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Nate Wilson Group at Lizard Lounge 5/20 and THREE residencies in June


Photo by Michael Spencer

When you first hear the Nate Wilson Group a little orange and yellow "Led Zepplin" light goes off behind your eyes. Their music is heavily influenced by 60's and 70's classic psych rock and contains some country rock hints in some of the songs. Allman Brothers-esque guitar riffs (which probably makes the band a hit with the evolving jamband scene) are sprinkled generously throughout their tunes. Although they've played with some major national acts such as Ryan Montbleau, moe. and Martin Sexton, The Nate Wilson Group doesn't fade from the local scene and is a band who knows how to play around their local turf. They have THREE residencies in June. One in Worcester, MA at The Dive Bar on Fridays, at Stone Church in Newmarket, NH on Wednesdays and at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA on Thursdays.

--The Deli Staff


QRO Presents Nerd Parade, EULA, Baby Made Rebel, Hello Ninja at P.A.’s Lounge on Monday 5/17


Allston’s Hello Ninja and local gadabouts Baby Made Rebel kick-off the festivities at Boston-based QRO Magazine’s first ever showcase this Monday at P.A.’s Lounge. Baby Made Rebel started as a solo singer/songwriter project by Lance Riley, then blossomed into a full ensemble starring bassist Slow Train Carter (of Shoney Lamar & the Equal Rights) and drummer Neil Dean. The trio mixes it up with clean 70s rock songwriting with a rough-and-raw delivery. Hello Ninja cuts their rock with a smart dose of pop. Check them out doing an old classic properly: Burt Bacharach’s “Baby It’s You” at the Middle East HERE. New Haven’s EULA will join the local cast with tart, tight art/punk-isms while Atlanta’s Nerd Parade will serve up the southern-fried, psychedelic closer on the Boston stop of their US tour. Any show where you can get a north-to-south read on the state of indie music in America is an event not be missed. More show info HERE. The party starts at 8:30pm.

P.A.’s Lounge

345 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA. 21+/$7.

--Mike Gutierrez


John Shade at the Lizard Lounge, 5/11 and 5/18

john shade

I haven’t seen John Shade play with the Neave Quartet yet, even though he had a month long residency at the Armory, a few other shows around town and played the May Fair (I even went out into the crowd to check it out and missed it, when I got there some 15 year old kid was singing “Skid Row” from Little Shop of Horrors.) His debut album, All You Love Is Need, does not include the quartet, but it is still a beautiful album. The songs are light and funny but if you listen closely to the lyrics you’ll hear that the songs are fueled by melancholy and loneliness. Kind of like Jon Brion, but with less glockenspiel (Brion has also been known to use string quartets too.)

My favorite song off the album is “Tragedy” which I’ve been digging for a while now. I heard him sing it at a Sub Rosa show at the Lizard Lounge (Where he is also having a residency on Tuesdays in May). It floored me. "Tragedy" is beautifully composed, the melody is languid and sunshiny like a Van Morrison song, although the lyrics are heart-breakingly, well, tragic. His song, “I Hate the World (and Everyone in it)” always gets a laugh at shows. It’s actually a very depressing song despite the hopefully climatic melody, which is awesome.

But again, I haven’t seen him play in way too long. I always miss his shows, which is why I’m asking you all to go make up for my lack of not going. All You Love is Need is one of the best albums I’ve heard lately, John Shade is one of my favorite area musicians and without a doubt, he has the best sense of humor.

You can hear a track he recorded with the Neave Quartet HERE. He’s got two more weeks of the residency left, he plays with Viskesh Kapoor (May 11), and Jocie Adams from The Low Anthem (May 18). Lizard Lounge 1667 Mass Ave Cambridge, MA

--Meghan Chiampa


Review of Dietrich Strause at the Lizard Lounge 5/8


Dressed in a crumpled white button-down shirt, trousers, and a belt, singer/songwriter Dietrich Strause looked a little like a weary nine-to-fiver when he took the stage at the Lizard Lounge last night, but this unassuming demeanor is exactly what gives the Oberlin graduate his signature modest stage presence. A twinkle in his eye suggests that he sees a kind of humor in the situation, but his shoulders hang heavy with the weight of the observational wisdom that unfurls in his masterfully crafted songs. "As if being an acoustic guitarist/singer/songwriter weren't obvious enough," Dietrich hesitantly thought out loud into the microphone, "I guess you could say that I'm a pretty sensitive guy. I love puppies, and this is a song about dog-walking." Unsurprisingly, the song was not just about dog-walking.

In a completely non-pejorative way, Dietrich Strause is a geek. "Jean-Louise," a song he wrote about Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, is evidence enough that this is a guy who reads. "Run along, Jean Louise, while you're still a child," Dietrich urges, echoing the sort of perspective and insight that would sound right at home coming from Atticus Finch himself. Dietrich's intricate, feathery-light guitar playing and smooth, clear vocals bring him aesthetically closer to folk than lit-rock, strictly speaking, but lyrically, his bibliophilic style is reminiscent of poetry-prose artists like The Weakerthans or The Decemberists. "Smart" music can sometimes run the risk of coming off erudite and snobbish, but Dietrich seems like the boy next door who breathes clean, country air. Comparisons to Paul Simon come to mind, but Dietrich probably already knows that, given his spot-on cover of "American Tune." The highlight of the evening, though, was probably "Nuns with Guns," Dietrich's answer to Bob Dylan's "It's Alright, Ma" with the added bonus of a memorable sing-along chanty-style chorus. Word on the street is that Dietrich is an expert trumpeter, too; the only disappointment of last night's show, then, is that he didn't somehow figure out a way to play trumpet and sing at the same time. Maybe someday.

Dietrich Strause will be at No Place Special in Mashpee on May 22nd

--Stephie Coplan

May 2010
Ghost Quartet
"Ghost Quartet

Ghost Quartet is an anachronistic delight. Sharp, tactile, and playful, this Northfield, Massachusetts quintet (yes, you read that right—there are actually five members, none of whom are ghosts) offers up a new self-titled live EP that feels like something out of a smoke-filled 1920s nightclub. In 1975. In New Orleans. On Mars. Cacophony, chaos, and experimentation sit at the center of the five tracks on this jazz-funk treasure, transforming Ghost Quartet from a jazz recording into a piece of living, breathing art. Josh Powers weaves nimble bass lines with surgical precision under some seriously smooth vocals by Hilary Graves, whose Ella Fitzgerald-esque agility lends the group a winsome vibe with mass appeal—the same vibe, some might say, that lead singer Jenny Lewis offers Rilo Kiley. On “Catch the Funk,” guitarist Zach Holmes pays homage to 70s funk bands like Kool and the Gang and Earth Wind and Fire by digging grooves so deep, he hits rock bottom. On “Freeloader,” Graves shows off the band’s goofier side as she sarcastically taunts, “I don’t really like you much” over tubist Kevin Smith, who haphazardly blares away. Ghost Quartet sparkles not only because it embraces the unexpected; what makes it so unique is that it is a rarely-seen celebration of the raw, the unpolished, and the unperfected. While other bands reach for shiny new trumpets and fancy guitar pedals, you get the sense from these five live recordings that Ghost Quartet would rather play rusted instruments they found in an antique store. There’s something charming and wholesome about a band that sounds like it’s having fun when it performs, and by the end of Ghost Quartet, there’s no doubt that these guys (and girl) love every moment. With one foot in a speakeasy and the other in a garage, this quintet has struck a unique balance of old-timey nostalgia and youthful modernity. --Stephie Coplan


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