Positivity, Aspirin, and Pizza: A Review of Modern Baseball’s Show at Neumos

image

Modern Baseball
bassist Ian Farmer had a shit-eating grin that just couldn’t be wiped off his face during their
entire set at Neumos, and I think that sums up fairly well how the night went. A mix of good vibes and melancholy music made for a fantastic evening.

This is the first show I’ve been to in a long time where I was completely blown
away by the openers. The first band, Tiny
Moving Parts
, kicked off the night with a bang, playing their blend of math
rock, emo, and post-hardcore. Their musicianship was phenomenal all around, but
drummer Billy Chevalier in particular had the crowd in awe. Jeff Rosenstock and his backing band
were next to take the stage. Their blend of old-school punk and new-school
pop-punk kept the energy rising, and they even threw an on-the-fly cover of
Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” into their set. The final opener, PUP, killed it (they killed my ear
drums too; they’re seriously the loudest band I’ve ever seen). They had some
good banter with the crowd as well, making jokes at the expense of Portland and
its seemingly endless gauntlet of vegan food joints.

By the time Modern Baseball took the stage, they crowd was
pumped. They kicked off their set with their mid-tempo jam “The Weekend”, a song
about fucking around on the weekends with your closest friends, and it set the
mood perfectly for the rest of the evening. The crowd sang along to every word
of “Re-Done” (my personal favorite song in their discography), and two songs off
their new EP, “The Thrash Particle” and “Revenge of the Nameless Ranger”, sounded
fantastic.

The boys from Philly played all of the fan favorites off their most recent full-length album, 2014’s You’re
Gonna Miss It All
, and closed out their set with an ass-kicking rendition
of their hit “Your Graduation”. The bassist and drummer from Jeff Rosenstock’s
band joined Modern Baseball for the tune so drummer Sean Huber could run around
the stage, crowd surf, and play frontman for a song. They returned for one
encore and played a cover of The Killers’
“Mr. Brightside”.

There was one moment in particular that stood out to me that
night. Near the end of Modern Baseball’s set, guitarist and vocalist Brendan
Lukens
sincerely thanked the crowd for coming to the show and brought up the
topic of their recently cancelled shows. The band chose to cancel some tour dates
in England and Australia this past summer so Lukens could focus on taking steps toward improving
his mental health, as he has dealt with a lifelong struggle with anxiety and
depression. For a brief but beautiful moment, the crowd erupted in support of
Lukens. Even though the lyrics of Modern Baseball songs often aren’t the
happiest, the concert had a very positive vibe, and this small part of the show
made that positivity personal.

image

Catch Modern Baseball if they come to a city near you as they
make their way through Canada and the East Coast this winter. You can find a list of their upcoming tour dates here.

-RJ Morgan

image
RJ Morgan

Outlander in the Emerald City: MegaFlora Records (my Hometown Heroes)

image

I am sure I am not alone in saying the few weeks of winter break gave us some much needed time away from the hustle and bustle of UW life and a return to the relaxed comfort of home.  For many, home resides somewhere within Washington state or its surrounding areas; however, for a small number of us, going “home” meant traveling thousands of miles to a distant land, where culture and customs are quite different from those in Seattle.  For myself, home is a small town outside of Philadelphia called West Chester.  During my high school years I was lucky enough to be a part of WC’s small but mighty music scene, catering to a diverse set of genres that included (but was not limited to) indie/garage rock, hip hop, electronica, and a multitude of singer-songwriters.  When I was involved, the scene was kicking but remained primarily localized due to the lack of a cohesive entity to bring us all together and display us to the public.  I always thought some sort of, I don’t know, record label would do the trick.

Well, my dreams have finally been realized – two buddies of mine, Branden Bauer (of the Absolute Sky) and Ian Solonsky (Is the Rapper) have decided to put together MegaFlora Records, a compilation of the best talents hailing from West Chester and the greater Philadelphia area.  MegaFlora’s catalog is a fitting representation of the diversity of the WC scene itself, featuring indie rockers such as The Absolute Sky, the classic hip-hop styling of Is the Rapper, the poppy (and somewhat off-kilter) electronic ramblings of Pleb Mahogany, and many, many more.  It’s a rare and beautiful thing to see the talented musicians you know and love successfully promoting their own music, and an even greater feat when a number of them decide to collaborate for the common good of their musical careers.  If you dig getting in on the “ground floor” of a scene, MegaFlora is guaranteed to have something that fits your taste, coming at you in a localized, fresh package.  

Below are a few of my favorite tracks from MegaFlora’s most recent release, the Garden Showcase compilation.  Although I honestly dig the whole album and highly recommend checking it out in its entirety, I feel these tracks display the diversity of MegaFlora’s catalogue quite nicely (and also just kick ass).  Check out MegaFlora’s Facebook and bandcamp for more information!  Happy listening 🙂

image

line leader – “East Coast Beach Ghost”: Lo-fi lovers rejoice, this surf-rocky tune by West Chester natives line leader shows those west coast beach bums that us east coasters know a thing or two about the beach, damnit.  With its darker, fuzzy twist, this track would make Ty Segall proud.

image

Jason McCue – “Come to Me”: This song makes me melt.  Jason’s voice weaves in and out of the spacey acoustic pickings with the precision of a needle through fabric, while his beautiful lyrics paint pictures in your brain.  Although elements of the tune carry an Elliott Smith influence, the feeling of chills running up your spine when that three-part harmony kicks in is only something a Jason McCue original could make you feel. 

Is the Rapper  “Arcade” (feat. Pleb Mahogany): Featuring a menagerie of classic video arcade bleeps and bloops, frequent collaborators (Is) and Cameron (Pleb Mahogany) combine forces to bring you a hip hop track that is equal parts innovative, nostalgic (who doesn’t love arcade noises?), and tight as shit.  These clever fellows are guaranteed to show you a good time.

image
Katie Hanford