A couple of yours truly’s favorite hometown bands recently teamed up to throw a record release party in honor of their new split 12-inch, and the result was one of the most enjoyable show-going experiences of the year in the local music scene.
The two bands of honor in this case were Dan Webb and the Spiders and Bundles. Their split, which you can still stream here, marks the first release on the American imprint (run by Webb himself) of German-based Gunner Records. The evening’s festivities took place at O’Brien’s Pub in Boston’s Allston neighborhood, a no-frills bar in one of the few no-frills neighborhoods left in an increasingly gentrifying city. O’Brien’s has long provided a dark, sweaty bastion for up-and-coming local and smaller national touring bands (shoutout to the great and terrible Ryan Agate), making it the perfect backdrop for the occasion.
The first band out of the chute on this particular evening was Birdwatching. For the uninitiated (as I was until showtime), Birdwatching are a local three-piece who, despite being a newcomer to the scene in ever sense, seem to have perfected the sort of lo-fi, odd-time signatured indie punk sound that’s been building over the last couple years. They’ve got an album release show of their own in a couple weeks that Bundles will actually be opening, a clear sign that Birdwatching aren’t going to be “up-and-coming” for very long.
While they very easily could have been headlining this particular show, Dan Webb + The Spiders actually played second out of the four bands on the bill. As I’ve told you before, they’re a four-piece that grew out of a one-man project, and they grab you by the scruff of the neck and forces you to pay attention, with a sound that owes more than a little bit of inspiration to the heyday of punk-infused ’90′s garage rock. On the split that this show was celebrating, tracks like “”No Excuse” pay sonic homage to Brit-pop bands, while the band bring more of an uptempo banger vibe to “Odd Combinations” and a throwback Lemonheads vibe on “Running Around” and “Inside the Cage,” though only the former and latter tracks made it into the setlist on this occasion.
Germany’s No Weather Talks played third, and marked a pleasant surprise if ever there was one. I’d admittedly not heard them…or heard of them…prior to this occasion, but they made quick fans out of myself and many others in the crowd by midway through their first song. Playing entirely on gear borrowed from Webb and his cronies, the Hamburg-based five pieced play a surprisingly tight set of tunes that are sort of a modern rock take on a classic skate-punk sound. The only band listed on their Facebook page as an influence is Samiam, and I would go so far as to say that a No Weather Talks – Samiam comparison is entirely accurate, if Samiam were fronted by a dynamic female vocalist, in this case the captivating Faye Herr.
What can I say about Bundles that I haven’t said before? Hmmm…well…let’s see. The band consists of three dudes with questionable tastes in guitar tuners and facial hair and even more questionable penchants for quad-revealing short shorts. I kid. Not really. Well…kinda. Anyway, Bundles have become one of my favorite local live bands in relatively short order. While they band joked that they had no business closing a show after sets by the three bands that came before them, that speaks more to the strength of the bill than it does to their own prowess, as evidence by the way they plowed through their set in prototypical punk rock fashion. While the sound is still an intense version of post-hardcore, what has changed a little as the band has grown over the last year or so is the more toned-down points in some of the newer tracks (like “Welcome To The Rusty Nail” from the aforementioned split), proving that 1000mph isn’t always a necessity to get the point across.
Check out our full photo gallery from the evening below.