Event: WERS’ first-ever 617 Day Live Concert
Artists: Mint Green, Coral Moons, and the Q-Tip Bandits
Venue: Brighton Music Hall
When: Friday, June 17th
It’s been nearly a week since the 617 Day show at Brighton Music Hall, and it isn’t an overstatement to say that the night has continued to live on every day since then.
Making a morning coffee, I’m reminded of the bittersweet moment Ronnica presented her bandmate with a Boston mug as a parting gift on stage, after seven years of playing together. I smile remembering Carly from Coral Moons pacing the stage like a true rocker while opening with a Metallica cover. And when Harry Styles’ “As It Was” inevitably comes on, I can’t help but to compare it to the Q-Tip Bandits’ live version, so bursting with energy that the crowd danced blissfully loose.
It's these moments, lyrics and feelings actively replaying in our minds that serve as clear signs of a night where everyone brought their all, from the crowd to the artists to the people behind the scenes. From tech difficulties to tears, it was a night not of perfection but of passion, and one that will stay with us at WERS, and hopefully with all who were in attendance, forever.
MINT GREEN SETS THE NIGHT OFF ON AN INCREDIBLE NOTE
Mint Green’s set starts quiet. Being the first to grace the stage this evening, they use the audiences still malleable ears to their advantage. At first, it's only Ronnica and the drummer, Daniel, that are on stage, a nod to the only two original members still in the group. She crouches low at the very front of the stage, a soft pink guitar in hand that happens to have a shark sticker on it matching the teal color of her skirt and microphone. The song chosen to start off the setlist is “Against the Grain,'' paralleling its place in the tracklisting as number one on their fresh LP “All Girls Go to Heaven”.
After the ending, the other two bandmates, Allsion and Blake, join them on stage for the start of the second song, “Foggy.” It’s an older one for longtime fans, coming from their 2018 EP “Headspace.” Towards the song’s ending, Ronnica rips away the amp chord and places the pink guitar on the stage's floor. She states at the same time that she “hates technology, who needs technology?” And she then takes a dance break before returning to the mic. At the end, she shouts out to us, “That’s what being punk is all about! It’s about being loud and being proud!” She adds, “Being out of tune is also a part of it. I don’t care, let's just do it!” There seems to be an issue on stage with her being able to hear, and while that may scare other artists, Ronnica and the rest of the band hold their own and continue on with the set.
They play through their next song, “Callie.” Mimicking the opening lyrics — “Dancing in the backyard” — the bandmates move more freely during this one. The audience mirrors this. “Callie” being one of their more known songs, you can hear people mumbling and moving along to its well-familiarized tune.
Before the last song, Ronnica pauses to address the audience. She tells us how this is the last show for Daniel, their drummer, before he leaves for his residency as he is studying to become a doctor. She invites him to the front of the stage, thanking him for being with her from the very formation of the group. Wiping away tears she hands him a going away present to remember Boston by, a mug that says “Wicked Smaht.” The crowd starts to chant “Daniel,” their own form of appreciation, as the bandmates reposition themselves for their last song.
The last song on the set I recognize instantaneously by the opening guitar. It’s “Body Language.” You can tell by the way they are playing this one that it’s different. It’s a bittersweet moment of them all being able to play together for the last time for a while.
Post-show, I tap her on the shoulder. We know each other from an interview we had done together ahead of the show, but this is our first time meeting in-person. She turns around, and leans in closer to hear what I am trying to say. Not being able to due to the noise of the crowd in front of us, she pulls me into the green room to catch up. Before I head back out to catch the last half of the performance being put on by the next band that now occupies the stage, she mentions that she always sees the same set of writers and photographers at every show but is glad to finally put a face to a name.
Walking down the narrow green stairway, I smile at the sentiment stated. As I open the door, a rush of sound hits my eardrums, that had been previously muffled noise. Looking at the stage, with different musicians now, I have no doubt in my mind that Mint Green’s genuine authenticity will be recognizable at every show they play.
- Kira Weaver, Staff Writer
CORAL MOONS DELIVERS THE MIDDLE SET THAT IS ANYTHING BUT MIDDLE OF THE ROAD
Coral Moons began their set with a twist: a cover of “Immigrant Song” from Led Zeppelin. Carly Kraft’s vocals soared over the rip of the guitar and drums, resounding over Brighton Music Hall. While they’re typically labeled as a soul or indie band, in that moment they were rockstars.
Riding the high of the energy of the cover, they launched into “Winnebago.” The bright, poppy energy and the catchy chorus got the whole crowd jumping up and down, imagining their own fantasy trip in a winnebago. With that song, they showed off their funk side, getting into subtly choreographed moments that solidified the synchronicity between all the band members.
Slowing down smoothly, the rhythm guitar of “Like We Used To” drove them into the tune. Each instrument felt highlighted in the simplicity of the song; Manuel, their bassist, provided a groovy instrumental, while Justin and Carly intertwined their guitar lines to create a cohesive sound.
They took off their retrospective, soul personas to go into “Tell Me To Run,” an anthem of trusting your gut and knowing when to leave. Once again, they embraced their inner rockstars, shredding on the guitar with Carly’s voice exuding bold confidence.
Going back further into their discography, they played the super funky and sensual “Just For Tonight” from their first EP Quarter Life Crisis. The shakers gave the song its groove, punctuating the beat, and while the energy pulled back a bit, the crowd kept dancing through it.
The next song was a 617 Day treat: an unreleased track called “Secrets.” Without spoiling too much about the awesome new song, it has this wonderful bassy start that really made it sound like Coral Moons coming into their own sound and groove in the moment.
“Under Control,” the second to last song of their set felt the most intimate of all. Carly sat at the edge of the stage, singing right to the people at the barricade, as the song began its soft, jazzy start. This song revealed Carly not only as a lead singer, but as a performer; as the song built, her vocals stretched to impressive heights, holding notes that almost felt like they were ringing with brilliance.
With Carly’s ability to command the stage physically and with the solid presence of the band, it really felt as though the audience truly connected with Coral Moons. For the grand finale, the entire crowd’s voices mingled with Carly’s for the song “I Feel Alive.” This track is already a celebration of humanity; add on 617 Day in the mix and the enthusiasm and passion was off the charts. It was especially fun watching the people at the barricade jump up and down with Carly, Manuel, and Justin.
Coral Moons’ whole set was a celebration of the importance of musical communities and what it looks like when it all comes together.
- Tatum Jenkins, Music Coordinator
THE Q-TIP BANDITS BRING BRIGHTON MUSIC HALL TO LIFE IN CELEBRATION OF ALBUM RELEASE
It was clear how much the night meant to the Q-Tip Bandits just by approaching the venue. At right about 7 p.m., some of the band members were outside hugging and greeting familiar faces that stood in line waiting for doors to open.
Later, seeing them to the side of the stage talking with the faces behind Mint Green and Coral Moons was a clear marker of how happy they were to share the stage with two other talented local acts. And overhearing small remarks from the crowd, it was easy to gather that a large number of people had long been anticipating the chance to see the Q-Tip Bandits live. Many spectators were connected with Berklee College of Music, where the Q-Tip Bandits’ Leo Son (vocals), Claire Davis (vocals and bass), Dakota Maykrantz (drums) and Hoyt Anthony Parquet (trombone) and Maclin Tucker (trumpet) first met.
All of these pre-show happenings, piled on top of it being the album release show for their debut full-length Melancholy Flowers, indicated that energy from both the band and crowd was going to be something special. But it was their set that truly cemented it as an unforgettable night.
In true Q-Tip Bandits’ tradition — and just as Leo Son said they would when he sat down for an interview ahead of the 617 Day show — “Chasing Cars” was the first song to lead into their set. The room came to life with bright-sounding horns, lively drumming and the energy poured in by Claire and Leo. A trumpet solo especially wowed the crowd, bringing in the hardest-hitting chorus by far, which saw Leo do a jump and stick his tongue out, all while shredding on the guitar.
COVERS CAPTIVATE THE CROWD
Next came another track from their just-released album, this one titled “Lifeline.” Led in with a groovy bass line, it was sung with a beautiful conviction by Claire. And then, in one of the most playful moments of the night, they began to play what was seemingly a cover of the Kid LAROI and Justin Beiber’s hit single “Stay.” The catchy melody was carried by the horns and had the audience dancing and ready to sing along. But in a twist, it turned into a cover of the Scooby Doo theme song, no less catchy or enjoyable.
That wasn’t the only cover of the night. Their take on MGMT’s “Kids,” winded up and down in intensity more than the original, from the gentle touch of tambourine added with whispery vocals for the pre-chorus to the chorus’ loud entrance, the band’s instrumentation coming together with vigor. During “Kids,” they brought out flower-shaped inflatables for the audience to bounce around, only adding to the party-like atmosphere they had already built up well. Paper Mache flowers, standing as tall as the bandmates, could also be found on stage, both set props nods to the album in celebration— Melancholy Flowers.
Immediately after “Kids” came another just-released Q-Tips original, “Wrong Address.” Leading into the song, which is inspired by traveling for tour, Claire talked about how the band had “just gotten back from [their] greatest adventure yet,” having toured for seven weeks across the U.S. this spring. “Oh man, does it feel good to be home. Playing Brighton Music Hall, this is a dream come true,” she continued, met with cheers from the audience.
The Q-Tip Bandit’s then put their spin on “As It Was” by Harry Styles. I’ve heard many artists cover the catchy lead single of Styles’ upcoming album Harry’s House — from Arcade Fire to orchestras. But seeing it covered live by a band with the ability to pack in as much fun as the Q-Tip Bandits was better than imagined. Saxophonist Max Kaufman especially shined during the cover. It effortlessly brought the most energy of the night, encouraging those on the fence about dancing and singing along to throw themselves into the unexpected, familiar, and oh-so-catchy performance.
A BLEND OF NEW SONGS AND OLD FAVORITES
The Q-Tip Bandits' set covered almost the entirety of their debut album Melancholy Flowers. The LP compiles both new material and in some cases songs that they had been playing for nearly five years.
It also contained a few standalone singles. The tender, sweet song, “The Wolf,” had couples leaning on each other and swaying along to the loving sentiments of the lyrics. And The catchy and upbeat “Ain’t It Great” later in the set, led into one of the best stretches of the night— the trio of “Blue,” “Happy,” and “Daisy,” all from the new record.
“Blue” first slowed things down a bit, ending with the crowd joining in and sing “C’est la vie,” drawing back the same feeling of chanting “I feel alive” earlier in the night, during Coral Moons’ set. “Happy” stood out boldy from the rest, the ballad offering a refreshing change of pace and an important message of self-love.
Leo then asked the audience for a “heart to heart” before starting the next song. He said that in releasing their album, the songs don’t just belong to the band, but to fans as well. He expressed gratitude for having the opportunity to create and share music with his bandmates, and said he finds peace and joy in it all. He then invited everyone to join in a collective scream “for whatever reason [needed].” A freeing feeling washed over the room before the band jumped into performing my personal favorite track on the record, “Daisy” and then left the stage.
THE ENCORE: A SIGNAL OF MORE TO COME
Returning for an encore — trombone player Hoyt Anthony Parquet now rather randomly wearing a banana suit — the Q-Tip bandits capped the night off with two more songs. First came an unreleased song titled “Tip Toe,” a reassuring sign that there is more to come. “This is just the beginning,” Leo said as he prepared to start the track. Then came “Willow,” the first song that the Q-Tip Bandits ever put out; one that radiates nothing but positive, feel-good energy.
“There’s no place like home,” Leo noted once the song winded down. The night closed with him asking the audience to join in a call-and-response.
“Q-Tip,” he said. And overwhelmingly, enthusiastically, the crowd chimed in, “Bandits.” The room repeated the chant a few times, not wanting the time to come for the band to slip off the stage; not wanting the magic of the entire night to fade.
- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator