Guilty Pleasures: I love my local bands

Posted on February 16, 2010 by


It’s 3am, I’m coming back from watching the third person—in a long line of doe-eyed teenagers—make a mockery of a keg stand (it can’t be called a proper keg stand with an imposed 9 second time limit), and I can’t help but fixate on how these kids are destroying the floors of this apartment by ashing their cigarettes straight onto the disgustingly bland linoleum with wanton disregard for the owner or tenant (though I expect that the tenant doesn’t particularly care). From the corner of my eye, I spy T talking on Lolita’s phone. Apparently she is trying in vain to figure out the identity of the unknown caller at the request of Lolita (n.b. her name wasn’t actually Lolita, but it will have to do, since neither of us had any desire in getting to know her). This band’s after-party is not my scene, even when I was that age it wasn’t my scene, but I’m here because I have a dirty secret—I support, and love, my local bands.

Some scoff at local bands since they lack the production, image, and in some cases talent of their more successful counterparts; however, I find something strangely attractive about them (especially the very talented ones), perhaps it’s the authenticity and dedication to the music (as opposed to the pursuit of fame and the musician lifestyle), since they haven’t been polluted by the music industry, jaded by fame, or sold-out by using ghost-writers (yes, I consider using a ghost-writer selling out). Also, it doesn’t hurt that they reference local spots, like Allston for example (until I can figure out how to embed an audio file from Rhapsody or they decide to post their album on youtube you’ll have to deal with this link that will then open up the Rhapsody player…but it’s a good song so I guess it’s worth it).

My local band of choice right now is Love in Stockholm. My first introduction to this funk, soul fusion was at Johnny D’s in Davis Square—T and I had fallen out of contact a couple months earlier and she had invited me to tag along with her and her friends to watch the opening act, some afro-jazz group. While quaint and fun, they left me desiring more from their performance, perhaps some lyrics or variation in their set. As I was about to chalk the night up to a bust, Love in Stockholm took the stage. The first thing I noticed about Love in Stockholm as they began to setup was the over abundance of fedoras, wide ties, and dress shirts—previous experience with bands going for a such a look has told me that “the look” is an attempt to compensate for the sound. It took approximately 20 seconds, or about 1/10th of a song, to change my mind. Their fun, high-energy blend of rock, jazz, and funk was (and is) a sound that is completely unique in the Boston music scene. After about a song, they had a majority of the audience out of their seats and standing near the stage doing the wall-flower head-bob. After two songs it had evolved into a full-blown dance party. By the time they got to their funk/rock cover of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”, the lead singer (Charlie Rockwell) could have told us to get naked and riot with live chickens strapped to our heads, and we would have unquestionably obeyed. The atmosphere this band fosters is amazing, it’s like that awesome house party from years ago that you still warmly refer to as “The Best Party Ever,” but with better booze and you don’t have to pretend to care about it being the host’s birthday, graduation, or release from rehab.

Loving your local bands can have it’s pitfalls though. One thing I find difficult about my local band love is my unfounded inability to talk to them. I treat them like I would Jay-Z, Antonio Banderas, or the Penny Arcade guys. I’m easily starstruck (or rather in awe) in the presence of talent, which quickly turns me into a bumbling, mumbling dumb-ass who is incapable of eye contact or acting cool (I should mention this is only in the presence of performers/artists/etc. that I like—I could talk all day to Miley Cyrus, though I’d only need 4 seconds to let her know what I thought of her). Which brings us back to the after-party, which is the after-party for one of the opening acts for Love in Stockholm. I’m sure Love in Stockholm also had an after-party, but first I need to learn to talk to them without looking at the floor. Baby steps.