Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#732 in the Series) is This Providence, Brier (OK, EP Actually)
This Providence was a band that had always been written down in my little book of artists to check out, but for one reason or another, they kept getting passed over. So when I ran my eyes down the openers for Go Radio’s Lucky Street tour, the name rang a bell but I didn’t think much of it. I had bought the ticket on a whim anyway, needing a break from midterms and wanting a chance to explore another area of Boston.
The show was at a tiny venue that’s quickly turning into my favorite on the east coast – TT the Bear’s Place in Central Square. It’s off the red line in Cambridge and has a great college vibe with a bunch of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and a thriving music scene. TT’s specifically is a dying breed. Compared with almost every new music setting being designed to accommodate thousands of screaming fans, this place is about the size of a basement, with the look and feel to match. It allows for a much more intimate concert and fan experience, plus a better view and acoustics.
Being the shortie that I am, I wandered up to the first few rows and had a great spot for the first opener, Tyler Carter. Previously of Woe, Is Me, Carter has moved in a completely different direction for his solo career. I highly suggest you check out his latest download, Stayin’ Alive – links are available off his tumblr (tylercarter4l.tumblr.com) and twitter (@tylercarter4l). He put on a great and enthusiastic set and vamped up the crowd perfectly.
After a half hour set switch, This Providence took the stage to above average cheers for an opener. The crowd seemed to know and love them, and they opened with their hit off their last album, Who Are You Now? to a lot of singing and clapping. They continued with similar songs until about midway through their set and the crowd appeared to know every word. It wasn’t until they took a quick break to re-tune that vocalist Dan Young solemnly took the mic to deliver some interesting news.
“We’re about to play some new stuff for you tonight –“ he started, and a gleeful cheer rippled through the floor. “Yeah, thanks, we’re pretty happy about it too.” He flashed a Colgate smile before starting over. “Well, yes, we’re playing something new, but some people aren’t too happy about it. Anyone here know Fueled by Ramen?” Another cheer rose up, and I joined in – FBR was the label currently supporting fun., Panic! at the Disco, and Cobra Starship, to name a few.
The corners of Young’s mouth twitched and he said, “Yes, well, as you might also know, we used to be a part of FBR, but they dropped us a few weeks ago.” This time murmurs punctuated the silence. Dropped by their label? I found it hard to believe, especially compared to the crowd’s reaction to them all evening.
He cut off the rest of the talk with, “We played our new stuff for them and they weren’t digging it, but anyway – here it is and we hope you like it.” And with that they launched into “Trouble” with a happy ferocity that you only see with bands playing something for the first time.
Now, I had been enjoying the first part of their set well enough – Young had great pipes and the rest of the band played on point with a cool indie vibe. But once they started with the new stuff, a different energy controlled the little club. From the opening verse to the final chorus, they kept the crowd – and me – nodding their heads and tapping their toes.
After the last quavering note and a little laugh, Young transitioned into the next song, “Deep End,” and from then on they had me completely won over. Through the entire set, they played every new song in their repertoire to applause and yells of encouragement. It wasn’t until just before their closing song that they voiced their plea: they were still finishing up with their EP, Brier, and wouldn’t be able to sell it until May – almost two months from our concert date. However, we all had the option to preorder it for five dollars, and they would ship it to us the day it came out. We all agreed in screams and claps, and they played their last single with everyone singing along.
Go Radio played next – an excellent set as well – followed by a mass scramble for the headliners to sign everything in sight. I wiggled my way through the throng of bodies to get the GR boys to sign a poster and was spat out next to the This Providence booth. I figured hearing the few good songs was worth five dollars, and was rewarded with a slip of cardstock that promised me a hard copy of the EP by the first week of May.
Smiling to myself at the success of the evening, I was just heading out into the street when I bumped into a figure, making him drop his cigarette. I apologized profusely, only to look up and realize it was Dan Young himself, coming back from a smoke break. A bit starstruck, I babbled a few compliments about their new EP before nervously asking for an autograph. He flashed that million dollar smile again and whipped out a sharpie. To my horror I only had the already-signed Go Radio poster and fumbled for something – anything – different for him to write on. I dipped my hand into my back pocket – the receipt for his new EP! It ended up being a perfect fit for his loopy signature and he thanked me for supporting them. I was about to excuse myself when he pulled on one of my stumpy pigtails and whispered “I like your hair.” Completely speechless, I watched him grin one more time before disappearing back into the smoky club.
Brier arrived right on time and is still one of my most-played albums on iTunes. Only four songs, it has the perfect amount of indie pop and alternative rock that makes This Providence prove to themselves and the record industry that the direction they’re going in is a good one. Gleaming smiles and fleeting compliments aside, This Providence is worth a fresh look and another listen.
- In Or Out
- Deep End
- You’re Mine
- Daniel Young – vocals, guitar
- Gavin Phillips – guitar
- David Blaise – bass
- Andy Horst – drums
Listen the Brier below..