Checking Out Boston Gigs: Eclipse (Boston College)

April 19, 2009 at 5:22 AM (Happenings, Musings) (, , , , )

Unfortunately I can’t say too much about Eclipse‘s Boston College show tonight: I arrived so late that I only caught the last four songs (one of which was “Free Bird” –  really guys?  – slightly hysterical, and well played), and I was bummed to see that it was scarcely attended.  I partially blame BC for having low-quality music fans – Nez told me that the group had made announcements earlier in the evening in some of BC’s dining halls to promote free Pink Floyd music – but at the same time, it’s marathon weekend in Beantown, and we had a Sox game, and a Celtics game.  People were busy tonight.

The music was great, as usual, but the sound was off at points.  Evidently booking a room at BC doesn’t include a tech guy.  One thing I do want to note is that the group is incredibly grateful for its supporters.  After the show, not only did the group members I already knew graciously thank me (and everyone else, individually) for attending, but also a couple members I didn’t know so well.  The music never fails, and my attendance is valued (or so I’m convinced, at least): assuming I’m in Boston at the time, my next RSVP is a no-brainer.

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Checking Out Boston Gigs: Eclipse (The Music And Stuff, Or Part III)

April 14, 2009 at 8:54 PM (Friends, Happenings) (, , , , , )

Copied from 1.02 P.M., April 13, 2009

(I’m lost!  What are you talking about?)
(Now how did you get here?)

Once inside and branded on our hands with Xs signifying that we could consume adult beverages, Tim and I made a beeline for the bar . . . only to find ourselves standing in line behind  the one guy I knew in high school from Mike’s town (who also happened to be a BU student) . . . who had also been in a funk/ jazz ensemble with Tim in said high school.  It’s a wonder my head didn’t just burst right there.  We bought our drinks and joined Deeg to drink, chat – “sporadically yell at one another” may have been more appropriate, actually – and people-watch before Eclipse took the stage.

Never having been to Cask ‘N Flagon before, I was studying the scenery as much as I was studying the patrons.  This venue was easily the largest of the four I’d most recently visited, and the busiest by far.  The latter may have been attributed to the fact that it was a Friday (the other gigs I’ve attended have been on a Thursday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday), perhaps coupled with the fact that Eclipse is stocked with phenomenal musicians, wild energy, enviable cohesiveness, and a fail-proof set list.  Not wanting to find myself lost behind a sea of audience members taller than I (After all, one of the points of experiencing live music is to witness the artists in their element first-hand, isn’t it?), I dragged Tim toward the front of the stage shortly after the preceding band finished its set.

A few feet away from the stage’s perimeter, I looked around to discover that Cask ‘N Flagon also offered the most varied clientele.  Not only were 20-something Floyd fans such as Deeg, Tim and I in attendance, but also former 20-somethings.  In some cases, very former.  This didn’t surprise me, though: my dad was the one who turned me onto Pink Floyd in the first place.  The demographic that did manage to suprise me somewhat didn’t make an appearance until about halfway through the gig: a gaggle of female early 20-somethings, loudly and possibly drunkenly clambering for the front of the stage to take pictures of themselves – as opposed to, say, the people actually on the stage.  They disappeared quickly enough, but not without baffling both Tim and me, first (I’m not condemning their attendance, mind you – they merely stand out in my mind as I recount the evening).

The Berklee band itself was substantial: two on guitars, two on keys/ samples, one on drums, one on bass, one lead vocalist, two back-up vocalists, and two on sax.  Talk about thorough.  The wardrobe varied across the stage, featuring tuxedo shirts, tye-dyed shirts, Dark Side shirts, no shirts, parkas and more (although by the end of the night some shirts were missing).

Eclipse didn’t start.  Eclipse exploded.  The 50 or so people packed around the stage were hypnotised within the first eight measures of music.  Not a single lyric of “Money,” “Time,” “Eclipse,” “Shine On,” or other classics went unsung by the masses in front of the stage, and Eclipse thrived off of the mob’s vigor.  The cheers and applause at the end of each song was thunderous, and as the crowds pushed closer and closer to the stage, I was glad that I didn’t suffer from claustrophobia.  Granted, if I did, I think I wouldn’t have noticed at the time.  Every performer on the stage was spot-on (at least from my perspective – I didn’t notice anything “spot-off”) – who wouldn’t want to cozy up to the stage in hopes of some of that groove rubbing off?

I’ve always been a fan of live music, but I’ve noticed that when I know some or all of the people under the lights, it makes for a much more fulfilling experience for me.  There’s something to be said for having a personal context to complement a show, be it musical, theatrical, physical, visual.  Knowing even just the personalities behind the final product further completes the entire experience, providing new levels of interest, knowledge and appreciation.  I’ve met five of the eleven artists of Eclipse at least once.   Just imagine how cool this shindig was for me.

This group has definitely merited a five-star rating in my book, having blown me away twice.  Their next show is this Saturday, April 18, at Boston College in the Cabaret Room at 8.00 P.M.  Admission is free, and the music is good, so stop by.

Today’s Tunes
“Hey You,” Pink Floyd
“The Great Gig In the Sky,” Pink Floyd
“Set the Controls For the Heart Of the Sun,” Pink Floyd
“Money,” Pink Floyd
“Keep Talking,” Pink Floyd
“Sheep,” Pink Floyd
“Sorrow,” Pink Floyd
“Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V),” Pink Floyd
“Time,” Pink Floyd
“The Fletcher Memorial Home,” Pink Floyd
“Comfortably Numb,” Pink Floyd

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Checking Out Boston Gigs: Eclipse (Meeting Some Of the Band, Or Part II)

April 14, 2009 at 4:02 AM (Friends, Happenings) (, , , )

Copied from 10.57 A.M., April 11, 2009

(What on Earth am I talking about?)

Walking in the rain for 10 minutes to the Eclipse gig (See: Pink Floyd tribute from Berklee College of Music) from Kenmore’s T station made me glad of three things: 1.) I hadn’t bothered to style my hair, 2.) I had bothered to find my rain boots, and 3.) I really don’t mind walking in the rain when the precipitation isn’t so cold that I wonder if God is in cahoots with the Abominable Snowman.  As I walked though, I couldn’t help but pray that my recently developed sense of direction (which I attribute to living in Boston) wouldn’t fail me.  Don’t get me wrong: any other day, I would be happy to wander aimlessly through Fenway in the rain, but last night I had people to meet and music to experience.

Luckily my prayers were answered quickly: not only was Cask ‘N Flagon right across the bridge, but Nez was outside having a smoke.  Not only was I thrilled to see him, but now I was saved the mild unease of wandering through yet another foreign venue in search of a familiar face.  Shortly after exchanging hellos, I learned that my Power Prep had been totally unnecessary:

“So we aren’t playing at 11.00 after all . . . “

My insides deflated.  Eclipse was originally supposed to play at midnight, which, even on a regular night, is upsettingly past my bedtime (and I know Nez wasn’t thrilled, either).  The morning of the gig, I was thrilled to discover via Facebook that Eclipse had been pushed to 11.00.  I’d still be out past my bedtime, but less substantially.  No longer.  Drat.  And here I’d barely bothered to brush my hair in fear of missing “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.”

Oh well!

Nez introduced me to a couple of his bandmates who were with him, Mike (guitar) and J.C. (keys/ samples).  J.C. and I got to talking and eventually began describing our hometowns (both of us used the terms “small,” “predominantly white,” and “conservative”).  When I mentioned my town’s name, Mike jumped in:

“Wait, [Small Town]?”

“Yeah . . . in [my state].”  It’s relevant to note that my hometown shares a name with a region of Greater Boston.

“[SMALL Town]?”

” . . . [MY state]!”

Repeat one or two more times with slight variation, until . . .

“Yes, I know [my state]: I lived five minutes away from you.”

There is a moment of shock and disbelief on my end.  My next question was obvious, so Mike saved me the breath: “Have you every heard of [Another Small Town]?”

Heard of it?  Almost half of my extended family lives there.  My suave, sophisticated response?

“OH MY GOD WE’RE TOTALLY NEIGHBORS!!”

I have never considered Greek life, but at that moment, I wonder if I experienced the equivalent of discovering a Greek brother or sister in an obscure setting.  In order to understand the unlikelihood of the situation, consider this: my hometown holds fewer than 2,000 people, and I personally knew less than a handful.  I went to private schools outside of my region, so all of my classmates were geographically distant from me outside of classes.  My high school was two-thirds boarding.  I knew no one from my town, and one person in my year from Mike’s town.  Meeting Mike at this gig was about as probable as meeting someone from BU while away on vacation in Spain: possible, but highly unlikely.

While we reminisced about the wonders, or lack thereof, of our respective small towns, Nez excused himself, Tim showed up after a long day of surviving the work force demanding a drink, and Deeg texted me from inside asking where I was.  Oh, and it was still raining.  I took my cue to head inside.

Today’s Tunes
Dark Side Of the Moon, Pink Floyd
“Another Brick In the Wall (Part 2),” Pink Floyd
“Echoes,” Pink Floyd

Today’s Distractions
Captain’s announcement: we’re landing.
Pittsburgh: I can see it!
“Please turn off all electronic devices.”  Good bye, Tunes.
Touchdown.

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Checking Out Boston Gigs: Eclipse (Getting There, Or Part I)

April 13, 2009 at 10:10 PM (Friends, Happenings) (, , , )

Copied from 9.59 A.M., April 11, 2009

Last night I ventured out once again to support Boston’s local musical talent.  I mentioned earlier that my friend Nez was in a couple bands: WhiteShoeBrownShoe, which I checked out a little over a week ago, and Eclipse, a Pink Floyd tribute band based out of Berklee College of Music.  Last night’s headliner was the latter.  I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Eclipse before – the night after I saw WSBS, actually – but I never got around to blogging about it (sorry, Nez).

Yet again, I had pulled a double-shift the day of the gig, and was seriously reconsidering my evening plans: Eclipse wasn’t scheduled to play until 11.00, and I had a 10.05 flight to Pittsburgh the following morning for which I had yet to pack (and yes, for those of you who are curious, I am drafting this post on the plane now).  Plus the T stopped running at 12.30, so I’d have to grab a cab if I didn’t want to walk home . . .

Wait.  I forgot that I can realistically walk home if I want!  God bless Fenway.

Remembering that handy factoid was reassuring, but I knew, not too far in the back of my mind, that I’d be going even if I had a 6.00 flight the next morning: not only was Eclipse totally worth the night out last time, but this time, I had invited friends out.  I was locked.

Ah, the joys of social commitments.

But seriously, I was stoked.  Who needs sleep, anyway?

I had my evening all planned out: I would finish work by 9.30, sprint home, shower and be out the door by 10.15 (Yes, despite being  female, I can shower in 10 minutes.  Stop looking so stunned.) to meet my friends at Cask ‘N Flagon by 10.45.  At 11.00, rocking out would commence.  By 12.30 or so, I’d trudge home to get a few hours of sleep before packing off to Pittsburgh.  And by “packing off,” I mean “starting to pack, then actually packing off.”  it was going to be a good night.

We didn’t finish up at work until after 9.45.  And during my second shift, it had started to rain.

Fan.  Flipping.  Tastic.

It’s okay.  I’m in PR.  I’m used to situations not playing out like they’re supposed to.  I can adapt to this.

Yeah, right.  You think my brain works that way after I’ve been making coffee for 13 hours?  I was stressing out a little bit.  I’m only human, folks.  I didn’t even know where exactly Cask ‘N Flagon was: I just knew it was “in Fenway somewhere.”

Somehow, I managed to shower, dress and Google Map my destination, and run out the door by 10.22.  Okay, so maybe I’m only human, but I do occasionally perform miracles.  Deeg was already there; Tim was en route from downtown.  After waiting for what felt like a rainy eternity, but was probably no more than 10 minutes, an inbound T arrived, and I was on my way.

Today’s Distractions
U.S. Airways flight attendants.  God they’re cranky.
U.S. Airways emergency procedures
Take-off!  I can’t wait to enjoy the bird’s eye view of Boston.
The clouds that are blocking my would-be awesome view of Boston.  Bah.
Turbulence – I am suddenly reminded of the latte I chugged not an hour ago.
My ears that have just popped.
My pen exploded.  My fingers are blue.
The landscape of some state between MA and PA

Today’s Tunes
Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd

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