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Boston Calling Music Festival 9/7 & 9/8: Tickets On Sale Now

Tickets have just gone on sale TODAY for the Boston Calling Music Festival which takes place September 7 and 8 at City Hall Plaza, so I thought I would commemorate the occasion by having a brief look at the Boston bands that will be opening up the festivities on each day. Over the weeks leading up to it, I’ll be doing little profiles about some of the “non-headliners” performing, since that’s how I am here, and it’s actually a pretty diverse and interesting line-up.

I’ll begin by profiling the two Boston bands who open things up on each day. I’ve heard some people comment that it’s a little odd not to have the Boston music scene more strongly represented at a festival that calls itself “Boston Calling.” While I tend to agree, this is also the first festival we’ve had here in Boston, right downtown no less, and there’s always a future (one hopes) to grow and improve. The first festival had two local bands, this one has three (yay Passion Pit!). Maybe the line-up can be expanded, extended into before and after-parties, whatever. Better not to boycott, but to engage in discussion. Off soapbox, on to the music.

You Won’t :: Saturday ::

I’m really happy to see the Boston-based duo of Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri a.k.a. the totally charming and really great indie folk outfit You Won’t opening things up on Saturday. The band came into existence in 2011 and released their debut album Skeptic Goodbye (Old Flame Records) in February 2012. This was followed by a U.S. & Canadian tour, a bunch of glowing reports in places like NPR and The New York Times, and more touring this year supporting the likes of The Lumineers, The Joy Formidable and Josh Ritter. Nice to see they’ll get some more high profile exposure with this festival.

Upcoming shows: 6/17 Toad’s Place, New Haven, CT (w/The Joy Formidable) | 6/18 Port City Music Hall, Portland, ME (w/The Joy Formidable) | 6/20 House of Blues, Boston, MA (w/The Joy Formidable) | 7/31 Downsview Park, Toronto, Canada (Edgefest)

Bearstronaut :: Sunday ::

There really isn’t a more perfect band to kick off Sunday’s dance party than Boston’s own Bearstronaut. Polished and well-produced synth-pop with hints of electro, R&B, Britpop, the 1980s… basically a bouncy, happy affair. They released their debut EP in 2009 and were the inspiration for a homegrown record label, Vanya Records, founded by Michael Marotta (the pill, WFNX). Their Moniker single was released on vinyl by Vanya, as was last year’s EP Paradice. Bearstronaut have perform with Passion Pit, fun., Bad Rabbits, St. Lucia, Surfer Blood and others. And in September, they’ll get to kick off quite an inspired Sunday line-up for dance music, hip-hop, R&B, electro and synth-pop aficionados.

Boston Calling: web | facebook | twitter

You Won’t: web | facebook | twitter | bandcamp | soundcloud

Bearstonaut: web | facebook | twitter | bandcamp | tumblr | soundcloud

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Boston Calling ~ May 25 & 26 ~ welcome to the city’s first rock festival!

Boston Calling
City Hall Plaza, Boston
May 25 & 26, 2013
::: buy tickets :::
(VIP tix only)

Saturday, May 25

Fun. ~ The Shins ~ Marina and the Diamonds ~ Matt and Kim ~ Portugal. The Man ~ Cults ~ Ms Mr ~ Bad Rabbits ~ St. Lucia

Sunday, May 26

The National ~ Of Monsters and Men ~ Young the Giant ~ Andrew Bird ~ Dirty Projectors ~ Ra Ra Riot ~ The Walkmen ~ Youth Lagoon ~ Caspian

So I would be remiss in not acknowledging and commemorating the City of Boston’s very first music festival. Boston Calling is a 2-day extravaganza being held May 25 & 26 at City Hall Plaza, right in the center of Boston. For anyone who attended WFNX’s ‘Best Music Poll’ show back in 2009, this is a really cool location for live music. They also happen to have a pretty stellar line-up, no doubt due to the involvement of the National’s Aaron Dessner, who helped to curate. There are two local bands on the bill as well (which doesn’t always happen at these sorts of things — instrumental group Caspian (from Beverly) and Bad Rabbits (from Boston).

Unfortunately, after I’ve just hyped it like that, regular tickets and passes are completely sold out. However, if you’re well-heeled and enjoy the ‘Rock Star Treatment,’ you can still get single day or weekend VIP passes, which include your own entrance, VIP lounge access, food and a private bar, private restrooms and some festival swag. See the line-up below and check out a few of the featured artists performing. Happy Festival, Boston!

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Help! Our Bands Are On Fire! (to benefit victims of the 95 Columbia, Central Square Fire)

Benefit Festival going on TODAY & TONIGHT in Union Square!
(and how others not in the area can help)

Back a few weeks ago, there was a horrible house fire in Cambridge – a house that was home to many area musicians and artists. Despite heroic efforts from Cambridge firefighters and volunteers, these folks are still struggling to “regroup” after being unceremoniously tossed out of their homes. They haven’t even been able to go back in yet to see what’s salvageable (though fortunately everyone is ok). So today and tonight, going on right now, is a benefit ‘mini festival’ in Union Square at three venues – P.A.’s Lounge, Sally O’Brien’s and Precinct. Taking part are many of their fellow Boston-area bands – Molly Zenobia, Parlour Bells, Mighty Tiny, Streight Angular, Satellites Fall and many more. If you’re in the area, definitely check this out! | More Info & Set Times

If you’re not in the area, check out the work of some of these artists who lost much if not all of their belongings (and we’re not talking wealthy rock stars here…). If you can, help them out a little. Here some more info. And here’s some of their music!

Brendan Burns

guitarist & educator; founding member of the Elephant Tango Ensemble

Tony Leva

upright bass player for Jaggery

Mary Bichner

Composer, arranger, transcriber, performer, and formerly of Box Five

Other artists from 95 Columbia:

Brendan Higgins | Pete Moulthrop | Thomas Huber, Adam Jones, Jackie, John Lian, and Jimmy Tang.

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Strike up the band, The Bread & Puppet Theater are back in town!

photo by Mark Dannenhauer

photo by Mark Dannenhauer

The Bread & Puppet Theater: The Circus of the Possibilitarians
Cambridge Common, Cambridge MA (Mass. Ave & Garden St., near Harvard Square)
Sunday, September 2nd, 3pm – FREE! (rain or shine)
to kick off Harvard Square’s annual “Revival Month”

Sponsored by the Cambridge Arts Council and the Harvard Square Business Association

What better way to celebrate (and ridicule) the Ridiculous Neverending Circus of this political campaign year with that esteemed bastion of progressive thought, The Bread and Puppet Theater!

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We Want The Airwaves: The Death and Resurrection of WFNX

We Want The Airwaves: A WFNX Tribute
featuring O Positive, Orbit, Garvy J, Parlour Bells and other special guests. WFNX DJ sets by Anngelle Wood & Angie C., Boy Troy, Duane Bruce, Bruce McDonald, Mike “X-Night” Gioscia. Also, a sneek peek of the film “We Want The Airwaves: The WFNX Story”

Proceeds to benefit The Progeria Research Foundation
Saturday, June 30
The Paradise Rock Club
7pm doors | 18+ | $20 + TM fees
facebook event | ::: buy tickets :::

This article was to be something of a eulogy, after hearing of the sale of WFNX 101.7 fm to the evil empire of Clear Channel Communications. Happily, came to their rescue, and the station will be continuing on as an online entity at But I’d still like say a few words as this radio station that has meant so much to so many begins its new phase of life. Like a phoenix risen from the ashes (pun intended).

At the Paradise tomorrow night, it’ll be a special evening of remembrances from DJs throughout WFNX’s history, with some fine Boston bands – old and new – performing, and a sneak preview of the new documentary “We Want The Airwaves: The WFNX Story.”

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A New Club for Every Season…

(add these venues to your Boston-area clubbing circuit – coming soon!)

Valhalla International Restaurant and Lounge, and future sites of The Davis Square Theater and The Sinclair

Valhalla International Restaurant and Lounge, and future sites of The Davis Square Theater and The Sinclair

Attention club hoppers – Davis, Central, and Harvard Squares will all be giving birth to brand new clubs this year. The Davis Square Theatre, which was formerly Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway Theater, will be adding live music shows to its schedule of theater productions (Spring); Valhalla is coming to Central Square, which is actually the All Asia Bar moving house (Summer); and The Sinclair in Harvard Square will be operated by Bowery Cambridge, the latest ‘outreach program’ by New York’s booking agency The Bowery Presents, much the same as they now do at The Royale with Bowery Boston (Autumn).

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Sleepover Shows Holiday Charity Auction – Signed Band Memorabilia!

In the holiday spirit of giving to those less fortunate, Sleepover Shows, the people who bring you stripped down, acoustic sets in curious locales by your favorite bands as they come through Boston, have put together a very special auction, all profits to benefit The Greater Boston Food Bank.

Apart from the wonderful cause, what makes this auction so cool is that they’re offering up a load of signed band merch from many of the bands they’ve filmed over the last year. This includes posters, vinyl, set lists, shirts, cds, by well-loved artists such as Frightened Rabbit, Pearl and the Beard, Chris Bathgate, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys (a poster of their show with Zoë Keating), The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library, The Motion Sick, Marc Pinansky, Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, The David Wax Museum, Marco Benevento, Marisa Nadler, Mean Creek, and many more.

Each item’s photo on the Charity Auction site links to its eBay page, with auctions ending on Wednesday, December 14, so BID NOW! There are a few cool Boston music bundles up there as well, so check ’em out.

Visit Sleepover Shows to see their latest sessions, and starting next week, a series of six Boston bands performing original songs, each band naming a charity for people to donate to this holiday season.

Sleepover Shows: official site | facebook | twitter

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Tonight at Club Oberon: The Last Ever Performance of Bent Wit Cabaret!


Bent Wit Cabaret: CULT
Sunday, November 13th at 8pm at Club Oberon, 2 Arrow St. Cambridge (Harvard Square)
facebook event | BUY TICKETS

All good things must come to an end… After two years of Axe 2 Ice Production’s bawdy burlesque vaudeville revues, Bent Wit Cabaret will be pulling up their tent. Which means you have one last chance to catch what has become a cult phenomenon, conveniently located in Harvard Square, at Club Oberon.

Since January 2010, Bent Wit Cabaret has been staging elaborate choreographed presentations, each show focusing on a particular theme.

On this auspicious evening, the theme is CULT, and the featured performers include:

The Slutcracker mastermind Sugar Dish

Burlesque artist Femme Brulee

Lainey SchoolTree

Elephant Tango Ensemble
Valerie Thompson (Voice/Cello, Goli), Vessela Stoyanova (MIDI Marimba, Goli), Brendan Burns (Guitar), & Nate Greenslit (Percussion, HUMANWINE, What Time Is It, Mr Fox).

Black Cat Burlesque co-creator Mary Widow as David Bowie

A sneak preview of the holiday phenomenon The Slutcracker

WIREFOREST Cult Leader Walter Sickert

A special performance art piece from Axe To Ice’s Artistic Director Karin Webb

Video shorts from the Boston Underground Film Festival

As always, the evening will be hosted by UnAmerika’s Sweetheart Karin Webb and the legendary Mary Dolan.

Get on down to Harvard Square tonight and give them a rousing farewell!

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Musings about the Occupy Movement

Occupy Boston march on Global Demonstration Day, October 15, 2011

Occupy Boston march on Global Demonstration Day, October 15, 2011

It’s a sad fact that a bad situation usually has to get much, much worse before it can start to get better. Ninety-nine percent of this planet should be really pissed off right now, if only there wasn’t so much other stuff that gets in the way. If religion is the opiate of the masses, then so are radio talk shows and opinion columns, political pundits and proselytizers. All that noise, all those petty disagreements over social issues and divisive politics. What commentators call the “wedge issues” that cause people who have more in common with each other than they realize to bicker endlessly, while they lose sight of the main plot.

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The Ames Sessions: A *Free* Music Series in Woodward Park at Boston’s Ames Hotel 9/20, 9/27 & 10/4

(clockwise from top left): Anna Rose, The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, and Kim Boekbinder (photo by Shami Kiely)

(clockwise from top left): Anna Rose, The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, and Kim Boekbinder (photo by Shami Kiely)

Presented by Morgan’s Hotel Group, The MuseBox and DigBoston

There’s an exciting new showcase for up-and-coming bands, a free music series called The Ames Sessions, taking place on three consecutive Tuesday evenings in Woodward Park at Boston’s Ames Hotel. Not to be confused with The Ames Sessions that were in collaboration with WFNX (which was indoors, very limited capacity, and you had to win tickets), this one is completely free and open to the public. The performances are September 20th (this coming Tuesday) with Anna Rose and Leo Blais, September 27th with The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players and Supercute, and October 4th with Kim Boekbinder and Audrey Ryan. In addition to hearing some fine music in an intimate setting, there will be specials and prizes to coincide with each event.

It seems the Ames Hotel is requesting that people R.S.V.P. for the shows they’d like to attend. This is probably because Woodward Park is actually the outdoor patio area of their Woodward Tavern (meaning, it’s *very* small and intimate). It looks like an amazing setting for live music.

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