TT the Bear’s Place was a sauna on Thursday, progressively boiling showgoers as the bill got deeper. My lethargic attitude concerning the outside temperature caused me to miss the openers, but make it just in time for Jeff. I will say one thing, CreaturoS will be seen as one of Boston’s best live acts by year’s end, and Skimask, while taking the road less publicized, have amassed a sizeable local following and continue to put on a killer show. Bummed I missed Uncle Bad Touch, though. Infinity Cat Records (JTB’s record label) has the golden touch lately, and Uncle Bad Touch was one I had wanted to catch.
Jeff brought about as much energy as TT’s could handle. Their guitar-driven motor rock fueled the sweaty mass of the crowd, assaulting with dangerous riffs, and turning jams like “Shredder” and “Ripper” into moshing greenlights and free- for-alls. Look past the audience mayhem, however, and JTB clearly isn’t just a gimmick. They have found success in a Weezeresque power-pop base, but are able to dress it up with more extensive guitar work and improvisation. This is where I believe Jeff puts themselves ahead of the pack. Extended songs and articulated segues make each show a bit different than the next and add a much different experience than listening to their albums. While buzzed fans howl to the tunes of “Bummer” and “Stay Out Late,” Jake and Jamin do their part with furious drum fills and colorful licks.
It’s satisfying to know that while JTB has become more than a household name, they have paced themselves and stayed true to their mission. Even after two trips to Great Scott, an opening spot at Royale, and a headlining gig at TT’s, they have opted to play smaller venues and pack them rather than play bigger venues just to boost their brand. With simple, catchy songwriting that could hit a spot with the suburban kids, they could have easily hopped on an Adult Swim bandwagon or something likeminded and rode it way too fast to the top. They’ve stayed grounded however, and played to the same people who have been listening since the basements. They’re a model for DIY touring acts, and oh yeah, they play some kickass rock n roll too.
Photo Credit: Daniel Schiffer