"There's nothing better than live music. It's raw energy, and raw energy feeds the soul."
~ Dhani Jones
This past Wednesday night, four of us headed into Boston for a much needed dose of live music at the Royale, easily one of my favorite venues in the area. I was particularly excited about this show for a couple reasons. First, one of the four bands that would be playing was Pink Feathers, lead by my friend and fellow Oiselle teammate, Liz Anjos. And second, it's live music. Enough said. My good friend Laura, scooped me up around 6:00pm and we made our way across town to grab Wendy and Mary Ellen, who I can always count on to be my music wingladies. You may remember Laura, who joined me for the Cayucas show over the summer. In case you didn't read that one, Laura and her family moved back to MA from CA in July and while she's settling in nicely, it's clear from our ride on Wednesday evening that she still doesn't know her way around the city very well. Not that I don't appreciate her driving. I do. We just may have run a red light or two and missed a few turns. Regardless, we somehow managed to find our way to downtown Boston and pulled into the first available parking garage to get off the streets. Little did we know that the parking garage would be an adventure in and of itself. No need to go into detail here, it just took us a long, long time to both find a spot and then to fit into it. Kudos to Laura who held it together from start to finish. About 2 hours after leaving Winchester, we were finally on foot in the city. We grabbed a quick bite at Abby Lane, a funky, chic joint conveniently located a couple doors down from the Royale. The restaurant had a casual atmosphere, good food, and was affordable which was exactly what we were looking for. Before we knew it, it was 8:00pm so we quickly paid and then hurried over to the theatre which is strangely hard to find as it's kind of set back off the street; almost like a speakeasy. Weird but cool. After showing our tickets and IDs, we zipped upstairs and planted ourselves up front to hear Pink Feathers, who had already taken the stage.
Liz Anjos of Pink Feathers
Pink Feathers has a retro pop, 50s era thing going and Liz plays the part perfectly. Her voice is sugary sweet and she uses it like another instrument that adds color and depth to each song. Her pitch is high and her range insanely big. It all comes together beautifully with her band and she looks ridiculously chic as she works her magic. We got to hear a few of her own songs off her new EP, Invisible Lines, as well as a cover of Lesley Gore's 'You Don't Own Me' which she told us was for "ALL THE WOMEN". Those of you who run for Oiselle and are familiar with owner, Sally Bergesen, will appreciate this. When Liz's set was done I went to find her so I could tell her how cool she was and how fabulous she'd sounded.
hanging with Liz
We chatted for a while about band-related things like how long they were going to be in town, (they were leaving that night) where they were headed next, (NYC) and her specific style, (50s with an 80s edge). We also chatted about running. We're both doing the Los Angeles Marathon in February and we have similar agendas for the week-end which will include watching the Olympic marathon trials on Saturday, catching up with our Oiselle teammates who are racing and cheering, hanging with the crew of Runner's World Loopsters who will be also be out there, and then racing on Sunday. After a while I realized I was having to shout so Liz could hear me over Filous, the second act of the night who'd already taken the stage and jumped right into his set. So, Liz and took a quick photo and promised to catch up on LA at a later time.
Filous is an 18 year old Austrian music producer. Prior to this show, I'd never heard of him, but as it turns out, I have his version of How Hard I Try (feat. James Hersey) on my running playlist. Who knew? With his own instruments and a computer, he presented us with a variety of "pop-leaning, guitar-laden remixes" (note: I borrowed this description to ensure that I got the lingo right) and had all four of us totally mesmerized. When he finished we kind of stood there, speechless for a few minutes, digesting what we'd just heard. I can't wait to hear more from this guy who's talent is both deep and endless.
Mary Ellen, Laura, Wendy and your's truly
We had a pretty big break until the next show, so we hung out, grabbed some water and took a group photo. Next on the lineup would be Big Data, an electronic music project lead by producer Alan Wilkis who hails from Brooklyn. I'd heard of this group and listened to a few of their popular songs including the well-known cut, 'Dangerous', but I really had no idea what they were all about. The drummer and two guitarists got set up first and then the room went dark. We then got a very loud, vocal intro on the screens behind the stage by Wilkis who seemed to be manually booting up his set. After that, he came out on stage wit singer Lizy Ryan and the two of them got right down to business, taking both the volume and the energy in the room to a whole new level.
Big Data has an 80s alternative electro/pop/dance sound with a sharp edge to it (think Robert Palmer or Talking Heads). Wilkis and Ryan had these synchronized dance moves going, and they were hitting each one perfectly together. It was incredible. After a few of their own songs, they did an incendiary version of Hall & Oates' 'Private Eyes'. For the record, Hall & Oates was my first concert. So, I got a huge kick out of this one. Wilkis was sporting a suit and dark glasses and had this badass/corporate look going and Ryan was this tall, beautiful, long-haired siren who I couldn't really stop gawking at. And her voice, oh my Lordy, her voice. It was so insanely loud and piercing and gorgeous all at the same time. If this doesn't make sense, I'm sorry, it's really hard to put this one into words. The two of them together were on fire and the set completely blew my mind. You need to go see this band.
Lizy Ryan doing her thing.
I'm embarrassed to tell you that the four of us could not hold out to see RAC, the final artist that would be playing that night. By the time Big Data was done it was 10:30 and all of us were beyond wiped, which was a major bummer. RAC (Remix Artist Collective) is a solo indie electronic project lead by Liz's husband, André Allen Anjos, and I had really wanted to see him live. I have a ton of RAC's music on my running playlist and based on what I've read, his live act does not disappoint. Hopefully, he will come back to Boston and maybe (Liz, can you please pass this on) go on a little earlier for us 40+ moms who have to get up at the crack of dawn the next day. All in all, it was an incredible night out. I am always moved beyond words when I get to see the artists I love in person. If you can swing it, get out and see live music. There is truly nothing like it.
Leaving incognito in our Big Data masks.
Listen to these:
Ghosts - Pink Feathers
How Hard I Try - Filous
Dangerous - Big Data