Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Grass is Green Hammer Away at Wadzilla

There was a period of time last year where I was going to a basement show at least once a week. One of my favorite DIY venues was Wadzilla Mansion. It was subsequently shutdown since it was operating as a venue without the necessary permits. On July 23, 2011, I had the chance to once again experience an intimate performance at the excellent DIY spot when Grass is Green and Hammer No More the Fingers treated the crowd to some mathy alternative jams.

Hammer No More the Fingers started playing just as I entered the place. If you are unfamiliar, the band plays catchy alternative tunes with a great deal of 90s nostalgia. The trio plays with an impressive proficiency and can conjure up some big sounds. Their songs really stick in your head and it’s easy to see why people were singing along with a bunch of them. “The Agency” and “Leroy” from this year’s Black Shark were definite standouts. The latter featuring a bouncy rhythm and a chorus stating "in the beginning of life / there is a wonderful sound in our heads” delivered with much energy. The aforementioned album definitely warrants many listens and was produced by none other than Jawbox and Burning Airlines mastermind J. Robbins. Give it a spin below.

Boston was in the middle of a heat wave at this time so before Grass is Green even came on I was drenched in sweat. Still very much excited, I was graced with an ear-pleasing onslaught of technical wizardry. I like seeing bands live because you get to learn new things. For instance “Slow Machine” was apparently written about watching porn on a slow computer. You learn new things every day! The song comes from their latest effort Chibimoon. The band played songs from said release mixed in with tracks like “No Legs” from their debut, Yeddo. It was quite mesmerizing to watch them weave together rhythms while drummer Jess Weiss was pounding his kit into submission on the floor. Guitarist/vocalist Andy Chervenak was having trouble with his amp so he got to put his guitar down for a song and do his best rock star frontman impression. It was perhaps the hottest show I have ever been to seeing as I could wring out my shirt at the end but it was worth being in attendance. In December of last year, I saw both these bands in the same venue and I can easily say this one surpassed it. Here’s to hoping that there are more, less sweaty basement shows of such caliber coming up this year.

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