The death of Pete Shelley this past week was hard
to take and it didn’t help that it was so out of the blue.
It’s been interesting to see that almost every news outlet in
every media has mentioned his passing. From the view of 2018 his influence
is undeniable. Those same outlets (those that existed in 1978) would
not have been so kind back in the day. That’s when everything
punk was the reason for all the problems of the world, or so it seemed.
It wasn’t enough that they didn’t like the music, no, it
had to be corrosive to the very fabric of society.
It’s also easy to see now how Pete was different with his lyrics
being romantic rather than political. Many point to the album Singles
Going Steady as the ultimate pop punk document of the era that
still has influence up to now. The thing that is missing in that assessment
is the thrill of living through the punk era as those songs were released
as singles over time. Back then we went to the record store like people
go to the grocery store – once or twice a week.
Oedipus and Pete Shelley
with Tom Lane in background.
Starting in 1977 we got Spiral Scratch. It was all there:
the punk drill, the single string leads and the catchy melodies. Then
came “What Do I Get” and “I Don’t Mind”
and we noticed those sleeve designs by Malcolm
Garret which were another enticement. Then it was every couple of
months for two years that we got a hit of Buzzcocks with “You
Say You Don’t Love Me” , “Promises”, “Ever
Fallen in Love”. “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays”,
“Love You More”, “Harmony in My Head”. It all
seemed to lead up to 1979’s “I Believe” that had an
epic summing up quality that seemed to break the seams of punk conventions.
If you were steeped in punk like we were, living through that streak
was like the string of Beatles’ songs that did the same thing
starting in 1964. It’s the sort of thing that colors your life.
The music marks the era and they become one.
It’s part of the magic of living through that time that cannot
be duplicated by just binging on Buzzcocks now. Which is not to say
that we aren’t binging on Buzzcocks now ourselves.
RIP Pete Shelley, one of the greats.
Note on the photos: These were taken durning a night in Boston during
the Homoapaian tour. The BGN
did a page for Boston Rock
where some of these photos were shown.
O’Brien’s did what they do best –
an early in the week rocking show. It only took till Monday to have
a worthy line up. There were very few people there which is normal for
We saw the last couple of songs by Darker Days from
Salem and they turned out to be their last songs ever, the band was
calling it quits. They were a band that delivered the goods even from
the little we saw.
The video above documents their last minute of the bands' life.
They were followed by Never Loved a South Florida
band. They played as if they had something to prove. They were jumping
all over the stage and in the end the guitarist climbed a speaker and
was way the heck up there and leaped off.
The video below shows them in action.
They wanted to make an impression and they did with us. The songs were
interesting and seem like they would grow with familiarity. Online they
only have a video of Dead
Inside. An EP is promised in 2019.
The last band was Summer Wars from North Carolina.
There was lots of emo in their punk. The music had that familiar yearning
in it. It went down well in this line up and was a set that kept us
entertained right to the end where we might have ducked out if it was
less engaging. Their Bandcamp
songs give the idea of their sound.
The totality of the three bands was just what we want when we head
out and take a chance on a night out. They all rocked and gave it everything
they had. Even Darker Days on their darkest night gave a set that made
us wish we had seen them earlier. We wish the two touring bands had
more people there to appreciate them. We know it’s a hard slog
and we benefit from their hard work.
It was a fast hit again at O’Brien’s on
Wednesday, again some punk bands. We missed Suburban Samurai
We saw was Yooth Decay, they were total punk like
we haven’t seen in a while. They looked it and some songs were
just two minutes long. They sounded raw and messy but there were the
vocals that cut through and there was a lot to like there. The guitarist
did some cool riffs and had a classic punk tone. We liked the dynamics
of the bandmates between songs and that camaraderie made it a good feeling
set. They were young and punk and that alone is very encouraging. Definitely
check them out ..and their Bandcamp
And it’s all about the kids, right? That’s why we went
to the Midway on Saturday for the early show dedicated to Toys
for Tots – well it helped that there was a good line
up. Jamie from Loser's Circle set up the show. It was proof again that
the Saturday early shows are a big hit as the club was full up.
Coffin Salesmen were mid-set as we entered. We saw
a month ago at O’Brien’s and we were struck again at
how they seemed poised for a bigger audience.
Lead man Aria was like a word volcano at the center
of everything. He seemed to be taking on big subjects with strong opinions
and long stories. It was very Bob Dylan-ish. Ari used to do this solo
but now the large group around him is very much a part of what makes
this work. Sometimes there’s a Celtic tinge to the sound as the
rhythm section digs deep and propels at the same time.
They come from punk and they play to a punk audience but their sound
has a much wider appeal. A Rumble appearance would help them or getting
on some different bills, maybe. We hope they find that next level.
Jamie of Loser's Circle ended up in the emergency
ward just a few weeks ago but there he was onstage for the next set.
The show must go on! This was one of the best sets for these guys in
a while. They played many songs from their CD Tool Long Enough
and they are great punk material with meaningful lyrics and sing along
They even played one new song which fit in seamlessly. They are always
a dependable punk show and that’s why we try to see them every
To us there doesn’t seem to be any continuity to The
Black Cheers, they just seem to show up every now and then
on a bill and blast it out. But who cares if there is a career plan
when they step on stage and rock like crazy? Losers Circle
are no slouches but The Black Cheers pushed everything
up a notch, or two, or three.
Chris Brat from Duck & Cover
is on guitar and he brings his playing power and occasional vocal back
up to the group sound. Lead man Dan pushes everything
to that next level. In between songs he has an acerbic wit that keeps
As the band was setting up we could hear the bass player doing the
riff from the Buzzcocks “Why Can’t I Touch It?”. He
had a Buzzcocks shirt on too! It was nice to get that sly tribute. Hey,
we noticed Ricky! Photo.
The drummer Scotty was a hard player. It was a surprise
to see him stay on stage for Stray Bullets as their
drummer too. Now, Stray Bullets came out and upped the volume and added
some light ska beats that created an urge to move and dance. The crowd
responded with some moshing. We hadn't seen The Stray Bullets before
and we are fans now. This was a hard bill to top but they did it. They
held the crowd to the very end.
it was requested that people bring toys to the show. Jamie said that
they got twice as many toys this year from last year. There were a half
dozen young kids at the show, all with ear protection, and boy did they
need that. These punk shows seem a bit rough all around for kids but
some of their parents were on stage so they know what the situation
Congrats to Jamie for a rocking show for a good cause.
More band photos below the show listings.
And in other news.....
The first song from Nat Freedberg’s upcoming
solo album has arrived..and its a FREE downlaod!! “Devil Rockin’
Man” continues Nat’s fixation with the man down under. Somehow
he feels an equivalency between rock n’ roll and Satan. To us,
it’s a gift from God! But he makes a good song his way. Download
Fans of The Chills from Australia should know that
they are coming to the Middle East on Feb 20 ( a Wednesday) and get
this – it’s the Upstairs. And this is their first tour since
1996!! So, if you care, you should get tickets ahead. You have been
and...TUE 2/19 Gang Of Four at ONCE Ballroom get
The Dazies have a new album coming out. Lead man Mikey
Holland is an interesting guy. Vanyaland has a short
piece on him as they debut the song “Panic All The Time”.
After that you can go to Bandcamp and hear another song called “American
Lie”. Holland’s a newer musician that some of us older
punks should be listening to.
Here's some good shows coming up this week.....
December 13 (Thursday) Baabes,
The Maxims, Labor Hex, Sticker Shock at O'Brien's Pub
December 14 (Friday) Red
Invasion with Funeral Cone and Brix
N' Mortar and EVERT at O'Brien's
December 14 (Friday) Street
Dogs: 13th Annual Wreck The Halls at Brighton Music Hall
December 14 (Friday)
Kid Gulliver, State of the Union, Thee Fightin'
Fish, TogetherOnTwo at the Worthen Attic in Lowell.
December 15 (Saturday) A
Crash Course for the Ravers on WMFO 91.50 1-4PM has The
December 15 (Saturday) Duck
& Cover, Stop Calling Me Frank (Album Release), State
of The Union, The Angel Martins Early Show 4-8PM at The Midway
December 15 (Saturday) The Swelltune
Records Holiday Shindig! with Jimmy Dale (OK), The
Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co (NY), Jittery
Jack and Miss Amy and DJ Easy Ed. at O'Brien's
the night ends with the Swelltune Jamboree!
December 15 (Saturday) It's a Clash
City Christmas with Charlie Don't Surf Live at Rags
December 15 (Saturday) An Intimate
Evening of Surf with Tsunami of Sound at the Plough!
Msuic starts at 10PM
December 16 (Sunday) A
Very Special Rum Bar Records Holiday Mess-Around...3-7Pm at
The Plough...its a LONG list of people you want to see perform...check
otu the FB
And further out we have......
December 19 (Wednesday) A
Very Fuzzy Christmas ...Holiday Tunes performed by local Boston
rocknroll heroes! ALL AGES! All proceeds will be going to benefit the
non-profit feminist organization Girls Rock Campaign Boston 6-Midnite
at The Burren. Again its a insane list of awesome talten you won't want
to miss...including Stephen and David Fredette (scruffy the cat), Mary
Lou Lord, Fuzzy, Tanya Donelly, Buffalo Tom and Fuzzy.
December 20 (Thursday) 7th annual
Spectacular Gift Drive for DCF Wonderfund! In support of foster families
in the Boston area, letís spread good cheer with this holiday celebration.
with Hail Santa- Boston Rock's holiday season super group featuring
Michelle Paulhus (Stars Like Ours), Ali McGuirk,
Bice Nathan (Hey Zeus), Chip Nicolai (Goddamn
Draculas), Peter Moore (Count Zero) also on the bill
When Particles Collide and Salem Wolves-
NOTE: Please bring unwrapped gifts for children of all ages—toys,
books, art supplies, electronics, musical instruments, clothing, hats,
coats, sporting goods, gift cards (older kids like these)...this is
an 8-Midnight show at Once Somerville.
December 21 (Friday) BLOWWstice:
Darkest Days (a Wrestling and Punk show!) BLOWW is back with a vengeance!
Featuring a rowdy lineup of wrestlers, punk bands, and cake--lots of
cake--the Boston League of Wicked Wrestlers is ready
to throw down in their hometown for the holidays with special guests
include WIMP and the Electric Street Queens!
at The Midway
December 22 (Saturday) A
Crash Course for the Ravers on WMFO 91.50 1-4PM has Smitt
December 22 (Saturday) Linda
Viens is hosting Solstice Gathering with Music & Friends
at the Out of the Blue Gallery in Allston. Musical guests will be Crazy
People (Tom Tipton & Johnny Berosh), Brass Orchid
(Timothy & Judith Sprague, & Johnny Berosh), Randy Black
(solo) and Parma Chai. Solstice ritual is at 8PM music
follows at 9PM
December 22 (Saturday) Greg
Allen's Fringe Religion, Classic Ruins, 1.4.5, Fireking - Early
Show 4-8 at The Midway
December 22 (Saturday) Hardcore
Stadium presents The A-Team w/ Last In Line,
Down But Not Out, Rampage, MFP, Restraining Order at an early
show at Middle East Up 4:30 doors
December 22 (Saturday) Jingle Punk!
A Lily Black Holiday Special! with Lily Black, The Knock Ups,
Happy Little Clouds at Sally O'Brien's
December 23 (Sunday) Thrash
N Bang's Annual Xmas Punk Pizza Party! with Neighborhood
Shit, Revilers, The Hangovers, Sewer Buddies, Coffin Salesman
and Jake Tringale. 4-8PM at The Midway
December 28 (Friday) Randy
Black and the Heathcroppers, Richie Parsons Band, Vangelista, Trick
Wallace Trio at McGann's FB
page for times and directions.
December 29 (Saturday) The
McGunks, Scotty Saints & True Believers, Steal Reserve, COB
at The Midway for a 4-8PM show.
December 29 (Saturday) time
& place, Hambone Skinny, Blame Shifters plus a very special
surprise guest at a night show at the Midway
December 31 (Monday) New Year's
Eve Bash with Something Sneaky, Native Son and Today
Junior at O'Brien's Allston.
January 4 (Friday) It's tradition!
The Annual NYDAY sale at 40 South St Vintage! come
and grab a mimosa or a bloody mary and rock out. 50% off ALL THE CLOTHES!!!!
page for more info
January 4 (Friday) OC45,
The Dents, Duck & Cover, Blame It On Whitman at O'Brien's
January 4 (Friday) 61 Ghosts,
Little Billy Lost, JonesCreek, Thee Fightin’ Fish at
January 11 (Friday) Not
A Wasted Night: A Benefit for Chris Doherty of Gang Green at
the Paradise. More info to come. Keep an eye on the Facebook
page for updates. Tix are $25 and you knwo this is a great cause!!
You can buy tix here.
January 11 (Friday) Red
Arlington, A Bunch Of Jerks, HIXX and Ski Bunny at
O'Brien's in Allston.
January 12 (Saturday) Punk
Rock Aerobics - A benefit for Girls Rock Campaign Boston! at
ONCE Ballroom Noon to 3PM FB
January 12 (Saturday) IL
Mostro (CD release) w/ Cortez, Scuzzy Yeti & Wrought
Iron Hex at O'Brien's
January 12 (Saturday) Gene
Dante And The Future Starlets, The Gala, Tiger Bomb, Smitt E. Smitty
at Once Somerville.
January 12 (Saturday) The
Joe Zippo Memorial Show at KOTO in Salem. Featuring: Hub
City Stompers, Michael Kane & the Morning Afters, Brix'n Mortar,
COB and Matt Wall will be playing in between
January 12 (Saturday) Restraining
Order, Envision, Antagonize, Brother, Pummel at AS220 Provi
January 17 (Thursday) The next
Buy Me Boston book event is at the Boston
Public Library 6-8 PM Here's the
January 17 (Thursday) Boston Emissions
presents: PowerSlut, Stars Like Ours, Dark Wheels at
January 18 (Friday) Tsunami
of Sound, Keytar Bear, The Chelsea Curve and Little
Billy Lost at Sally O'Brien's in Somerville.
January 18 (Friday) Billy
Connors Project, Stigmatics,Thigh Scrapers at Koto in Salem.
January 19 (Saturday) The
Gobshites, Time Out Timmy, Mongorellis, Punk Band, and Jimmy
Jacked at the Midway for a 3-7PM show.
January 19 (Saturday) Nat
Freedberg, Watts, Justine and the Unclean, Duck & Cover at
February 2 (Saturday) Welch
Boys Annual Ron Holbrook Memorial Show - proceeds go to The
Pine Street Inn...featuring The Welsh Boys, Ice Cold Killers,
Blue Bloods and Rockin' Bob Punk Band...at
February 8 (Friday) Hey
Zeus Record Release & Listening Party (Argonauta Records)
with Motherboar, Cocked N Loaded, Labor Hex at Once
February 8 (Friday)
Murphy's Law at the Middle East
February 16 (Saturday) Stop
Calling Me Frank, A Bunch of Jerks, The Knock Ups, and Tsunami
of Sound are at The Midway for a matinee show 3-7PM.
February 16 (Saturday) The
Chills are at The Middle East Up.
February 19 (Tuesday) Gang
Of Four at Once Ballroom!!!!!
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