It’s a new year and time for a new challenge and putting the old 100 Bands challenge to rest. I didn’t exactly fail at seeing 100 bands, in fact I saw more than 100 bands, I just neglected to review 65% of the shows I saw which just so happened to be a crucial part of the challenge. Being a fan and not a blogger during concerts proved to be far more enjoyable and I got burnt out on writing in the middle of the year and never quite recovered. At the end of 2011, I wrote this to Lydia:
I saw 72 concerts, went to 3 music festivals, and totaled 182 sets (~130 different bands). Despite all that, I’ve only seen 2 of my favorite albums from 2011 live. Obviously I need to go to more concerts and keep better track of them next year.
So here we are in a new year with plenty of concerts ahead and an odd desire to try out this 100 Bands Challenge yet again. With that in mind, and knowing that it is possible for one person to see over 100 bands in a year, I’m changing the format. This year I’ll count upwards instead of counting down to some grand elusive total (hopefully over 100) and I’m ditching the format and giving a more traditional review. Here goes the first one of 2012. Enjoy.
I knew of Herman Dune,
a paris based band,
from living in Switzerland when music from the 2009 album, Next Year in Zion
, was all over the radio. Specifically the dark americana type song “My Home is Nowhere Without You”
with very fitting instrumentation. I never saw him live in Switzerland because his shows were always sold out. I was a little surprised and rather excited to get the chance to see this band in Boston at the tiny and newly renovated venue, T.T. The Bear’s Place. I was impressed with the turnout on a tuesday night and not at all surprised when lead man, who goes by the name of Yaya, took the stage looking every bit like the Swiss radio chart topper I expected him to be with his bandana tied around his forehead and oddly not quite fitted jeans.
Herman Dune is technically a duo of drummer and guitarist, but tours with the addition of a bass player. After breaking away from a former record label they started their own, Strange Moosic, after which their latest 2011 album is named and released under. Luckily for fans of their quirkiness, overly descriptive lyrics, and upbeat indie folk rock style none of that changed. Although the recorded songs that are laced with a brass section seemed more down trodden without those sections. Herman Dune’s songs are immediately likeable, if clean and easy to listen to folk pop is something you enjoy. They are songs that tell their own stories, very much in the way Jonathan Richman songs do, and at times elicited slight chuckles from the swaying crowd.
The show transitioned smoothly from one song to the next and included what I’d consider to be his most popular songs like “Ah Hear Strange Moosic”, “Lay your head on my chest”, “Tell Me Something”, and “Afternoon Dance Party”. Having taken a month long hiatus from live music (my longest in 20 months), this was the perfect way back in.
The first chords played when Herman Dune took the stage grabbed all of my heart strings in a tight fist and pulled me into the music. This had more to do with feeling the rush one gets from hearing a band play your favorite song, than the actual song itself. Man, I missed getting that feeling. I’m happy to be back in the concert going groove. It was nice to have started with such an easy going and enjoyable concert that doesn’t give you the chance to think about anything but the music unfolding in front of you like a story book.