Ketman, Tristan Da Cunha, Thunderhole, and Paparazzi, Great Scott, January 10, 2007
An all-local weeknight show isn’t always worth writing home about, but the lineup that played at Great Scott last night proved that some of the city’s best bands are still tucked away, playing shows before getting up for work the next morning.
The first band on the bill was Paparazzi, who play a mix of post-punk somewhere near the intersection of Les Savy Fav and the Cramps. Their songs achieve the lofty ambitions of their influences, but the group’s set lost momentum as a result of a series of broken strings. However, on the sole basis of being the only band I’ve ever heard cover Los Angeles punk luminaries Gun Club, Paparazzi comes out on top by default.
Next were Thunderhole, who played the sort of angular, disaffected, new-wave-influenced rock that seemed to be everywhere a few years ago before disappearing almost entirely. They carried the style’s torch admirably, but the lineup of guitar, keyboard, and drums seemed a little sparse. Still, the interplay between the simple parts played by each of Thunderhole’s members remained interesting throughout the set. Erase Errata would approve.
Third came Tristan Da Cunha, whose remarkably technical, speedy pop uses more notes in one phrase than a lesser band might use in an entire song. Though it’s clear each member enjoys showboating their chops, the playfulness of the band’s stage presence wards off potential accusations of pretentiousness. I imagine the members of TDC in a younger, more formative phase, where they’d skip class or band practice and listen to the Mothers of Invention and the Contra soundtrack in turn.
The headliners of the night were Ketman, a simple guitar-bass-drums three-piece who, as I actually heard more than one person say upon exiting the venue, “killed it.” The band takes complicated, lead-driven cues from bands like the Minutemen, but regularly interject simple hooks influenced by bands such as Hot Snakes and the Wipers. Ketman are simply one of the most engaging no-frills rock bands in Boston at the moment and, if the crowd’s reaction was any indication, they’ll soon be gracing stages on nights more fortuitous than those midweek.
If nothing else, the lineup of Wednesday’s show silenced any would-be cynics regarding the state of the local music scene. While some of the bands have already enjoyed greater measures of local success than others, it’s reassuring to know that one can walk into a small club in the middle of the week and still see four local bands without being bored or disappointed by any of them.