Critic Punk

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Ego Likeness - Cambridge, MA (USA)

TL:DR Though this tour is drawing to a close, if you have the chance to see any of these bands/projects at any point in time, do it. None of them sucked, and they all performed for a very fair price. That's something special in and of itself. To sum up as best as I can, this is a review of the night in which I went to the Ego Likeness concert for the Boston leg of their tour. In addition, the concert was made complete with the opening acts of Virus Cycle, Daniel Ouellette, Ground To Dust, and Cryogenic Second. I proceeded to watch a concert that spanned several different musical styles, in the course of about five hours, and left loving at least part of it; which is saying a lot because I am the crankiest of bitches lately.

The Venue: The Cantab Lounge

The Cantab Lounge is a "hole in the wall" in all the right ways. The upstairs is a dimly lit towny bar, and downstairs is their... concert... space. The "space" is super tiny, comfortably fitting about 50 patrons (packing in at most 75). If you're a newer local band and you're looking for places to start performing live, then The Cantab Lounge is a great space if you use next to no space. At the back of the room is a full, albeit tiny (perhaps not the best stocked), bar. Although, it is rather charming. Exposed brick covers the back-most wall with some nice lighting to guide your way to the all-important booze. Everything else about this place though, is pretty grungy. Don't take it the wrong way; it suits the place well, and carries the added bonus of harkening memories of Ye Olden Days of basement concerts that your friends would put on because they have this "totally awesome band, man!". The Cantab Lounge is just fucking perfect, because it's exactly where you are. In the basement, feeling your age as you recall every stupid teenage make-out you never should have bothered with, instinctively wiping at your cheek in an effort to remove, not actual spittle, but the lingering feeling of shame. And honestly, I dig.

Much like those basements of yore there is very little table space, and even less seating. This is something of an annoyance in the wintertime where you take public transportation and have to wear about seven THOUSAND layers. But, you know, a little give / a little take. Cement floors are par for the course, and much to my surprise they actually had some lighting for the stage. It wasn't great lighting, mind you, but it was awfully fun to watch the house staff clamber up onto their little ladders to change the gels and bulbs between acts. As for where the bands performed, calling it a "stage" is being pretty generous. In reality its really a platform about seven inches above ground. In keeping with the theme, there is even exposed piping over the stage and visible as part of the backdrop. If you didn't know any better, you would think that these guys had an actual vision in designing this basement, when in reality they just got lucky. Surprisingly enough, there were actual bathrooms in this downstairs basement. That perk definitely exceeded my expectations. I didn't go into the bathrooms, mind you, because I can only imagine the horrors that those rooms might house. Overall for the venue, 2 Thumbs-Up, because it was a dive bar that didn't make me feel totally fucking skeezed out. I only felt a little skeezed out, and in all the right ways.
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Virus Cycle

First band: Virus Cycle

I got to the show late. Depression is a cruel mistress. Mustering the energy to actually fucking dress myself, and make my way to the venue was a challenge unto itself. By the time I had arrived, the first band was at the end of their last song. The band was a two person project with grumbly distorted vocals, and a lone woman playing the backing track (and other cues/effects). Being that I didn't see their performance I won't speak on whether they were good or bad, but they may be worth checking out if you happen upon them at some point in the future.

To make up for my gaping lack of accountability, I found a video of Virus Cycle performing in Salem. You're fucking welcome! Link to Video. Based on this lack of proper assessment, I give them 1 Thumb (to the side). Whatever... Go see them and think for yourself, sheeple...

Daniel Ouellette

Second band: Daniel Ouellette

I hope someone got a video of this performance. If so, I will fucking SCOUR the internet for it. These guys... OMFG! Just read on...

First off, I feel it is worth mentioning that, while I don't know who their guitarist is, I would DO him for days on end. UNF, please, and thank you! Now that I've gotten that out of my system, onto their performance. The first song started with a very shoe-gazey vibe, which I love. I could instantly tell that this band wasn't for everyone. It was a bit surprising that they were even on the bill at all. Their sound is very "old school" in a good way. Their sound spanned a great many genres including punk, goth, and surf-rock during their short 30-minute set. The performance consisted of drone-like singing about vampires from the front man, guitar riffing walls of sound, minimalist drum machine beats, and a shit ton of stage props for kicks. The band was very fun, engaging, and energetic. The front man would wander through the crowd, interacting with his fans, or perhaps, victims? Definitely a bit of both, and I admire that. Amusingly enough, at the very moment I wrote that sentence the front man sashayed his way up to me, sang in my face, and shone a flashlight on both of us. You can't make this shit up. It was a pleasant, albeit slightly embarrassing, surprise.

The rest of their hodge-podge ensemble consisted of three female backup singers, a bassist, a guitarist, and a collection of sound making machines. I don't want to give away all the details of the show. They are a fun band that is full of quirky little eccentricities. However, I do remember thinking early on in their performance that I could not tell if these guys were trying to be serious, or, if they were an all-out joke band. Then they gave people in the crowd fucking TINFOIL RIBBON STREAMERS to twirl around, and I laughed out loud. For the love of [insert deity here] and all that is holy, someone book me an interview with these guys. In any case, they are incredibly fun if you can retain a light-hearted sense of humor (which seemed an outright challenge for some of the people at this concert, whose poor blackened hearts having forgotten what "fun" was long ago).

I highly recommend Daniel Ouellette. Go see them! Whether you end up a lover or a hater, you will fucking laugh. 3 Thumbs-Up. I stole a thumb from someone that wasn't having fun, because I was having enough fun for both of us!
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Ground to Dust

Third Band: Ground To Dust

I've actually been listening to this particular Boston based project, in all of it's various incarnations, for the better part of five or six years. The mastermind of G2D (Ground To Dust) has another band called Antidote For Annie (A4A). I used to like both of these projects, with a preference towards G2D, because they were fairly different projects. A4A is EBM music with a female vocalist. Not terribly deep, but definitely fun, danceable music. G2D used to be an instrumental project full of crunchy beats, nice string progressions, and genuine creativity that diverged from the typical "verse chorus verse bridge chorus chorus" song structure. G2D's earlier instrumental-only music evoked emotion, yet still managed to be really fun to dance along to.

The current G2D, however, seems to be following in the footsteps of A4A, but with a male vocalist. Don't get me wrong, G2D is still a fun and great music project, and I will continue to support them in any way that I can. Also, the vocalist is very good. I just can't help but feel they would both do better as separate entities, or as a different project if they plan on keeping this current arrangement. The lyrics and singing style don't fit with the music. It's too foreboding, and too super gothy. And this is coming from someone whom has been, and will continue to be, a goth for 13 years running. I feel that the lyrics actually detract from how expressive the music used to be on its own. The instrumental aspect of the project has since been simplified to make room to accommodate for the singing. On top of that, the lyrics are super cheesy. For me, there is a big disconnect between what I used to love about this project, and it's current instrumental+lyrical music style that I prevents me from really getting into it. Even without history tainting my view, G2D's current sound feels disjointed.

The stage presence of this project is severely lacking. The thing is, I love going to electronic concerts where I know that I'll see a laptop band press buttons and gently rock out at their console set-ups, but, when there is a front man I expect a bit more. There was very little interaction with the crowd other than asking people to dance, and after the third or fourth time it starts to sound a bit desperate. Please believe me when I say that I wanted to give G2D a better review. I've loved G2D in the past, and will continue to look forward to their coming releases. I know these guys personally. But, I have to be honest, Step it up Guys!

1 Thumb-Up. I want to see G2D return to it's instrumental solo act again, but I'm probably biased there. Also, I would be interested to hear more from this vocalist, if presented in a different musical setting.

Cryogen Second

Fourth Band: Cryogen Second

Maybe I'm biased, but any band that takes the stage with the lead singer donning a Gothsicles shirt has my instant approval. I had the pleasure of speaking to Eric Sochocki, the singer of this particular electro-industrial-metal project, briefly, because some other asshole named Eric, from the band Everything Goes Cold, sent me on the mission to irritate him. Being that I have a reputation to uphold, I was happy to be of service. Eric Sochocki was very nice about the whole thing.

Okay, so... Short story? This band is FUCKING STELLAR. It takes a lot for me to say that, but holy shit did they deliver. Cryogen Second (CS) harnesses rage in the form of heavy power cord guitar riffs reminiscent or KMFDM, screamy incomprehensible vocals (Fuck, who needs words when you have raw emotion?), and an energetic and animated performance that was engaging, emotive, and fucking tired of all the bullshit that is life. CS was an awesome balancing point for a show that was fun, but not terribly deep. CS brought the party, full on, and no holds barred. CS was a great pre-headliner band. Their entire performance was made for moshing, if you're into that sort of thing, which I can be convinced to do from time-to-time. Sadly, most other goths melt at first touch, so no moshing was had. If you're looking for something to rage out and headbang to, these guys are as fucking metal as an industrial complex.

I loved Cryogen Second's show. I was face-to-face with the most aggressive wall of sound that I had heard in a long time, and it was fucking glorious. Go to CS's website. Stalk their fine asses, and see them perform at some point. Seriously! They are worth it: 2 GIGANTIC, oversized, stabby-happy Thumbs-Up.
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Ego Likeness

Headliner: Ego Likeness

As for Ego Likeness (EL), well, this is where seeing a show at a hole in the wall venue becomes a whole fucking thing. There were a lot of different technical difficulties throughout the entire night. By the time we got to our lovely headliner EL, everything was running a full hour behind schedule. Which meant that instead of EL taking the stage at 11, they went on at 12. I had to leave early to catch the last train home. I did, however, catch the first two and a half minutes of their performance while I was putting on my great many layers. What I heard during this time was, at the very least, entertaining.

1 Thumb-Up. I would need to see more to give a stronger endorsement, but, you should try to see them at some point.

On the whole, there is something for everyone here, and the price was astoundingly inexpensive. All of the performers were talented, fun, nice, and real people who stayed at the show to hang out and have a good time themselves. I love that community vibe. *warm squishies*

~D.H. Bomb

"Connecticut native, Boston inhabitant, and west coast defector."

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