Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Good & You? at Union Tavern in Somerville’s Union Square on Friday. (Photo: Michael Gutierrez)

“The train has left the station.”

That was my reply to a manager who had reached out on Instagram, concerned that one of the event listings I wrote up in my last Cambridge Day column was no longer current. It seems that one artist on a triple-stack bill at The Lilypad had been swapped out for another. The calendar at the venue’s website, where I grabbed the info, was still advertising the old lineup.

Like any writer dealing with facts rather than fiction, I feel duty-bound in these columns to speak the truth and provide something in the way of demonstrable evidence or argumentation to support any claims enclosed within. A glaring accuracy – even if it’s just one band, one listing, one column – is a little appalling.

But (the but!) here are some practical points to consider. First and most obviously, once the paper has gone to press, it’s game over. Nobody is going to go around town to all the blessed landing spots of our fair weekly edition to Wite-Out the wrongs.

Sure, I could shoot an email to our harried editor Marc Levy, ask him to revise the online version, adding yet another item to his infinite queue of tasks and tribulations.

There are situations in which that’s called for. Say, the paper listed a headliner, who subsequently dropped off the bill, of a large, local, multiday music festival several months away. That’s the kind of out-of-date item that’s going to gnaw at your doughy midsection for months. Fix it!

A one-off show by regular giggers around town, though, is a different proposition. It’s often not worth the trouble to update the online versions of these ephemeral bills because, by the time you do, the lineup has changed again.

Don’t blame the paper, don’t blame The Lilypad, don’t blame the artists who dropped off or on the bill. Don’t blame anyone – it’s just the nature of the beast that is the local music scene.

Maybe a hard pill to swallow for some? Guaranteed that the most low-profile gig is still a headlining spot at Coachella in the mind of at least one artist on any bill. An out-of-date bill will raise the hackles of that artist (or at least the artist’s manager) if the listing is not updated. They take it personally, and it’s their prerogative to do so.

The real takeaway is not so much for the artists, who can and should keep fighting to put their best foot forward (whatever that means to them) even when it’s a little unreasonable.

Here’s a tip of the cap, no promises I’ll ever do this again!

Corrections corner

Friday: Dru Cutler, Kit Orion, Chris Walton (The Lilypad, Cambridge)

That’s correct until it isn’t …

The real takeaway here is for the audiences, who should embrace the fungibility of bills as a net positive for their enjoyment. We are trained too easily to think of music, whether recorded or live performance, as a commodity. If it doesn’t come as advertised on the side of the box, we rankle with indignation and feel cheated.

Here’s a tip. Take that resentment, crumple it into a ball, swallow it and never speak of it again.

The next time you go to a show and find the bill not as advertised, dig it. You’re hearing an artist you’ve never heard or didn’t expect to hear, and that’s a beautiful thing. Bumper sticker version: Music is not a commodity, it’s a community.

If you can’t love the new and unexpected, you can’t love art.

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Friday: JATK, Gut Health, Trailer Swift, Type 66 (Middle East, Cambridge)

The Rock N Roll Rumble kicks off its first weekend of competition. Don’t wait until the finals to check in – all the drama starts in the opening rounds. What’s on tap Friday? JATK is pronounced “Jack” because why the hell not? Trailer Swift appreciates good puns and hot riffs. Type 66 is described in their Rumble bio as something, something, something “served hot in an obsidian glass with a garnish of feedback.” God bless Angelle Wood, or whoever wrote that copy. Sounds like hard rock to me. Gut Health might be the pick of the litter with a bouncy, post hardcore grind that comes correct with a mix of stage-show antics. Will they fire off all their rockets in the opening show or save some mystery for the later rounds?

Tuesday: Merry Merry, Coco Smith, Captain Vampire (The Jungle, Somerville)

An atypically mellow bill at a bar run by a true metalhead. Merry Merry combines the raw machismo of Belle and Sebastian with the wild improvisational stylings of the Beach Boys. Coco Smith is a soft rock popper out of Berklee. Captain Vampire has a few press photos that stress the “vampire” over the “captain.” Add a skipper’s cap to the ensemble and we’re good to go. More importantly, the artist formerly known as Lieutenant Dracula is a friend of the accordion on a version of the song “White and Gray.” An underutilized instrument, appreciated by true connoisseurs. No promises that the wheezebox makes its Jungle debut.

April 12: Goth Prom: Forest, Exit 18, inplainsight (The Lilypad, Cambridge)

“If you don’t dress up ur lame as f**k!!” Sorry, we don’t make the rules. The good news is that you don’t need a date. Buckle up for a triple-stack bill of emo and goth and glam that’s scheduled for a tight 59 minutes. That’s right. Doors at 10:45, music at 11, lights go out at 11:59. Or do they? Event calendars on websites do weird things when you program shows past midnight, so a lot of venues around town settle on 11:59 as the standard, whatever the real end time.

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Last Friday Good & You? headlined their EP release show at Union Tavern with Voided Shape, Husbands and Will Tell Aim in the opening slots.

The dive bar, formerly PA’s lounge, has a long and storied history scheduling indie rock shows in its Union Square location, with such notable acts as Mary Lou Lord, Thurston Moore, Jay Reatard and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone having graced the stage. The new place keeps up the music calendar, same as the old place. Probably because ownership never changed.

Why the rebrand? Hard to say exactly. Some predicted a “bougification” of the bar in keeping with the gentrification trend in the neighborhood.

If that was your worry too, let’s allay your concerns. Union Tavern on a Friday night is still a great spot to hear thick Masshole accents, order a cold can of beer and rest your elbows on a countertop decorated with shellacked trading cards of local sports legends. Larry Bird for three!

As for Good & You?, the local four-piece is straightforward indie thrash. Short on vocals, long on dense, metal-adjacent instrumentals. In fact, the stage banter outweighed the song lyrics by a factor of four or five, which let the ax-handlers focus on their specialty: the tapping technique. Ask a guitarist.

Congratulations to the band on releasing their EP, titled “EP ii,” a followup to “EP i.” No word on what they might call their third EP.


Michael Gutierrez is an author, educator, activist and editor-in-chief at Hump Day News