Sometime last year, it broke into my consciousness that there was a new arts group in town called the Future Collective and they were doing interesting things. But it wasn't until this year, when suddenly they held a fundraiser and rented a space on Elliott Street, that I finally got around to figuring out who they were. What they are is very cool – a loosely affiliated group of artists, musicians, visionaries, and creative types who want to create a supportive scene around a free interpretation of the arts. I'm making that up. I have no idea what their actual mission is but it seems related to joy, freedom, beauty, and awesomeness for all. Mission aside, they've already given me one thing I'd been missing for a while – loud, live rock and roll music.
The Monday night show was the first ever at the Future Collective's new space on Elliott Street, a pair of rooms on the second floor, decorated through and through with contributed or loaned artwork, a cabinet of curiosities, and a hand-painted rules-of-the-room plaque. The show featured three pleasantly crunchy guitar bands, from Northampton (ZZONES), Turner's Falls (The Grudges), and Boston (Free Pizza). I say guitar bands. By that I mean a bands with guitars. Some bands don't have them and I always think that's a deficit.
I liked all three bands for different reason. ZZONES reminded me of Dinosaur Jr a bit and Crazy Horse at other times, both very distant comparisons. Their singer tended to sing just under the guitars as though the vocals were an afterthought, but I liked the whole sound, vocals and all. The audience enjoyed them; some people danced.
The Grudges, who had warmed up dancing to ZZONES (with whom they share a member), performed an energetic set of quirky pop that was likened to X on account of the male/female singing duo's shouty vocals. I think this band might be fairly new – it'll be interesting to see how they develop.
The evening ended with Free Pizza, who apologized half a dozen times for being late (they weren't really) because “we had to work.” I guess rents in Boston haven't changed. They delivered a well-received barrage of “good time rock and roll” (their specialty, according to their Facebook page) that sounded more like “happy hardcore” on account of the very revved up tempos. Some in the audience were moved to mosh, but thought better of it. And a good time was had by all.
Saturday, we stopped in to The Stone Church on Main Street for another Future Collective event, where four acts were on the bill, a steal for $5. We only got to see two of them, but we felt we got our money's worth.
Rebel Base was a duo, with a girl drummer and a guy guitarist, who rocked very hard and split vocals. They were followed by The Whorses (pronounced Horses, we were told) who were described on the flyer as “teen wackadoes” but they were so much more than that. For starters, they took being in a punk rock band seriously, wearing full rock regalia and eye make-up. Once they started playing, they backed up the look with punk rock abandon and stage presence that more than made up for the pretty much constant equipment failures they had to endure.... They were the only band who could do a complete encore of everyone's favorite song in under 20 seconds. The crowd, many of them BUHS students, loved them, and we did too.
On a final note, if you're interested in following the Future Collective and their many original doings, one way to keep up with them is to listen to their radio show Sunday nights from 6-8 PM. You'll get the FC's latest news and announcements, as well as some great indie rock, new and old. In fact, just tonight, I was thinking as I listened, that the Replacements would fit right in, when DJ Wild Goose played two tracks right then and there, including Bastards of Young, an unexpected but obvious choice.
“Youth” have not fled Vermont, or at least not all of them. Some of them are still right here, and they're interesting people who are, by necessity, future-oriented. The Future Collective is giving us all a chance to tap into that energy. It's about the future, y'all.