Bake sale for Baker; roadrunning at P.A.’s
They were calling it the “Who Stole Baker’s Shit!” benefit, but the mood at T.T. the Bear’s Place in Central Square last Tuesday night was more neighborhood spaghetti supper than riled-up rock show. Local indie-pop quintet Baker drew a small but enthusiastic crowd of friends and family members to the fundraiser to replace musical equipment stolen last month. A young woman in a sparkly Baker T-shirt flashed a winning smile as she worked the crowd with a Tupperware container in search of donations. A group of parents laughed at the bar, near a sheet cake Baker drummer Steve Lord had brought for his father’s birthday.
The night’s music, however, was not what you’d expect from your average church-basement charity event. Experimental jazz quartet Bar Rot delivered a take on Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” that boasted the spirited mania of Mardi Gras as experienced by a substance-addled reveler. A mini version of roots-rock collective Frank Smith, informally dubbed Frank Smith Jr., found singer/guitarist Aaron Sinclair and banjo player Brett Saiia unfolding worn ballads and twangy rockers with the laid-back charm of a campfire jamboree. The Self Righteous Brothers showed off their boho chic, sporting splashy vintage suits and ties as they played sunny, offbeat tunes and bantered with the crowd. “Show your tits for Jesus,” yelled one excited audience member in response to the band’s joke that the night was not only for Baker but for Jesus. The crowd kept its tops on long enough for the night’s heroes to play a feel-good, harmony-laced set that showed them undaunted by their loss.
A similarly communal vibe marked the “Tribute to Jonathan Richman” at P.A.’s Lounge last Friday night, an evening organized by local musicians Lou Bunk and Ben Morse to benefit the Somerville Arts Council. A dozen acts celebrated their favorite songs by Richman and his iconic Modern Lovers before a packed house. Local trio the Specific Heats were joined by guest vocalist Abe Scott, who worked the crowd during “Roadrunner,” coaxing audience members to sing along to the chorus. Scott dedicated the band’s set to Allen “Alpo” Paulino, the Real Kids bassist who passed away last month, before ripping his shirt off for an amped-up take on “I Wanna Sleep in Your Arms.” With the temperature in the room reaching a sweaty peak, Morse appeared to suffer from a bout of heat stroke: after taking a break from singing with his trio B for Brontosaurus, he returned and joked, “Thank you for indulging my puking.” After a brief solo interlude by John O’Hara on acoustic guitar, he finished the set. Anushka Pop had the crowd twisting and shaking to their deadpan renditions of “Here Come the Martian Martians” and “Modern World.” The classic Richman line “Put down your cigarette and drop out of BU” doesn’t seem to have lost any of its currency.
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Sarah Tomlinson: firstname.lastname@example.org
: New England Music News
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