Monday, February 14, 2011

Middle Class Rut - The Met Cafe, Pawtucket, RI 2.7.11

"After they're done playing, you're going to feel like you've been punched in the face," said Tiffanie DeBartolo to me right before I headed to find a spot at the front of the stage for Middle Class Rut's set at the Met Cafe in Pawtucket last Monday night. And well, she was right. I felt like I'd been sucker punched in the gut, the wind knocked out of me. But let me back up to the beginning.

I found out Middle Class Rut, a Sacramento based band signed to Bright Antenna, was headlining WBRU's weekly cheap date show last Monday, and decided I had to go. I'd been listening to their album pretty much non-stop since I downloaded it right after Christmas, not to mention BRU has been playing their single New Low like crazy. For $6, I figured that it'd be worth it - which it absolutely was. I recruited Lisa to come with me and I found out Tiffanie would be there with them as well, which was awesome - I hadn't seen her since October in New York.

We arrived not long after doors opened, around 8 or so - and hung out until the first opening band took the stage at 8:30. For a Monday night, I was surprised at the amount of people there - if I had to guess 2-300? The Met Cafe is a really cool venue. Its in an old mill building, so the floors are hardwood and the walls are all exposed brick. I'd absolutely see other shows there. The Turtle and the Fool, a local band from Providence took the stage at 8:30 and played for about a half hour. They had a good, albet generic sound, but I enjoyed their set. Next up was Herra Terra, another local band. They were definitely not my style - kind of punk and while I thought their vocals were good, their music didn't do much for me. They also played for about a half hour, and the stage started getting turned over for Middle Class Rut. I left Tiffanie and Lisa to go stand up front so I could really immerse myself in the music - and immerse I did. I felt every single thing that Zach and Sean threw at me for an hour. Their energy is just so incredible and they play off each other in the best possible way. You can really see how connected they are, musically and personally and it comes through on the stage.

Listening to the album, you'd never know that there are only 2 members of the band. Zach does things on the guitar that are unreal. You'd think there was a full band the way he plays, and at times you think there's a bass player hiding on the stage somewhere. While I don't know the names of all the songs they played, I definitely recognized enough so I could sing along to what I did know and rock out to what I didn't know but was able to pick up by the second chorus or so.  I will say that I loved New Low live, which has been one of my favorites since I first heard it, but hearing it live gave it a whole different dimension, which is one of the greatest things about live shows. USA, which was the closing song of the set has never been one of my favorites, but now I love it. I listen to it with a different ear. And after the hour long set - Tiffanie was right. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut - I couldn't breathe, I couldn't hear anything for awhile after - but it was one of the most incredible feelings. The crowd loved them and by halfway through the set, there was a mosh pit going. It was awesome to see them come to a place they'd never played as a relative unknown with the exception of the single on the radio - and leave having been fully embraced by the crowd and loving Pawtucket, RI.

These guys are real. The album is brilliant, and underneath all the yelling and loud vocals- there's true talent. Truth be told, they're a bit louder then what I usually listen to, but not so far out of my comfort zone I find it uncomfortable. I find them a bit of a cross between the Dropkick Murphys and the Beastie Boys, but better. If you like any kind of alternative rock, pick up their album, which you can get here. And when they're near you? Go see them live. Its absolutely worth it - and you may just leave feeling like you've been punched in the gut and not quite sure how to speak or react to what you just witnessed.

All pictures are here. Please credit if used.

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