a case of FOMO. They started off playing a version of alt-pop that was great, and I was enjoying them more than I expected. As their show went on, their music started getting more aggressive, darker, and noisier. What started off as a pleasant listen morphed into an intense set of noise adjacent rock. A song about the band's realtor was a particularly great one, and included singer Alli Raina screaming into her guitar strings. As great as English Teacher was, Paper Lady nearly stole the show.

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