Concert Report: Boston Bands Night 1 – by Joe DiBiase

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Boston Bands Night 1 – Midway Cafe – Photo by Jim Vaiknoras

When life hands you lemons, you’re supposed to make lemonade.  Jen Collins has done so better than anyone I know.  As the founder of the Tedrock Fund (tedrock.org), she’s dug down deep and decided to honor the memory of her far too soon deceased husband, Ted Collins, by establishing a fund to help provide music education for underserved kids.  At its inaugural “Boston Bands Night,” three bands that Ted had played with came together at the fabulously divey Midway Café in Jamaica Plain on September 29th.  Kruller opened the show, and set the mood for the evening.  As I walked in they were taking the stage, and I was immediately transported to a time when Friday nights were for live music, hanging out with friends at the bar, and wondering who was buying the next round.

Next up was Bob and the Dickheads. I knew Ted, but never saw him play with B&TD.  Ted was no dickhead, but I could easily picture him on the stage with Bob and the gang. Driving guitar, vocals by Bob himself, and a tight crew of dickheads brought it to the next level.  The night was progressing nicely. Songs about drinking, girls, jobs, and drinking … everything that rock is about.

And, then there were The Figgs. A friend who had never seen The Figgs play previously said to me, “that’s the difference between seeing good musicians and artists,” and he couldn’t have been more right.  There’s not a weak spot in this trio. Virtuoso guitar. Truly, I was amazed at the quality and breadth of sound produced by Mike Gent’s “in the zone” playing.  I was surprised when bassist Pete Donnelly said early in the set that the band hadn’t been together for a couple of months. I’d have thought they’d been in rehearsal for weeks. I suppose that’s what comes when a band is celebrating their 30th anniversary. You could have fooled me with that, they have more energy, and play with more feeling, than many bands 30 years their junior.  If you have an opportunity to see The Figgs live, keep your eyes on Donnelly … rock bass takes on a whole new meaning.  And, though drummer Pete Hayes literally didn’t miss a beat all night, he brought the house down when he came to the front and, in honor of Ted and Jen, he sang a solo, a cappella version of The Kinks’ “Better Things.” I swear, I’ll never hear the song the same again.

No doubt Ted was smiling down on us as we enjoyed the music.  Wait, did I just say “enjoyed the music”?  WRONG! We ROCKED OUT, drank, danced, made new friends, and honored Ted Collins.

Three words of advice:

  1. Don’t miss the Tedrock Fund Boston Bands Night 2 (October 20, 2017, at the Midway Café).
  2. Buy your tickets in advance. The word is bound to get out about the Tedrock Fund Boston Bands Night 1, so Bands Night 2 is sure to sell out.
  3. Like the Tedrock Fund on Facebook to keep up-to-date on what else Jen has up her sleeve. It’ll be a challenge, but I have a feeling that better things are on the way!

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