Saturday, December 12, 2009

Concert Recommendation: That Petrol Emotion, The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY, December 12

I usually limit my concert recommendations to those in and around Boston, but I'm making an exception for That Petrol Emotion playing tonight in Brooklyn. The band arose from the remnants of the Undertones in the late '80s then went dormant after a few albums; they showed great promise and got critical praise, but their clattering rock never found a big audience. Still, they hold a place near and dear in my heart. I ripped off their look from 1987's Babble of writing on sunglasses with correction fluid; photos of me made the college paper and yearbook, but no one recognized the inspiration. 1988's End Of The Millennium Psychosis Blues captured how I was feeling at that time. The first time I saw them live, I knew all the words to their songs even more than the words to a Beatles song they covered; it's not as if "Hey, Bulldog" was ever ubiquitous like other parts of the Beatles catalog, but I certainly listened to TPE far more. I got to interview drummer Ciaran McLaughlin for B-Side Magazine; that I could cover them was a reason I loved writing for B-Side; that I had to battle another writer for the chance was why I loved our staff (The other writer got to interview the Chills, so we were even.)

Anyway, the Undertones reunited and toured a few years ago, so it was almost inevitable that That Petrol Emotion would follow suit. They were never hugely beloved, so I hope they find enough of an audience to warrant another U.S. tour that includes Boston.

That Petrol Emotion play with the Mad Scene at 7:30 tonight at the Bell House, 149 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 718-643-6510.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Concert Recommendation: Ted Leo/Pharmacists, UMass Lowell, December 4

As someone who has promoted campus concerts, I know how hard it is to spread the word beyond campus. I only found out that Ted Leo/Pharmacists are playing a charity benefit show at UMass Lowell because I'm taking a continuing education class there and flyers were posted in the music building. I saw the band open for Dismemberment plan about 8 years ago, and they made a bigger impression than the headliners, partially because "The Ballad of the Sin Eater" has rightfully become a college radio standard.

Ted Leo/Pharmacists headline Rock for Tots 2009 at Cumnock Hall, UMass Lowell on Friday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. More information at Public tickets at

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Concert Recommendation: Nitzer Ebb, Paradise Rock Club, December 3

It's been long enough to ride the nostalgia train. Some industrial bands of the late '80s and early '90s such as KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails have just kept chugging along to varying degrees of fame. Nitzer Ebb took a long breather after interest in the genre waned, but they're back, and they're on tour, still with Bon Harris, Douglas McCarthy and Some Other Guy on percussion. Their Teutonic name and sound implied that they're German, but they're British; their moniker is the equivalent of Häagen-Dazs, foreign-sounding but meaningless. But that Teutonic sound was great, taking the spareness of synth-pop but adding an aggressive edge with hits like "Control I'm Here," (but not "Strike to the Body" by sound-alike Chicago duo Die Warzau). They honed their live act opening for the likes of Depeche Mode and working the summer festival circuit.

Catch them now before they relive the old days, opening for Depeche Mode in Europe early next year.

Nitzer Ebb play with Provocateur, DJ Chris Ewen at the Paradise Rock Club, 967 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, 617-562-8800 at 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 3.