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State of the Airwaves

Supergrass, Satisfied, and Steer Roast

By Dan Katz

Staff Writer

Argh. Why do all the good concerts in town have to be during Steer Roast weekend? Well, the competition can’t stop the Airwaves Show of the Week from being the big bash at Senior Haus, going down Friday and Saturday night and featuring nine bands selected by WMBR Program Director Marianna Parker. Playing at the Roast will be Lockgroove, Dan Personals, and Moon Patrol, as well as my own personal booking touch in the form of Hip Tanaka, a terrific band from Allston.

I suppose if you’re going to be lame and miss Roast, though, I should probably tell you all the other awesome stuff going down. Tonight, some of my favorite locals, Orbit and Angry Salad, get together with the Push Stars at the Middle East for one of many benefit concerts this week for Mikey Dee, an avid Boston concertgoer who recently suffered a serious stroke. Also in town tonight are one of England’s more underrated rock bands, Supergrass, as well as up-and-coming Canadian songstress Chantal Kreviazuk, who is married to Our Lady Peace’s Raine Maida. Tomorrow night, performance artists Negativland finally return to Boston at the Copley Theater, while Avalon boasts a regular psychobilly hoedown featuring the Reverend Horton Heat and Hank Williams III.

Wow, look at all the CDs Dan’s gotten recently! Wow, look at all the absence of free time Dan has to review them! Wow, look at Dan throwing capsule reviews into Airwaves! With a sound somewhere between Creed and Pearl Jam, what In Moderation by 8Stops7 lacks for originality, it makes up for with intense guitar playing and good songwriting. You’re likely to know the band from “Satisfied,” a Creed soundalike single which is starting to get airplay but still nowhere near as much as it deserves. To add contrast, there’s a slower-paced song three tracks in called “Question” that’s absolutely gorgeous, displaying some nice versatility alongside fierce songs like my favorite, “My Would-Be Savior.”

On the other hand, intensity is missed quite a bit on Travis’s The Man Who, which has finally appeared in the States after massive critical acclaim and popularity in Europe. While the album is very soothing and very powerful, I can’t help missing the rock flavor of songs of their first album like “U16 Girls.” On the other hand, I haven’t been able to get the current single, “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?” out of my head for days, so the new formula must work ...

I tend to like covers more often than not, but two recent efforts strike me as sorely unnecessary. Bif Naked’s version of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” produced for the soundtrack to Ready To Rumble and now the theme song of current WCW Champion David Arquette (Vince Russo, are you on crack?), tries to mimic the song exactly, succeeds, and is therefore not worth listening to. On the other hand Les Rhythmes Digitales’ attempt to reinvent “Hey You (What’s That Sound)” changes it into a cold, mechanical beast that’s more inventive than Bif Naked’s track, but just as painfully unlistenable.

Relatively short edition of Airwaves this week, what with my being gradually crushed by the pressures of the Institute and all. But keep on contacting me with your gripes and gratitude about the column and the rest of the rock music world. The term’s almost over, but as long as you like me, you can bet I’ll be right back with you next year for more rock ’em sock ’em Airwaves action, provided I don’t get eaten by a shark or something. Until that happy day, have a great week and keep expanding your horizons.