Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Review: Plushgun, The Main Drag & The Bynars @ T.T. the Bear's 8/28

Cambridge's T.T. the Bear's hosted a four-band dance party Friday night featuring Plushgun as headliners, a three-piece electro-pop dance group from New York City.

The Bynars, a local Boston band headed by Matt Jatkola, started off the night with a pop set including some songs from their upcoming EP (CD release show is slated for September 20 at Great Scott). The band is known for their catchy dance tunes and eccentric affinity for Star Trek. T.T's was the first Boston show for the Trekkies since they got back from their northeast/midwest tour. Bringing stories from the road, the foursome played an energetic set with tunes reminiscent of
the Beach Boys. The songs "Bone Dry" and "Party All Night" were the catchiest of their set with harmonic "oohs" and strong percussion. The high point was when a "random" member of the audience dressed in beachy gym apparel jumped on stage and accompanied the band with an impressive guitar solo.

Boston's light-hearted dance band The Main Drag was the next act of the night, showing no signs of hesitation to get down and groove. By the time the band started, the house was full and the mood fuller. Keyboardist and vocalist Matt Boch entertained the crowd with his literal "drag" getup: a black and hot-pink dress with tights and matching Nikes. The band played their famous Guitar Hero track titled "A Jagged
Gorgeous Winter" and also rekindled my love for LCD Soundsystem with their cover of "All My Friends." It was the second time I'd seen The Main Drag play and I can now confirm the band won't sing songs they don't care about. Boch always looks as if he's singing his lyrics for the first time, eyes shut and smiling genuinely.

The last local bunch to craze the crowd was the synth-rock band, The Appreciation Post. It was a special night for bandmate Roger Lussier, as it was his last on-stage appearance with The AP (Roger's next venture is a west coast tour with Pretty & Nice). The band graced T.T's stage with collared shirts and a high level of energy; the guys danced, clapped, and pumped their fists. Like The Main Drag, The AP appeared to be emotionally invested in all of their songs--whether the reason being it was Roger's last show or not, it didn't matter--their performance was solid. They delivered impassioned lyrics and played some old songs that drove fans wild, such as the track "Make Your Move."

Plushgun, a Brooklyn band known for their overwhelmly "infectious" songs, finished off the night with a storm of fan-favorite tracks. Frontman Dan Ingala carried the group with songs he wrote and released off the band's latest album, Pins & Panzers. The trio's performance was strong and well received for the most part--Plushgun fans were impressed. Others however, not so much. Perhaps it was because Plushgun was the only touring band, but I overheard a conversation between two guys debating whether a band like Plushgun has any staying power because they "sound like so many other things out there." Such is a common problem with indie groups that haven't reached a certain level of acclaim yet: Can the band stand out amongst the others, and if so, how? In this case, the listener loves Plushgun as a great one-night stand, but sees no possibility of commitment.

-Jen Brown

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