Sunday, January 03, 2010

The INFRASTRUCTURE TAKES MANHATTAN Highlight Reel

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mega-Manic Fall

It's 3:33 p.m., and the sun has already clocked out here in Boston. In dark times, you have to make your own weather. This is what I'm working on:

11/16-19 NY for work
11/19-21 Boston for life and rehearsal.
11/22-23 Toronto for work (looking forward to this, as I've never been to the city before).
11/24-29 NY and Philly for Thanksgiving.
11/27: INFRASTRUCTURE AT TRITONE in Philly

And then:
12/11-12/14: ABBQII in Austin! With a crew of at least 5!
12/18 INFRASTRUCTURE at Church in Boston
12/26 INFRASTRUCTURE at National Underground in Manhattan.

Doing stuff is awesome.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

INFRASTRUCTURE: All Asia Highlight Reel

From Saturday's show:

Shot by Meade, edited by yours truly.

As for the band, we should have a Philly show during Thanksgiving confirmed within the next few days and are working on a NY show for Christmas weekend. Next Boston gig is Dec. 18 @ Church in the Fenway.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Some Infrastructure Videos

Howdy. Here's the band at Harper's Ferry a few weeks ago. We have show coming up this Saturday, 11/7, at All Asia in Central Square, Cambridge. We're working hard to make it a great one! Hope to see you there.

Here, we debut our Steely Dan meets Beatles meats country punk tune, "Moorpark."


Here, we tear through the breakdown on "Old World."


This is the first time I've had video on the blog.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thank you!

Thanks to all who made it to the show last night! Even more thanks to those who helped us hand out demos, took photos and videos, and bought us drinks. Playing your band's second show ever in a cavernous and legendary club can feel humbling yet strangely natural at the same time.

We pulled off a pretty good set. Most impressive were the comments we received from other musicians. Everyone always calls our band "fun to watch," which makes me want to go on tour. Now.

Next show is 11/7 at All Asia in Cambridge.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Meanwhile...

  • Just got Telecaster out of shop. Dude told me I lucked out and "probably had a better guitar than most Americans," as my tele is a Mexican.
  • Just bought MAN-CAM (hd camcorder) for MAN-AM VLOGGING
  • Erich coming in tomorrow to start final rehearsals for the Harper's Ferry gig.
  • Meade also coming in for photo/video documentation, Man Am site construction
  • Just saw "It Might Get Loud" which confirms that I think the right thoughts.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

R.S.V.P.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=142612308666.

INFRASTRUCTURE at Harper's Ferry....8 days!

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Infrastructure will be performing an all-original opening set at Harper's Ferry in Allston Rock City. 8:30 p.m. sharp.

It's early, so please come on down. The show is getting TIGHT. We'll also debut some new songs, including my favorite Infratune to date, "$"

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

This morning, I will smash into the door-blockers at the Harvard T Station with a renewed zeal.

I'm psyched because INFRASTRUCTURE just confirmed its next show, and it's at a time that should work for nearly everyone. We'll be playing at Harper's Ferry, the venerable Boston music club, at 8:30 p.m. on Tues, Oct. 13, the Tuesday after Columbus Day. We get to perform our tunes on the same stage that's been graced by Maceo Parker, B. B. King, and every one-hit wonder of the 90s.

This is awesome! We're on a mission to deliver the greatest soul-punk-blues-rock show we can, and we will.

This morning, when I attempt get off the T at Harvard on my way to the 66 bus and our studio in Allston, I know what I'll find. Dozens of tourists and assorted ignorami will be standing in front of the train doors, deliberately not looking at the people attempting to get off the train. Today, I will smash into them not with rage but with elation, as my guitar, my equipment bag, and I literally clear a path for the show to go on.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How My Bandmates Describe Infrastructure:

"Early Elvis Costello meets ZZ Top"

"The Stooges, but more soulful."

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Momentary Update.

I'm tired. That's probably because, in addition to doing my job and biking everywhere, my band played its first gig in Cambridge and is actively trying to book two more, in Boston and New York. Dates are set for CPCCPCIV1 and ABBQII2. The Labor Day beach week in NC turned out to be a huge success for photos and stories. Meade and I are inching toward launching our road stories website, MANICAMERICAN.COM. It'll be an exhilarating fall.

1. COLLEGE POINT CLASS CONFLICT PUB CRAWL
2. AUSTIN BARBECUE TOUR

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

INFRASTRUCTURE!

I've managed not to mention on this here blog that the first gig of my blues-rock-soul-punk group, INFRASTRUCTURE, will happen later this week in Cambridge. We'll be at All Asia on Thursday night. Facebook event page (public) is here. Come out and say hello.

I am happy that I can now tag myself "local music."

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Monday, July 13, 2009

MIT Radio is Unreal.

Add WMBR to the list of reasons why Boston is one of the best places in America to create and enjoy music. I've been blown away by the quality of the playlists on the following shows:
  • Backwoods, Sat 10a-12p. Old country, r&b, rockabilly.
  • Late Risers' Club, Weekdays 10a-12p. Punk of every description.
  • Lost and Found, Weekdays 12-2p. Soul, funk.

Luckily, you can get these shows for free over the interweb (and I can get a clear signal atop Clarendon Hill). Stream at http://wmbr.mit.edu.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Union Square Scene

The City Section of today's Globe has a neat little article about the performance venues in Union Square, Somerville, and the "roots" music they promote.

I've been saying that of all the cities I've experienced, Austin and Boston have the best music scenes out there. The growth of live music in Union Square has definitely been a boon for the the elusive Boston scene, whose hotspots move from square to square, staying one step ahead of gentrification and one step farther from the nearest T-stop.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fulfillment in Wallyworld

Beyond the ghastly railroad suburbs* of southeastern Connecticut lies a place where people focus on their lives and not their careers, a place without ties to Boston and New York, a place where every other building isn't 30% parking garage and you're never more than 5 miles from a commuter train. That place is central Connecticut, and it's where a few of my good friends live and have lived.

It's also the home of Barnowl Studios, a rehearsal studio located in a sprawling, formerly industrial complex in Wallingford. In the dimly hit hallways of Building 14A is a community that blurs the lines between music and business, art and artistry. Having only found the place on MySpace and Craigslist, Erich and I thought we'd give it a shot.

Entering a "cheap" rehearsal studio means truly entering rock world. Empty beer cans, cigarette smoke, very low lighting, improvised sound dampening devices like old carpeting and foam blocks. It is in these environs that songs are written and performed. As indie rock and death metal and whatever else (often Latin music in Boston and NY) scream out from behind closed doors, I chuckle at how uncomfortable certain people I know would be in rock world.

Whenever you enter a studio, you wonder about what kind of room you'll get. Will the bass drum be destroyed and the cymbals ripped apart? Will the room smell like piss or weed? Will giant rats run up and down the brick walls as we play? I've seen and smelled it all.

At Barnowl, it's only $6 per hour to practice in a shared space (i.e. a space used by other bands at other times). Said space had a fully equipped drum set, a huge ass bass amp, plus some stuff we pilfered from another band, like a tiny Fender tube amp and a cheap old organ hooked up to a huge Fender amp.

We settled in fast and began casually working on a few songs and arrangements. As we played, people came and went, including a huge metal dude who wanted to try my Ampeg bass. Suddenly some young dudes who had heard us playing came in. One asked if he could play drums with us. We did a few of our tracks with me on electric, Erich on his newly wired acoustic, and this dude Jesse on drums. Shit sounded awesome. We got some serious compliments from the bystanders on these unfinished songs and then blasted out a crazy rock organ trio jam.

When we finally stopped playing, we realized we had been in the studio for four hours. Ryan, the owner, loved our story of meeting halfway at his place, and he wasn't even going to charge us for the session. We made a donation anyway.

This wasn't a show. Our arrangements and lyrics for the songs we worked on weren't even done. No one sang. But it was great to try some tunes out on other musicians, even with one other musician.

We're planning a rental car return trip to Wallyworld with CMike on bass and we'll see if we can get our new friend to sit in on drums again. Things felt good on the long ride back to Boston; the glacier continues to move.

*Stamford!

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sparkle and Fade

Every Boston band I've liked since college has done an album or two and vanished. First Meghan Toohey and her So-and-So's, and now The Spurs and The Snowleopards have gone dormant. Nothing from John Powhida's Rudds nor from his International Airport.

This is a bad sign.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Music and Blog Update

Music first. Erich and I wrote four new songs this weekend. They're mellower than the blues-punk-rock tunes I've been writing with my brother, but they still rock. Our plan is now to try and merge the groups next weekend, and then find a drummer. If we can get Erich and CMike working together, we will still achieve my goal of having "no p**sy songs." By my latest estimation, the new group has ready frameworks written for 17 songs. Most just need lyrics and fills.

Blog is going to feature a lot of nonfiction and photos about this summer's two major trips: NCBBQII (Eastern NC barbecue run) and UP08 (Upper Peninsula of Michigan).

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sarah Levecque

is just so damn cute. Actually, it's a little more complicated. I've not seen a performer more confident and unpretentious, unflinchingly rolling on for a handful of late night drinkers. Flawless vocals and perfectly tame telecaster solos, seemingly held together by an adorable squint and seriously deep talent. Her head seems to contain all the songs I want to listen to and learn but haven't yet. She also has great hair.

If the world works the way I think it does, she will read this in her Google Alerts and think that I'm a creep. Hi, and thanks for the show at Toad last night.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Session Americana at the Lizard Lounge

I was so glad that I didn't read their website before I ended up at their show last night; having no preconceptions is often a good thing (even if a challenge for a judgmental bastard). The band provided an unimaginably fluid mix of roots, rock, bluegrass, even a little soul. More than worth the $8 cover. See this show.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Just so you know...

The Rudds show at the Lizard Lounge this Saturday should be fucking sick.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wally's on Tuesdays

Wally's on Tuesdays is the place to be for serious music. They don't carry name-brand stuff; instead, the heavy r&b-funk-jazz that is played seems to come from far deeper in the well that commercially sanctioned music is skimmed from. If you are a musician or aspire to be one, the effortless actions taken by the players, who change week-to-week, can often damage your ego (in a way that can only be repaired through practice, practice, practice). At Wally's, talent and legend well up in the brownstone walls nightly...and there's never a cover.

Wally's at Closing Time on Flickr (rb).
Wally's official site (redesigned).

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday Nights at the Cantab Lounge

I've drunkenly described the Cantab Lounge in Central Square as a "Noah's Ark of humanity," where on a weekend night you'll see one of every type of human imaginable, except for college students (thankfully, the whole 21-plus thing tends to keep them away). You'll see the crazy African-American lady in an Indian headdress with Bluetooth headset. You'll see two short, gray-topped men in black sport coats--the identical twins who play bass and drums in the Fatback Band. You'll hear many heavy townie accents, and you'll usually see quasi-hipsters embarrassing themselves.

Walking into the upstairs bar, you're greeted by off-color cream, blue, and green everything--almost the exact same colors my grandparents painted the basement kitchen of their tiny Queens bungalow. You'll see paintings of halfnaked women and brewer's memorabilia straight from the mid-70s, the period that almost all of the songs in the set will be taken from.

When the band strikes its first note around 10, all the old people hit the floor. Diane Blue, the lead singer/harp player, is usually just showing up with her coffee (the bassist ably handles vocals for a bit). As the scene heats up and the youth arrive, many old people leave around 11 to pass out or mate drunkenly. Then the paradoxes or ironies or coincidences truly begin.

You're in an amusingly decayed, musty warp zone where musically, it's 1975, young and old and black and white dance together, and pretty, apparently single girls amass at the back corner bar too nervous to hit the floor until that third or fourth drink. A feeling builds--excitement? pleasure? enjoyment? Which fits best? The band never runs out of covers. The funky old dude on the strat never hits a bad note; in fact, he actually shreds. Shreds. Sax and harmonica work together to churn out thick melodies that keep asses shaking and mouths smiling.

I always wonder: did I accomplish enough on this visit? Should I have stayed until they kick you out at 2? Should I have flicked my introvert/extrovert switch and spoken to people (girls) I don't know? When will I have the opportunity to go again? It's like being at a high school dance where everything is right and everything is sound and everyone is grown up and they almost know how to be happy, almost.

As a serious realist (which many interpret as "pessimist"), the Cantab gives me hope. To see the musical and sexual and even just observational possibilities amassing is a treat worth the $5 cover charge. The whole atmosphere is like your mother's most loveably flawed dinner recipe: you're not sure whether all the ingredients make sense, but it's home.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

The White Owls

I haven't seen blues like this in a while, or perhaps ever. Five old white dudes rocking the Hatch Shell. Driving rhythm, ferocious telecaster, and amazing lap steel guitar (!), fronted by a middle-aged dude in a straw hat and old dept store sport coat. I'll gladly add them to my list of middle-aged Boston performers of American music whom I aspire to emulate. They have no website, but they play at Sally O'Brien's in Union Square (Somerville, folks) every Sunday night.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Also: I think I may have identified potential guitar #10.

From Boston-based First Act: the CE540.


I think John Powhida has one, and it sounds the way I want it to. I'll have to try one out at their Back Bay studio soon. I also noticed they built an "artist's studio" in part of the Ames envelope factory in Somerville, but I have no idea what that is.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Unlikely admission about usefulness of MySpace:

It really can help you track your local music scene and/or unsigned artists worldwide.

SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC.

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