Over two decades in the bar industry has left a sour taste in my mouth for this time of year. So if you were to tell me that I was going to Somerville, MA on Halloween weekend to attend a show called 'Aquatic Alien Vampires From Hell And Outer Space'; I would more than likely call you a liar. Nonetheless on Friday, October 28th 2022, I found myself at said event in said town, at the one and only The Jungle.
The Jungle, also know as The Jungle Community Music Club, is quickly becoming one of my favorite venues in Massachusetts. Tucked down an alley between the The Independent and BRONWYN Restaurant, The Jungle offers a variety of cocktails, beer, food, and live music. Of the times I have been to this venue, the vibe has never been anything but fun and safe. On the first night of Halloween shenanigans, it offered the same vibe.
The show opener is no Johnny-come-lately when it comes to performing. The multi-platform musical artist, Squallie Greenthumb, stood on stage with a cool and calm comfortableness in not only his costume, but with his demeanor. Armed with only an acoustic guitar, Squallie sang fantastic songs about love and death and had the crowd eating it up. Even with the subject matter being darker than most, the charisma surrounding Squallie Greenthumb's persona makes you smile, feel happy, and sing along to the music. Squallie's partner, Jacqui, joined him for a song and her euphonious vocals definitely added another great element to the opening performance. Also it's important to mention that Squallie put this entire evening together, so I tip my hat for that as well. Well done, sir.
Next up was Olde Boy, another veteran of live performing. Olde Boy's demanding and formidable vocals sound like he gargles whiskey and has lived the lives of a thousand men and makes his power to the people-style lyrical storytelling resonate inside of everyone within earshot. Lyrics that censure the current state of the economy, and in particular capitalists, make you feel the pain of the people that Olde Boy is championing. His music makes you want to go protest greed and selfishness. We need people like him making music that gives the common folk a voice. Olde Boy finished his set with two songs back to back about man's best friend that hit me particularly hard. Thank you, Liam, for performing them both.
The next performance was quite a delight. Thou Merciless Graves is more than a musician and more than a band. Thou Merciless Graves is an experience. What I can only describe as a nautical themed rock opera filled with storytelling, music, video clips, sound effects, and giant jellyfish. Apparently this particular arrangement was an abridged version of what Thou Merciless Graves typically brings to a show. That alone makes me want to see this performance again. Now a two person act, Thou Merciless Graves captivated the audience from start to finish. Folks who were familiar with this performance, sang along to some of the songs, which gave a 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' vibe. Front woman, Caitlin, emphasized the storytelling with theatrical expressions. Newest member of Thou Merciless Graves, Eileen, made this set even more enjoyable than it already was with the synthesizer. To put this simply, I want to see them again.
The final act on this unforgettable evening was none other than Boston's Coffin Salesman. This five-piece doom rock band came out of the gate with the melt your face off rock n' roll that we all love. Aria Rad's vehement stage presence puts the entire band in a trance-like state as if they are all possessed by the same entity. Each instrument emits sounds that is equally hypnotic for the crowd. I have seen this band perform a few times and each time I fixate on, not only the performance, but a different sound. This time around was Dayna's clarinet. I found myself nodding to the music and when I looked around - I noticed the entire crowd was as well. Fast, forceful, and aggressive body movements were so fine tuned that it felt as if Dayna and her clarinet were pulling marionette strings as this crowd. It was if they were trying to manically break free of the grasp the music or to violently expel demons from their conscience. Coffin Salesman is a special brand of rock n roll. You feel every inch of it from your toes to your head; it hits your core and devours your soul. And when it is all said and done, you can never shake it.
I think Aquatic Alien Vampires From Hell And Outer Space won the war inside me...