ALLSTON – On the outside, it’s hard to differentiate Great Scott from many of Boston’s other bars and hangouts. Situated on the corner of Harvard Avenue, just along the B-Line, you’d most likely dismiss it as just another dive bar. Yet, on April 7, the droves of guests lined up along the avenue were not just there to turn up on a Tuesday—they were there to turn up for WZBC’s annual Spring Concert series.
90.3 FM WZBC, the student-run FM radio station of Boston College, has a strong presence in the Greater Boston music scene. Active since 1960 and based in the depths of McElroy on Upper Campus, the station serves not only students on-campus, but all of the station’s fans across Boston, with student DJs giving lesser known artists a platform to be heard.
“We’re not from BC” said Alex, a junior from the nearby Berklee College of Music at the concert with two friends. “But we discovered the headliner [Ricky Eat Acid] from the station and couldn’t pass up on the lineup.”
Once inside the venue, the appeal of Great Scott became more apparent—it was a perfect marriage between a low-key dive bar and a wellspring of underground musical performances. College students and music enthusiasts from across the Boston metro area packed the quaint venue for WZBC’s showcase.
Little Spoon of Rochester NY opened the night up with what Little Spoon (real name Cameron Potter) describes himself as “pillowpop.” In practice, his music fit somewhere between chill-wave electronica and shoegaze rock, both in the lo-fi quality of his ambient soundscapes and in his somewhat constrained stage presence. Nevertheless, the Boston-based resident didn’t need such a presence, as the early-night audiences’ cheers of approval showed
Skinny Bones was perhaps the most engaging act of the night. The band, comprised of Jamaica Plain natives Jacob Rosati on vocals and guitar and Christopher Stopiello on drums and synths, played 30 minutes of electronic folk-rock to a jovial and rowdy audience. The pair fit interludes of Mitch Hedberg-like banter with the audience and eccentric anecdotes between songs characterized of bluesy lyricism and masterful percussions. Toward the middle of the set, Rosati directed the attention of the audience to a self-made, ambient-sounding instrument made from scratch using wood and bristles from a street-sweeper.
Sam Ray, AKA Ricky Eat Acid, was the last musician to take the stage. Specializing in experimental dance, Ray incorporates pre-produced sounds with live instruments (namely, a microphone and keyboard) to give his shows both the energetic style of EDM DJs and the live musicianship of a more traditional artist. Unlike the acts before him, however, Ricky Eat Acid had few words for the crowd—instead, he let his music do most of the talking for him in a half-hour continuous set that had mostly everyone in attendance bouncing.
This year’s WZBC Spring Concert is the 42nd iteration of the series. For the fans, it’s a good excuse to go out in the middle of the week and show support for artists earning their stripes on the music scene. For the musicians themselves, they expressed gratitude to WZBC for the exposure.
“WZBC is almost like a label to us,” Jacob Rosati of Skinny Bones said. “People come to our shows because they’re fans of the station. Without them, we don’t get great crowds like this one. They get to know us and everyone else because of it, in a way, they’re like family”
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor