Thursday, February 11, 2010

Music Happens Here

I know most of this school is from the mid-atlantic, not the northeast, but I hope you too can appreciate some good old-fashioned northeast indie rock. The former front man from Dispatch, Chad Urmston, has had the most success of the three with his break off band State Radio. They’re back at the 930 club, having played an awesome show two years ago, one of the music highlights of my sophomore year (though this may be due to the Dispatch sing along on the metro ride back).

It seems ridiculous to think that Dispatch broke up so long ago, but last year’s Let it Go was State Radio’s fourth album. While not their best album, it has several excellent songs and continues their experimentation with reggae beats. The sound meshes surprisingly well with their upbeat rock, and they’re only getting better. They posted their newest music video two weeks ago to the track Knights of Bostonia. It’s one of the best songs on the new album, and the video is real funny.

They’ve also put most of the album on their myspace if you want to check it out. Their energy really translates to a great live show.

The word about Dispatch’s demise generally focused on differing opinions about the message the band wanted to send. Chad was always pushing the band in a more political direction. Chad’s work in Zimbabwe was the inspiration for the classic song Elias, and later the impetus for their reunion show in NYC (my favorite show I’ve ever attended) and their little known Kennedy Center show last year played at the request of Zimbabwe’s prime minister.

These politics have always been at the core of State Radio’s ethos as a band, and Let it Go brings more great political commentary for the enlightened listener. Bohemian Grove is a mellow Dispatch-style jam, one of my favorites on the album, with a great political message. The climb to the chorus is dope:
It's a peculiar situation
When the leaders of the wealthy nations
Don't know all the damage they’ve done
Gotta love Chad.

The first night is being opened by Big D and the Kids Table, a ska band that’s been around for a while. Ska’s not my thing so I’m not going to say too much, but they could be just as popular as State Radio.

The second night is being opened by Can’t Hang, a really solid Baltimore raggae rock group. Their real easy listening sound makes them the perfect warmup for a show that rocks as hard as State Radio. They’re super scrappy and have been around for almost ten years just trying to get by. They’re small time and while they have done a few national tours, they stay mostly in the Maryland/Delaware area so this is a unique chance to see them in the city. Their fifth album, Ride the Lightrail, came out in late 2009 and actually has some really good tracks. If you’ve never heard of Can’t Hang, then listen to Bird River Grove, a 2001 track and a great one.

930 Club
February 26th – State Radio with Big D and the Kids Table
February 27th – State Radio with Can’t Hang
Tickets are $20 per night, or $35 for the two. Hope to see you there!

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