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Bootleg Dan presents
American Ocelot, Grip Weeds, Fling

Square Root, Roslindale, MA - Friday, July 15, 2023

American Ocelot

When it rains, it pours but when it’s hot, it’s really hot! Either you bake or drown these days in climapocalypse 2023, and in this case we was baking - with three sizzling acts at Rozzie’s premiere rock venue The Square Root.

Coming straight from my outdoor gig up in Portsmouth, NH (shameless self-promo-hoing!), American Ocelot kicked it all off with their second ever gig. All members are veterans of earlier bands, with lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Joanie Lynch (formerly of Xygoats), lead guitarist Kevin James (ex-Hullabaloo), bassist Charlie Sullivan and drummer/backing vocalist Sara Billingsley (late of Sara & the Scaliwags) comprising this brand new combo.

Their style is brash and sprightly with equal parts attitude and playfulness. Their originals like “Million Things,” “Unravelled” and “Spare Me” standing out. Kudos especially to the searing leads of Kevin, who complements vocalist Joanie’s angsty but hopeful tunes and persona. They finished their set with a spirited version of Veruca Salt’s ‘90s alt-rock classic “Seether,” and you certainly can’t fight their modest prowess!

Grip Weeds

Following the Ocelots was New Jersey’s long standing garage rock legends Grip Weeds, who have been dazzling with their gonzo originals and choice covers of ‘60s Nuggets classics for 30 plus years! Under the shepherding of “Bootleg Dan” Anklin (who, more than anyone, is very ably and brilliantly flying the banner of local rock via promoter/tour manager and co-successor to late scene-maker/RoR honcho Justine Covault), the Grip Weeds are in the midst of a mini-New England tour, and tonight they really brought their well honed chops to Rozzie!

The husband-wife team of singer/drummer/guitarist Kurt Reil and singer/guitarist/flautist Kristen Pinell-Reil, along with brother/guitarist/keyboardist Rick Reil and long time bassist Dave DeSantis, are a tight, versatile rock solid unit and delivered the goods with their originals “Salad Days,” “Strange Change” and “She Brings the Rain.”

Promoting their latest release Dig (on Jem Records - yes, the long-standing import label!), which are all ‘60s garage-psych covers recorded during Covid lockdown), they did ace covers of “Louie, Go Home” (via Paul Revere & the Raiders), “I Love You” (Zombies cover via People’s 1968 hit version) and Max Frost’s “Shape of Things to Come!” My personal fave cover they did was The Beach Boys’s “You’re So Good to Me” and they really nailed their harmonies and had me wailing along!


Finishing up this stellar night was Durham, NH’s power-pop combo Fling, and they were no slouches to tonight’s sizzle! The quintet of Russ Miles (rhythm guitar), Aaron Abbott (keyboards), Mike Morgan (lead guitar), Jamie Bradley (bass) and Dave Hamilton (drums) packs a melodic wallop (all members sing) with hard, sturdy backings and deft songwriting chops. They have released three EPs and featured most of the songs from these collections in their set, with their garage-rock styled “The Girl Next Door,” quirk-pop “Botched Amalgamations,” Beatlesque “Saturday Tomorrow” and grunge-y “Jagged Edges” standing out.

A sweltering night of rock well spent!


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