1. Saturday, Dec 9: “Don’t Break Down” – A Film About Jawbreaker; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $10; All ages; Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, PVD.
I used to write a ‘zine with my friend Brian Jannarelli back in our punk rock high days. We used the platform mostly to get in touch with our musical punk indie heroes (and make fun of local adults as we saw fit). I got the chance to interview Adam from Jawbreaker & J Robbins from Jawbox; the two were on tour together in ’95 and played at Lupos II. Getting in touch with bands was very different back then, as was how bands would develop. Would a band like Jawbreaker have been able to develop in the same timeframe today, as they had in the decade from mid ’80s to their demise in ’96 – from touring the unknown country beyond the West Coast / Gilman Street, and developing their craft over three albums before the majors came knocking? Or would the band have been better off skipping the old indie punk model – as today, when their base wouldn’t have felt alienated by the band’s moving on to a major label and a different sound? Their major label record, Dear You, was definitely ahead of its time. I haven’t seen this movie yet, but I look forward to seeing the footage from that time, an almost-soundtrack to my high school life and also a relic to the punk promotion days before the internet and the end of the fan’s fierce loyalty to indie efforts.
2. Sunday, Dec 10: Neutrinos Winter Classic with Cactus Attack, Super Natural II, Video Shoppe; 8:30pm; $7; 21+; News Café, 43 Broad St, Pawtucket.
Cattleboro is throwing a Christmas party in the bucket. In what could pass for a post-Attleboro-high-school talent show, garage poppers Neutrinos (usually on the internet) headline with banjo hillfolk blues Cactus Attack (not usually on the internet,) along with Super Natural II (I wonder what happened to the first incarnate – Sam and Dean probably staked it). Crashing the Boro’s party is Providence’s Video Shoppe. I don’t know much about them, but they seem to have a TV that plays VHS tapes on stage. Not sure if the TV is in the band. It says you get a $1 off for holiday cheer. So get ready for a ton of ugly sweaters, not necessarily holiday themed. I might actually go this show even though it’s a night off for me; it’s a really good local line-up.
3. Wednesday, Dec 13: Sofi Tukker opening for ODESZA with Chet Porter; 8pm doors / 9pm show; $41; All ages; The Strand Ballroom & Theatre, 79 Washington St, PVD.
Sofi Tukker is the most exciting new artist of 2017 for me. They have been at it since 2014, but their music is new to me as of this year. Their EP Soft Animals is an exciting new blend of Brazilian instrumental indie dance music interbreeding with house music / EDM. Breakout song “Drinkee” sounds like a funky Brazilian Deerhoof song, and absolutely slams. I highly recommend checking them out. They have a new single, “Best Friend,” which features NERVO, The Knocks & Alisa Ueno and leans more toward their pop sensibilities. They are opening for ODESZA, who are well known for a crazy live show. Should be a great night out!
4. Thursday, Dec 14: The Movielife, A Wilhelm Scream, Koji; 7pm doors / 8pm show; $20; All ages; The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket.
Speaking of Lupo’s II, The Movielife are back at it and playing RI for the first time since their last show here back around 2001. The band has done a series of reunions since, and is now touring behind their first album in 14 years, “Cities in Search of a Heart.” The reunion, which for a while seemed like it was never going to be possible, started building toward inevitability as the two songwriters – Vinnie Caruana (who fronted I am the Avalanche after the break up) and Brandon Reilly (who fronted Nightmare of You) – began playing solo shows together, often doing Movielife shows. The new record sounds great, revealing the performers’ maturity from the intervening 14 years of continued songwriting / recording. And holy shit! New Bedford’s A Wilhelm Scream is opening!! They are currently celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their barn burner, “Career Suicide.” Jarrett McPhee, who did the original artwork for the album, showed me what he and the band did for the upcoming rerelease with new art, and I almost peed from laughing. This is a great multi-genre-in-the-realm-of-punk show with Koji opening – get there early!
5. Friday, Dec 29: PUP opening for Thursday; 7pm doors / 8pm show; $25 advance / $28 day of; All ages; The Palladium, Worcester, Mass.
I am obsessed with PUP. They are the perfect mix of punk, emo, pop punk and all the things that make those genres great: riffs, humor, self-awareness and a touch of enduring immaturity. The Dream Is Over is one of my favorite albums of 2016, and in reality 2017, since it’s my most-played record this year. I have also gone back in their catalog to play the hell out of their also great first, self-titled, record. I only caught the last three songs of their set this summer at Boston Calling, so I will do everything in my power to be there for this show. They will be opening for a reunited Thursday, which means if you want to check it out, get your ticket now. It will sell out.
Also worth noting this month:
12.7 Wolf Alice @ The Met
12.7 BON IVER @ The Vets
12.8 A Faylene Sky (reunion) @ The Met
12.8 Lil Pump @ The Strand
12.8 The Morgana Phase / Forest Fires / Sic Vita @ Fête
12.8 LCD Soundsystem @ Agganis Arena (Boston)
12.15 Vanna (final show! Worcester MA) @ The Palladium
12.15 Beta Motel @ AS220
12.15 Zero Holds / The Z Boys @ Dusk
12.21 Cam’ron @ Middle East (Cambridge MA)
12.23 Johnny Gates, Dan Mills, I&R @ The Met
12.28 & 12.29 Deer Tick @ Newport Blues Café
12.29 The Pietasters @ The Met
12.29 Math The Band @ AS220
12.29 The Flawed (reunion) @ Alchemy
12.30 Los Lobos @ Narrows Center
12.31 The Silks / The Copacetics @ The Met