FROM THE STREET (Key-tar Rockstars)

Muphin Chuckrs brought a crowd full of old high school pals who were quick to describe the Chuckrs' sound as "awesome." I was curious about the band's name, but it turned out to be relatively self evident. When the members were younger, they assaulted cars with muffins. This mischievous, yet relatively harmless, vandalism was actually a good descriptor for the band. Their music is punk, but a kind of pop punk with a light-hearted sensibility. 

The Semis hit the stage with a rush of noise and monster riffs. The front man, Billy, ended up smashing his guitar, but it didn't break entirely, so he kept playing it. I later found Billy for an interview, which quickly turned into a diatribe that spanned the far reaches of Christian rock, how Jesus juice led him to rehab and how he didn't care if people got his music because he was 34 and lived on the beach and surfed all day. He explained all this while puffing a cigarette and hugging passing girls he may or may not have known. Maybe he didn't care if anyone understood him, but he certainly liked people to listen to him.

Magadog closed out the night with its brand of New Wave ska. Before the set, the stage full of aging young men passed the flask and lollygagged like they were backstage. The full brass section blew a wall of sound while the singer swiveled his hips in a full suit.

As most nights at The State Theatre end, I found myself in the alley behind the venue laughing with the band as they loaded up their gear. It turned out Magadog hadn't played the recently remodeled State Theatre in 10 years.

"Was it as good as you remember?" I asked the singer.

"No," he said, with age lines crinkled around his grin, "but that's the way it goes."

I listened as he reminisced with CL's cameraman Zach about the rock clubs in New England that have come and gone. Some were torn down, some converted to gourmet coffee houses, and others remain like aging musicians who refuse to quit playing no matter how many people come out to listen to their set. 

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"'Music is a business that requires devotion,'" I said, throwing one of Daylight District's lyrics back at the front man, Frank. "You have to give the people what they want, and what they want is for a hip-hopper to rock out a goddamned key-tar.

"I'll look into it," Frank said.


We were in the green room of The State Theatre, which reeked of herbal greenery. Frank had just finished playing his set for the CL In Concert Series, and I was brimming with ideas on how the band's fusion of rock and hip-hop could go big time. Although Frank has never played a key-tar, after our talk, no doubt he'll soon be prancing around stage, breaking hearts while working his strap-board with suggestive hip thrusts.

Tailgunner Joe and the Earls of Slander kicked off the night, playing fresh off a CL review touting the band's cowboy rock as "Rock 'n' Roll without the sex and drugs." The projectionist who painted the theater with moving images must not have read the review about the group's Christian roots, as a video of a woman stimulating herself played behind the band for a moment. Being an understanding person, I'm willing to believe that maybe the projectionist considered the clip an instructional video on how to preserve the integrity of one's virginity.

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