Concert Review: Mutoid Man and Helms Alee, 6.4.2017


FINALLY I’m ready to talk about this thing. For those that missed it, there was a killer show at The Great Scott down in the Boston area on June 4th. Mutoid Man toured their delicious new album called War Moans and were opened by a collection of amazing, albeit diverse, acts in Helms AleePrimitive Weapons, and Summoner. Despite an all-over-the-place weekend that involved plenty of day drinking, family, and a soccer game at Gillette Stadium, I still managed to keep myself together enough to get to one of my favorite small venues in Boston for a truly entertaining show. I also took pictures. Some of which are grainy because… fuck. Anyway.

Boston. Oh Boston. Such a hate-love I have with you. Your beers are amazing, your music scene and venues are better, but you’re also just so, so dangerous to my well-being. I swear to Christ I live an hour North for nothing more than my own health. After an extended stay at Harpoon’s impressive new (to me) beer hall, it was time to head to Allston on the beloved green line. The Great Scott is a special place. It’s a small venue, lots of exposed brick, with a very warm, basement-y kind of feel to it. The beer list is impressive and the merch is always set up conveniently away from both the bar and stage. The fact that the location of a merch stand is a notable positive in a venue just shows how often this simple thing gets screwed up. Whatever. We made it in with a few minutes to spare before Summoner took the stage, which was just enough time to relearn how to use my camera or whatever… and get more beers.

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Summoner kicked the night off and honestly were one of my highlights for the night. I had seen the name around in recent years but had failed to catch them at any show to this point. They are an atmospheric stoner rock band based in Boston and this night they really opened their account with me in a positive way. The blend of styles proved to be a captivating enough sound alone, but the way they brought the music with an added dose of passion and emotional investment really let their set soar. I had a blast watching them start to finish.

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The following act, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as far up my alley. In a similar way (but on a totally different level), Primitive Weapons brought the same fire but in a far more energetic way. Post hardcore with a bite, to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, this set was very, very solid. Filled with aggression and pace… the set moved along well and there wasn’t a ton of let up. This genre does tend to blend a bit for me, so after a few tracks I had gotten enough of the picture, plus in between Summoner and the upcoming Helms Alee, it kinda messed with my jam. But, they killed it. The crowd would agree.

And on that note, Helms Alee may have actually won the night for me. I’ve enjoyed this band recently, having been exposed to their latest album, Stillicide, and taking to it quite a lot. But, for as trippy and magical as that album is, their performance is even better. It felt like flying through space. The rising and falling song structures, the dark ambient setting… it was mesmerizing. I could have watched them play for hours.

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(Alert: Photographer bitching about fans. Real quick, promise.) But this set was also a reminder of how much of a bitch covering shows with a camera can be. I try to change the angle for one second to get an overhead shot and some jabroni coward decides to shove me in the back, totally throwing me off balance to the point where I nearly lost my camera. NOT OK. Naturally, I turned around for some confrontation and naturally it yielded a face that refused to make eye contact with me (because, ya know, cowards). Funny. How many shows have we had to watch through other people’s phones because god forbid they don’t share every second of their pathetically uneventful lives? Nobody seems to care about that. (I do.) That said, the rest of the show went uneventful in that sense. You act like a human to other humans and it all just becomes teamwork. We’re here for the same reasons, folks. Playing the same game. To support what we love.

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And then Mutoid Man. Mutoid Man. War Moans did indeed melt my brain. And sadly it was the first album I had ever been exposed to by them. An End of 2017 candidate for sure, and this show only helped that cause. Talk about bringing a fun energy to an audience that sat through quite the range of sounds over the last few hours. Steve Brodsky is just… the best. I wasn’t able to stay for the whole set but I got plenty of the new album and that made me happy. Overall, what can I say, they just kicked ass. This show was either sold out or damn close to it and I definitely understand why. If you haven’t seen this band live yet, please for the love of God make that happen. The music is just so wonderfully weird in all the right ways.

Anyway, I’ll wrap up here before I ramble any further. Great weekend in Massachusetts, and eventually Boston specifically. All capped off with one of the more fun shows I’ve been to in some time. The fact that I hadn’t been to a show in almost six weeks should mean absolutely nothing. Have a good weekend, cretins.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– cmb

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