Smile Politely

Brighton MA headlines geographically confusing bill

bmTruly solid bands always remind me of how much I like other bands, thereby reinforcing my ardor for live music in the first place. Listening to Brighton MA, I become reflective on my two favorite childhood radio stations that had a penchant for tirelessly playing the Cure and Bob Dylan respectively (both of which are acts that have infiltrated Brighton MA’s sound). 

Not that any of that is relevant, but you’re likely to experience a similar musical re-baptism as Brighton MA headlines a bill Friday night at Cowboy Monkey with Black Whales, We Landed on the Moon and Darling Disarm.

Named for the town singer/songwriter Matthew Kerstein was born in, Brighton MA (they now call Chicago home base) carries all the musical diversity and pop sentiment the Beatles had during their final years.  Not surprisingly the word “nostalgia” comes up quite a bit in their reviews, but the term might not pertain to their vintage sound as much as it does their overall aesthetic. 

There is something very cinematic about Brighton MA’s music that has an ability to make you feel like you’re missing something — like some significant event has passed by unnoticed. Perhaps that is the burden of folks like me for jumping on their train so late, but I get the feeling it is something larger. 

moonLuckily, the band makes it pretty easy to catch up to date on what they’ve been doing.  Fresh off a four-show residency at Schuba’s Tavern in Chicago earlier this year, Brighton MA released six live tracks from the shows for free online (donations encouraged, though). In many ways, their residency at Schuba’s offered the band itself a rebirth as they welcomed a new bass player, Jon Ozaksut, and cameos from Alex Hall (keyboards) and Nate Lepine (saxes, flutes). 

Adding to the nostalgia/rebirth theme of the evening, Louisiana’s We Landed on the Moon sounds a bit like what Blondie would sound like if Debbie Harry had been born 30 years later and joined a hyper-active indie band. They’ve spent the greater part of October on the road in support of their yet-to-be-released third record and finish the tour with stops in New York for the CMJ Music Festival and in New Orleans for the Voodoo Music Festival. 

bwLikewise, Seattle’s Black Whales are also on the bill and will be on the road through the end of October. In a way that only bands from the Pacific Northwest can, Black Whales have managed to strip the psychedelic bits from the 13th Floor Elevators (all that eye/pyramid higher consciousness stuff) and all the artsy bits from the Velvet Underground (maybe if they did less heroin) while retaining the core tonal influences from them both. Get there early so you can catch their act and pick up their new EP, Origins, on Mt. Fuji Records.

Locals Darling Disarm round out the bill between two shows that take them from Chicago to Missouri. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. and admission is $7.

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