Friday, March 11, 2011

Rival Schools Teach Brighton Music Hall How to Rock

Around the time of its release in 2001, United by Fate, the debut from supergroup Rival Schools, was my absolute favorite record; I couldn’t get enough of it! As the years went by, I was left waiting for the follow-up and subsequently my listening habits took me away from the group. A decade later, Rival Schools have finally released their sophomore record, Pedals. It is an excellent return to form and besides contributing new favorites to my rotation, it had me revisiting the excellence of United by Fate. When I heard that the band would be touring, I knew I had to catch their live show when they came to town on March 5 to play at Brighton Music Hall. I almost skipped the show since I didn’t have a ticket and I was kicking ass at pool next door at The Silhouette but I decided I would see if there were still tickets available at the door before their set. I could not be happier that I did. 

Even though I consider frontman/guitarist Walter Schreifels a living legend based on the incredible and influential acts he is associated with [Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, CIV, Quicksand, and Walking Concert – seriously, look at that list!], I kept my expectations in check. However, those expectations were blown out of the water! I was not anticipating the level of energy and enthusiasm that they brought to the stage. Fan favorites like “Travel by Telephone” and “Good Thing” displayed the pure rock vigor of their performance. It was surreal to hear my favorites like “Undercovers On”, “My Echo”, and the instrumental rocker “Hooligans for Life” after wanting to see them performed live for so long and they sounded every bit as good as I would have hoped. New songs like “69 Guns”, “Shot after Shot”, and “Small Doses” fit perfectly alongside the classics and the live settling shed a new light on them.

The best part about the performance was how much fun the band seemed to be having. They appeared to be genuinely excited to play Boston and Schreifels was thrashing around on his guitar so hard that he managed to break a string to which he responded, “I never thought that would happen.” They also toyed around with a ska version of “Good Things” and teased Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. They then proceeded to play a ska version of the song stating that they should start a ska Metallica cover band called Metalli-Ska. When someone in the audience suggested Ska-tallica, Schreifels agreed it was a better name. They ended the regular set with everyone’s favorite, “Used for Glue” for which the crowd burst into applause. They finished with an encore that ended in a cover of “How Soon is Now?” which happens to be my favorite song by The Smiths. At some point, Schreifels joked that maybe they should release a third record after receiving a warm response from the crowd. Let’s hope that happens sooner than later and that they tour behind it, making sure to stop in Boston.

Check out the videos for “Shot for Shot” and “Wring It Out” from their new album Pedals:

“Shot After Shot”

“Wring It Out”

No comments:

Post a Comment