Monday, December 14, 2009

Yesterday at the Middle East...The Bay State, Rooney, Tally Hall & Crash Kings!

Yesterday I caught two shows at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA being both the early show and the late show which leads to me and the security guards pretty much being best friends.

I walked into the Middle East upstairs to find a not set up stage, maybe thirty people. With one table of merch, it was pretty sure it was going to be a small show, but the bands seemed to expect this. I was not really impressed with the first act, Moe Pope. Unfortunately, I have seen that all before and that may seem harsh, but to me he came off as a teenage form of POS and I have nothing against POS. The material just seemed redundant. Who hasn't seen a million political rappers in this decade? I give them points for trying though and they did have some good beats, and it probably works for them that the new album will be free!

Second on the stage was the band I was supposed to be there for, The Bay State. From the stage set up even, I knew I was in for a treat. They have a bay state designed drum which was great and also had a stocking hung on the stage with Tom's, the name of the lead singer's, name on it. This band won a contest with the Glamour Kills company for writing a theme song for the clothing company, and it can be seen through both the picture selected and on their bodies and equipment. In Drew's words, he "loves glamour kills. I needed a makeover".

Now to the actual show. Something awesome about this band is their use of the viola which brings me back to the days of Yellowcard. Evan James is en garde with the instrument and rocked it. One thing in particular I really liked is something that you don't always find in pop punk shows. Along with fast, upbeat songs, they also had some slower songs with lots of meaning like Haunting. When we sat down in our interview post performance and I asked about the song and the slower parts of their set, Tom the lead singer suggested that it was haunted meaning it was like going by places you always used to go to with your girlfriend or boyfriend and experiencing the feeling of loss.

After our interview, I made it down to the line to start getting stoked for the Rooney headlining show later that night. There was definitely a little bit of a different vibe then the last two shows I've gone to at the Middle East. The last two were Ryan Gosling's band Dead Man's Bones and the Family Force 5 tour with acts like Breathe Carolina and Cash Cash. Rooney has its young fans in the crowd but they aren't your typical "I wear leopard print leggings as pants and bright neon headbands". One gets a stronger memory of the Ryan Gosling show in comparison. There was definitely a more mature audience but there was another similarity in the audience. Since Rooney got dropped by Geffen records, those who did not stay in touch with their music may not have known that the boys have just finished prior to the tour, they had just finished recording a new EP and full length album.

First up were the Crash Kings. There are only three major instruments used by the band, being the guitar, the keyboard and drums. They were on fire and something I haven't been lucky enough to see you lately. It was a true real rock show. The crowd was moving through the whole set, the vocals by Tony were on fire. They had the boston band element in full swing with their indie style and love for the crowd. Something I really liked about this set was the slight doo wop beat they had to their music. Another thing was their beautiful guitar riffs that reminded me of Jet and The White Stripes, which are no small bands to be compared too. Overall, it was a great show and I know I'll be in the audience when they come back to Boston in February at the Great Scott, and you should be too!

Next up was Tally Hall, who had just gotten to the venue five minutes prior to the set, which lucky for the audience gave us five extra minutes of Crash Kings! Tally Hall are a little surprising, and every song I truly started to listening too, I had no idea what was going to happen. During the set, I heard music reminiscent of Fun. and Steel Train, both in the same genre really. They were was rap, there was doo wop and there were matching ensembles which kind of distracted me. On stage, they sport each a different colored tie, a black fitted vest and black trousers. They really bring on a indie sense to their music, and to me, and the crowd seem to have a lot of fans in the audience. I would want to guess they are one of those much loved indie wonders from wherever they come from. There were high moments and there were low moments. Highs included the boys sound checking with songs from West Side Story and Annie instead of the "check...check..check". Another part of their set that I really liked is that yes the band does rap in some of their songs but it's not your typical rapping, it is much more fun and melodic! They definitely have their quirks, and they know how to move a crowd, at one point in their set they even make duck sounds through a megaphone! They even used a kazoo which at the time I actually couldn't think of the name for it, but Treaty of Paris uses it too and that's how I remembered it! A personal favorite quote from the band near the end of their set was "Thank you very much to Rooney for having us. They birthed us!" They put on a great show!

The final act to play was one I have been waiting a long time for. The boys of Rooney took the stage with the classic Rooney flag and jumped into their set with one of their first major songs, "Blueside". From then on, they mixed in their new EP with the tracks 'Suckceed', 'I don't Understand' and 'Wild One' which was actually song by Ned on lead vocals. They played everyone's favorites like 'I am a terrible person', 'Sorry Sorry' 'I'm Shakin,Shakin' and 'When Did Your Heart Go Missing'. The crowd had clearly missed the band and were completely into the show which was clear from their swinging hips and energetic hand claps. One of my favorite quotes of the night too was from Robert when he was talking to the crowd about who was going to school for the music business or working in the industry and said "You can write a note to your teachers if you fail. We'll take full responsibility"!

It was a great night, and I interviewed Crash Kings at the show along with working on a future interview with Robert and the guys! Check out the last two dates of the tour and the new full length album coming out this year!

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