Category Archives: boston music

Would you go wiiiith me???

Welcome to the second installment of Throw-Back Song Fridays! Below is the 90s gem that plays in my head every morning when my alarm goes off.

Please listen to it. It’s amazing.

Listening to 5ive always reminds me of my friend Kate, because my friend Kate, like me, loves really really horrible music. Back in high school, where we met, all of our friends pretty much listened to the same, weird, shit—stuff like Dispatch and Led Zeppelin and uh, Phish.  I could stomach some of it, but a fourteen-year-old girl can only take so much noodling before she wants to put on some SheDAISY and lip-synch in front of the mirror. Thank God for Kate. Kate always came through for me. I could go into her bedroom at anytime of the night (we went to boarding school), turn off the lights on her while she was sitting on her bed in a trucker hat eating Fritos and strumming a ukulele, put “Oops!..I Did It Again” in her CD player, and before I knew it, private dance party. (We also did emo quite well; a pair of young women screaming “don’t you know you betta run, run, run, run, RUN!”  in the bathroom together has never sounded so beautiful.)

Kate lives in Los Angeles now. She is also the loudest person I know. I bring this up because sometimes I wonder if I could hear her telling a story from LA if I stuck my head out the window and tried hard enough. For real. I used to call her “The Chip” in high school because I thought she had a microphone lodged in her trachea when I first met her. But Kate is much more than just a loud voice—she knows how to work a room, too. She has weird, witch-like movie-star charm. Even if you are the only person in that room with her, and you’re just sitting on a couch watching Don’t Mess with The Zohan and eating Ritz crackers, Kate will work the shit of you.  Or at least herself, because she is also one of those people who laughs a lot at her own stories, and not like, a series of a amused little giggles at herself, but full-on belly-laughing at what she’s saying, slap the table, eyes-watering—she never ceases to find herself and her life incredibly amusing. Kate has a million friends and all of them, like me, think we’re DEFINITELY in the top two or three of her inner circle. There are legitimately forty-seven people out there who think this. Parties she throws often end in snap-offs.

After college, before Kate moved West and I moved…to Boston, Kate taught me how to drive. On a rainy December night in 2008, I took my driver’s test in Bruce, her recently departed Ford Focus that was always filled with random things like neon-green pipe cleaners and empty cans of seltzer and mix CDs of country music and trance disco and the odd tennis shoe. (Kate hearts clutter.) During the test, the cop actually had to turn around and yell at her for trying to mouth me the answers to his questions from the backseat. If I hadn’t already mentioned it, Kate is unfailingly loyal. There are very few friends who would give up their time to try to help someone like me learn how to do a three-point-turn in a high school parking lot at the age of twenty-three, but there she was, texting furiously and laughing the whole time, while unironically proclaiming that should have been running her own ad agency at this point. We spent many hours in that high school parking lot that winter, drinking cinnamon lattes and trying to avoid having me kill the track team. At the time, I was very much like “uh, what is HAPPENING in my life, this is like Garden State but not sexy” but of course I now miss it.

So…I miss you Kate, lover of life and music good and bad, who introduced me to this song and the glory of the “Jenny From The Block” station on Pandora, and who has never met a night out you didn’t dominate.

Happy Friday! The end.



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Lightning Strikes, Maybe Once, Maybe Twice

Bruins play-off reference, or my recent need to listen to this song eighty-nine times a day?

Uh, she’s amazing. May have to wear some sort of long-sleeves-tambourine combo next time I go out. Mark my words: tambourines are going to be HUGE this spring.


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Holy Home-made Oreo.

Last night, I went to a see a musical at The Boston Conservatory called “Baby.” (Free shows in Boston performed by really talented people: hidden gem alert!!) My co-worker, Ansley, is a student there, and she was one of the leads in “Baby.” And, surprise, she was totally fantastic, as was the whole cast. (Ansley has a Disney princess voice, and really blue eyes, and I may now have to ask her to sing me to sleep doing all the “Little Mermaid” songs one night.) However, shockingly enough, the show titled “Baby” was about having babies—or trying and not being able to: GAH—and it was REALLY TERRIFYING AT TIMES. (It’s one thing to see a “deep” play that freaks you out about this stuff, or just something really scary and depressing in general,but when people are singing and dancing and snapping in your face about it, you’re like woah woah woah whatever happened to taking a load off at night and seeing something totally mindless like “Macbeth”?) And yet, the show was great, and everything worked out perfectly in the end. (Duh.) I definitely look forward to seeing more shows at BoCo, and encourage you to venture on over there as well.

AND THEN, the night got even better. When I got home from the theatuh with OptimistFreak, my other roommate Mike Tomlin (seen below)

had left the following note on our kitchen-counter: “Left over from my co-workers baby shower: home-made Oreos from Flour bakery.”

(They’re so beautiful, right?)

We had to eat them right away, even with our coats still on. And it was pretty life-changing, I’m not going to lie. Yes, I know everyone and their mother already knows that Joanne Chang is the cat’s pajamas and puts crack in all her baked-goods and FLOUR is the greatest place on earth and she makes all Bostonians super proud with her national success, but somehow I had yet to ever taste any of her food…And OH MY GOD those oreos were the greatest things I’ve ever had. (EVER—I was practically crying in a ball on my kitchen floor as I swallowed my last bite.) I can not wait to go to FLOUR soon. (Meaning today.) (But to which location?? And what should I wear???). I will battle off the heathen crowds banging at the door, eat a gourmet sandwich and a pile of cookies, and make like everyone else in the world as I take iPhone pictures of everything in site. Sounds glorious, right?

(I am so thankful Mike Tomlin is a good sharer, and also that her co-worker got pregnant and had a shower. Yay for “Baby” and babies!)

Happy Tuesday


(Photo of life-changing oreos from


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Taj at the Wilbur

I went to see Taj Mahal at the Wilbur Theatre last Thursday night. I’d never been to the Wilbur before, or seen Taj live. I took my boyfriend, for Valentine’s Day, since he’s the one who introduced me to Taj Mahal, and also because I really wanted to see the concert: heeellooo total win-win gift situation.

The Wilbur is in Boston’s theatre district. (Well, you probably knew that already…) I don’t spend too much time around this area of the city, but I’d like to more. It has a distinct character: there’s the blend into Chinatown; the random bars and pizza places and skinny Emerson kids smoking their ciggs; the trash on the sidewalk and that semi-seedy late 1980’s aura still hanging around, but it’s blended in with all the new development and the fancy-pants W hotel and the billboards and the great venues, which add there sparkle and make me want to go to the THEATUH all the time. It’s a mish-mash, and I like it.

I also really liked the Wilbur, inside and out. I did some perusing on Yelp before I bought the tickets, and apparently people have some heated things to say about the theatre as a comedy venue, but as a place to see a concert, it was lovely: ornate gold leaf decorations, chandeliers, red-velvet upholstered seats—very fourth-grade trip to the ballet (Zeiterion Theatre anybody?), and I’m a grandma, so I secretly sort of like when you have no choice but to sit down at concerts. (Standing and bopping your head and arms around is so awkward sometimes, right?) They also had a really strict no cell-phone policy, and not just about photos—you couldn’t have your cell-phone out at all, and them security ladies weren’t messing around. But I sort of liked it. A whole sea of faces all night, and everyone actually paying attention to the music and the same thing, and not frowning or snorting while clicking glowy devices perched on their laps. (It was like we were, gasp, sharing the same experience or something…)



My boyfriend and I started out the night by getting a drink at Jacob Wirth’s (a whole post devoted to that wonderful place coming soon), and then when we got to the venue, a seating attendant opened the door right as we were going in and spilled my boyfriend’s beer on him, and she was all “I’m sooooo sorry, oh silly me!” and then went and got him another beer, even though he’d only lost 30% of his drank. So, like, WE GOT A FREE BEER. (At the time, it was REALLY exciting….) The night continued on a great track when I got to hear the woman behind us, who must have been sixty-five, tell her husband that he was just like Phil Dunphy, and he responded by saying “Is that the one married to the one with the tits?” A few minutes later, I thought I smelled weed. (Like I said, huge grandma alert.) I turned to my boyfriend to ask him if he smelled it too, and he was like, “Caroline, a girl with dreadlocks just sat down two seats from us. That is what you are smelling.” Pause. “You are a grade-A clown.”

Speaking of romance, I already mentioned that I was introduced to Taj’s music by said boyfriend; it was right when we started dating, and he sent me a mix CD in the mail with a bunch of artists on it, and some of Taj’s live stuff was included. (Sigh.) I fell in love with the music (um, how could you not?), and so I knew I’d enjoy the concert, but I was still blown away by the show, and I’m sure anyone who’s seen Taj live knows what I mean. Sure, his personality comes across in any recording, but seeing him and hearing him in the flesh is a whole different story—I mean the dude is pushing seventy, but he’s still incredibly charismatic, and so formidable, and just alive….he must be 6’3” or 6’4”, and he struts out on stage wearing his Hawaiian shirt and his fedora and then he plays his heart out while making these incredibly funny semi-lewd faces and gestures, and he is just filled with so much soul, and, energy, and happiness, and sex, and it was a joy to be in the company of his talent and life force for a bit. We had such a good time that I think my boyfriend even forgot about the Perk trade for an hour.

(Ouch, Charlie.)

For the encore, Taj brought his daughter out on stage, who had actually been the singer in the opening act—though no one had had any idea—so it was a really nice surprise. (GIRL CAN SIIING.) They sang “Lovin’ in My Baby’s Eyes” which happens to be my favorite Taj song, and it was amazing, and I was sort of feeling my beers at that point, and maybe teared up at how sweet it was to have them singing to each other, and my boyfriend was like, “I can’t take you anywhere in public.”

But hey, I took him somewhere in public this time, so totally allowed.

Here is Taj singing another one of his hits “Queen Bee”, in 2008. I suggest you watch it and think about warm weather and relaxing on the beach with your love, and not this gross slush-rain-muck…


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Boston: so french right now.

Holy cultural alert: I went to a concert last night with my roommates. (My roommates are amazing, and one is blonde, and one is brunette, and one is a bit shorter, and one is a bit taller, and they will henceforth be known as Mike Tomlin and OptimistFreak on le blog, seeing that the blonde is from Pittsburgh and a die-hard Steelers fan (go figure), and the later is, well, a bundle of happy energy, and a make-me-want-to-not-be-not-a-morning-person, and overall just a mind-blower of seeing the bright side—so, a freak in a good way.)

(Also, the concert wasn’t last night, it was last week, but I’ve been busy and haven’t been able to edit this post, and it sounds better in the intro to say I went last night. Saaaaarry!)

We went to a Yann Tiersen concert. Yann is French. Heard of him? I hadn’t either, until the mother of the family I used to sit for introduced me to his music a few years ago. (It’s good music to have toddlers crawl over your legs to.) Tiersen composed the Amelie soundtrack, which is a spectacular album, a-bring-this-with-you-to-a-deserted-island-if-you-only-have-one-musical-score-to-bring-with-you-sort-of-masterpiece, and I suggest you stop reading this post and head to itunes NOW and buy it, because the music on that soundtrack covers the whole spectrum of human emotion somehow, and it’s glorious and special; there are happy songs and sad songs and strange songs and clown songs and love songs and alone songs….This track below is probably the most popular song from the album, and the most beautiful; it’s truly so gorgeous that I don’t have words, other than the fact that human beings can make this stuff blows me mind! Uh, piano music slays me. This song is like a sad, beautiful picnic. It is, specifically, a sepia-toned old home video of me and James McAvoy at a picnic, or by the ocean, and I am being played by Keira Knightley.

It’s amazing, right? Again and again and again. And then there’s stuff like the track below, which is a great ditty to put a purple wig and over-alls on to, and bake some cupcakes, and clean your room:

Back to Boston. The concert was at the Royale, on Tremont Street. Have you been there? I had not. I’m not very cool. But the place was vwunderful. Sadly, I did not get a good photo of the venue, so googleimages will have to suffice.

(Well, this is the lobby. I didn’t like any pictures of the inside of the venue that google was offering me.)

The space is beautiful and intimate. Good sound quality. Stand, or sit on some couches. And the bartender was nice. Yann was great; he and his band are hard to categorize: melancholy, at-times-heavy-metal, violin master, drum master, poetic, very French, always trippy, occasionally pop? Yeah, I don’t know either, but I suggest listening to some of his album Dust Road as well. Different than Amelie, for sure. Mike Tomlin took some pics of the concert, so here is one below. I am excited to go back to another show at Royale. It’s a real Boston gem fo sho!


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