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Our music columnist discusses the 13 closing, Blowfly and Sleazy McQueen, War on Women, J. Robbins and Kurt Vile

This Little Underground

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Blowfly at Will’s Pub; Photo by Christopher Garcia

Afterwards, the Pauses deepened the mood as they do, only more so with the added cello accompaniment of Robbins bandmate Gordon Withers.

By the time Robbins stepped up with only modest accompaniment on keys and cello, vibe and respect ruled the house. Although the interpretation was particularly mellow and mature, stripping back the layers nicely affirms the core quality of his songs. And it was one of those special engagements that was treated as such by both audience and performer.

Indie darling Kurt Vile & the Violators really brought ’em out (Nov. 2, the Social). I’m a much bigger fan of his former band the War on Drugs and, at the risk of sounding like a completely uncool outsider, his solo genius isn’t as clear to me as it is to everybody else. But something, it, happened in concert. Live, the richness of his music leapt to full life. Instead of getting lost in a long ether of subtlety, his interestingly off-kilter merge of rootsy fuzz and slacker laze revealed its full depth and grip. Less can be more, but only if you have some character. And Vile’s music and guitar-playing pack great taste, tone and spacing.

Right before the Kurt Vile show, I thought I’d feed my curiosity and check in on the opening set by INVSN right next door (the Beacham) since they came up in conversation with a friend just last week. Although led by Dennis Lyxzén of (International) Noise Conspiracy and Refused, the only thing this Swedish band shared with those is a socialist revolutionary spirit. Besides that, these guys rock out like it’s 1986 with a dramatic alternative sound that drapes tall, dark and dour rock in shadowy pop majesty. And, damn, do they do it convincingly, channeling much of what was good about that period, only with more noise and chaos.

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