Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Rock Shows of Note XXXVII
Coco and I arrived at the Middle East Upstairs to find an empty room and a flier saying that the Tommy and the Terrors and Toxic Narcotic show was moved to an address on Boylston Street. Instead of trying to find the new location, we walked around the corner and went to TT the Bear's Place to see the Mayflies USA, Ad Frank and the Fast Easy Women, and Tommy Keene show. That's one of the best things about living on Central Square. If you aren't sure whether you want to go to a show, you can go for a short walk and decide. And if you want to go to a show but don't know who's playing where, you can go for a short walk and have plenty of choices.

The Mayflies USA were energetic pop featuring dual guitars. None of the songs stuck in my head, but I enjoyed their set. We ran into Lisa from Scrapple, who told us that one couple dancing up near the stage lives in Western Massachusetts and comes into Boston every time the Mayflies play in town. The Mayflies are from North Carolina, so both the couple and the band come a long way for these shows. That's dedication! Oh, one song did stay with me. They performed a number with a scaled-back lineup (one guitar) and one band member playing a wonderful organ part. The organ song was definitely my favorite.

Ad Frank played with his full band, the Fast Easy Women. He was dressed up in a somewhat fey sailor get up, complete with cap, and was -- as always -- a front man worth watching. Between his songwriting, his dynamic stage presence, and his penchant for drama, Ad's a lot of fun live. I've seen him play solo at the Washington Street Art Center, which was awesome, but the full stage band does his work more justice. I'm loath to try to describe his sound, but it's slightly '80s drama poppy, slightly gothy, and slightly singer-songwritery a la Leonard Cohen. Fun, fun, fun.

Coco and I left a couple of songs into Tommy Keene's set because we got to talking and needed to go somewhere more quiet. But what I heard sounded more similar to the Mayflies than to Ad -- straight up power pop with a roots element -- and I'd need to hear more to understand why he's one of Coco's friend's favorite musicians.

A happy accident, for sure. I wonder how the Tommy and the Terrors/Toxic Narcotic show went! I picked up the new Toxic Narcotic CD on Go-Kart Records yesterday as preparation for the show, and true to their local releases on Rodent Popsicle, it's heavy, heavy hardcore.

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