Tag Archives: fun

Miniature Tigers? What Fun?! (A concert review)

23 Apr

The most wonderful thing about the House of Blues in Boston–is that there is a restaurant attached. Why,do you ask, is this the best thing? Three words: Pass the Line.

For my birthday gift this year, I asked to go to a concert at the House of Blues. Not just any concert: Fun. If you don’t know who Fun is–tune in to your local radio station some time. Or better yet, watch some television and keep yourself posted for the Chevy Sonic commercial with all the crazy car stunts. That, my dear reader, is Fun. The song everyone– from the tweens to the moms–seem to be singing lately is ‘We are young’. Frankly, it’s a bit disappointing that this is the song that caught everyone’s attention, since they have far better songs to offer. Nevertheless, since this commercial aired during the Superbowl this year, they’ve become suddenly and overwhelmingly popular.

So buying a meal at the House of Blues restaurant was a small price to pay for the opportunity to cut the seemingly endless line of eager fans at the door to get in. My boyfriend and I were one of the first guests inside, and the venue is by far one of my favorites. Small and warmly lit, the walls are lined symmetrically with artwork that looks as if small children completed them. The walls are painted in warm colors, and the stage is adorned with multiple religious symbols and the phrase “Who do you love” is framed at center stage. Arranged in three tiers of viewing, a bar adorns each level, back lit and glowing in the dim but welcoming light. The bottom level is standing room only, and features the authentic crowd-crushing capacity that most concerts are known for. I personally prefer to be able to see the stage with ease (as I am a regrettably short 5’4′–it is almost guaranteed that someone will be taller than me and will block my view of the stage.) and prefer the mezzanine level. There are two options for this level: standing room and ticketed seating. For both Fun and last year’s Panic at the Disco concert, I preferred standing room, just simply because you can wriggle closer to the stage if you get there early.   The standing room is to the left and right sides of the stage, and the seating is in the back. Above this level is similar, but shorter in length and can hold less people. I suppose this would be the best bet for those of you who find crowds extremely unpleasant but still love loud music.

The doors opened at 6, but I felt as if we were eagerly waiting, leaning against the railing for about an hour before the opening band, The Miniature Tigers began their set. Having been curious about this opening act, I had looked into the Miniature Tigers prior to attending the concert. From what I heard in their recordings, I doubted I would enjoy them. (Though nothing will ever surpass the horror that was Foxy Shazam. They played with their feet…literally…) Yet, I ended up being pleasantly surprised in that the Miniature Tigers were much better to listen to live than they were in recording. (A rare find–like a Charizard card in the original 150 decks.) However, I always find that the opening band is supposed to complete one simple task–warm up the audience for the band they really came to see. The Miniature Tigers seemed to fall a bit short in this respect. True, their lead singer did his best to get the audience interacting, but due to their somewhat mellow Modest Mouse meets The Beatles and Whites Stripes sound–it was difficult to get the audience pumped. Their last song, ‘Sex on the Regular’ was catchy enough to get a little “wiggle” (as the lead singer put it ) into the crowd. After re-listening to them, I think they may be something I could even get into.(And apparently their song ‘The Wolf’ was in  that movie Easy A.)

It was a bit of a long wait between the opening act and the main event–but was decidedly well worth it. Per when I witnessed Fun for the first time last year (At the previously mentioned Panic at the Disco concert) the lead singer, Nate Ruess, burst onto the stage full of energy and enthusiasm. This time, Nate sported a bright green Celtics Jersey, Rhondo’s to be specific, and proceeded to admit to the crowd that he wore the Jersey everywhere and that Fun had deep roots in Boston.

All members of the band seemed high energy and their joy was contagious. The crowd hooted and hollered, being encouraged by the band to sing along and make friends with strangers beside them. Fun lives up to their name with ease, and was a highly interactive and personable experience. Even in a crowd of easily hundreds, I felt as if I was interacting with the band. (If not the whole room.) They opened with the song, “One foot” (which I felt was an odd start out of the gate due to it’s strange almost grim lyrics) and ended with an encore of their newest song “Some Nights”. From start to end the energy was up, and Nate worked the crowd with the skill of a master performer. Each song was introduced like a personal friend of the band, and even the parents of the guitarist and the drummer were in the audience and brought to attention. The audience left with grins on their faces and I left with a skip in my step. Fun is by far one of my most favorite concert experiences yet, and I look forward to their next appearance nearby.

http://www.ournameisfun.com/

http://miniaturetigers.com/

http://www.houseofblues.com/venues/clubvenues/boston/

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Dinner and a Who-vie

21 Jan

Work this week was filled with the usual monotony and the occasional marijuana-filled rants of Rainbow Dash in his cubicle behind me. After a trip to Jamaica on his honey moon several years ago, he and his wife have been returning there every year. As someone who never spent time killing my brain cells that way–it can get a little uncomfortable. Yet somehow, it always manages to make me laugh. I mean, he’s old enough to be my father and still talks about his involvement in two separate rock bands, and having the munchies. He’s the king in his own mind. Good for him–I suppose I can’t help but admire that sort of self confidence. (Though not necessarily the way in which he earns it. haha)

 

I had intended to write yesterday, but it turned out to be a much more adventure packed evening than I had origionally anticipated. My boyfriend and I had already planned yesterday to be a outing for the two of us, and then we were both invited to a group of old friend’s house in Ashmont. There are three of them living there together and it seems like a fairly nice place. Nicely sized, clean and open. It is a place packed with possibilities. It makes me jealous in some ways. Anyway, we could only stay for about an hour as we didn’t want to miss the show we planned to see that night. We played Pictionary, chatted and caught up, and agreed to meet again next weekend before trekking back to the train.

The plan we had laid out for last night had included a trip to a place called Charlie’s Kitchen in Cambridge; but the thing about plans is–they never really go off as they were supposed to. Due to bitterly cold weather, and a general lack of knowledge of the Harvard Square area, we ended up eating in your standard Bertucchi’s instead. As this is a chain restaurant, and all of them are exactly the same–I didn’t find my inspiration in their food. (Although, I must admit their Chocolate Budino, was heavenly. A creamy, rich chocolate mousse in a tiny v-shaped cup. ) Though I was disappointed that we didn’t reach the restaurant I had hoped for–I was not disappointed for long.

The key to our evening last night, and the highlight, ended up being what I thought I would enjoy the least. My boyfriend has been a huge fan of a British Television show called, Dr Who, ever since he was small. As of recently, this show has become increasingly popular here in America among children and adults of all ages. I personally, am not very into the show. The premise: A man from outerspace (a humanoid alien called a TimeLord) traveling with a companion (usually a human woman, or I am told a useless robotic dog) in a spaceship that is called the Tardis. The Tardis looks like a british policebox on the outside, but the inside is apparently in a different dimension (just go with it) and is easily the size of a house. This police box apparently can hop through time with the alien or as he calls himself,
“The Doctor”, where he fixes or sometimes messes with time and ultimately saves the day.  And oh yes, the most important part–if The Doctor finds himself in trouble and dies–he doesn’t actually die. Instead something that is known as “regeneration” occurs, in which The Doctor becomes a completely different person.

 

Last night, as he and I stood in the cold outside of the Brattle theater, I was made distinctly aware of the extent of the love Dr Who fans have for the series. Shivering and chatting excitably, clumps of adults and kids alike bore various signs of the love for the show. I saw kids in red Fez hats and bow ties(who mimics the 11th Doctor. I couldn’t believe there had been that many!), a woman in a long coat, a tie, men’s pants and converse sneakers (Who I am told resembles the 10th Doctor. ) and multiple people bearing the same ultra long, multi-colored scarf of the 4th Doctor. The reason they were all braving the cold dark night in January? Dr Who. I am told that yesterday was the birthday of the actor who played the 4th Doctor, Tom Baker. (Which ultimately explained why the theater aired three of his old episodes last night.)

The Brattle Theater is located n 40 Brattle Street in Cambridge. If you aren’t looking for it–you probably won’t find it. Attached to Brattle Hall and a restaurant called Casablanca; The Brattle Theater is tiny and a line full of Who Fans stretched from the crowded lobby all the way to the steps that lead you down to the entrance past Brattle Hall. According to their website, the Brattle theater is also, fairly old. Origionally bought by the CSU in 1889 for a free reading room and other social activities, the Brattle Theater didn’t become a movie theater until 1953. For years it housed drama clubs, speakers and stage performances and has a rich cultural history behind it. Even before reading up on the history, you feel very much aware of it upon entering.

The lobby of the Brattle Theater is as I had said, tiny; not being much larger than your standard walk in closet these days.You pay for your tickets the same way people in the 50’s would have–outside of the theater. (And only $7 a person!)  Upon entering to your left you are greeting by the staff and the smell of freshly popped popcorn. Not only does the Brattle boast its own freshly popped non-greasy popcorn, but also the ability to sell alcohol to its patrons. (Which I felt was an added bonus.) To the left are the stairs which lead you up and around the corner to the seating. The stairs are narrow and carpeted, and upon reaching the top, a staff member is waiting to tear your ticket stub and welcome you. I did not expect to be in an old playhouse upon arrival. It is dusty and painted a drab grey-blue color that I don’t have a particular name for. Old stage lights hang coated with a layer of grime from years of disuse, but still point to the small, high ceiling stage in the front and center of the room. Where the lobby lacked space–the theater did not. The room is wide (though not necessarily up to par of todays’ standards for a playhouse) with metal and fabric, standard movie theater seats in three sections across the floor. Above, there is more, similar seating on the balcony. (Which the younger patrons immediately claimed and began unwinding their long Doctor scarves to touch the patrons below.) The floors show proof of having once been beautiful, a sheen of polished wood glows from the less traveled parts of the floor, but is muddy and scuffed beyond repair where past visitors have over and over again trod their feet.  The stage itself is set back, and now boasts a projector screen, rather than what we are used to in a movie theater, that makes no attempt to fill the entire stage space. The arch around the stage is painted with a bold clean-looking stripe of red that seems oddly new and out of place among the somewhat unloved-looking walls. To the left of the stage, a large 50’s diner style clock, lit softly in neon purple from within shows the time. The effect of the theater all together might have some cringing and displeased–but not me. This theater charmed me with its quiet stoic pride of age, and its old-fashioned arrangement. There is a certain sense of stubbornness that the building gives off that I appreciate. A building that withstood multiple owners and re-purposing along with time, it is the sort of place I wish we had more of.Even the bathrooms made me smile. Instead of wallpaper, the walls are layered with old movie posters which have peeled off in some places, adding to the charm. (The restrooms by the way, are inside the theater  to the far right, rather than  in the lobby. Which was a relief after not finding them downstairs.)

I must warn you though–the Brattle Theater is not for just any movie lover. Do not go to the Brattle theater expecting any newer movies to be showing, because they only show old movies. That’s right–old–just like the building. (Hence the cheaper prices) The Brattle shows old movies, foreign films and even helps local students premier their films. If you’re looking for a very Vintage night out in Cambridge, head to the Brattle Theater and maybe catch a classic creature double feature for only $12 a person. Personally, I am considering returning to the Brattle Theater again soon. According to their film schedule, The Princess Bride airs next month, along with a classic Bugs Bunny Cartoon marathon.  Not only is it cheap and pleasant, but any money paid to this place helps to keep it running as they are a non-profit organization.

Help support the Brattle Theater by checking out their old flicks! And check out their website to find out what they’ll be playing next.

http://brattlefilm.org/