Driving the Boston Music Scene

BY KEVIN DIFFILY // OCT. 3, 2013 //

Boston is home to a wealth of concert venues that attract big-name artists as well as huge crowd demand. The TD Garden has hosted some of the biggest acts in the world in recent years, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rihanna, the Foo Fighters and Justin Bieber. The House of Blues, Boston has also played host to bands of high caliber recently, such as Fall Out Boy, The Offspring, New Found Glory, and Yellowcard.

Bands like The Hideout aren't in it for money or modest notoriety, let alone fame. They simply love to play music.
Bands like The Hideout aren’t in it for money or modest notoriety, let alone fame. They simply love to play music.

The Paradise Rock Club, located on Boston University’s West campus, recently hosted the Arctic Monkeys, one of the biggest alternative bands on the planet. The ’Dise, as it is affectionately known, is also where U2 played their first show in the United States way back in the 1970s.

It’s obvious that Boston has an amazing music scene. But where does the fuel for this scene come from?

If you ask me, the answer is the local punk and hardcore fans. There are countless dive bars and basement clubs across the area, from Allston to Cambridge to Quincy, that have small-scale shows featuring local bands every weekend. In fact, I recently went with my roommate and some friends to see his brother’s band, The Hideout, play a basement show at The Cantab in Cambridge. (The basement is referred to as Club Bohemia to distinguish from the bar upstairs.)

There were four bands, all of which hail from the Boston area, at this show: The New Warden, Trophy Lungs, The Hideout, and The Offseason. The cover charge was $10, and the bar had $4 Narragansett Lagers—a staple of the New England music scene—on tap. Each band mostly played punk rock and pop-punk, and played for about half an hour.

What struck me most about the show was the camaraderie between the bands and their fans. While there were probably no more than 30 people in the crowd, the atmosphere was enjoyable because most people knew at least one of the bands personally. No one was earning big bucks from their performances; the bands were just playing because they love to do it. The crowd was there because they wanted to support the local bands.

This is the passion that makes the Boston area such a great place to see a concert. So get out there and support the local music scene.

Orchestrating a Scene

BY ANDREW BLOM // SEPT. 11, 2012 //

The music scene on Curry’s campus has room to improve. // STOCKVAULT.NET

People always have something to say about music.

Bob Marley (yeah, that guy on the poster on your wall smoking a joint was also a musician) once said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” I’ll even sell out to the masses for a second and mention Taylor Swift, who said, “People haven’t always been there for me, but music has.”

Not much is being said about music at Curry because the college lacks a consistent music scene. But I can’t really blame Curry for this—although the student-run radio station, WMLN, really needs to stop playing the same songs over and over. There’s more to music than Lady Gaga, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and random Buddy Holly tunes. Bands like Nirvana, R.E.M., and the Pixies (from Boston) are far more fitting for a college radio station.

That said, I knew Curry wasn’t a hotbed of music when I applied. Obviously, if I wanted to enroll in a school with a great music program, I would have check out The Julliard School in New York City, or the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Maybe I should have checked out the University of Georgia in Athens, a city that has been described by Rolling Stone magazine as the “#1 College Music Scene.”

But there is a small and sporadic music scene on and around campus, and Curry students are leading it. Whether it’s students playing guitar in their dorm rooms until 3 a.m., “Open Mic” nights in the Student Center, or concerts in Boston, there is something for every music fan.

The Life is Good Festival in Canton on Sept. 22 and 23 is literally right down the street from the campus, and it will feature some cool artists like Dave Matthews. Travel a bit farther down the road, into Boston, and you have the House of Blues (“The All-American Rejects,” Sept. 22) and Paradise Rock Club (the Wallflowers, Sept. 29).

And don’t say you can’t make it. You have the Curry College off-campus shuttle, which drops you off at Faneuil Hall, and all it takes is a 10-minute cab ride. You should be able to make it to the 1 a.m. shuttle back to Curry.

I truly hope Curry’s music scene will grow this year and beyond. Because when you have a scene, you have people coming together. And when people come together, that’s when you start to make a difference.

Summer in the Bean

BY KEVIN DIFFILY // MAY 1, 2012 // 

For music fans living in the Boston area this summer, there are quite a few exciting events that will be taking place in the city.

The Paradise Rock Club (located on Boston University’s campus) will be hosting Rhode Island-based folk/country/indie group Deer Tick on Friday, June 16, and Fountains of Wayne (yes, that’s the “Stacy’s Mom” band) on Friday, June 29.

The House of Blues (located across the street from Fenway Park) will play host to British indie rockers The Kooks on Saturday, May 26, ska-punk legends Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish on Wednesday, June 20, Swedish garage band The Hives on Saturday, June 23, and longtime punk rockers The Bouncing Souls on Saturday, August 4.

Dee Snider, of 80’s hair metal band Twisted Sister, is performing at Showcase Live at Patriot Place in Foxboro, MA, on Thursday, May 24. The venue also plays host to The Machine (a tribute to Pink Floyd) on Friday, June 1, as well as Satisfaction (a Rolling Stones cover band) on Saturday, August 11.

Royale (located in the theater district, near Chinatown and Emerson College) will host melodic hardcore outfit Thrice on Saturday, May 26.

The Middle East (located in Cambridge, a couple blocks away from the Central Square Red Line stop) plays host to Motion City Soundtrack on Saturday, June 30, surf guitar legend Dick Dale on Thursday, July 19, and of course the weekly installment of “Throwed,” the electro/dubstep dance party hosted every Tuesday night. The Middle East also has countless shows for local and underground bands, most of which are well worth the price of admission.

Some of the larger-scale events that will occur this summer include Avicii on Sunday, June 15, Neil Diamond on Monday, June 23, Aerosmith at TD Garden on Tuesday, July 17 and Thursday, July 19, and Coldplay on July 29 and July 30, all at the TD Garden.

The Comcast Center in Mansfield, Mass., has large-scale acts all summer, including (to name a few) Radiohead on Tuesday, May 29, Summer Jam featuring Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and Big Sean on Saturday, June 2, Dave Matthews Band on Tuesday, June 5 and Wednesday, June 6, Drake on Saturday, June 17, Vans Warped Tour (featuring Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, Streetlight Manifesto, All Time Low, and Yellowcard, amongst many others) on Thursday, July 19, Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller on Wednesday, August 1, and Mayhem Fest (featuring Slipknot, Slayer, Motorhead, The Devil Wears Prada, As I Lay Dying and Asking Alexandria) on Friday, August 3.

Other shows will be added at each of these venues over the course of the next few weeks, so keep checking each venue’s website for updates. It looks to be a summer chock-full of concerts in the Boston area, whether you prefer small club shows or arena shows.

What the Spring has Brought

BY KEVIN DIFFILY // APRIL 26, 2012 // 

As the weather gradually improves, more and more people begin to venture outside in search of fun events to partake in. Fortunately for those who are music lovers, there are plenty of events in Boston to keep them occupied as summer swiftly approaches.

Local ska-punk legends Big D and the Kids Table will be playing Showcase Live at Patriot Place in Foxboro, Mass., on Thursday April 26. The venue will host Badfish (a tribute to Sublime) the following evening, Friday April 27, as well as Another Tequila Sunrise (a tribute to The Eagles) on Friday May 4.

The Paradise Rock Club (located on Boston University’s campus) hosts a few notable acts over the next couple months, including indie rockers The Drums on Wednesday April 25 and Good Old War on Thursday April 26.

The House of Blues (located across the street from Fenway Park) has a plethora of exciting events coming up. It will be hosting The Cranberries on Friday May 11, indie up-and-comers M83 on Wednesday May 9, power pop group The Maine on Friday May 18, post-hardcore/emo band The Used on Saturday May 19, punk rock legends Rancid on Sunday May 20 and Monday May 21.

Royale (located in the theater district, near Chinatown and Emerson College) plays host to alt. rock mainstays The All-American Rejects (along with A Rocket to the Moon) on Saturday April 28.

The Middle East (located in Cambridge a couple blocks away from the Central Square Red Line station stop) is not hosting any remarkable artists, but every Tuesday it hosts an 18+ electro/dubstep dance party called “Throwed,” which is typically well-attended.

Christian rock group Creed will drop in on The Orpheum (located between Downtown Crossing and Park Street) on Friday April 27, before Regina Spektor will play on Thursday May 10 and Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes play on Saturday May 12.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are playing at TD Garden on May 7, but this show sold out almost instantaneously after tickets were released to the public in February

Blink-182 is playing the Verizon Center in Manchester, NH on Thursday May 17, as well as at Mohegun Sun in Connecticut on Friday May 18,

There is always something to keep one busy in Boston, and this spring season is no exception. For those who love the music scene and attending concerts in smaller venues, Boston is the place to be for the next couple of months, as there is no shortage of shows.

Beats in Beantown

BY KEVIN DIFFILY // FEB. 17, 2012 //

The Boston music scene is always very lively. And with quite a few notable bands scheduled to play shows in the area, the next several weeks are no exception. There are many different venues in the Boston area, and the events listed here are just a fraction of everything that is going on in the near future.

Boston’s flagship club/concert venue is probably the House of Blues, located across the street from Fenway Park (and formerly known as the Avalon, which, in my humble opinion, is a way cooler name than the current overused, corporate-sounding “House of Blues” moniker). It attracts some of the industry’s most famous artists. Here are just a few of the upcoming shows at the House of Blues:

Feb. 21: Flogging Molly, with Black Joe Lewis and The Devil Makes Three.

Tickets are $29.50. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30.

The legendary celtic punk band is back in town!

Feb. 29: August Burns Red, with Silverstein and I the Breather.

Tickets are $20. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7:15.

If you’re into hardcore music, this show is for you; August Burns Red has some of the most brutal breakdowns out there, and Silverstein isn’t exactly soft rock either.

March 6: Kaiser Chiefs, with Walk the Moon.

Tickets are $25. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8.

Calling all British indie rock fans!

While the House of Blues is the biggest and most prestigious venue in Boston, there are quite a few other places to see a great show. The Middle East in Cambridge, for example, has seen many aspiring artists wow crowds in its cramped basement. Upcoming shows include:

Feb. 19: Less Than Jake, with Samiam, A Wilhelm Scream, and Flatfoot 56.

Tickets: $20.50 advance, $22 day of show. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

This is the 20th Anniversary Tour for Less Than Jake, the ska-punk legend that has long been one of the primary influences in alternative music.

The Royale is another great club in Boston, located in the Theatre District. Due to a crowd-related incident at the Middle East during the A Loss For Words, Hit the Lights, and The Story So Far show on Nov. 30, a show originally scheduled for the Middle East has been moved to the Royale:

March 12: The Wonder Years, with Polar Bear Club, Transit, The Story So Far, and Into It. Over It.

Tickets: $13 advance, $15 day of show. Doors open at 6 p.m.

The Wonder Years are an up-and-coming pop-punk sextet from Philadelphia, and their descent upon Boston has been long awaited by their rapidly growing fan base.

In addition to these clubs, there are plenty of smaller bars and other such venues for concerts. Paradise Rock Club and Brighton Music Hall are two of them, and the later is hosting a well-known punk band in March.

March 9: Anti-Flag, with the Flatliners and Have Nots.

Tickets: $16. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7.

Long-time punk rockers Anti-Flag are in town, to the delight of the Boston punk and hardcore scene. In terms of venues, it doesn’t get much more punk rock than Brighton Music Hall. The musicians enter the stage by walking out a door that leads through the crowd, and it’s by far the smallest venue I’ve ever been to.