2nd Annual Soozapalooza is around the corner on Saturday at The Middle East Downstairs

Last year I hosted a big party at Precinct in Union Square a couple days after my birthday and jokingly called it Soozapalooza. It was so much fun, it had to happen again. This year the 2nd Annual Soozapalooza is taking place at The Middle East Downstairs in Central Square. The theme is simple: enjoy an awesome night of my favorite music and celebrate nine years of my music blog and event guide Exploit Boston!. As an added bonus, this year festivities will be MC’d by vigilante pundit and comedian Baratunde Thurston.

Don’t you hate it when people say “OMG! You must check out my show. It is going to be the a-m-a-z-i-n-g!”? What happens when that’s really the case? ;)

Keep reading for more tidbits about the bands with audio and video.

2nd Annual SoozapaloozaLast year I hosted a big party at Precinct in Union Square a couple days after my birthday and jokingly called it Soozapalooza. It was so much fun, it had to happen again. This year the 2nd Annual Soozapalooza is taking place at The Middle East Downstairs in Central Square. The theme is simple: enjoy an awesome night of my favorite music and celebrate nine years of my music blog and event guide Exploit Boston!. As an added bonus, this year festivities will be MC’d by vigilante pundit and comedian Baratunde Thurston.

Don’t you hate it when people say “OMG! You must check out my show. It is going to be the a-m-a-z-i-n-g!”? What happens when that’s really the case? ;)

The event has a website, of course — soozapalooza.com. The Twitter hashtag is #Soozapalooza2.

The Bands

Soozapalooza Supergroup: A bunch of Boston musicians somehow agreed to play a curious mix of music I selected. The group includes photographer and musician Johnny Arguedas rapping “In Da Club” by 50 Cent, My absolute favorite woman of Boston music Linda Viens singing “Joy” by Lucinda Williams, Three Day Threshold heart throb Kier Byrnes and Static of The Gods indie rock goddess Jen Johnson performing the Kenny and Dolly duet “Islands In The Stream” … and more.

VIDEO: “Islands In The Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

The Candles: I first heard about NYC’s The Candles back in October when I noticed Boston music friends were liking their page on Facebook. About ten minutes after listening to their music I emailed the band and asked if they’d headline my big bash several months later. As Wikipedia says: “fronted by Josh Lattanzi, The Candles encapsulates the varied styles and influences he picked up while recording and touring with the likes of Ben Kweller, Albert Hammond, Jr. (The Strokes) and The Lemonheads. Their guitarist is Boston guy Matt Pynn who played for many years with Will Dailey. Stacy Jones will be sitting in with the band on drums. He was the drummer for Letters To Cleo and more recently American HiFi and Miley Cyrus.

VIDEO: “Let Me Down Easy” by The Candles at The Knitting Factory

Mistle Thrush: This is where music nostalgia kicks in. When I moved to Boston in May of 1994, a friend clued me into Mistle Thrush and they became my “first Boston band.” Mistle Thrush is lifting their many-year hiatus to play at Soozapalooza. Guitarist Scott Patalano’s current band is Gene Dante and The Future Starlets and Valerie Forgione is one part of the on-again-off-again and happily back-on-again duo Van Elk.


Listen to “Cicada” by Mistle Thrush

The Lights Out: I saw one of their first shows in 2006 at the former Sky Bar in Somerville. The Lights Out have a brand new album that came out on 1/1/11 called Primetime. It’s an epic assault of rock and roll.


Listen to “Primetime” by The Lights Out

Kristen Ford Band: I first saw Kfo and her band play a basement show in Arlington of all places last summer. If you’re like me and you very much Do Not Like To Dance you might be surprised what comes over you when the band starts up. That doesn’t mean you’ll be dancing well, Kristen can’t do anything about your style (or mine, sadly) — but you will have to make a special effort to not move around and enjoy yourself when they kick off the night at Soozapalooza.

VIDEO: “Please Please Please” by Kristen Ford Band at The Institute
for The Musical Arts

Buy tickets at the box office and don’t pay the pesky TicketWeb fees

Advance tickets are $10. You can buy a ticket for you and ten of your friends in person at The Middle East Box Office in Central Square or online through TicketWeb. Day of show tickets at the door are $12.

New on Sooz TV: Boston Rocks Halloween 2009

[tweetmeme] It’s an annual tradition for Boston bands to perform Halloween shows covering bands they love or just feel inspired to cover for the night. This year I got some great performances recorded on video: John Powhida and Chris Cote as Robert Palmer, Preacher Roe as The Replacements, The Luxury as Duran Duran and The Lights Out as Phil Collins. You can watch all eight videos in the playlist below or watch each individual Boston Rocks Halloween video on YouTube.

Enjoy watching the videos? Join the Sooz TV fan page on Facebook!

Concert Photos: The Blizzard of 78, The Lights Out and Old Jack at Church

Somehow two of my favorite bands came together with limited intervention on my part: The Blizzard of 78 and The Lights Out shared the stage at Church on June 25th. They were joined by a new favorite, Old Jack. I had a day left on the Nikon 1.4 85mm lens I was renting this week and snapped these photos at the show. The lighting in the club seemed to be intentionally awful (too much red!) so I made most of the photos black and white. View the full set of photos on Flickr.

The Blizzard of 78

Nate / The Blizzard of 78 at Church

The Lights Out

Matt King / The Lights Out at Church

Old Jack

Dan Nicklin / Old Jack at Church

Social media and the WBCN Rock N’ Roll Rumble

The Lights Out with Rumble host Anngelle Wood on night six of the WBCN Rock N Roll Rumble Preliminaries
The Lights Out with Rumble host Anngelle Wood on night six of the WBCN Rock N' Roll Rumble Preliminaries. TLO won the night and will compete in the semi-finals on April 16.

The Boston Herald has a story by Michael Marotta about the impact that the internet and social media has played in this year’s WBCN Rock N’ Roll Rumble. I couldn’t agree more! But what is up with The Boston Herald only linking to one website in the story? They mention Boston Band Crush and Ryan’s Smashing Life but don’t link to each website.

I skipped the Rumble the first 13 years I lived in Boston and first checked it out a few of the nights in 2007. Last year, SoozFavorites Girls Guns And Glory competed (and then won) so I went to the two nights they performed plus maybe one more.

Mostly whenever I go to rock shows to photograph I just do my thing and leave. It’s not that I’m not a sociable person; but for whatever reason, at concerts, I always feel a lot more shy about saying hi to bands and other people that are there.

But this year’s Rumble has been an entirely different experience for me. After deciding to turn the lights out at Exploit Boston! (RIP 2002-2009), I collaborated with Ryan Spaulding who runs the popular music blog Ryan’s Smashing Life: his words plus my photos and video. We had an exhaustive blast covering the six nights of preliminaries last week. I still can’t believe I saw twenty-four bands on six nights (one night in the middle was designated as “day of rest”)! Mike, Sophia and the rest of the gang at Boston Band Crush have also shared speedy coverage of each night of the Rumble with lots of tweeting and video roundups.

The rock photographer’s cabal

Joe Harrington, Johnny Arguedas and I were at all six preliminary nights shooting photographs. Other photographers that were there for some of the preliminaries included Just Bill, Nicole Tammaro and Kelly Davidson.

Tweet, tweet, tweet

So many people are using Facebook and Twitter to share tidbits, accolades, pointers to their blog stories, photos, etc. (Not just “social media experts!!”) Everyone felt like they were part of something that was bigger than just four hours at a rock club.

A good host and organizer makes a huge difference!

Of course, there’s also this year’s new host, WBCN DJ for local music show Boston Emissions, Anngelle Wood. She is a long-time music tastemaker and very well respected within the Boston music community. Anngelle did a great job wading through lots of Boston bands to select twenty-four that would play in this year’s 31st Annual Rock N’ Roll Rumble. Her Boston Emissions cohort Shawn Sixx has also played a part in making this year’s Rumble so awesome.

Be there for the semi-finals on April 16-17 at The Middle East Downstairs

If you are in Boston on April 16-17, you really owe it to yourself to attend both night’s of the Rumble semi-finals at The Middle East Downstairs. Avoid the online fees and stop by The Middle East on Mass Ave in Central Square to pick up your tickets in person or buy them online through Ticketmaster.

Bands playing in the semi-finals on April 16th: Have Nots (9:30-10:00), Sarah RabDAU and Self-Employed Assassins (10:30-11:00), The Lights Out (11:30-12:00), Gene Dante and the Future Starlets (12:30-1:00).

Bands playing in the semi-finals on April 17th: Destruct-a-thon (9:30-10:00), The Luxury (10:30-11:00), The Dirty Truckers (11:30-12:00), Gravehaven (12:30-1:00).

Recap of reviews, photos and videos of the six nights of Rumble preliminaries

Ryan’s Smashing Life: night one, night two, night three, night four, night five, night six

Boston Band Crush: press coverage roundup

Sooz Photography (that’s me!): Photo sets for each night of Rumble preliminaries

Photos! The Lights Out at The Middle East Upstairs

Rishava Green / The Lights Out

The awesomeness that is Boston rock band The Lights Out returned to the Middle East Upstairs last night (9/5/08) for a great show. Check out their website and download the latest EP for free. If you’d like the real thing with album artwork it’s only five bucks. The band also needs your vote to win Harpoon Brewery’s “Best Unfiltered Band” competition. The winner gets a year of good beer and a cool gig.

Here’s the Flickr slideshow of photos I took of The Lights Out last night.