February 26, 2011 | Kris Lori Fuentes Cortes
Saturday Night I made my first trip to the Middle East; yes I’ve lived in Massachusetts my entire life yet last night was my first visit. Well in the Middle East (Downstairs) I saw four acts. Now usually I would rate the show all together based on how the entire evening went down. However every artist that night performed differently to one another so I decided to rate each performer separately. So let’s get down to it.
After an evening of getting lost, stopping by Newbury Comics, Pinkberry, and trying to find parking; my friend and I finally arrive at the Middle East. And we were one of the first to get in so I could scope out where to photograph and get good shots. (Be sure to check out those too under photos!) Anyways the first artist to perform that night was Ryan Schmidt, a young talented Boston musician who has so much to offer the world of music. As a singer and guitarist Ryan definitely grabbed everyone’s attention as he came on stage and graciously took command of the room. The music was enjoyable and really had the audience moving. There in the front row were some women and men bobbing their heads or just swaying to the music. Ryan Schmidt and his fellow musicians really were a great opening act for the night. I wish him the best on the rest of his music career; I can already tell that isn’t going to be a bright one. I’ll definitely be checking out his next show when his back in Boston. Also I know that night he was celebrating his 22nd birthday so shout out to him; Happy Birthday Ryan!
Ryan Schmidt: 8/10
The following band after was called Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library; mighty long name. Now let me tell you that as soon as the musicians came on to just setup, everyone’s attention was on them. With matching outfits and unusual instruments the audience studied them closely wondering what they were going to hear that evening. I knew that night was not only a performance for them but also their CD Release called “Volume One”. You can pre-order the physical CD which will be out May 10th, 2011. M.J.E.M.L. played quite well that night, their music was very unique from anything I’ve really heard. I enjoyed it and the audience did as well, you could tell they had some very loyal fans as they cheered and some even had signs. Their group was very different especially having a violinist, flute player, and a woman who had a sound effects box; I knew I would never come across something like this ever again. They were a good band, not bad at all. Their music is really different and it almost reminds me of the soundtrack for the movie 100 Days Of Summer. Either way I would like to congratulate them on their CD release and the best of luck to them!
Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library: 7/10
Well the next band that played that night really drew in the crowd. I was now squished against the stage from the amount of people trying to get to the front. They were called Endway a Boston-based band that took the stage with their guitarist, Kevin McHugh, leading into their first song of the night. Eventually each member came out Andrea Belfiore (drums), Brian Lempert (keyboard), Dennis Walsh (bass), and finally Morgan Dorr (vocals). Their entire slot was amazing, downright fantastic! My friend and I looked to one another and we thought “yeah this might just make the show”. The crowd was roaring and singing right along with the band. Some songs reminded me of Maroon 5, who I love, so no issue there. They all played great and looked like they were truly enjoying themselves; you could feel it. They were so great that it was actually hard to get some shots of them because I would end up putting down my camera for a minute just so I could enjoy their performance. Endway is the type of band that you want to go see live again and again.
After enjoying Endway’s time on stage, a group called the Simmons Sirens came on right after them. They were a wonderful opening act for McAlister Drive. They all sang beautifully and were enchanting. Everyone was quite impressed with their performance. Finally McAlister Drive took the stage and they were quite good. McAlister Drive is a mix of folk, pop, soul, and rock; a rare combination that is actually enjoyable to hear. They put on a grand presentation where some of the audience was dancing to the music. They truly are a talented bunch of musicians who have much to offer. The personal highlight for me that evening was when they did the cover to a few songs like Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady”. They covered that song beautifully and might I add that they probably have covered it better than anyone else I’ve ever heard. McAlister Drive I’ll be seeing you guys again when you’re back in Boston that’s a promise.
McAlister Drive: 8/10
After the show ended I had the lovely opportunity to meet with Morgan Dorr and Andrea Belfiore of Endway. After taking a few pictures with them I got my hands on their new CD ‘Colors’
(review coming soon!) and every member graciously signed the CD. Thanks guys much appreciated. It was a wonderful night and enjoyable ride home back to Brockton. Oh! And just a quick shout out to Kyle Tancrell for the opportunity to see these great bands. Be sure to check them out for yourself!