I had the fortune to run across box of boom’s post about the free concert that Boston’s own WFNX was throwing Saturday, August 1. Instantly, I decided I was going. The lineup was fantastic (Pictured at right; Photo Credits: dillsnufus and imseeingred66), the venue familiar, and the price was nil! It doesn’t get much better than that, and Boston did not disappoint.
I arrived just in the nick of time, as Ra Ra Riot took the stage. They were one of the artists I hadn’t heard anything of, coming into this. I downloaded the track on box of boom, but hadn’t really committed any time before hearing these guys. I was pretty impressed, and enjoyed the set a lot. They are a really energetic live act, and offer a lot of texture, with an electric violin and electric cello offering sound you don’t hear as often. Seeing them live has really piqued my interest in this group, and I’m for sure going to follow up on their record.
Ra Ra Riot: Incomplete Set List:
‘Too Too Too Fast’
Next up was Passion Pit. Oh, Passion Pit. When I first started drudging through Hype at the start of this summer, Passion Pit was all the rage. You couldn’t look at that site without seeing their name everywhere. Even now, their popularity with the indie crowd persists. I, like virtually any living human being, really like ‘Little Secrets’. However, their other big hit, ‘Sleepyhead’, I can’t get on board with quite so much. The intro synth voice drives me so crazy I routinely skip it, and miss out on the great song that follows it. So it’s a mixed bag. I’m coming around on it, and it was really good live. Their entire set was fantastic live. The other stuff I heard wasn’t as goofy as ‘Sleepyhead’, and if it’s in anyway related to ‘Little Secrets’ it’s for sure got to be good. Yet another that I’m going to make good on following up on.
Passion Pit: Incomplete Set List
And then came Metric. The band I was really psyched to see at this show because of my obsession with ‘Help, I’m Alive’ since I first heard it earlier this summer. Metric and I go way, way back. All the way to around my sophomore year of high school when Rachel Klem put ‘Combat Baby’ on a mix CD for me. I never tracked Metric down, even after all those years, and I feel stupid for it. Ian gave me crap for it, mostly due to his love of Emily Haynes’ involvement with Broken Social Scene, which is fair. So when I heard the new single from Metric, I knew it was time to get my ass in gear. Fantasies is presently on my list to hunt down and listen to. I gotta say it’s around the top, actually.
Sadly, the show was not what I expected. Emily Haynes came out and told everyone that they were going to do an acoustic set… um, OK? Metric, who is pretty heavily synth-reliant, is going to get me all mellowed out, after PASSION PIT, of all people? OK… Well, I did my best to enjoy it. I heard the two songs from the new album I know, and I liked that, but it was pretty mellow. Turns out that the reason for this was one of the band members had just had a child! So obviously, he couldn’t be there, but Metric didn’t want to cancel. Which I respect. So I got something out of the set: mainly a desire to see fully-fledged Metric to rock my world. And a huge, MEGA INDIE CRUSH on Emily Haynes. …I guess that’s two things.
Metric: Incomplete Set List
‘Gold Guns Girls‘
‘Help, I’m Alive’
Next was Gaslight Anthem, who was introduced with the tagline ‘Telecasters and Tattoos.’ Instantly I am turned off. The fact that Gaslight Anthem is a bro-tastic, glorified indie-version of Blink 182 that doesn’t even do it right was a letdown. So vanilla was the hard-and-fast rock-bordering-on-punk-but-with-a-dash-of-emotion that I left. I was hungry, and Gaslight wasn’t doing jack for me.
I returned just in time for to opening of Airborne Toxic Event, who I’d feared would be closer to the Gaslight category than they were. Pleasantly, I was mistaken. Like Ra Ra Riot they had a violin player, which I really like. She kinda danced around when she wasn’t playing like Ally Sheedy’s character in The Breakfast Club. Anyways, I really liked their music, probably because I’d throw them into the ever-growing pile of bands with lead vocalists channeling Ian Curtis in some way, shape, or form (a la The Killers, but with less flash). I’m a sucker for it though. The energy of their performance, especially their finale which killed had me sold that this too is worth pursuing!
Airborne Toxic Event: Incomplete Set List
‘Sometime Around Midnight’
Finally it was time for the headlining band, The Bravery. Me and The Bravery also go way back, to high school. ‘Honest Mistake’ was a big single, and I, dutiful music junkie that I am, marched out and bought the record, intrepid young lad that I was back in 2005. I remember listening to the record a good deal, and being disappointed that it wasn’t quite what I’d expected. It seemed… flat. Lacking in dimension or depth. Not bad, but it didn’t last more than a few months in my car-CD-rotation. It certainly doesn’t get regular play today…
So when I heard they were playing, I gave The Bravery another listen. My feelings were more or less unchanged. ‘Honest Mistake’ and ‘Public Service Announcement’ were still the substantive tracks, in my mind, and that was about it. However, hearing ‘Unconditional’ as the opening to the live set began to change my impressions. I was also surprised how many lyrics I remembered, almost second hand, after having spent so little time (recently) with the record. They’re fantastic performers (at the risk of using the same band for comparison, think of a down-and-dirty Killers, again with less flash) and I got a lot more out of the material from the performance than I ever did from the recording.
Begrudgingly, I’m looking forward to giving their second album a go, which I’d been avoiding until I heard these guys and had such a good time!
The Bravery: Nearly-Complete Set List
‘Public Service Announcement’
‘Hatefuck’ (New Song)
Jack-o-lantern Man (New Song)
‘Time Won’t Let Me Go’
‘Any Way You Want It’ (Journey Cover; w/ Airborne Toxic Event)
All-in-all, the show was fantastic. Boston is lucky to have a station as great as WFNX to put on a show as great as this. WFNX is lucky to have listeners with such good taste that these fantastic bands were at the top of their poll of the Best Music. Me? I was just lucky to be there.