Alt-Nation: November Happenings

The Upper Crust

What better way to shake off the post-Halloween blues than a rock show where the band dresses up like 18th century aristocrats?  That is what The Upper Crust, a band composed of Boston music scene veterans, give you with loud rock ‘n’ roll in the vein of AC/DC. The Upper Crust provide funny in-character stage patter between tongue-in-cheek rockers like “Rock and Roll Butler,” “Let Them Eat Rock” and “We’re Finished with Finishing School.” I’m hoping they play their slow jam “Boudoir” that hasn’t been in the set the last few times I caught them. I recommend getting there early for TEAZER and The Worried. TEAZER recently killed their Halloween show as Van Halen and here’s hoping a song or two from that set gets carried over to this weekend.  The Worried bring it with blitzkrieg punk rock.

The Upper Crust, TEAZER, and The Worried serve up the rock at The Met Café on November 5.

Route .44 Reunion Show

It wasn’t that long ago that Route .44 was possibly the biggest band in town. Route .44 have this dark sound that mixes influences like Morphine and gypsy rhythms into haunted, danceable grooves. The combination of Jess Powers and Ian Lacombe trading off vocals added a presence to the songs that was really like no other around. It has been a few years since Powers left to first do her Chanteuse series of shows and more recently, be one half of Cowboy and Lady with Tyler James Kelly. Lacombe has continued doing shows more sporadically with Route .44 including one album since Power’s departure while forming and playing out more frequently with the popular Consuelo’s Revenge. This Route .44 reunion is a one night only deal, so don’t be a sucker and miss it!

Route .44’s reunion show with Frankie Ranks & The Freeloaders goes down at the Parlour in Providence on November 5.

Micah Schnabel (Two Cow Garage)

I’ve been talking up the band Two Cow Garage for a few years in this space. This show is a special intimate opportunity to catch their main songwriter, Micah Schnabel, in an intimate acoustic show upstairs on the second floor at Firehouse 13. I’m hesitant to use the word “intimate” and second floor of Firehouse together because some of their past events, but this will be a treat of a show. Schnabel’s songs have the underdog storytelling of the Replacements meets Springsteen with the energy of punk rock. As an added bonus, Bob Kadlec (from The McGunks and The Hangovers) opens the show. Kadlec has a new disc with The Hangovers that I just remembered I forgot to review. I’ll get on that soon, Bob, but till then there is this great show!

Micah Schnabel (Two Cow Garage), Bob Kadlec, Michael Kane will rock the 2nd floor at Firehouse 13 on November 6.

Wayne “The Train” Hancock – Slingin’ Rhythm (Bloodshot Records)

I don’t cover a lot of country acts because for the most part I find it boring. Every now and then, though, a new record comes across my desk, usually in the spirit of old outlaw country, that charms even my finicky rock or bust tastes. I’d put the new biscuit, Slingin’ Rhythm, from Wayne “The Train” Hancock in that category. Slingin’ Rhythm has a ’50s country vibe that would fit right in between George Jones and Merle Haggard on one’s classic country playlist. Hancock tells tales of road (title track), murder (“Killed Them Both”) and breakups (“Divorce Me C.O.D.”) over a simple beat with plenty of fancy lead and slide guitar to brighten the ambience. Hancock in Slingin’ Rhythm has created the rare record that one can put on repeat at a party and dance the night away.

Wayne “The Train” Hancock, Sasquatch & The Sick-A-Billys, The Bopthrills, and The Barley Hoppers rock Firehouse 13 on November 9.

The Sonics

The Sonics reunion continues as the senior statesmen of garage rock return to town to help you party down. These guys are in their 70s. Hell, the band formed two years before the Rolling Stones, yet you’d never know it from one listen to last year’s scorching This is The Sonics. I’m sure everyone going to the show is excited to hear the classics like “The Witch” and “Strychnine,” but I’m stoked for the tunes from This is The Sonics, which pretty much kicked the ass of any record last year. Tunes like “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” “Save The Planet” and my favorite “Livin’ In Chaos” show no mercy when put up against the rest of The Sonics’ catalogue. The use of the saxophone in high voltage rock ‘n’ roll on This is The Sonics might be the best since The Stooges’ Funhouse. I recommend getting there early for local garage heroes Thee Fabulous Itchies and Atlantic Thrills for hip shaking good times.

The Sonics, Thee Fabulous Itchies, Atlantic Thrills, and Salem Wolves rock Fete in the must-see show of the month on November 10.

Shonen Knife

Shonen Knife are kind of like the all female Japanese version of the Ramones. They started way back in 1981 and mix in Beach Boys harmonies over a punk rock back beat. Kurt Cobain used to rave about them and 22 years after his passing Shonen Knife carries on, albeit with one original member. I’ve caught Shonen Knife a couple of times in recent years and their shows just leave you in a great state of mind between their infectious tunes and performance.  This is another show with great openers Benny Sizzler, who are kind of like Newport’s less sleazy version of Nashville Pussy with Gail Greenwood back from the recent Belly reunion tour on guitar. I probably haven’t caught Boston’s The Dents in well over a decade, but recall them as a band that rips as well.

Shonen Knife, Benny Sizzler, The Dents, and Tiny Diamonds bring the rock to the Cafe at The Parlor in Newport on November 8.

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