Witches with Dicks, Movers and Shakers, the Reel Bar, September 17, 2006
It’s a Sunday night in September, and although they’re inside the Reel Bar, Witches with Dicks have to be awfully cold. Midway through the Allston foursome’s set of uptempo, Dillinger Four-inspired pop punk, the band exits the music area, citing the need for a “band meeting.” Shortly afterwards, the men return to the stage wearing only their underwear. Jeff Mardanes, Mark Gainan, and Barker Gee (on guitar/vocals, bass, and guitar respectively) seem especially excited to show the packed room their pastel-colored briefs. “If any — any — of you touch me,” says Gainan. He trails off, shakes his head, and counts off the next song.
Jeff Mardanes of Witches with Dicks.
Movers and Shakers opened the show, and considering they’ve played less than five local gigs, they’ve got some explaining to do. With an already devoted local following and numerous people singing along to their jangly, syncopated pop, the three-piece has the live presence of a group considerably more seasoned. Singer and guitarist Matt Price plays extremely well-crafted songs, but what really sets M&S apart from their power-pop contemporaries is their rhythm section. Bassist Dan Wallace and drummer Mikey Holland stayed completely locked in for the entire set — playing complicated, dancy beats and fills without falling into the sassiness trap.
As a result of various touring commitments, Sunday was Witches with Dicks’ first full-lineup Boston show in well over a month. The band’s ridiculous name and reputation for hilarious stage antics tends to overshadow the fact that they are one of the best up-and-coming pop bands in Boston (they recently signed to Florida label Kiss of Death Records). The band concluded their set with “Calling This Life,” their self-proclaimed “hit single,” and everyone assumed the show was over.
As if to showcase how incestuous and tightly knit the local scene is, however, it seemed to occur to everyone at once that a bare-bones lineup of the band Relationships was in attendance, and that they should fill out the anemic two-band show. With Tom Donnington of WWD as a fill-in drummer and second guitarist Hannah Abelow at school in Providence, the band still managed to hammer out three short, fast, and ingeniously catchy songs. Relationships, fronted by Re:Generation Records and Tattoo proprietor and general local figurehead Sue Jeiven, seemed to enjoy the spontaneity of the event, and the crowd responded in kind. With Jeiven giving the microphone up to the crowd for a chorus of “Hey! Hey!”s, Relationships delivered perhaps the most spirited performance of the entire evening.
: Live Reviews
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