Thursday, August 21, 2003

Rock Shows of Note LXXIV

Last night, antsy after 10, I went for a walk around the block to see what shows were going on. For some reason, the Boston Phoenix's Web calendar doesn't let you see what shows are Wednesday night on Wednesday because the schedule starts on Thursday and the new edition comes out that evening. Makes no sense to me. The Web shouldn't follow the print schedule in lock step. Anyway, the Middle East didn't have any fliers posted outside, so I walked around the block back to TT the Bear's, where I'd seen that the Lot Six was playing. I got there in time to see quite a bit of the set performed by the Beatings, which I enjoyed immensely. The dual guitars work well, and the songs in which the female bassist sang added a nice touch. Aggressive, catchy, power pop with a punk tendency. The Lot Six disappointed me a little, however. On record, they come off as a kind of post-Fugazi, post-emo hardcore act, but on stage, they were pretty basic. Still well worth listening to, but not acerbic or edgy in the Les Savy Fav sense that I recall from the recordings. They've got one more Wednesday night in their residency, and Mittens joins them next week. Check it out.

But the real show of note took place last Friday at the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain. Travers did his hyperkinetic dance-pop video art performance piece again, focusing mostly on Primary Color Man, Accidentally Prepared Homosexual, and DJ Nitetrain, who joined him to mime turntablism. If you're fond of Tracy and the Plastics' brand of video-driven performance art rock, you'll get more than a giggle out of Travers. The video segments are priceless, and the whole show is extremely well done. The highlight, of course, was the debut of Scrapple's new lo-fi sci-fi techno-popera Tromo. The gang got hella press, being featured in the Globe, the Phoenix, and the Weekly Dig, and they did not disappoint.

The popera itself was wonderful. In a dystopian future, heterosexuality is outlawed, and people are bred artificially. A special police force makes sure that heterosexuals -- tromosexuals -- don't rise up, and people are regularly sent to reeducation camps. In the midst of this, two police officers -- one male, one female -- fall in love and strive to beat the system. Even though my friend Chris' performance was a little stilted -- he's expressed interest in not having speaking roles in Scrapple performances any more, instead just playing the bass -- the show went off without a hitch. Jef's security guard role rocked, and everyone did really, really well. Then, because one writeup had mentioned several songs and props not included in -- or used -- the popera, Scrapple did an encore featuring "Light Up Alien Pussy" and "Trash Ass" so people wouldn't go home disappointed. The crowd ate both up, and it was clear that those mentions inspired some people to come.

Scrapple will stage Tromo again in November. It is not to be missed.

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