"We’re Nice Guys, and we're sorry about that,” guitarist Matt Garlick said to the crowd at Charlie’s Kitchen on Monday night after his band, NICE GUYS (pictured above) finished their set. The floor was covered with tangled cables and effects pedals. Guitars were carelessly thrown on the ground. The drum kit had been kicked over. Garlick could have been apologizing for the mess, but it’s more likely he was owning up to the loud-as-shit, technically-sloppy noise the Nice Guys had just created.
The show, which was co-curated by the always rad Sippy Cup Everything and Allston’s latest booking collective Fast Apple, brought together four like-minded acts: Surf’s Up, Spicoli, Nightmare Boyzzz, Nice Guys, and Guantanamo Baywatch. Throw in a crowd of boisterous youths looking to cure their Monday-blues with tall boys and garage punk, and things are bound to get weird. And they did. Local three-piece SURF’S UP, SPICOLI started things off by playing a set of instrumental jams that fused tight, heavy drumming and retro shredding. “It’s classic surf-rock with metal chops,” a friend said to me after their set. It was something I could imagine Sean Penn’s iconic slacker listening to on 8-track tape while baking out his van before history class.
Next up was NIGHTMARE BOYZZZ, who we recently named the BEST NEW BAND in Alabama in our annual 50 Bands 50 States issue. Not to say “we told you so,” but the dudes from Muscle Shoals proved they deserved the nod by running through a handful of their hook-heavy should-be hits. “I gotta get myself out of this place/I gotta get us both out of this state,” yelped frontman Chris Jordan on the chorus on “Nuclear Summer.” It’s a universal sentiment for anyone that has ever felt stuck, and it seemed ecspecially poignant on a Monday in July as midsummer restlessness ran rampant.
At one point, Jordan ditched his guitar and walked into the crowd to sing the infectious “Up All Night,” which he introduced as a song “about staying up late and doing drugs.” Cheering ensued. The party-punk anthem is a taste of their forthcoming release on Mauled By Tigers, the label that put out the Vivian Girl’s self-titled debut back in 2008. I'm expecting big things. Plagued by technical difficulties for pretty much their entire half-hour set, wide-eyed Boston punks Nice Guys played third, tearing through tracks from their Mean Songs EP (which we told you about back in May). Noisy feedback filled the gaps between songs, which made them tough to distinguish from one another. But the resulting surf-y racket was a success... in the way it made me want to bounce around recklessly in a circle of strangers. It was messy, but they embraced it— staying faithful to their no-fi, who-gives-a-fuck aesthetic.
Everyone was ready to party when headliners GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH took the stage sometime around midnight. The Portland, Oregon four-piece assaulted the intoxicated crowd with buoyant psychedelic-tinged power-pop — an adequately sun-drenched cap on a night of beachy mischief.