In the Round (Reports/Carslisle Sound/Keys to the Streets of Fear/Ghetto Fighters) (3.15.06)

Posted on July 28, 2008


Four boozy up-and-coming bands adopt campfire approach

So basically, what we have is a Goonies-like situation, in which the main characters of this story (Reports, Carlisle Sound, Keys to the Streets of Fear and Ghetto Fighters) convened in a dark attic—Charlie’s Kitchen in Harvard Square—one night and hatched a plan so boggling, not even its masterminds really had a handle on it.

In fact, a week later, some participants still seem to be vaguely in the dark. The group is sitting around the very same attic, downing cans of Schlitz, when Reports drummer John Allen (who’s been staring out from under his ratty baseball hat, pretending to listen) finally speaks up: “Wait, are we setting everybody up at the same time?”

Unbeknownst to Mr. Allen, a week before, the Keys had already gone public with their plan to have—yes, folks—ALL FOUR BANDS SET UP AT THE SAME TIME.

At P.A.’s Lounge.

These bands—who are all pretty much walking-booby-trap avalanches of either drunken blooze or tripped-out indie pop, and share members and recordings with each other and about 100 other bands in town—will be going at it live, Zaireeka-style.

The Keys’ two-string guitar player, Elio (the Keys all use stage names that are Italian variants on their actual first names—although in this case, “Elio” is indeed his real name) lays it down for us: “Everyone is going to be set up all around the room. Each band will play a song and then the next band goes. But your amp will always be on, so you can be standing there while the other guys are playing and go, ‘Wait, I know this song—I’m gonna fuckin’ play on this!’”

Expect lots of surprises from all directions. “There might just be a banjo attack in the back of your head,” warns Keys frontman Pasquale, who swears he’ll be bringing a variety of instruments into this Thunderdome so it won’t just sound like people are doubling up on parts—mainly because “everyone playing like 900 guitars would be retarded.”

Not to be overlooked is the night’s other means of entertainment: the Keys’ patented Supersystem. To create the Supersystem, the band sends audio from turntables into the PA speakers, which are miked and sent through guitar amps, guitar pickups and, finally, more guitar amps—all of which, according to the Keys, is truly something to behold.

“Portishead through a Fender with the reverb all the way up?” says Pasquale. “Catastrophic.”

[Originally Appeared in Boston’s Weekly Dig 3.15.06]