If Pete could write about each and every show he sees without jeopardizing his employment status or mental health, he would totally do it. Fortunately for him, he knows better. Fortunately for us, he is just obsessive and irresponsible enough to try it anyway. Ever the enablers, we are posting recaps of each of the first eleven shows that Petey hit in 2011.
Hello Ninja January 27 at T.T.’s
Lucky number seven was the show where I finally got a live look at Hello Ninja, who have been one of my favorite bands in town since I heard their stuff on the radio last year. They played the side stage at TT’s as part of the kick off for Louder Now Boston, a new concert series produced by Anngelle Wood, host of the Boston Emissions show on WZLX (the bill also included Brittany Gray, M.G. Lederman and Ashpark). Between sets, Ms. Wood interviewed each of the bands in the TT’s billiard room, which was rigged like a TV studio with multiple cameras and intensely bright stage lights.
Hello Ninja – “All The Mad Men” – Singles Club Vol. 1
Hello Ninja was celebrating the release of their E.P., Singles Club Vol. 1, which I bought and later reviewed for The Dig (you can read it here). The band is a much different creature in concert than they are on record, relying on gusto and personality in place of the studio-added mascara and jewelry that make Singles Club so attention-grabbing. They were as animated as the cramped corner next to the bar allowed them to be, particularly frontwoman Cat Basile, who emoted with every muscle in her face and gestured with every limb in her five-foot-not-much frame. In addition to the four power pop gems on their new disc, Hello Ninja also played a mash-up cover of “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. and “Straight to Hell” by The Clash (which, of course, is the song that M.I.A. ripped off – I mean, “sampled” – to get the recurring hook in “Paper Planes”).
Hello Ninja – “I Think Of Me Too” – Singles Club Vol. 1
It’s hard to say which Hello Ninja I like better (studio or live), and it’s hard to say if they would be a “better band” if the two versions were more alike. They might pack more punch if they added a second guitarist, some back-up singers and something with keys on it… but as it is, the four of them have a good chemistry and are clearly on the same page of the garage pop manual.