There are certain bands that epitomize the essence of rock ‘n roll. Standing in front of you in the present, you’re transported instantly to the past. To the graffiti filled walls of CBGBs or the beer stained floors of your favorite punk rock dive. They display passion, charisma, and determination and last, but certainly not least: talent.
Standing front and center at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA tonight, I find myself in a familiar situation. As the opening band, Reverend Mothers, takes the stage, there is an instant energy. By the time they’re halfway through their first track, that energy has transformed to undeniable charisma, complimented by raw rock ‘n roll and a fierce stage presence. For every body in the room, there isn’t a single one left standing still—and that energy carries through the night.
Now, there are sets where the crowd stands silently, bobbing their heads, throwing out a few claps and cheers here and there, and then there are the shows filled with longtime friends and hometown heroes, boasting a local community so strong, so passionate, and so excited just to be there for that one band’s show, that you can’t help but get swept up in the array of it all. Yellabirds CD release show is definitely the latter.
Promoting their latest release, Little Brother, Yellabird’s Martin Stubbs and Felipe Gaviria, joined by guest bassist Chris Johnson take the stage, instantly ripping into “This Old War.” With clear determination, fervor, and unsurpassed talent, the duo (now a temporary trio) glide through releases past and present, pleasing with fan favorites “Darlin, Sugar” and “Dixie” while introducing a host of new material from Little Brother. And I’ll tell you something else—the audience loves it. More than a few times I catch audience members singing along, dancing with abandon and yes, even doing a little moshing.
At the end of their set, there are distinct cries for an encore. Again, I feel myself nostalgic for a time period I’ve never had the pleasure to experience—a time when encores meant something. To have such talent, energy, and pure liveliness and passion in one room, on an otherwise idle Thursday evening in the beautiful city of Boston, well, that’s the kind of performance that sticks with you. It’s the kind of performance every band wishes to experience. And Yellabird nailed it.
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