Fact: free college shows are the best. This is why I make a point to go to as many of them as I can even though I am YEARS older than your average college student. Ease of access by public transportation (MOST colleges - if they would put in a megabus to WCSU my life would basically be made), small/medium bands playing in small little rooms, NOT HAVING TO PAY TO GET IN… I was up in Boston for a friend’s going-away party this weekend and the facebook event organizers were offering to match non-students with students to get them in and I do love me some long island bands, so this was pretty much a no brainer.
After being signed in by the nicest BU student I have ever had the privilege of meeting, we went upstairs to partake of the lovely dining hall fare and made it back down in time to see these guys play. Do not be fooled by the Gabriel The Marine drum, this is actually Red Bellows. When they introduced themselves on stage it sounded more like Red Balls (which would be the opposite of blue balls, right?) but google and a trip to the merch table confirmed that the red objects were in fact bellows. This was still pretty early in the night so there wasn’t a big crowd but there was that one dude who was SUPER into it fuck everything anyone else thought - it’s somewhere in the rules that every band has at least one of these dudes, right? He was headbanging really soulfully even though it was relatively chill music. The singer was trying his best to rock out too but kept running into trouble because his keyboard was set up for sitting-down playing. A fun set though! Bonus points for all the merch being free/donate-what-you-want. It was all super fancy, I found myself unable to resist the CD.
This is the best photo of nghbrs I got because apparently my camera decided it can’t even handle taking SEMI-DECENT photos anymore and there were people in front of us (hi Red Bellows!) Also was there some sort of marking on the far left side of the stage saying ALL GUITARISTS PLEASE STAND WAY THE FUCK OVER HERE LIKE YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW THESE PEOPLE YOU’RE PLAYING WITH? Because that’s what they all did. It was basically impossible to get ANY of the bands to fit into one frame. In any case I wasn’t trying super hard because nghbrs played a super energetic set (AS USUAL). There were not one but TWO super-really-into-it-dudes that I could see
not counting me and the crowd had thickened by then and was enthusiastically dancing along. It was the ideal kind of crowd to be in for this kind of music.
The guys behind us were really into it and had also obviously never seen the band before; they spent most of the jazz/hardcore-esque mashup intro to Beautiful Birds trying to figure out what the music reminded them of. Consensus was they were getting a definite Glassjaw vibe and that Ian’s vocal stylings were SO familiar but they just couldn’t place it. What I really don’t get is why people keep comparing bands I really like to Glassjaw. I don’t even like Glassjaw - I’ve tried listening to them before and I don’t really get the music itself OR where any of these comparisons would come from. Maybe it’s one of those things that sounds like a little bit of everything and is really convenient for comparisons. Maybe everyone else but me just REALLY likes it. Who can tell.
After that it was a while before Gabriel The Marine went on so we went outside and concert buddy had a cigarette and then we went back inside and bought some merch and hung out with the nghbrs dudes and it was great. (Side note: I have no idea what they do to them but the nghbrs shirts smell GREAT and you should buy one if you get the chance. Especially the maroon shirts. Yes, I am pimping this merch based on the way it smells. I do not even know.)
Then Gabriel The Marine came on and it was a change of pace; people weren’t dancing along quite as much but the singer (how have I seen this band three times and still not know any of their names? auuhghrughg) thanked everyone for being there and supporting live music even though he acknowledged that “We do not play dubstep” or whatever it was all the kids are into these days. Spoiler alert: this is true. Gabriel The Marine does not play dubstep. They were well received nevertheless, though, playing a bunch of songs off their EP as well as some new ones (I think they said they have a full length in the works? DO NOT QUOTE ME ON THIS) and caving in to an audience request for On And On to close it out.
By the time Bad Rabbits came on it was getting late enough that we couldn’t stay for the whole set or else we’d miss the T going back, but we stayed long enough to see them do this cool synchronized air punching thing~
There were antics aplenty! I had not seen Bad Rabbits before this so they were all New and Different and Exciting. The drummer, for example, bore an uncanny resemblance to the Y U NO man; I kept expecting him to get up in between songs and launch on an impassioned rant, but he never did. I am not posting the picture I took of him because a) it is blurry, b) he’s making an I am drumming!! expression not a Y U NO… expression, and c) no one ever sees these far-out resemblances except me anyway. In addition to the antics there was new/different/exciting bass-y dance music aplenty which I feel unequipped to talk about in any kind of detail because of how little of it I actually experienced. The next time my friends tell me X band is best experienced for the first time live I’m going to take it with a grain of salt. The first time live thing seems to work best when I’ve never even HEARD of a band and I get to hear them play for a WHILE and they’re playing right in some genre I listen to all the time.
On the whole it was an A+ show, would recommend to a friend :)