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Shiny Toy Guns, MNDR, and Colourmusic

Brighton Music Hall in Boston, MA
8
Arriving a little late, the first act we caught for this show at the Brighton Music Hall in Boston, Ma was for opener MNDR. It was interesting, to say the least - and certainly not what I expected going in.

MNDR is apparently a duo, however the only member that seems to do any performing is the lead Singer, Amanda Warner. Her act consisted of a solo performance backed by various sequencers, synthesizers, and drum machines. She sang several songs off of her recently-released album "Feed Me Diamonds". While she was undoubtedly a talented singer, her act was underwhelming, awkward, and strangely out of place at this show. She came on stage to a fairly bored crowd at this small venue, and didn't manage to produce much excitement throughout her performance. Often times her voice was drowned by an annoyingly overpowered bass track, which she asked to be turned up several times during the show via complaining to the sound technician at the back. It was difficult for me to enjoy this repetitive and club-inspired variation of electropop music, especially when combined with the bratty self-absorbed attitude put forward by Warner.

It is strange to me that there is another half of this group (Peter Wade) who puts in the hard work to arrange the music for their albums and performances, yet he is not present at the performances. This shows either a lack of commitment on Wade's part, or a total hold of control on Warner's part - neither of which strikes me as being a part of a healthy musical relationship. Even if neither is true, Warner's awkward dancing on stage - combined with her strange lingerie tank-top shirt and feigned attempts to seem sexy - were more than enough to turn me off completely to her music and her performance altogether.

Boy was I relieved when The Shiny Toy Guns finally got on stage. After a failed opener and an unusually long setup time, I was not in the best of moods leading up to this point. They came out on stage with a presence and confidence reflective of the talent and experience that has followed them throughout their 10 years as a serious band. Carah Faye Charnow, their female vocalist/keyboardist, appeared last on stage - much to the delight of the crowd. Each member had their own unique style, and it was interesting to see their personalities and dynamics blended together. Their performance was airtight, and all the sound levels were mostly perfect. I only noticed an issue during "Ghost Town," one of their most popular songs, where the guitar was almost nonexistent due to some technical issue.

Shiny Toy Guns had a full and well-planned two hour set consisting of many of their most popular songs, including a lot of tracks of their new album "III". It included songs like "Speaking Japanese," (upon request) "Wait For Me," "Waiting Alone," "Rainy Monday," (appropriate for the approaching Hurricane Sandy that has most of boston shutting down on monday) "Stripped," "Major Tom," "Le Disko," "Somewhere to Hide," and "Frozen Oceans," to name a few. It was clear every band member had an important and equally supportive role in the music. Whether it was Carah Faye Charnow's mesmerizing voice, Greg Petree's smooth guitar and clear vocal work, Jeremy Dawson's ethereal and upbeat keyboard/synth playing and rolling but punchy bass, or Mikey Martin's interesting and powerful drum beats, I was equally impressed with the range of sounds and skills put forth by every member.

Some memorable moments from the show included Carah wearing a Patriots hat taken from the audience on stage, someone in the audience wearing a giant costume of Jake the dog from the show Adventure Time (who was very vocal that they actually really wanted to be Pikachu), Mikey Martin's interesting face paint, Carah's shoutout to a local boston fashion designer, or the band talking about the filming of a music video video for their single "Waiting Alone" which apparently took 27 days to film and took place across 6,000 miles of locations.

While the show got off on a bad note, Shiny Toy Guns managed to pick things up considerably and save the night from falling into the boredom and disinterest that MNDR was cultivating. As the night went on we found that the show got much more enjoyable and the crowd got more excited and passionate about the music. This made for an all-around good time, and I would recommend a Shiny Toy Guns show to anyone interested in their music as it is well worth it - regardless of any poor choices they made in determining openers. At the end of the night Shiny Toy Guns puts on a great live performance that caters to the crowd and stirs up an enjoyable mix of impulsive dancing, energetic cheerfulness, and all-around good times.

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