I don't know whether you've noticed, but dance nights are absolutely mobbing our clubs and bars. Non-stop four-on-the-floor beats, DJs with stickers all over their laptops, hordes throwing hands up for party pics — it's enough to make any long-time Boston codger step outside, pout, and ponder his place in the world while waiting for a bus to splash cold gutter water on him.
SHRED FELLOWS Raw Radar War are one of the bands who stoke Born of Fire nights at O'Brien's.
This may be a grouchy, no-fun sentiment to cling to, but it's not without its charms. Some of us are just better off not shaking it in public. So here are a few recurring options for rad nights of music that require not an ounce of dance mojo on your part. Dig around — there's plenty more out there.
Take the newly launched BORN OF FIRE at O'Brien's. Headed up by long-time local-scene rat Zack Wells, it's designed as a sort of streamlined version of the classic overstuffed metal bill, where the amps often outnumber the audience. "There are tons of metal shows at clubs and in the underground scene," says Wells. "But the older I get, the less exciting the thought of going to a show with five to eight bands has become."
Born of Fire, which takes place on the first and third Thursdays of each month, cuts it down to two bands and a DJ set throughout the night, the latter generally stretching from Black Sabbath to Megadeth and Dillinger Escape Plan. Unholy videos, documentaries, and horror flicks roll on the TVs. "There was Blackout Bar for a while," Wells recalls. "But beyond shows, there isn't anything for people to get their metal fix at beyond the Charlie's-upstairs jukebox."
"I still go to and support those other shows," he adds. "But with Born of Fire, I wanted to provide a change of pace." This week, you can catch local ear annihilators Blacktail and Whitey (that's two bands, not a racy performance-art/comedy duo).
Around the corner, Allston's longstanding den of rock casualties, the Model, offers another chance to nurse PBRs under the spell of maladjusted playlists. Metal monologuist Duncan Wilder Johnson and Wonderdrug Records boss Ken Cmar team up on the fourth Wednesday of each month for WONDERTWINS ACTIVATE. The theme seems to be jarring, senseless transitions from disco to punk.
"Ken's idea of heaven is a disco competition in a bowling alley," says Johnson. "My idea of heaven is an all-ages hardcore show with Sam Black Church and Overcast, with Howard Cosell giving the play-by-play."
Helpless barflies can expect one-two punches from Minor Threat and the Ohio Players while Janet Jackson grabs the baton from the Misfits. Why not? You're in Allston — you probably left your defenses at the Silhouette's last call. "It's the only place in town where you can see kids in Phobia T-shirts kicking it to Abba," says Johnson.