Wednesday, 14 April 2010

517 The Porcupine Tree, DRAGSTRIP COURAGE, The Middle East "Downstairs", Cambridge, MA USA, Tuesday 26 June 2001

The Boston pressure cooker gets hotter; today it's 95F and 89% humidity! So we follow Bill Hicks' advice and, "get the fuck out of the city," hitting the waterfront and going for a refreshing and breezy harbour cruise! But we're back on dry land for tonight's show, a fortunate surprise addition to our itinerary following Dragstrip Courage mainman Scott Janovitz' solo show last night. Another fortunate surprise is that our friend Kevin Camara is on the door of the Middle East in his capacity as promoter! So, 2 bear hugs later, we find ourselves let in for free! Cool!

So it's back in for a longer look at the venue of my onstage Pit antics a couple of years ago. It's not changed, thankfully, resembling a longer and thinner Camden Dingwalls, before they renovated that old place. So we hit the front, stage right, pushing through the clientele of really old people (surprisingly) for Dragstrip Courage. Scott, setting up onstage, recognises us from last night and gives us a wave which is nice. We of course are down the front as, after his fine solo performance last night, we're keen to see what Janovitz Jr. can do, plugged in and banded up, as it were. He eventually takes the stage to start the set and announces, "are you ready for some rock and/or roll?" which gets me on his side straight away. The subsequent set is excellent; lots of chunky chords and heart-tugging chorus lines, and hooks recalling both big brothers' bands Buffalo Tom and Cold Water Flat, but with chord structures, strum-along riffs and chiming harmonies which recalled The Byrds, no less. Scott has the self-deprecating gallows humour of the terminally ignored support - extolling the largely ignorant audience to, "stick around for The Porcupine Tree," was a lovely touch - and the humour and enjoyment is evident in their splendid, relaxed yet committed performance. The best set this holiday by a band not called The Gravel Pit!

We chat to Dragstrip's manager, doing the merch stand, before watching a bit of The Porcupine Tree, a bunch of pompous prog-rock relics not unlike Marillion. We leave after 3 numbers, but not before a chat, mutual compliments and a pic with Scott Janovitz, during which he mentions that Dragstrip Courage are working on getting over to the UK. We'd be glad to have you there, boys!

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