Middle East Upstairs // Cambridge, MA // January 15, 2010
When the Middle East upstairs is packed before a show even starts, you know something good is about to happen. Mikey French Fries (and the Casual Encounters) started the show with some great alt-country and old fashioned classic rock, two styles that remained throughout the night. Even when the music morphed to rock more than anything else, a country feel still permeated the music.
The crowd was most wound up before the Movers and Shakers took the stage. Working around the absurd posted rules for dancing, the crowd was way into the whole set which makes sense – it was so full of energy it was hard to not be dragged in. The whole band, from the woodsy, flannelled Dan Wallace on bass, to the ever entertaining Marc Valois on guitar, organ, and singing, rocked the entire time. Playing many tracks from ‘Larrabee’, Movers and Shakers’ set was textbook for how to attract new fans; keep the energy high, the songs upbeat, and the crowd invested.
Nina Violet and her band took the stage after and M & S and were definitely the most laid back of the acts for the night. The harmonic singing of Nina and (occasionally) of her sister Marciana Jones was a highlight of the night. Both have wonderful, beautiful voices and their singing absorbed the room’s attention.
Drug Rug, who are sometimes touring and always adored for their live shows, put on an entertaining and upbeat show. Singer Sarah Cronin knows how to entertain, whether she’s dancing, flailing, or just letting her voice do all the work. They made their way through a long set of new and old, many from 2009’s, ‘Paint the Fence Invisible’. A great show, proving once again you don’t necessarily have to be doing something new to be doing something great.