The event that was to take place was the re-opening of the Davis Square Theater which was formerly known as Jimmy Tingles Off Broadway Theater (lame name if you ask me). I had never been to Mr. Tingles’ theater so unfortunately I cannot tell you what it was like pre-renovations. What I can tell you is that I was disappointed by how nice it was on the inside. I don’t know what I was expecting; obviously when an owner throws money at an establishment they’re going to want to produce a clean and friendly environment. As a patron however, I wanted the character and chaotic charm of flyers, beer, and multi-colored gum splattered on the walls. Sometimes there is a strange comfort in apathy.
It is important to note that this venue was built with theater in mind, with musical acts taking the backseat. It would be both inappropriate and irresponsible of the owners if they decided to design the venue in a dive bar fashion. I can picture a grandmother taking her fashionably dressed grandchildren to see a play with the distinct smell of vomit in the air. That would not be wholesome. After I realized this and moved past the sour initial observation I grabbed a beverage and made my way into the performance area.
The theater in the round (is it still called that if it’s square, and more importantly, is it called Davis Square Theater because it’s in Davis Sq. or because the theater is square?) had four rows of seating on the sides and opposite the stage, in the back, there were five rows. The seats were very comfortable (not that I did much sitting) and they had cup holders which allowed me to conveniently take notes while drinking, a task I usually find to be difficult. The entrance to the performance area was off stage, stage left. A lot of small theaters are designed this way and I think it’s to trap people inside so they can’t leave mid-performance. What If I have to piss? Huh?
Enough talk about the theater though, let’s move on to the main event, The Wondermics. Remember all that rambling I did earlier about how I found the theater to be too clean for my liking? Well, it was a perfect fit for The Wondermics. Everything became right in the world. The Wondermics are entertainers. They come to get you in the groove. That’s all they really want to do. And man do they have fun doing it. And man is that fun contagious.
They opened the longest set I’ve ever seen them play (1 h 30m) with a new original song titled “Sex tape Celebrities.” Tres Myers, who shares vocals with Michael Naugler, was firing on all cylinders from the get go. His enthusiasm was rabid. As a matter of fact, because they had been excited for this event for quite some time, the entire band started in fifth gear.
Because this was the first musical event in a brand new venue, the sound was far from polished. At times it was flat, as if it were coming from a solitary speaker. There were pockets where the sound was above adequate and after I had found one of these sound pockets I was content for the remainder of the set. On a positive note, I’d like to commend the sound guy’s exemplary effort in a world full of set it and forget it sound people. This man (I just realized I probably should have asked for his name) also controlled the lighting so that it flowed with the music. This is something you don’t find too often at smaller venues.
For the third song “Wondermics Go!!!” which is one of my personal favorites, Barry Anechiarico, father of The Wondermics’ guitarist/vocalist Jon Jaffee, joined the band on stage with his saxophone. The band and crowd then proceeded to chant “Barry! Barry! Barry!” It was rather silly. Barry would assist The Wondermics on various songs throughout the set.
Mr. Anechiarico was not the only guest to bless The Wondermics and crowd with his presence. Joanna Teters of The Hub Dub shared her vocals on a cover of Amy Winehouse’s version of The Zutons’ “Valerie.” Pete Doom of Doctor Doom Orchestra jumped on stage and spit a couple verses on a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues.” Doctor Doom Orchestra just released a new album titled “Thieves and Robots.” Give it a listen.
I don’t want to give you the impression that The Wondermics only played covers (here are some that I did not mention: “Hard Times” by The Roots, “Nappy Dugout” by Funkadelic, “Kissin My Love” by Bill Withers, and “XXXplosive” by Dre. Dre) in actuality the majority of the songs played were originals, three of them being new, proving they have been hard at work. The new songs included the aforementioned “Sextape Celebrities”, “Homecoming” and a very reggae tune “Don’t Push Me Away” which is a sign that they are still growing and exploring as a band and that makes me glad.
Walking back up those stairs I came to the conclusion that my night was finished. I didn’t need an after party. My appetite was satiated as it usually is at a Wondermics show. I also desperately needed a shower from all that dancing and I don’t even really sweat (thanks for the genes, Dad). So I jumped in my truck and drove home carefully.
Photo Credit: Joe Brislin