matt pryor, the front bottoms, the tower & the fool. review. 2/29/12.

first ever show review. read it or don’t.

unedited. for the muse/ daily free press, boston university (it’s not up there yet, but i reckon it will be soon).

By Julia Hines
Great Scott gave us a Great Lineup this Wednesday, for sure. Matt Pryor of The Get Up Kids (The New Amsterdams, Reggie and the Full Effect) headlined, with support from New Jersey indie darlings The Front Bottoms and Rhode Island six-piece The Tower & The Fool. It’s not often you get a night of such concentrated talent—three performances that could stand on their own and make for a totally satisfying show.

The Tower & The Fool was the most elaborate act of the night, boasting three guitars, bass, keys, and a drum set. The strings packed a punch and filled the bar wall-to-wall with sound, cradled by soulful organ. Correia and Rosenquest’s vocal harmonies were symbiotic, and the melodies were memorable. When lyrics erred on the side of cliché (“Oh my heart, Oh my heart is dead….”), conviction and style kept them from falling flat. Chris Capaldi’s slide guitar work added a totally unexpected element to the music and brought the performance to another level. Their new 7”, XIII, is available now.

The Front Bottoms commanded the crowd for their forty minutes, having drawn a sizeable fanbase to the venue. The trio’s self-titled debut album has generated enough interest that MTV Buzzworthy recently released the video for their song “Looking Like You Just Woke Up,” which had a spot in Wednesday’s set. The recharged crowd took the folky head-bobbing vibe in a dance-mosh direction, screaming earnestly, fists raised, over the monitors. Uychich’s drumming and Sella’s simple guitar work said pop-punk, but the keyboard and playful composition made the band pleasantly difficult to place. Sella’s talky voice was unique in tone, and his stylish, honest lyrics lacked any pretension. “And I will remember that summer/ As the summer I was taking steroids/ ‘Cause you like a man with muscle/ And I like you,” sang the lyricist—some of the most bare-it-all words of the night.

Then Matt Pryor finally took the stage. After the previous two acts, his solo acoustic material was a welcome return to the basics. There was something no-nonsense and comfortable about the way he approached the spotlight. Years of experience will do that, and Pryor has been in the game since The Get Up Kids debut, Four Minute Mile, in ’97.

On Wednesday, he performed a few selections from his new album May Day, including the aggressive, fast-strummed “Polish the Broken Glass,” and “Don’t Let the Basterds Get You Down.” The catchy tracks bode well for his newest. Pryor asked for requests, leaving the set mostly up to the audience, and song titles rained down on the stage. The resulting mix included songs from his last album, Confidence Man, some Get Up Kids tunes, and a Kill Creek cover, “All Ears.” His attitude kept the atmosphere light, despite the sometimes gloomy nature of his lyrics. “Loralai” was sweet in its longing, and “I’ll Carry You” ended the night on a lovely note. In all, Pryor’s well-wrought songs were belted powerfully, and his “less is more” guitar playing was solid.

With any luck, these acts will be back in Boston soon. For indie music fans, they’re not to be missed.

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