A Very Hairy Swaleness at Light Club Lamp Shop then Samara Lark And Friends and Savage Hen at Radio Bean December 22, 2018   Leave a comment

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Physics Club pic by Tim Lewis

I had a great time seeing music Saturday night at Light Club Lamp Shop and Radio Bean. I worked a short day and had a little time to relax at home. Just before 7, I headed out the door and swung by Taco Gordo for a quick tasty taco, then walked the rest of the way downtown. I got into the Lamp and settled as the room steadily filled. A little after 8 Physics club took the stage and filled the room with cautious glee. They chatted with the audience a lot and chatted about chatting a lot. They sang about how Christmas is the time to give gifts to the baby Jesus, and delicious honey ham. Irene, Rex and Abraham, if those are their real names, had a relaxed vibe that came across as deeply hilarious. They sang about how too many candy canes made their breath minty, but their stomachs stinky and about making all of their Christmas presents because they didn’t have any money. Since it was Christmas, they decided they could wear what they wanted, then capped the seven song set by going out to find the biggest bushiest tree. It’s hard to capture how funny they were, but if you ever see them on a bill somewhere, go.

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Swale pic by Tim Lewis

They began the transformation into Swale with a song about how everything smells like Christmas. Irene morphed into Amanda Gustafson as Abraham moved away from the keys to the backing vocal position. Rex stayed on the drums and moved into Jeremy Frederick mode and Eric Olsen started playing guitar at the end. It was still pretty funny, but you could begin to hear the huge rock sound coming out. Tyler Bolles joined them and they locked into SWALE mode for Mele Kalikimaka which was fun to hear on a chilly evening. Matt Larocca joined them on violin next and stayed for most of the night. It’s Christmas is a poignant song from their Kiss Mess EP and they played a beautiful version of it. Craig Mitchell came up next and took the mic. Marie Claire Johnson added some backing vocals as they sang This Christmas. The fireside blazing bright line was especially catchy. The band switched into high gear as Lily Sickles took the stage and belted out Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight) and the audience rocked along. James Kochalka followed with a song about coveting his neighbors Christmas lights. It was hilarious and everyone was smiling. He stayed on stage and sang a song about a sleigh ride to heck and the audience sang along with gusto. There was something magical about the way it happened. Amanda followed with the most esoteric song of the night and played a haunting Snow Angel with Tyler on banjo. Tyler played the next one solo on banjo but took the time to explain that some band redid a version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah that was just terrible, so he redid it in a fun way. The tune was familiar and the audience laughed in the verses about Rudolph and the Grinch but sang along on the choruses, even with Tyler’s altered words. I could feel chills running through me. Marie Claire came back and sang Fairy Tale Of New York with Tyler. It was really fun. Marie moved to the keys and Amanda moved to the front of the stage. Matt joined in on sax as they let loose a huge Baby Please Come Home. It was great. Jason Cooley came to the stage and played a song for Josh Bridgman that almost made me cry. The Velvet Underground’s Jesus was a perfect tribute to Josh. The next song was just Swale and they sang a cool song about getting to know the people in your house. They followed with an instrumental Jingle Bells that featured Amanda’s keys in the beginning and some ripping Eric guitar work at the end. Lily returned to the stage for Feliz Navidad. The song had a huge sound in the chorus and had people dancing hard. For the next song, Ryan Ober and Cooley stood in front of the stage and lit into Christmas in Hollis. It was brilliant and fun. Eric said they had a treat for us and Marie Clairecame back and sang Christmas Wrapping. Her voice was so close to The Waitresses that it was superb. Craig returned to the stage for a funky blues rock song about Backdoor Santa that got a little naughty in a nice way. Amanda sang the next song and wished us well for whatever lies ahead. Francesca Blanchard followed with All I Want For Christmas Is You and I swear that everyone in the room was in awe. Swale began the evening by handing out cards and asked us to pull out the lyric sheet. I’m not sure what happened but it sounds like someone slipped and fell outside of the Lamp Shop and an ambulance showed up. Per Eric, the person was fine, but the hoped for singalong didn’t quite work with so many distracted people. That said, Amanda sang a great version of The Christmas Song, and many people sang along. The band returned to full rock mode and Ryan Miller hit the stage for a blistering Hazy Shade Of Winter. Where does joy end and fun begin? Their version was right in that sweet spot. Cooley came back and played a fun gritty rocker that I couldn’t spot. Per my notes, I think it was Riverbottom Nightmare Band from the Muppets Emmet Otter’s Jug Band. It was really fun to listen to at the show, but doing this write-up brought me to YouTube to watch it. I’m sure it’s the song and both versions are great. Up next Tyler got everyone bouncing to the Christmas Polka. Swale capped the night with a sweet singalong with Christmastime is Here that filled my soul. It was a beautiful show.

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With Matt Larocca

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Craig Mitchell

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Lily Sickles

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James Kochalka

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Marie Claire

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Amanda Gustafson

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Ryan Ober and Jason Cooley

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Marie Claire

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Francesca Blanchard

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Ryan Miller

 

I settled up and took the long walk over to Radio Bean as Samara Lark and friends belted out Baby Please Come Home. It turned out to be the only repeat of the night which is not bad when you see three bands in one night play traditional (ish) songs. Samara was joined by Jackie Buttolph and Aya Inoue on vocals, Eric and Eric on guitar, Johnnie Day Durand on musical saw and glockenspiel, Jake Styles on bass and Andrew Bedard on drums. Johnnie began Oh Holy Night and you could hear the words coming out of her saw. The rest of the band joined in and played a gorgeous version of the song. They took us into minor chord territory for Hark To The Bells and I was in a happy place. They kicked up the pace for Cheap Trick’s I Wish It Was Christmas Today and I bopped with glee. They kept up the pace for a rousing Holiday Road and we all just had to sing along. How can you not? i love that Samara thinks that is an essential Christmas song. They slowed things down and brought the energy up for Happy Xmas (War Is Over). That’s one of those songs that fills my soul and I’m so glad they closed the set with it.

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Samara Lark and Friends

I hung out for a bit and thought I’d check out the next band. It was a little late, but they usually don’t play super long sets and I was still ready to rock. Savage Hen took the stage and let loose their super heavy bass, drums, vocals dirgy sound. They opened with a horrific Here Comes Santa Claus that made me smile and the mighty audience dance hard. A heavy version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer followed and off we went. They advised us to not get on the wrong list then played a heavy traditional Hanukkah song that was very cool. They advised us to take a Christmas Bath then dropped a super heavy Jingle Bell Rock. They shouted loudly that the Seat’s Taken then played a song about how Santa is a monster. All evening long the dialog was wry. They sang of a Clever Girl then one about Santa is here, release your fear. Local Lore was a song about encountering the supernatural. The final lyric says If there really is a god, he ain’t watching me, but it’s not uncommon for Jaq Tothephuture to put a little spin on it. I think that night it was if there really is a Santa, he better be effing good. They rocked on with a song about running for your life across the north pole and the next one may have had something to do with reindeer romance. They kept rocking and I didn’t catch much of the lyric but had a good time. Next, they took us to the Edge then released a little Voodoo Revenge. The next song was 46 seconds long, so it might have been Curtain Call, but I’m not sure. Either way, it was good. We followed them down to the Alabama swamp and battled monsters for a while then went back up north for another Santa song. At that point I looked at clock. It was 12:45 and I had to be at work at 9 so I zipped out the door and took the quick walk home. I settled a bit and slept a bit and hit the ground running in the morning.

It was another lovely night of music in our lovely town. Wow, did I really hear 57 songs that night?

 

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Savage Hen pic by Tim Lewis

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