Ghosts of Jupiter
Nate Wilson Group fires up a killer bill at the Music Hall.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Photo: Michael Spencer
arlier this year, the Nate Wilson Group played the first show ever at the Brighton Music Hall, the 340-capacity Allston Village venue that used to be Harpers Ferry. Actually, the word “played” could be the understatement of the year; it sold that mother out, and some, and burned strong for a two-plus-hour set. Tomorrow night, (Friday, May 13), NWG is back in action and is bringing along 2007 Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble winners Township and the sprouting rock/funk/folk outfit Banana Phonetic. Tickets are available online (for the time being) for only $12 on Ticketmaster. I’d say that’s a pretty damn good deal for a loaded bill like this one.
Expect a few surprises. Word on the street is that this will likely be Nate Wilson Group’s last show in Boston. Wait, what? Actually, there’s nothing to worry about here: Nate Wilson Group will keep steaming along, but under a different moniker. It will be evolving into the Ghosts of Jupiter, and for a band heavy on the fuzz lust and psychedelic juices, that’s not a bad name to take.
Regardless of what you call it, this group is one of the finest collections of Boston and New England-based talent you’ll find on the club circuit and regional festival circus. The band’s namesake and lead man couples a mystic howl with righteous organ swells via a battered Leslie speaker (perhaps the most dangerous and underappreciated sound in rock music). Drummer Tom Arey is one of the most in-demand timekeepers in town. He’ll join Chirstian McNeill’s rock collective, Sea Monsters, anytime they're gigging, and is known to sit in with various jazz and funk gatherings. He’s the drummer that other drummers envy.
NWG/Ghosts of Jupiter pack the heaviest ammo in the guitar department. It should be that way; after all, the band rolls with the road-tested classic rock model—you’ll hear plenty of Zeppelin in there, and Cream (both in sound and spirit), and some of the lesser-touted but equally as respected groups like Traffic, Grand Funk Railroad, and Little Feat. Slinging the axes with the Ghosts are Johnny Trama, the “Mayor of Boston,” as some call him, and Adam Terrell, a member of the country-jam unit Assembly of Dust (one of Wilson’s former groups). A melding of Gibson-induced fire, wah-wah draping, and a whole lotta fuzz make the six-string dosage downright lethal from this army. It drops the riffs that make you say, “Aha, that’s fucking nice.” You’ll never get tired of saying it, either. It makes me wonder: Is it even possible to fall out of love with the guitar? Definitely not a chance in hell here.
Opening up the already stacked night is Banana Phonetic, an Allston-based group bred out of BU and BC a few years ago. What started as a jam vehicle has produced a strong collection of songs, by the handfuls—all five members bring ideas to the table and are constantly working on the craft. BP’s newest collection, The Facts of Evolution, was recently mastered and will be out by summertime. I’ve gotten the chance to sample the five-song set, and was instantly struck by how well the band plays with dynamics—it brings you up, brings you down, and makes you feel nice the whole way through. It’s slow burning music for people who want to rock, but rock music for people who want to mellow out. The beauty of Banana Phonetic’s music, although hard to categorize, is that it always feels just right. And the best part about tomorrow night’s show is that you’ll be able to hear most of the new cuts. Check out my iPhone vid of one of them. It’s called “Afterparty.”
Commanding the middle slot, Township has long been a respected force in Boston rock ’n’ roll circles. Hell, it won the holiest contest in town four years ago, which ironically was held on the same stage as tomorrow’s show (same room, different name, and definitely for the better). Rock is in good hands with these guys: It’s smash and grab in its finest form and perfect for the neck muscles.
Nate Wilson Group and Township play the Brighton Music Hall tomorrow (Friday, May 13). Banana Phonetic supports. Tickets are available for $12 on Ticketmaster and will be available at the door while they last.
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