musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: T. T. the Bear’s Place

Thank You and Farewell to T.T. the Bear’s Place

Good heavens, where to begin? T.T. the Bear’s Place in Central Square, Cambridge has been a beloved member of the Boston music scene family since 1973. Dark and divey, this intimate 300-capacity club has hosted notable legends from Boston and beyond — The Pixies (who recently performed there again in a surprise gig), Lemonheads, Arcade Fire, Dropkick Murphys, Dinosaur Jr., Mission of Burma, Jane’s Addiction, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Shins, Scruffy the Cat and many more. They’ve also hosted many up and coming bands from around the world. They were also the proud home of Boston’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble from 2011-2015. [And as my friend, esteemed poet, psychic and past-life regression therapist Victor Robert Venckus pointed out, they were also home to Stone Soup Poetry for a number of years.]

TT’s will unfortunately be closing their doors forever on July 25.

The only good news out of this is that they’re going out with a bang rather than a whimper with a Farewell Blowout week-long+ celebration that will see quite a few local legends, with many performing together on the same bill. Due to the heavy demand for these really low-priced tickets, all sales are in person at the box office (7pm – closing), with a small amount of tickets put aside for “first come, first serve” the night of the show. The final evening on the 25th with Scruffy the Cat is already sold out, but there will be limited tickets available at the door.

There are many others far more qualified to sing the praises of T.T.’s, since I only arrived to Boston in 1992 and for the last 10+ years have lived in the wilds of the North Shore, not getting in as often as I used to. However, I’ve covered quite a few of their shows here on ‘musings,’ so here’s a few personal highlights.

Local Natives’ first ever Boston show, in the dead of winter, with two other L.A. favorites, The Union Line and Voxhaul Broadcast – 1/17/2009


“Better late than never. Work obligations, the oppressive cold bearing down, and all that. But last Sunday, a distant and rapidly fading memory now, I braved the elements (snowy, windy and cold as they were) to see three really great L.A. bands at T.T. The Bear’s Place in Cambridge. And as I so often am at these times that finally inspire me to get my ass off my small island and down from the North Shore into the city, I was cold, lonely and bereft of inspiration, desperately in need of an indie band live music fix. These guys really delivered for me.” Read more >>

Happy Hollows’ debut Boston appearance, with two Southern rock bands – 10/18/2009


“Toward the end of my ‘Silverlake East Coast Revue’, there was this marvelous miracle of an appearance by highly regarded (and rightly justified!) eastside L.A. band, The Happy Hollows, at our lovely little dive, T.T. The Bear’s Place in Central Square. I don’t know how on earth they got plunked onto a bill that sandwiched them between two swampy Southern rock bands, but bless all the pagan gods that they did. [as Sarah said to me afterward, “we were the odd ducks in the middle”. Odd and immensely talented ducks, I’d say!]” Read more >>

Crooked Fingers – 11/6/2011
(covered on Ryan’s Smashing Life)
“Many indie rockers, when looking for a breath of fresh air away from their main band, will gravitate towards folk-informed singer songwriting, and rootsy alt-country. It’s a yearning for something stripped-down, more personal and self-contained, simple and emotionally direct. It’s a desire to get back to basics, and to find that connection with traditional storytelling and down-home comfort food for the spirit. Elder statesmen such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, and Steve Earle light the way. But few can really pull it off, to ingest and then transform those influences into their own voice. Eric Bachmann is such an artist, and at the risk of coming off as corny, I felt like I was in the presence of a really old soul at T.T. the Bear’s Place.” Read more >>

Rock ‘n’ Rumble Semi-Finals Night #1 – 4/12/2012
(covered on Ryan’s Smashing Life)
“We’re getting down to it, folks. No more messing around, the gloves are coming off, and Boston’s music fans were treated to ferocious jams on Thursday night, as preliminary winners fought hard for a place in next week’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble finals. There was ferocious 50s-style garage rock on the front end, hardcore headbanging on the back end, and sandwiched in-between, a rather breathless battle between the considerable musical prowess of Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck, and the elegant old-timey Americana of Cask Mouse.” Read more >>

The Drowning Men – 11/11/2012


“I had seen The Drowning Men on several occasions as support for The Airborne Toxic Event, mostly in larger venues. I had become so accustomed to seeing/hearing them take over the room and captive big crowds in a big space, that nothing quite prepared me for the sonic onslaught of that huge sound of theirs in the small confines of T.T. the Bear’s Place. This is a happy problem to have—being too good for a small venue. As Nato himself said, when headlining, they’re still a “small band,” though they sure as hell don’t sound like one.” Read more >>

And speaking of Ryan’s Smashing Life, there was that highly esteemed Boston music blog’s 4-Year Celebration —

Oh, T.T.’s, with your dank and cozy vibe, wall-bursting sound and dodgy lighting, I shall miss you. 🙁


Wednesday July 15 (last “regular” show)

Air Traffic Controller w/ Purples (Philly), Gladshot (NYC) and People Skills (NH)
8:30pm doors | 18+ | $10

Thursday July 16 – Wolf’s Farewell to TT’s Party

with the Legendary Vudu Krewe (9pm) & special guests Jenny (Dee) D’Angora, John Powhida, Amber Casares (8:30pm); Fireking (Asa Brebner, Kevin Connelly, Jittery Jack, Anthony Kaczynski) (7:30pm); Michelle Paulus (Dents), Ramona Silver and more!
7:00pm doors | 18+ | music starts at 7:30pm | FREE!

TT’s Farewell Blowout
Friday, July 17 – Saturday, July 25

Friday, July 17
The Upper Crust (midnight), Last Stand, Stop Calling Me Frank, The Bristols, Reid Paley, Pooka Stew…plus special guests!
presented by PBR | 8:00pm Doors | 18+ | $15

Saturday, July 18
TBA
7/16 5:30pm – It has just been announced that indeed, Mighty Mighty Bosstones will be playing an 11pm set at T.T.’s, coming directly from their support gig with Foo Fighters! They’ll be performing with “special guests” (maybe the other support on that bill?). In any case, you can only get on the list here. It’s $20, with no actual tickets. Your name will be at the door and you’ll need ID. The show is 18+.

At press time, we have no idea who will be playing on Saturday. However, Boston heavyweights Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Mission of Burma and Dropkick Murphys all happen to be performing with Foo Fighters at Fenway Park this weekend. Just sayin’.

Sunday, July 19
The Daily Pravda (1am), Bearstronaut, Animal Talk, Spirit Kid, TBA, The Luxury, Paddy Saul… plus special guests
presented by PBR | 7:00pm Doors | 18+ | $12

Monday, July 20
Mike The Considerate & The Interns (midnight), TT’s Staff House Band!, Mary Lou Lord (with Annabelle Lord-Patey), Jules Verdone, Matt & The Lower Standards (9pm)… plus special guests!
presented by PBR | 8:30 Doors | 18+ | $10

Tuesday, July 21
Runner & The Thermodynamics (midnight), Thalia Zedek Band, The Dazies, Evan Dando, Willy Mason, The Grownup Noise (acoustic set)… plus special guests!
presented by PBR | 8:00 Doors | 18+ | $12

Wednesday, July 22
The Lights Out (midnight), Ad Frank & The Fast Easy Women, Parlour Bells, Francine, Cujo (featuring Jen Trynin)… plus special guests
presented by PBR | 8:00pm Doors | 18+ | $12

Thursday, July 23
Harris (1am), Emergency Music, Vic Firecracker, Orbit, Field Nurse featuring TT’s bartender John!, Atomic Spectra (featuring members of Taxpayer & Aberdeen City)… plus special guests
presented by PBR | 7:00pm Doors | 18+ | $15

Friday, July 24
The Dogmatics (1am), The Neighborhoods, Howie & The Scrapes, Martin & Morrell (members of The Neats & Del Fuegos), Bleu… plus special guests
presented by PBR | 8:00pm Doors | 18+ | $15

Saturday, July 25
Scruffy The Cat (midnight), O Positive, Randy Black & The Heathcroppers (with Willie Alexander)… plus special guests
presented by PBR | 8:00pm Doors | 18+ | $15

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Priscilla Ahn ~ gentle reflection and a spring tour

Priscilla Ahn, a multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, harmonica, ukulele, banjo) with an angelic voice, is new for me but has been performing for more than a decade. She has toured with DeVotchKa, Willie Nelson, Amos Lee and others, and has collaborated with Tiesto (“I Am Strong”) and Ashtar Command (“The Breakup Song”). She released her fifth album, This Is Where We Are (Universal Music), back in July.

At her core is quiet introspection with the focus on her beautiful voice, softly accompanied by wistful, delicate piano and acoustic guitar. On her latest album, she incorporates electronica and beats (and sprinkles of fairy dust), though fortunately this adds to the appeal of her intimate and haunting vocals. While artists with less talent hide behind electronics, Priscilla Ahn uses the technology to further color her already quite colorful inner world.

Spring Tour

4/29 New York, NY – Highline Ballroom
5/1 Cambridge, MA – T.T. the Bear’s Place
5/3 Washington, DC – The Hamilton
5/4 Philadelphia, PA – Tin Angel
5/6 Toronto, Canada – The Drake Hotel
5/13 Seattle, WA – Columbia City Theater
5/15 San Francisco, CA – Yoshi’s San Francisco
5/30 Los Angeles, CA – Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever

See full schedule

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Seeing Out The Year That Was: My 12 Favorite Shows of 2012

A last minute addition: The Magnetic Fields at Symphony Hall for First Night (last night)

A last minute addition: The Magnetic Fields at Symphony Hall for First Night (last night)

It’s a good thing I held off posting this, because I’ve just made it an even dozen in honor of the year that just flew by, 2012. The last one? A band I had the immense pleasure of seeing for the first time, on First Night just last night at the majestic Symphony Hall. [Why do they call it “First Night”? Shouldn’t it be “Last Night”?]

I saw a total of 24 shows this year. Not a whole lot for a music blogger, but I’ll tell you—nearly all of them were spectacular. That’s damn good odds. I’ve heard some people say that 2012 was an awful year. What I’ll say, from my personal perspective, is this: 2012 was a year of massive challenges and difficulties, but the rewards, if you were prepared to step up, and I mean step up in a major way, were equally impressive. It was most definitely not a year for lightweights. But it’s all moving forward, and it’s moving forward quickly. Hold on to something sturdy, because I have a feeling 2013 is going to be just as intense. Remember, with challenge comes opportunity. Happy New Year, everyone.

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