The distinct beauty of the small-scale club show is that sometimes you’ll show up and immediately feel like you’re crashing someone’s house party. Three tries to get past the dude at the door? Check. Experimental psychedelic rock band in full swing? Check. At least four balloons, a birthday cake, and a dude wearing sunglasses indoors? Of course! These nights are fun, easy, and a total p-a-r-t-why? Because you gotta.
The experimental psychedelic rock outfit was the Good Trees River Band, a five-piece out of Providence. They came in hot and improv heavy with a whole lot of personality and a whole lot of talent, particularly in guitarist Sam Attridge, whose technical skill and swing quite possibly warmed my heart to jam bands.
Bruvs, the “two radical dudes from East Bridgewater,” played second with Zack Petti on vocals and guitar and “Hawt” Dave Petti on drums. This was a no frills, nuclear, melt-your-face-off kind of set. Dave was thunder on drums, providing both bass and rhythm to Zack’s distorted guitar and vocal. Zack was all energy and eccentricity, wishing his brother a happy birthday in between songs, and bantering incomprehensibly. Bruvs played quite a few songs off their self-titled debut and a new track titled “Chill,” which was released this year. Many of their songs were just under or over two minutes which broke up longer tracks like “Friends” and drove their set to a really satisfying end. The would’ve-been-in-every-90s-movie-soundtrack song “New Digs” was the clear highlight as it is a perfect song (So catchy! Those drums! Lyrical repetition perfect for sing- alongs!). I have in my notes: “Bruvs absolutely crashed it” and maybe I meant crushed but the sentiment remains the same.
After a brief intermission, The Quins, also from East Bridgewater, closed the show with their quintessential throwback rock and laid back energy. They played a couple songs off their highly anticipated album, due out in October, that felt pop and contemporary and good as well as many off its predecessors. “Heart to Break” off their 2014 album “A Tale of Love and Evil” was a clear fan favorite. As soon as the song began there was an audible squeal among the crowd. “Here’s our famous song from the 90s,” joked guitar and vocalist, Robbie “Krobs” Sturtevan. Cell phones immediately went up to capture the moment, which admittedly I tend to knock, but in this context with the crowd heavy with family and friends, it felt right.
In addition to Sturtevan, you had Donny Hayes on bass and voice (this guy can sing), Dave Petti (of Bruvs) back on drums, and James “Quincy” Medaglia on guitar and the most magically unpredictable vocals. You know that scene in Wayne’s World 2 when Wayne and Garth finally meet Handsome Dan? Listening to The Quins and then seeing them live is kind of like that. The dude who took his pants off in the middle of the set to play in his boxers is the same dude who channeled moments of Shannon Hoon, Axl Rose, and somehow Julian Casablancas (“Gunner Bee”) throughout the night. Medaglia is a vocal chameleon which suits the chronic genre bending of The Quins. Big highlight was “Mother Earth,” which showcased the band’s strength as the dopest metronome under Medaglia’s dirty rock and blues vocal and guitar.
The Quins are a well-oiled machine. You can easily tell there’s a lot of love, trust, and experience between its members and even more, you can see how much they love to play. It says so much about a band when you can’t tell if they’re playing for a crowd of 10 or a crowd of 1000. I saw MGMT phone it in in front of a massive crowd of Paul McCartney fans simply because “none of you know who we are.” The Quins are not that band. Regardless of the shape and size of a venue, you’re getting their all and luckily for us, all of it is good.