Wednesday, 9 December 2009

705 FRANCINE, DURESSE, plus 2 other supports, The Abbey Lounge, Boston MA USA, Saturday 15 July 2006

Despite an early flight the next morning, the only way to celebrate our last night in Boston on this whistle-stop visit is with a gig! So we were lucky that old faves Francine, who'd just put out another deliciously understated CD "Airshow", were playing at the Abbey, a venue we'd not yet been to!

So, Rachel and I "T"d and walked the 20 minutes from Central to Inman Square, hitting this scuzzy little bar venue (reminding Rachel of the Short Stop in LA!) at 9.30, just as the first band were rounding off. Got drinks in and watched the Red Sox beat the As 7-0 on TV (we'd been to Fenway the night before, to see the As hammer the Sox 15-3. If only Schilling was last night's starter!) while the Gentlemen's CD played over the PA. Aah, Boston, there's nowhere like it...

We'd got there early primarily to check out Duresse, ex Wheat man Ricky Brennan's new band. Ricky actually took vocal chores this time, ripping through some challenging guitar rock which alternated between the thoughtful, low-key approach of his former band Wheat, and some rip-roaring, almost Buffalo Tom-esque US indie rock. All hooky and catchy, all memorable stuff, and easily the best new band of this trip, the best new band out of Boston for ages!

Thought I recognised a familiar face afterwards, so tapped him on the shoulder - it turned out to be former Wheat man Kevin Camara! 5 years had passed since we last ran into him, but we caught up immediately with one of the few people on this planet who renders even me incapable of getting a word in edgeways. Another band played, but Kevin was talking up a storm so I can't remember even hearing them!

Amidst all this, we also managed to talk to young Mr. Brennan, catching up, gratefully accepting copies of the Duresse CD, and chewing the cud about his new band and his modest yet realistic ambitions. Just enjoy playing, that's the thing!

Francine came on at 10 to 12, late due to set-up issues. Now expanded to a 5-piece with the addition of former Baby Ray guy Paul Simonoff on keyboards, their set majored on the more introspective, slow-burn bedsit pop of the new CD, rather than the oblique, word-heavy cerebral pop of old. As with most Boston bands, it made much more sense "live", taking on some verve and life. However I have to say that set closer, oldie "East Hampton", was by some distance their best number tonight; itchy, scratchy and devilishly catchy.

And thus finished the Boston rock for this trip. Ran into a happy and drunk Pete Stone, discovering a closet Mighty Lemon Drops fan in the process. Then off for some kip at 1.15 am before a 5.45 am taxi and an early flight home!

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