Thursday, 4 March 2010

565 HEAVY STUD, The Creature Comforts; 566 JACK DRAG, Jr. Corduroy, 608, Somerville, and TT the Bear's, Cambridge, MA USA, Friday 28 June 2002

After a day hanging out with EdV in his back garden, we have a double whammy! Too many gigs in one night gives us a logistical nightmare, leaving us reluctantly having to blow off 608 headliners The Gentlemen to try to fit Jack Drag and Jr. Corduroy in! Never mind, at least we'll see The Gents tomorrow night!

But first, we actually go to 608, getting in on the Gents guest list, which makes us feel bad about leaving before their set, although the guys are OK with it. We walk in 3 numbers from the end of the very early-starting Creature Comforts set, sounding as chunky, expensive and hookily rocking as in NYC earlier this trip. I'm glad to find out they're playing tomorrow night as well; we'll make sure we're here for all of that one!

But we're here tonight to check out the Stud, EdV's girlfriend Melissa's band. They're on at 1/4 to 10 with a new rhythm section and seemingly a new vocalist, before I realise vocalist Meredith has lost a whole mess of weight and looks good on it! The Studs set, whilst again leaning heavily on their surf-punk influences (Ramones, Muffs etc.) is much more cohesive and assured than before, with the new rhythm section making them sound "less spazzy", and a lot more like a proper coherent band. I enjoy them and I'd now like to hear their records. We then beat a hasty exit, bumping into Brett Rosenberg and Geoff Van Duyne in the process; Geoff accompanies us out and gives us the new CD from his band Army Of Jasons. Cool!

We catch a "T" over to Central and get there at 10 to 11, paying to get in the packed and very hot TTs, running into Jack Drag frontman John Dragonetti, who seems pleased - no, honoured!- that we managed to make it over for his set. We then run into Blake and also Carol Hurley, with whom we chat at length, and who promptly invites us to crash at her place anytime. We may well do so (and indeed, we do in 2003. Thanks Carol!)...

But for now, we get a good spot to catch long-time Boston buddy Mark Kraus' band Jr. Corduroy for the first time. Featuring Wheat guitarist Ricky Brennan on keyboards, Sterlings drummer Ben Hedlund on drums and "mine host" Michael Paulo on bass, this is a real gathering of friends, which shows in the easy assurance with which they approach the set. The set itself is gorgeous; deliciously introspective mood music recalling Wheat, but with an unexpected dynamism which for me evokes the quieter, haunting moments of U2's magnum opus "The Joshua Tree". Yup, that's right, I just compared Jr. Corduroy to U2. Nurse! The screens!

The set stretches for nearly an hour of angular, introverted and emotive rock, delivered by Mark in somewhere between a mumble and a hushed whisper, but the intricate melodies and unexpected oomph wins them Best New Band (not seen "live" before, that is!) of this Boston trip, easily!

We then catch Jack Drag's set, which kicks off just after midnight. His set is as colourful, gadget-and-rhythm laden, and prettily pop as his recent UK shows, and once again is underlain by some excellent guitar work from a supreme guitar hero. Once again drawing heavily from optimistic new CD "The Sun Inside", it's a bright and happy way to end this double whammy, the rhythmic "At The Symphony" being the set highlight for me. Afterwards, John calls us both "troupers", before we head off for a deserved nights kip. We also run into former Sterling mainman Patrick Emswiler, and I grab a chat with Gravel Pit mainman Jed Parish and show him my recently-done Gravel Pit tattoo. Thankfully he's not too freaked out about it!

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