Record release shows can be a bit of a curious thing. There’s a bit of fine line between the cathartic, congratulatory recognition of what, at times, can be a tumultuous album-making process, and an over-the-top exercise in circle-jerkery. Rebuilder’s Rock And Roll In America launch party at Boston’s O’Brien’s Pub last Friday (4/3/15) was about as perfectly-organized and pulled off celebration that you might hope for as both a spectator and, I’d imagine, as a band member.
Rock And Roll In America served not only as the name of the album being feted on this particular night, but as sort of a central thread that tied the evening together. Boston music blog Bishop & Rook organized the event, which featured three other bands in addition to the evening’s headliner, each one a little (or, in one case, a lot) different than the next. The one-man band that is Sundog kicked off the event. Trying to place many of the artists we cover here on Dying Scene into one specific genre-defined box can be difficult; with Sundog (“sun like the sun, dog like a dog”), it’s damn-near impossible. The Bostonian-by-way-of-New-Orleans uses a looper and a series of synthesizers, drum machines, an Ibanez bass, a ukulele, and his own voice to build his atmospheric, at times trip-hoppy tracks from scratch. Dressed in an OSHA-orange NASA uniform, the Sundog performance almost gave the impression of a mad scientist, endlessly building samples, tweaking knobs, and laying down danceable (or, in this crowd, at least head-bobbable) grooves.
The three-piece Boston-area outfit known as Bundles followed. As one who doesn’t get out much and who is far-too guilty of judging a book by it’s cover, I was pleasantly blown away by Bundles (not to mention the incredible, regionally specific logo). Perhaps it was the Friday evening, after-work, local-band nature of the event, but the trio looked as though they almost belonged in three different bands (seriously, check the pictures below), and yet combined to blister through their set of what I’d guess we’d call post-hardcore tracks (seriously, I can’t tell anymore) with such voracity that they almost ran out of songs before they ran out of time.
Local favorites Choke Up and their loyal, vocal contingent of fans were next. I mention the fans because they’re just as important a part of a local Choke Up show as the four-piece band themselves. The punk/post-hardcore outfit are pretty well known for their highly-entertaining, higher-energy live shows, but they were matched step-for-step up the intensity ladder by more than a handful of showgoers. While the band were enjoyable enough in their own right (though maybe a tad too much bare ass for my own personal tastes), but the mutual energy level was not only fun but exciting to see, especially for an “opener,” though Choke Up and Rebuilder are probably on equal footing, at least locally.
The steady progression in heart-on-your-sleeve intensity was a textbook example of exactly how a show should be, and boded well for the night’s headliners. This being a record-release show, Rebuilder opted to play Rock And Roll In America in its entirety and in order. This was a solid decision on multiple levels, particularly as album opener “The Natural Bohemian” not only makes a great way to open an album but an equally great way to open a show in all its catchy-as-hell, hook-laden, call-and-response glory. If you haven’t heard the album yet (and you probably haven’t, since Record Store Day-induced production backlogs mean that the vinyl wasn’t pressed in time for the actual record release part), tryst when I say that there’s a pretty natural flow to the album, throwing back to when straight-forward pop punk actually meant something more than over-produced (AutoTuned) vocals and pseudo-screamo garbage. That said, it’s very much a modern rock and roll record (more on that when our review drops in a few days), and as great as the Jay Maas-produced final product sounds on the stereo, it sounds that much better in a dark, sweaty (seriously, total sweat-lodge status at O’Brien’s on this night) club filled with friends and fans.
Head below to check out our photos of all four of the nights bands!