A week ago Friday, beloved Boston punks Rebuilder finally held the very-long-awaited record release show at Cambridge, MA’s Sinclair for their latest full-length, Local Support. If you read our recent chat with Rebuilder co-frontman (and Local Support‘s primary architect) Sal Ellington, you’re no doubt aware of the trials and tribulations that went into the drawn-out making of the album. All of that added up to not just the successful release of a wonderful album, but an extraordinary evening of revelry and celebration that truly exemplified the idea of “local support” in the best ways possible.
The evening was kicked off by a tremendous four-piece known as Trash Rabbit. If you’re not familiar with Trash Rabbit…well, you’re like I was until a couple of days before the show when I decided to familiarize myself with them. The results were tremendous. The original Trash Rabbit trio (Mena Lemos on vocals and guitar, Nick Adams on bass and Gibran Mobarak on drums) have been playing together since their formative years and took their talents to the vaunted Berklee College of Music, adding Gia Flores on guitar to fill out the sound. The sound is up-tempo garage rock, a sort of post-emo cacophony of hooks upon hooks upon hooks. The crowd were infinitely more familiar with Trash Rabbit than I was and were at the ready with their dancing shoes afoot. Adams and Mobarak switched places for set closer “Scuba Queen,” a delightfully weird and interactive singalong.
Speaking of bands who have been together since their formative years, I feel like beloved Boston punk quartet Choke Up have been playing together since they were diapers. They don’t play in Boston – or many other places – much nowadays because life happens; Sam put out pretty great solo record and Harley moved to NYC and plays in a fun band called Sadlands and James plays in like 87 other bands including the super rad Cape Crush for example. And so it’s always a celebration when they do get together and especially when they play on the big stage at Sinclair. Songs like “Blue Moon” will never not turn into glorious, drunken, sweaty-arm-in-sweaty-arm singalongs.
Thanks to the high-energy table-setters on the bill, the mostly-full crowd at the 525-capacity Sinclair was sufficiently warmed up by the time Rebuilder graced the stage. In keeping with the album-release theme, the band took the stage in matching lemon-print Hawaiian-style shirts and in a formation that I don’t think I’d previously seen despite this being my 19th Rebuilder show to date. Choke Up’s Harley Cox did double duty, manning the drum kit for the set’s first couple of songs while normal Rebuilder drummer Brandon Phillips joined co-frontmen Ellington and Craig Stanton in a three-guitar attack, alongside stalwart Daniel Carswell on bass and frequent Rebuilderer Pat Hanlin on keys.
After a few songs as a six-piece, Cox departed and Phillips assumed his throw behind the kit as the band tore through a set that, as you might imagine, leaned heavily on the new material. Because the album was released on time a few weeks prior to the show (thanks Iodine Recordings!) a solid number of showgoers were already singing along to tracks like “Hold On” and “Wedding Day” and “Another Round.” For album closer – and set closer – “Disco Loadout,” Ellington left his guitar to the side and assumed full-on frontman role as the band were joined by a pedal steel player and not-one-but-two horn players to fill out the sound (and/or turn them into the world’s first ska/Americana (would that be Ameriskana or skamericana?) pop-punk band.
And thus it was time for the evening’s headliners, although No Trigger frontman Tom Rheault joked that since the evening was Rebuilder’s record release show, there was essentially no pressure on the antifascist sextet from straight outta the Worcester Hills. Everyone’s favorite discount Strike Anywhere blazed through a super fun set that included crowd-favorites old and new like “No Tattoos” and “Too High To Die” and “Dogs On Acid” and, of course, “Anti Fantasy.” Rheault programmed the digital backdrop to include a mix of No Trigger artwork and logos and scenes from all your favorite sociopolitical documentaries, like “Dumb and Dumber” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze”.
Head below to check out slideshows from each of the evening’s bands! And Jeff Bridges pooping!
No Trigger Gallery
Choke Up Gallery
Trash Rabbit Gallery