Boston Garage Band Weekend

The RatThis week armed with delightful news I come trotting down the hill, anxious to enlighten you all as to a delicate, refined concert event taking place this evening and the next (Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24, in fact) featuring many renowned, responsible artistes such as Triple Thick, the Tampoffs, the Swindells, the Konks, the Coffin Lids, Nikki Corvette and the Stingers, the Konks, the Dogmatics, and Muck & the Mires. Yes, a chic little soiree on the beach called the Boston Garage Band Weekend at the Wellfleet Beachcomber. (By the way, the shows start early, 8pm on Friday and 6pm on Saturday; and run late, in order to give the contestants additional time to unravel.)

There’s few things more Massachusetts-y than garage rock. There’s also a certain kind of dumb that we have here in Massachusetts that people who live in other states will never really have a shot at, and it’s the very kind of dumb that has always made the bay state’s long, flavorful list of great contributions in the field of garage rock all the more, uhhh -awesome. Do I hear Jonathan Richman? The Real Kids? The Lyres? Hell -Barry & the Remains?

For one thing, punk rock always sounds best -or at least most excruciating -with a Mass accent. I know a lot of people would say that THE classic punk rock accent would be British, perhaps Cockney or Liverpudlian (ah, Liverpudlian -one of my all-time favorite pluralizations! they don’t make pluralizations like that anymore!), but I maintain that sometimes, those guys sounded extremely stupid. I mean, even the Jam sounded like the Gumbies more than they really needed to.

Which isn’t to say that you don’t want stupid -you do. And our native Massachusetts accent has always filled the bill there, investing everything we say with that certain patina of cluelessness that leaves people wondering if we could possibly be worth talking to, ever. Even worse, a lot of us are loud, too, probably from years of trying to drown out New York. Then once you talk about people like this actually singing, well, then you’re really in for it. And that “then”, in possibly its most real, unvarnished, and joyous state, is garage rock.

It’s also a great genre for an extended party, more social than musics that require detail work or dexterity of some kind -like punk rock, one of the main premises is that anyone can do it, and this weekend, anyone will! For one thing, it’s the kind of stuff you can play smashed; perhaps even better, for that matter, given the unlikely goals at hand; and that kind of thinking means the bands will probably be in a good mood, and/or totally drunk. (You can’t really do a job like this right if you don’t pitch in.

Fortunately, most of the musicians will be housed locally, albeit far, far from not-all-that-gracious Kelp Manor.)

The motel parties also are legend, now that the Boston Garage Band Weekend has become an annual event, and in fact, (according to promoter/benefactor Henry Marculella), it was an extension of the early Dune Tune shows, founded and promoted by the late, great Trey Helliwell (always remembered mushily at times like these.)

Most of the bands are from Boston, and a lot of them are friends (guitarist J.J. Rassler, for instance, is in both Triple Thick and Downbeat 5), so there’s a summer camp aspect -they tend to stay over, maybe hit the beach, and it’s a nice change of pace for some of the poor bastids that are spending most of the summer sweltering in Beantown.

And it’s nice for us because we get a pretty undiluted shot of Boston rawk, and all its uni-colored coats.

Songs to watch for include Triple Thick’s “Demon In My Mind”, the Black Clouds’ “Thing From Beyond”, the Coffin Lids “Have My Way (With the 5, 6, 7, 8’s)”, and Nikki Corvette’s “Back To Detroit”. The titles pretty much tell the story. Expect fast, loud, and relentless. Also good moments from the Downbeat 5 (whose guitarist, Jen D’Angora, is one of Boston’s most charming and timeless rock goddesses); from Nikki Corvette, an old pro from Detroit in the late seventies; and from Muck and the Mires, who not all that long ago won Little Steven’s Underground Garage Battle of the Bands, and (like a few of these bands) do their share of European touring.

Then again, there’s Jay Allen, who usually performs solo his hit, “Toaster Oven”, a portion of which goes:

“Toaster oven / I give you all my lovin’ / Toaster oven / You make my english muffin
But when I needed you most / You went and burned my toast”

Genius! Nothing to do with garage rock as far as I can tell (garage rock not being known much for its wit and irony), but, hey, when you get a shot at a chorus like that, why ask why?

One request before we wrap this up: on the subject of loud, I call on all the bands involved to do their part, and remember that there’s no point in music like this being less than deafening. This is a rare opportunity for us provincials to get our brains reamed out at hellish volume, and I do hope you won’t skimp, as there’s nothing sadder than folks trying to be politely raucous.

Besides, the sound man there is a friend of mine, and I like to see him earn his money.

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