Through The Side Door: DIY Boston.
From my first house show in Boston.
The smell of stale beer and the creek of decades old wood might have you think that you’re in some matter of a party at your university, but the feedback coming from the basement and the guy in the Leftöver Crack hoodie tells you that you’re elsewhere.
In my home city of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, it’s November, cold as hell, yet for some reason your Narragansett is still luke-warm.
Unless you’re that drunk, you know you’re at a house show. The unmistakable building blocks of do-it-yourself musical ethics, and a tradition rooted in Punk-Rock that has spread to all the far reaching corners of contemporary music. From it’s burgeoning legacy as a Punk scene, Boston has had an unshakable DIY scene that serves as an irreplaceable entry point for artists trying to break into its cerebral community.
Though Boston stands as a crux for up and coming artists in the north eastern United States, and often as an important first stop for Canadians, it feels as if it is its own self-sustaining entity, detached from the rest of Massachusetts and standing apart from the commonalities of music in a region known as New England.
A band coming from the west, often New York or elsewhere regionally are familiar and comfortable in a musical scene trimmed in the aftermath of mid 2000’s Pop-Punk and Metalcore. With standard issue Indie Rock groups that seem to come a dime a dozen, and eight-string guitar wielding self-producers still riding on the short-lived fixation of Meshuggah that blew up in the trademark ‘Djent’ sound. Enter Boston, and you’re in a whole new world.
Photo by Rick Berk
Here, local mainstays Aneurysm are scratching at the harsh timbres of Noise Rock, while Doom Metallers Rozamov, are putting their hat in the fold as one of the loudest, riffiest bands in the city. While offbeat genre benders like Mars Jupiter, frequent Boston via Amherst to warp Hip-Hop into brain food suited to the likes of thoughtful listeners that make up the bulk of Boston’s musical crowd, which seemingly shows little discrimination from genre to genre.
All the while, internationally touring giants in the scene such as Revocation are stoking the flames of a revived interest in Thrash Metal, where Converge is the dynamic body to a metaphorical hydra of off-shot side projects and related bands.
It’s wild to think that I’ve barely scratched the surface in a handful of genres over a whole swath of stuff I probably have no idea about. While I’m out tripping over empty cans and learning to stand the smell of Crust-Punks, Ill keep the mental notes and plug it along into a series of entries to unveil, for many unfamiliar, a poorly understood yet nonetheless crucial place in the world of contemporary music.
Ill see you around the bend.