Monday, January 28, 2008

The Ice of Boston

Hey! The ice of Boston is muddy
And reflects no light, in day or night
And I slip on it every time.

--Dismemberment Plan “The Ice of Boston”

Having just returned from Boston yesterday (Sunday) means I had those lyrics in my head nonstop last week. Yes, if you’re going on a roadtrip you need to have some music set up as a playlist in your iPod, CD, MP3 player, mixtape or whatever medium you use. And if you’re like me, you’ll also have the music in your head. Anyway, the D Plan’s “Ice of Boston” is just what the doctor ordered to head to Boston in the middle of winter. “Shipping Off to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys is a great choice as well, but a bit on the chin, what with Jonathan Papelbon’s dancing after the playoffs win this past year. Mind you I’m not giving short shrift to the Murphy’s or Papelbon, I’m just saying that the D Plan was most appropriate right now.

Anyway, the crew flew into Manchester, NH, on Friday night and the evening degenerated into a 4:00 am rager. No worries though because we had no need to leave for Boston ‘til mid-day Saturday. After much nip playing, we got on the road, 5-strong, and zipped along 93S to Boston. The sun was out, but the air was chilly and the body knew that it was going to be even worse come nighttime. The whole reason for this mad rush down the highway was to see the SO’s brother (Shane Papatolicas--check out his music Website here) open for Seeking Homer at the Paradise Lounge. In addition to the other concert attendees, there would be about 35 or 40 of us representing from DC, NH, and Maine to support Shane.

We arrived at the Embassy Suites right across from the Charles River, and with a great view of Boston. After checking in and having a few pops in the hotel lounge we made our way to the Sunset Grille for dinner for 30. The place was pretty solid because they had a huge beer list similar to DC’s Brickskellar and RFD. If nothing else, I loved the fact that the place served yards of ale. You don't see those around too much anymore. Following dinner and beers, we made the freezing walk over to the Paradise Lounge for the tunes.

The Music:

Shane Papatolicas at the Paradise Lounge, Boston, MA. January 25, 2008

I’ve seen Shane play a number of times before and he always impresses. This show was probably above average though. Maybe it was the excitement of having so many friends and family members in the audience. Who knows. Either way, he did a great show with a mix of old and new tunes. My only beef was that the venue only allotted him 35 minutes. Frankly, a little extra would have been nice, but what are ya gonna do.

Shane was followed by The Grift, a Burlington, VT jammy outfit. I’m still unsure what to make of them. Some of their songs sounded really good, others didn’t hit the mark. Seeking Homer came on last. Even thought I’ve heard their music in the past, they were not what I expected. That’s not an off-handed insult, or compliment. It’s just that I had a hard time getting a grasp on them. The band has a huge following all over New England and New York, but they haven’t branched out all that much. If the band made it big at some point, their music and popularity would be on par with a Jimmy Eat World. In other words, everybody would know them and their music would be playing at beach clubs from Dewey Beach to Avalon and everywhere in between and out to the other coast. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing at all. I’m just saying that their sound was a bit of throwback 80s hair with mid-2000’s pop, and a fair amount of jam in the middle of it all. Regardless, the show was a blast because of all the people we had floating around.

Going to Boston of course means that the best of Trashachusetts will be in effect. And it was. Oh yes indeed. Guys and girls both were representing their trashiest best. I’m talkin’ big hair, do rags (on the men), tight, acid-washed jeans, and so on. That just adds to the flavor and you have to expect it in Boston, especially at a concert venue. Anyway, the night ended with some much needed grease and a nightcap, followed by some even more necessary sleep.

Sunday morning I was greeted by a call from my friend at 11:00 saying that there’s a surprise awaiting me out the window. So I crawled out of the warmth of the bed and opened the blackout shades to see a white-out flurry blowing in the sky and the Charles absolutely covered in snow. You can see the after effect in the pictures above. Dag. So much for a leisurely brunch with bloody marys served with colossal shrimp! After a brief powwow, we decided to get on the road sooner rather than later in case the snow kept up and slowed our drive back to Manch. We made our way to the lobby and were in the car on the road by noon. We ended up having a not-so-tasty meal at a restaurant inside of Manchester Airport. It was disappointing to say the least. The flight was delayed slightly and we got into BWI about an hour and change later than anticipated. The crappy lunch was overshadowed by the deliciousness of Henry’s fried chicken. But wait. That’ll be a blog of its own. Awwww yeah. Let’s just say that my jacket still stinks like grease. And that’s a good thing.

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