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The BGN News Archive

January 13, 2020

O’Brien’s came though again last Monday by booking some punk bands that put on weekend worthy show.

Planet Mercury, from Worcester, formed in 2017 and according to their Facebook description play punk inspired by early 2000’s bands. Green Day is one of those bands.

Planet Mercury
Planet Mercury
Photo: Blowfish

At O’Brien’s their pop punk had strong melodies and they had irresistibly bouncy beat. We only heard three songs but the band made a big impression. There were about 25 people in the club and they made sure they engaged everyone. For the last song they got everyone close to the stage and had people sing along. We sang along, and we never sing along. We felt totally frustrated that we missed most of the set. They are on a tour now of the east coast all the way down to Florida.

Now we just wait till we can catch a whole set.

Honey Creek
Photo: Blowfish

Last week we posted a video documentary about the Milwaukee punk scene. This week we catch a Milwaukee punk band at O’Brien’s called Honey Creek and they were pop punk too. Their Bandcamp page has a few recording that show them to be a tight band with well written material. What it doesn’t prepare you for is what they bring to the stage.

They brought an exciting revved up set to O’Brien’s that was more typical of the bigger venue. Many groups have the active front men that are the focus of attention but this group had all the members jumping around. It was totally captivating and the songs clicked better live than even on the recordings.

We loved the quick rhythm section that turned on a dime, providing snappy twists with the guitars right there with staccato chords. This was pop punk played focused and powerful. The bass player was very dynamic as you can see from the photo.

All Mod Cons
All Mod Cons
Photo: Blowfish

We went to the All Mod Cons show at Once on Friday. They were booked in the upstairs Lounge but that sold out quickly, so the show was moved downstairs to the larger ballroom. They sure do have fans. The downstairs was full!! The audience was animated and did some of the background vocals during some of the songs too. We didn’t recognize a lot of the regulars that we usually see. We recognized about 5-7 people in the packed crowd.

All Mod Cons have been doing this Jam tribute for 30 years so they have it down pat. They did their job on us and we had all sorts of Jam flashbacks. One thing these tribute bands do is put a band’s characteristics into relief. The Jam’s music is simple in most ways but it's those choices they make, and the way they play, that stamp the group and make those songs unique.

John Surette with All Mod Cons
Photo: Blowfish

All Mod Cons duplicated that Rickenbacker trebly slash. We found the bass was where the shape of the songs was generated. Like that opening riff in “In the City”. There are chords that punctuate the line but it’s really the bass that makes that work. Then that strong bass in “Start” that mimics “Taxman” is another obvious place but it was all though the songs if you listen closely. The singer could put on the English accent and his mid to lower range voice was smack on target.

They covered a lot of territory and most of the popular songs. They ended with “The Eton Rifles”.

John Surette
John Surette
Photo: Blowfish

That was fun and then they brought out John Surette of Boy’s Life as a guest. Boy’s Life opened for the Jam in Boston and John hung out with the band. John related some stories of that on the Bay State Rock show last Sunday. John’s a great story teller and this is worth hearing. To hear that clip - hit the link below.

John Surette on WAAF Bay State Rock

John did two Boy’s Life songs with Terry O’Mally from Stop Calling Me Frank on sax. One was “I Found Her”. John brought his charisma with him. He is and always was a great front man. He reminded us of the feeling we got when we saw Yukki Gipe of Bullet LaVolta a year and half ago ...and that is that Boston is missing out not having him playing out regularly.

Photo: Blowfish

The Cretins played the last set. They were a band from back in the day that continue to have shows now and then. The drummer is also in All Mod Cons. They played a snarly punk that we loved right off the bat. They reminded us of the Queers. They had short catchy songs. It was like they were incapable of playing a bad song. It was another reminder that music was as good as we thought it was back then.

The Middle East Up had an early show for the Lyres Live At The Rat album release show. It's on Crypt Records and is from a 1980 show at The Rat .

The place was packed. There was an article in the Globe by James Sullivan talking up the album, which could have drawn a crowd, There were a lot of people we knew there. Kenne Highland had an entourage eating in the restaurant, and inside it was old home week.

Classic Ruins
Classic Ruins
Photo: Blowfish

Classic Ruins were playing when we arrived. Bassman Carl Bancucci is in Europe so the Ruins had Chris from Musclecah filling in. Chris only had a day or two to ramp up but he did more than fine. Frank Rowe was very sharp. He had the guitar ringing with enharmonics like crazy the whole time. Dave on drums was born for this band. This was a primo Classic Ruins set.

Photo: Blowfish

Jeff Connolly was in a great mood and the audience was bubbling over with anticipation. Each feed off each other and that created one exciting show. You could feel the room all charged up. Lyres started with a few classics and then played some deep garage gems. Jeff made those gems live again. He and the band are able to get to the essence of those songs like nobody else can. There were lots of Jeff’s soulful cries. “We Sell Soul” had loads of them alone. We’ve said it before; you have to go to every Lyres show.

Frank Rowe filled us in after the set about the crisis with Jeff Connolly’s new organ. He got a new one the day of the show but the A# circuit board was shot. They called Rick Harte and he got the part. We figure he took it out of his keyboard. The part was installed and all was well.

That was an early show which gave us hope that we could still catch Labor Hex at Great Scott, and we did.

Chrome Over Brass
Photo: Blowfish

When we got there Chrome Over Brass was playing. You know when a band records the drum parts and plays over that? Well, Chrome Over Brass does the reverse, the drummer plays and has all the other parts recorded. Drummer Alex Garcia-Rivera has flipped the paradigm.

He also had programmed lights that colored up his clear see through drum set. It was like being at a drum seminar. You could see exactly what he was doing. In the end it was very interesting.

Labor Hex
Labor Hex
Photo: Blowfish

Then it was Labor Hex. We’ve only known this band for a little over a year but they have become one of our favorites. We were standing next to the guitarist this show. He writes the songs. We could see what he was playing and none of it was standard fingering. There were no recognizable chords. He played partial chords and intervals that often were played with open strings. This was done to maximize dissonance. He’s using degrees of dissonance to shape his songs.

All the while the drummer put out a thundering din. The singer was in screamo mode the whole time. If it’s worth singing, it’s worth yelling, must be his motto. He does a sudden drop to his knees. It’s like his legs have given out. It’s jarring and that adds to the overall unsettling feel of the music. This band wants to hit you hard.

There are some bands, and this is one, where each player is so right for the overall group that it makes you see the magic of four people in a band. We love seeing Labor Hex...hint hint hint...check them out people.

Click Here for more band photos.

And in other news.......

Ska documentary Dan Vitale of the Chet’s Last Call documentary fame is doing another documentary on the local Ska scene. It was filmed at The New England Ska Summit show at Once last June 27 . They include over 12 hours of live footage and 14 interviews. Fantastic performances by New England ska acts Bim Scala Bim, El Grande, Riki Rocksteady, The Copacetics and The Hempsteadys. Dan knows what he’s doing so the film looks and sounds excellent, especially the music, which is super infectious!
Check out their GOFUNDME page here You can watch the trailer and donate too!!

The latest episode of the Boston Beat podcast is dedicated to Richard Mirsky, self-professed “Creepy Older Guy”. Mirsky could use a whole series just dedicated to him; he’s done a lot. The Boston Beat people say they have a lot more coming in the future. Check 'em out !!!

Jiohnny Barnes The Lyres have that CD out of a Rat show from 1980 and now Johnny Barnes also has a CD of a Rat show. This one is from a 1977 WCOZ Broadcast. Johnny was one of the main groups back in the day. No one gigged more than him. He played (and still does) an aggressive rock blues. The aggressive part made him fit into the new punk scene. His song "Steel Rail Blues" was one of the first independent singles and got played tons.

This set shows his blistering blues in full bloom. His guitar tone was always to die for and he had a natural blues voice. The set showcases his blues and his songwriting chops. The whole package brings so much of that early scene feeling back. The idea of WCOZ being in the mix and the fact that this is from 1977 makes it special. Things were really going at full speed in 1977. You can get this on all the platforms: Spotify, Pandora, ITunes, CD Baby and

Justine and the Unclean are on the verge of a new album it seems. Rum Bar Records has released the single “Picking a Fight” and "Sweet Denial" It has those vocals that we love and a crazed Hanson solo. It’s short and snappy the way all songs should be. Have a listen here!!

Miller Museum There’s definitely a day trip in your future! Roger Miller has an installation called “Transmuting the Prosaic", featuring video, sound, and modified vinyl records, at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. "Miller filmed Somerville’s Davis Square from five different locations, throughout all four seasons. This footage forms the structure for the composition, with vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles represented by different instruments. Miller’s “Modified Vinyl” works are vinyl records that Miller has altered or modified by scratching, melting, bending, and other methods. These interventions change both the appearance and sound of the records, creating new objects and musical compositions."

It’s happening from March 14 to June 14. Read more here.

Mark you calendar for:

DNZL Friday January 24th - Death Pesos is playing in Pink Noise Studios in Somerville on Jan 24. Sounds interesting. Also on the bill are Mother Mammoth, Jessica Rabbit Syndrome and The Freqs - Music starts at 8 pm, BYOB - FB page

Saturday February 1 - Loser's Circle, DNZL, Chandler Cross at The Hong Kong

May 8, 9 & 10 - Salem Answers-Night: A three day music fest to celebrate and encourage the arts, magic, equality, and diversity of Salem! (listings below)

The Hoodoo Gurus are playing the Sinclair….on November 7 ….2020!! But lucky you ticket are already for sale!!

Here's some good shows coming up this week.....

Von Traps January 13 (Monday) Notches, Special Moves, Dump Him, Witches With Dicks at Charlie's Kitchen

January 15 (Wednesday) Randy Black & The Heathcroppers continue their Plough & Stars Residency 6-8 pm

January 16 (Thursday) The Inebriations, Church & Puppets at The Tavern at the End of the World

January 16 (Thursday) Camper Von Bethoven and Cracker winter tour at The Middle East Down.

January 18 (Saturday) A Crash Course for the Ravers featuring Jay Allen & The Archcriminals WMFO 91.5 - 1-4PM

January 18 (Saturday) Corin Ashley band afternoon matinee at Atwoods, 3-5PM

January 18 (Saturday) Triple Thick, Crunchtime, 1.4.5., Butterscott at The Midway 3-7PM matinee

Crunchtime January 18 (Saturday) Barrence Whitfield & The Savages, Muck and the Mires at The Middle East FB page and tickets

January 18 (Saturday) Double Star, Threat Level Burgundy, Tin Can Sally at The Square Root

January 19 (Sunday) It's an MLK Weekend Mess-Around at The Plough 4-6PM

January 19 (Sunday) Pet Fox, Helenor, Bad Larrys at State Park at State park Kendall Square

January 19 (Sunday) Barrance Whitfield & The Savages and Tiger Bomb at Sun Tiki Studios Portland, ME 8PM doors - FB page.

January 19 (Sunday) Brix 'N'Mortar, The Hangovers, Stubborn Hearts, Hellbound Hitman at Koto Providence RI MUSIC Starts at 6PM!!

January 19 (Sunday) Stoploss, Secret Spirit, F.U.’s, more TBA at The Thirsty First Tavern Lowell FB page 2-6PM and this is an ALL AGES show.

And further out there is....

January 24 (Friday) Thalia Zedek and Chris Brokaw (10:45),Field Day (9:30) Kid Gulliver (8:30) at The Lizard Lounge

Aerobics January 25 (Saturday) Punk Rock Aerobics 12-2:30PM at Once Ballroom

January 25 (Saturday) The Hi-End, Watts, Justine and the Unclean at The Square Root

January 25 (Saturday) The Chelsea Curve, Speedfossil, Fireking at Sally O'Brien's

January 25 (Saturday) The Ratz, Sonorous Rising, Rockin' Bob's Punk Band, T-Wreck at 33 Golden Street, New London, CT FB page for info

January 27 (Monday) il Mostro, Between Skies, Silver Screams at Charlie's Kitchen

February 1 (Saturday) Loser's Circle, DNZL, Chandler Cross at The Hong Kong

February 1 (Saturday) Stop Calling Me Frank,Greg Allen's Fringe Religion, Tsunami of Sound at The Square Root Roslindale

February 6 (Thursday) Zip Tie Handcuffs, The Bobby Lees, Baabes, Dead Trains at O'Brien's

February 7 (Friday) Lucid Lynx, Above The Din, Luxury Deathrap, Heavy Hands at The Midway

Root show February 7 (Friday) Immolators, Labor Hex, Wire Lines, Brain Vacuum at 13th Floor Music Lounge Florence MA.

February 8 (Saturday) Murphy & The Mess, The Inebriations, the Deep State, Amoricans at The Midway - this is a 3PM Matinee show

February 8 (Saturday) SS*25, The Von Traps, The Lipstick Boys at Sally O'Brien's FB page

February 8 (Saturday) Screamin' Rebel Angels, Trash Pandas, The Wandering Ones and DJ Easy Ed spinnin' 45s t The Square Root FB page for set times etc

February 8 (Saturday) Scuzzy Yeti, IL Mostro, Z/28 and Wrought Iron Hex at The Midway

February 8 (Saturday) Nick And The Adversaries (CD Release), Jason Bennett and The Resistance, Triggered at The Middle East Up

February 8 (Saturday) Nat Freedberg & No Brainer at the Plough & Stars with special guests John Powhida's JPX to celebrate the release of Record Number Three on Rum Bar Records!

Brian Young WMFO February 8 (Saturday) Lux Lives 2020 with The Evil Streaks, The Demon Seeds, Thee Benevolent Tarots at Opus, Salem FB page
DJ Kogar the Swinging Ape playing Lux and Ivy's Favorites all night long!

February 8 (Saturday) Confusatron, Escuela Grind, Willzyx, Lepra, Sores at Geno's Portland, ME

February 9 (Sunday) Club Linehan A Go Go, A Bunch of Jerks, The Billy Connors Project, Miranda Rae at Midway - a matinbee show 3-7PM

February 15 (Saturday) A Crash Course for the Ravers featuring Screw Cart WMFO 91.5 - 1-4PM

February 15 (Saturday) The Gala, Hambone Skinny, Zulu Lulu at The Square Root- this is an ALL AGES show

February 16 (Sunday) Stop Calling Me Frank, State of the Union, The New Frustrations, The Steamies at The Midway - matinee 3-7PM

February 16 (Sunday) HardCore Stadium presents Fuming Mouth, High Command, Raw Radar War, Suffer on Acid, Mangled - Middle East Up 7PM

February 16 (Sunday) Black Beach, Rye Pines, Proper Nouns, Night Beat at Charlie's Kitchen

February 21 (Friday) Set Fire, The Gala, Motel Black, Gene Dante and The Future Starlets at Koto in Salem

February 22 (Saturday) A Crash Course for the Ravers featuring Linea Herzog WMFO 91.5 - 1-4PM

BGN Archives February 22 (Saturday) Justine's Black Threads EP Release Party w/Two Fathoms Down at Atwood's Tavern - this is a 3-6PM show.

February 22 (Saturday) Rum Bar Records Anniversary Show with The Dogmatics - 11:00 PM, Muck and the Mires - 10:00 PM, The Dirty Truckers - 9:00 PM at The Square Root

February 22 (Saturday) blindspot, Baabes, Set Fire, Hands 3 at O'Brien's

February 23 (Sunday) The Gobshites - Performing Live on WAAF - Carmelita's Bay State Rock

February 23 (Sunday) Sick Minds, Skytigers, Color Killer, Nine Votes Short - 2-6PM matinee and ALL AGES at Thirsty First in Lowell

February 24 (Monday) Rebuilder, Dead Bars, Oh the Humanity!, Towanda at Charlie’s Kitchen

February 28 (Friday) Scuzzy Yeti, Death Pesos, 3 Parts Dead, Blue Manic at Club Bohemia

February 28 (Friday) LUX LIVES East Coast 2020 with The Evil Streaks, The Demon Seeds, Thee Benevolent Tarots and DJ Kogar the Swinging Ape playing Lux and Ivy's Favorites all night long! at Opus Underground Salem. FB page.

February 29 (Saturday) DJ Easy Ed presents: Lynnette & the Sundowners, The Barley Hoppers, Easy Ed's Record Hop at The Midway for a 3-7PM matinee show.

February 29 (Saturday) PowerSlut “Fun With Junk” Release Party...AND...WhistleStop Rock Fest featuring The Chelsea Curve, Cold Expectations, Field Day, Heather Rose In Clover, Justine and The Unclean, Lockette, Kid Gulliver, The Knock Ups, The Shang-Hi-Los, and Tiger Bomb! EARLY show 3PM - Midnight mat Once Somerville.

Rock show March 8 (Sunday) Kenne Highland Clan, Mad Painter, The Fools Agenda, Spaces For Two at The Jungle

March 9 (Monday) SkyTigers, Brix'n Mortar, Circus Battalio, Rage//Quit at Charlie's Kitchen

March 13 (Friday) This is Night 1 of a 2-night Whistle Stop Rock festival in Salem!! Featuring: The Knock Ups, The Cold Expectations, The Chelsea Curve at Koto Salem

March 14 (Saturday) A Crash Course for the Ravers featuring Lucretia’s Daggers! WMFO 91.5 - 1-4PM

March 14 (Saturday) This is Night 2 of a 2-night Whistle Stop Rock festival in Salem!! Featuring: Kid Gulliver, Heather Rose In Clover, Justine's Black Threads... And special guests: The Dents!! at Koto

March 20 (Friday) Wine Lips, Zip-Tie Handcuffs, Baabes at O'Brien's Pub FB page

March 21 (Saturday) POST PUNK II with Chuck Ferreira, Duncan w Johnson, Anthony Kaczynski at Sally O'Brien's

March 21 (Saturday) The Return of the Bentmen w/ CMB at Once FB page

March 27 (Friday) Little Caesar, Diablogato, Little Billy Lost, Pink Mahalares at Koto Salem

March 28 (Saturday) Bombpops, MakeWar, Pass Away, In the Meantime at The Hong Kong

March 28 (Saturday) The Zulus at The Paradise

Bay State Rock March 28 (Saturday) WhistleStop Rock Festival Portland with Tiger Bomb, Heather Rose In Clover, The Knock Ups, PowerSlut, The Chelsea Curve, Kid Gulliver, Justine and the Unclean at Sun Tiki Studios 6PM start!!! FB page

April 3 (Friday) Kid Gulliver, The Steamies, The Winter Project, A Bunch of Jerks at The Jungle

April 4 (Saturday) Uncomfortables, DNZL, Joe Division, The Damaged at the 13th Floor Music Lounge, Florence MA

April 17 (Friday) FU's, End of Hope, Northern Skulls, & More at O'Brien's

April 19 (Sunday) The Undertones at The Paradise

April 25 (Saturday) WhistleStop Rock Festival Western Massachusetts - featuring: Heather Rose In Clover, Kid Gulliver, The Cold Expectations, OTP and special guests State Of The Union at HiLO North Adams - FB page

May 8 (Friday) Salem Answers-Night 1: This is a music fest to celebrate and encourage the arts, magic, equality, and diversity of Salem! 7-9 at Koto: Accoustic sets with Pink Malahares, Coffin Salesman, Jenn Lombari - 9:30 to close at Koto: Salem Wolves, Oh The Humanity!, Radio Compass, Bad Larry's....9:30 to Close at Opus: Marianne Toilet and the Runs, Losers Circle, Red Ledger, Hyber, Subourban Sunrise FB page

Frank May 9 (Saturday) A Crash Course for the Ravers featuring Glider WMFO 91.5 - 1-4PM

May 9 (Saturday) Salem Answers-Night 2: 7-9 at Koto: Acoustic sets with Live Nude Girls, C.Murray, C.Okeeefe - 9:30 to close at Koto: Diablogato, Brix'N Mortar, Hellbound Hitmen, Skytigers, Motel Black...9:30 to Close at Opus: The Gala U.S., Z28, The Von Traps, The Downhauls FB page

May 10 (Sunday) SalemAnswers-Night 3: 7-9 at Koto: Accoustic sets with Carissa Angelo, Opus, Vilanvs, - 9:30 to close at Koto: Stiff Propisition (Glamtastic covers members of Bacterial Husk, Sexcrement, and Brix'N Mortar), Master of Beers (Metallica), Aces High (Iron Maiden), Warthog (Ramones ). FB page

May 16 (Saturday) Baabes, The Knock Ups, Mister Vertigo, Motel Black at The Jungle

CONTACT US Send us your gig listings, your anything else ya got!! You want your CD reviewed?? Contact us for that too.

Honey Creek
Honey Creek
Photo: Blowfish
Plaet Mercury
Planet Mercury
Photo: Blowfish
John Surette
John Surette
Photo: Blowfish
Labor Hex
Labor Hex
Photo: Blowfish
Frank Rowe
Frank Rowe - Classic Ruins
Photo: Blowfish
Photo: Blowfish
Labor Hex
Photo: Blowfish
All Mod Cons
All Mod Cons
Photo: Blowfish


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