“No moshing or crowd surfing. Keep your feet on the ground and have a great time!”
This was the sign that greeted me as I walked into Brighton Music Hall on Wednesday night, Sept. 26. While there would be no moshing or crowd surfing that night, feet were definitely not going to stay on the ground while The Silent Comedy and The Heavy were onstage.
Brighton Music Hall is a small venue where bands help set up their own equipment, mingle with the crowd, and enjoy the show when they’re not on stage.
The Silent Comedy opened the show, and they had their hands full keeping the packed crowd busy during their set. Their unique brand of toe-tapping, bluesy, folk rock allowed them to pull of this feat with aplomb.
The San Diego-based preacher’s sons had the crowd bouncing the entire time with songs like “Exploitation” and “Bartholomew,” and didn’t let up until their set ended. On their last night touring with The Heavy, they played an all-inclusive show, bringing The Heavy’s horn section and drummer onstage for their last two songs.
When I spoke with guitarist Jeremiah Zimmerman after the show, it was clear that the band loved playing in Boston.
“When we were starting out, the bar managers said we couldn’t play so soft,” Zimmerman said of their original, toned-down folk sound.
Talking about Boston specifically, Zimmerman said, “Certain places take on a certain personality…it’s like a powder keg. You just need to walk up with a match and it explodes.”
After a brief intermission to set up the stage, it was time for the soulful, gritty rock of The Heavy. As the British rockers took the stage backed by a full horn section and organ, Kelvin Swaby walked onto the stage with the rest of the band, saying “The Heavy never do anything easy."
They then launched into their first song, the spooky horror-flick march of “Can’t Play Dead,” off their new record The Glorious Dead. The energy and raw power that they brought to the stage was evident after three songs when Swaby took off his shirt, exclaiming, “It is definitely hot as f***.”
The rest of their set smacked the audience in the face as hard as the first three songs, as the band brought the pace down with slower, softer songs like “Cause for Alarm,” “Short Change Hero,” and “Curse Me Good,” but immediately brought the energy back up, asking “How many devils in the building tonight? Are there any fools in the building?”
This boisterous banter from Swaby brought the band quickly into material from their new album, bringing the audience into the choruses of “Big Bad Wolf,” which had Swaby howling at the ceiling, saying afterwards, “I think I like it here!”
“What Makes a Good Man,” the album’s first single, brought the house down, with its infectious main riff, as did “Same Ol’"and “Don’t Say Nothin'."
Swaby then invited The Silent Comedy back onto the stage, and as a token of their appreciation for the time spent together on the road, he used them as fantastic backup singers for the slower, soulful “Blood. Dirt. Love. Stop” and “Just My Luck.”
The Heavy left the stage only to be brought back by cheers for more! that reverberated off the low-hanging ceiling. Dipping into their older albums, they closed out the show with enthusiastic renditions of “Coleen” and “Girl,” where Swaby made his way into the crowd, singing to every girl near the stage. After ending “Girl” with a little “All Day and All of the Night,” The Heavy closed as only they could, with their most beloved song, “How You Like Me Now?”
The entire hall bounced as they cranked the song out, feeding off the crowd’s energy, knowing that it was their last song of the night, and damn, if they weren’t going to leave us with exactly what we wanted.
I had the chance to talk to Swaby after the show about his experience playing at the Brighton Music Hall.
“It feels great,” he said. “We’ve played here a few times and it’s been amazing. I heard it’s hard to get Boston to go crazy…but it’s cool to sell out this crowd that’s reppin’ us and The Silent Comedy and knows what we’re about. We made this album differently: I didn’t put down any vocals until the instrumentals were finished. It was great to see people that liked that. We did what we came here to do.”
In case you haven’t already, check out some great songs by The Silent Comedy and The Heavy: