On Further Review
by Nikhil Gupta

The Scene: Great Scott - 6/20/2009

Expect the Unexpected - On a night where there were numerous quality live shows across the region (RSL covered bands at three locations simultaneously!), MEandJOANCOLLINS brought their compelling sexual swagger—and a bit of the unexpected to this stage in Allston on a steamy Saturday night.

As the band stormed into their second song, I was struck in the face with a inflatable sex doll! The plastic crowdsurfer, which was made all the more realistic with an inspired artist's adornments, was soon joined by another doll - bobbing above the crowd while the band played on stage. Yep, it was that kind of night.

That's Why This Band is a "Best of" - Bo Barringer (guitar and vocals), Jen Grygiel (guitar and vocals), Jim Collins (bass), and Matt Graber (drums—The Self-Employed Assassins regular stood in mind-blowingly for Jason Marchionna) turned the Great Scott into something of a Bacchanalia. This was partly due to Grygiel’s 30th birthday being that very day (presumably the same Sharpie marker used on the inflatable dolls is what turned Grygiel into a human birthday card with signatures abounding). But then again high-energy storytelling is what made us put their LP, Love. Trust. Faith. Lust. on RSL’s Best of 2009 So Far List—and there was plenty of that Saturday night too. As soon as the sting of plastic-on-skin wore off, my attention was right back on the band—on their one-two guitar punch; on their deliciously androgynous two-part melodies; on their lyrics’ seedy seduction; and on the poignancy of their music hidden beneath all that flash and glam.

Drawing in the Crowd - Surprising twists and turns in the band’s music grabs their listeners just like being told not to do something always tempts a school-kid. A perfect example was the night’s standout song—“A Little Too Much.” The grinding beat and tightly bound melodies serve as the perfect backdrop to the second chorus’ hook, where Barringer drops the earlier line “I hesitate…” and instead drawls out, “I masturbate. . . A little too much.” Everyone likes to surprise themselves by doing what they shouldn’t, just like everybody likes to be part of the party—MEandJOANCOLLINS let the crowd at the Great Scott do both this Saturday night.


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