Among other off-point celebrations this past Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a gathering of homegrown rock and roll at Charlie's Kitchen in Harvard Square. The well-oiled garage-rock tactics of Lube was the highlight, but two opening bands offered their version of catchy pop-rock: Big Girl, a local pop-punk band that includes no girls, big or otherwise sized; and Yale, Massachusetts, with a similarly catchy sound — one that benefits from Allston basements, where levels can be turned up to a pleasant point of distortion. In the blue-and-red light of Charlie's, the sets seemed too quiet, the volume underwhelming.
GOOD AND GREASY Despite their slippery-sounding name, Lube’s riffs stick.
But the show came to a pleasant head with Lube, a fairly new garage-rock band hailing from Lower Allston. Frontman Andrew Nordstorm's face remained hidden behind a mess of long, black disheveled hair that nicely complemented the distorted sound of the band's vocals. These former members of the party-punk outfit Frogball created their raw rock and roll with a combination of practiced musicianship and gritty hooks. Despite their slippery-sounding name, their riffs stick. The trio understands the importance of quality over quantity; they played seven songs that hovered somewhere around the one- to two-minute mark in rapid succession and left the audience wanting more.
Ex-Magicians closed the show with a few tricks. The magic in their act lies in the band's ability to smoothly transition between frontmen. Comprising former Kill Conrad members along with singer-songwriter Jake Jenkins, this crew knows how to share the spotlight and offer the audience a unique range rarely pulled off by a single band. The vocalist may change from song to song, but the set cohered through intricate, layered guitar riffs, reminiscent of the best of '90s alt-rock. These mostly bearded wizards of rock put a spell on the troupers who remained at the very end of the show and risked missing the last bus home in the snow. Then again, it was a holiday.
: Live Reviews
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