Indie bands are better than groundhogs

Knocks from the Underground: The Best of the Boston Underground at the Middle East
By BECKY FIRESHEETS  |  February 1, 2007

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Mad Man Films

What’s a better day to celebrate than Groundhog Day?  It’s the day when that annoying little rodent who gets to sleep through the entire winter emerges from his hole to see his goddamn shadow and ruin all our hopes that winter is on the way out. 

Fuck the groundhog.  There are much better things to celebrate that day.  Like James Joyce’s birthday.  Or like Brian Boitano skating his way to victory at the 1985 U.S. Figure Skating Competition.  Or maybe like the release of a compilation, Knocks from the Underground: The Best of Underplayed Boston, which features fourteen local, indie rock bands, the most of which will be rocking and knocking their way through Groundhog’s Day and Night at the Middle East, Friday night, February 2.

I hear what you’re saying.  Another indie rock show?  It’s 10 degrees outside.  I don’t know these bands.  I’m a cranky Bostonian.  Fuck indie rock shows. 

But this one actually might be worth it.  Here are the top ten reasons why you should come:

1) The Campaign for Real Time just aired on the BBC.  WFNX can’t stop spinning them.  Pitchfork just wrote them up.  Read: they’re getting big.  You should take advantage of every opportunity to see them before they become sell-outs.  Just kidding.  But for real, these guys are good, and are only getting better.  I saw them on New Year’s Eve and am still having dreams about the guitar solos.

2) Mad Man Films play so aggressively they’ll get your fight-or-flight juices flowing.  Their atonal chords and confrontational vocals hit you across the face, but just when you’re almost ready to hit back, they’ll bust out a slower, more melodic passage that proves they, just like every other indie rock band, mope about cute girls, too.  It’s exhilarating.

3) Tiny Whales will rock your pants off.  Self-described as sounding like “pop rocks exploding in one’s mouth,” they more closely replicate the feeling pop rocks give of, “Eep, that kind of felt good but it kind of hurt at the same time.”  Their synths are loud and their vocals well screamed, but they also know how add a healthy dose of ’80s-esque pop into their hard rockin’ explosion.

4) Blanks turn their not-quite-punk-but-not-quite-dance sound into a stellar remix of “Oh No” that’ll make you wanna dance like a little raver running in a laser-tagging maze, shooting your gun along with the blasts.  Peeeooo, peeeooo!

5) The lead singer of Faces on Film sounds like Bob Dylan in tight jeans and trendy, button-up shirts, attempting to hit notes but not quite doing it, and then letting the last syllable trail off like he wasn’t even trying in the first place.

6) People are actually dressing up like those annoying little groundhogs.  And if you do it, too, you’ll get in free.  That, plus a free “beverage.”

7) Ten bands are playing, including half of the Middle East staff.  Who will be working sound?  Who will be working the door?

8) It’s cold outside.  It’s lonely inside your house all by yourself.  This show starts at 7 and lasts ‘til 1 in the morning.  That’s plenty of time to get that warm-and-drunk feeling going on, find a cute indie rock fan, and go be all warm-and-drunk at your house together afterwards.

9) The bands are still underground.  Which means you’ll have a chance to mingle with the rock stars during and after the show.       

10) What else are you doing?  Celebrating Groundhog’s Day?

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