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MUSIC REVIEW

State of the Airwaves

Sum, Scissorfight, and Seven Mary Three

By Dan Katz

staff writer

As I begin to write this, Steer Roast looms before me. Chances are that I will finish it after Steer Roast. Want to play a fun and exciting game? See if you can determine the exact place in the column where I take a break for several days and come back, tired and ravaged by the effects of partying.

You know, you can’t throw a rock in this town without hitting a concert, provided you’re standing inside one of Boston’s many concert venues. One venue is the Paradise Rock Club where Train appears tomorrow night with Five For Fighting. Megadeth is also in town for an intimate show at Bill’s Bar which is -- you guessed it -- for ticket-winners only. Thursday, because they haven’t been to Boston recently, Blues “let’s charge the MIT students and play a freebie the next day” Traveler is at Avalon, while the Toadies (they’re baaack ...) and Diffuser (they’re obscuuure ...) have a show at the Paradise.

Friday and Saturday nights, the Push Stars (another band that’s been at MIT a lot lately) celebrate a CD release with two shows at Karma. Also on Saturday, the Psychedelic Furs bring in the nostalgia at Avalon, accompanied by up-and-comers Tinfed. Lilli’s sports a nice double bill of locals with Scissorfight and 17th-century AC/DC admirers The Upper Crust.

Finally, Monday the Kottonmouth Kings “bump” at Axis headlining an evening rounded out by the Phunk Junkees, Sprung Monkey, and one of rock’s newest one-hit-wonders, Hesher.

A ton of relevant albums are hitting the shelves today: Blues “I’m going to give them stupid nicknames consistently now” Traveler unveils Bridge, the disc they’ve been relentlessly supporting. The Black Crowes, who’ll be touring with Oasis this summer, have a CD out called Lions, while the relatively new punk-pop act Lucky Boys Confusion releases Throwing The Game. I’ve had the new Placebo album, Black Market Music, for months now, and its still one of my favorite releases of the year. Until now, it’s only been out in England, but today it’s available in the United States. Ex-Talking Head David Byrne’s new one is entitled Look Into The Eyeball, and Canadian rockers Sum 41 round out the list with All Killer No Filler.

I swear, they started off all right. Those who simply remember Seven Mary Three for “Cumbersome” might write them off as a radio-friendly pop-rock act in the vein of fellow Floridians Creed and Matchbox Twenty. But there was still something interesting going on, as could be seen in their other singles: the raging riff rock of “Water’s Edge” and the layered acoustic subtlety of “Lucky.” But it’s clear from their newest single, “Wait,” that the descent is complete. Now they simply sound like they’re trying to be Train and failing. I’ll reserve total judgment until I hear the new album, but for now I’ll just put on Rock Crown and pine for the good old days.

A correction: Last week I referred to School of the Americas as a TEP band. I received a clarification that this kickass band with a kickass acronym is not formally associated with TEP, and thus I was in error. The Roots are not an official ATO band either, by the way.

Our Lady Peace were in town last week and (like this is a surprise) I was in attendance. American Hi-Fi opened and played a very solid set, although they seemed somewhat restrained, playing in strict rhythm and losing some of the wild spirit of their debut album. (They also neglected to play the disc’s best track, “I’m A Fool,” which was a big disappointment.) The headliners had a blast in front of the sold-out crowd, drawing huge reactions for new tracks such as “In Repair” as well as their classics, including an incredible version of “Birdman” that incorporated lyrics from “Carnival” in its menacing extended bridge. During the encore, the band turned vocals over to the audience, who sang “4 AM” in chorus without lead singer Raine Maida. OLP are often good live and often terrible live ... Tuesday was a damn good night.

I lied, Roast hasn’t started yet, so you can forget about the “figure out where Dan loses it” game. After all, do I look like the kind of person who would shun my journalistic duties? Keep sending input to <airwaves@the-tech.mit.edu>, keep your head above water, and of course, keep expanding your horizons.