Friday, November 13, 2009

Show Review: Boy Ghost at the Golden West

Boy Ghost at the Golden West
Better late than never, new Bmore Musically Informed contributor Nathan Grover wanted to share his thoughts about last week's Boy Ghost show at the Golden West.

Greg Hatem and Lindsay Parsons used to play together in Passiou, a band that produced a cacophony that could be pretty, sinister, or both. As Boy Ghost (with Nick Podgurski and Geff Stewart) they've come to employ a more sober, deliberate method; where Passiou's music often sprawled noisily, Boy Ghost's is insistent and focused. Their songs are often held together by eerie vamps: “Heroin Hard” for instance, is built on a hypnotic ostinato, and “Mr. Mess” revolves around two repeated chords overlaid with staccato violin and Parsons' menacing incantations. These songs are trance-inducing, unsettling, and catchy—quite an achievement.

But Boy Ghost can be gauzily beautiful too, as on the second song of their set last week at the Golden West—which melded atmospheric guitar, violin drones, and gossamer, Liz Fraser-worthy vocals—and on their dulcet, dusky rendition of Chris Isaak's “Wicked Game.”

While the tone and subject-matter of Boy Ghost's songs befit their spectral appellation, they specialize in domestic hauntings and not—with the exception of “Swamp Thing”—in more garish ghouls. Messes, heroin, household appliances—Boy Ghost play dirges of the everyday. On Wednesday this gift for rendering the quotidian uncanny led to something pretty unlikely: for a moment during their cover of “Worthless,” from Disney's The Brave Little Toaster, I started to wonder if they were playing a Nick Cave song.

B.J. Snowden, a school music teacher, troubadour, and resident of Massachusetts, played an energetic and engaging set. Producing a robust backing from only her Yamaha keyboard, she sang songs about baseball; Prince Edward's Island, Canada; conspiracy; New Brunsiwick, Canada; the lives of teachers under draconian superintendents, Judge Joe Brown; Ontario, Canada; driving at 98 miles per hour; the Navy; and what happens in Canada.

Photos by Chrissy

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