The Boston area got a taste of the Milwaukee flavor on Sunday which was August 24, 2014. Local bands The Laszlos and Sinnet were joined by Wisconsin-based groups Twin Brother and Old Earth at T.T. & The Bears Place in Cambridge.
What was the atmosphere for this half Bostonian, half Milwaukee scene? It was eclectic. The opening band was The Laszlos. The vocalist had a look akin to the Ramones, but had a voice more like Kurt Cobain. Using heavy distortion, they had a punk attitude with alternative rock rhythms. The audience responded well to the heavier sound when they covered a Motorhead song. We savored the heavy metal ending to their set.
Old Earth went on next. This was a really chill solo act. He passionately played the guitar and sang with his eyes closed. If you were paying attention, you would see that he was playing along with some pre-recorded material. It made us think of when the band broke up in Flight of the Conchords and Jemaine used a tape in place of Bret. Old Earth pulled it off in a classy way.
Twin Brother really stood out with their folk rock. The guitarist and vocalist is Sean Raasch. His voice is distinctive, mature beyond his actual years. Tyler Nelson enjoys the versatility of percussion and would regularly change from drum sticks to rakes. Lodewijk Broekhuizen plays the violin and the bass, transitioning smoothly.
The last band to play was Sinnet. They describe themselves as follows: “Sinnet plays adventurous, moody, indie-pop tangled up in fuzz and spooky bits.”
We spoke with Sean Raasch and “Lodi” Lodewijk Broekhuizen of Twin Brother after their set.
LaPrade: “Your new album 'Swallow the Anchor' was named after a sailor's metaphor. Can you explain that and how it's relevant to your band?
Raasch: “It refers to how sailors retire. The guys in our band are getting older and sometimes we feel like giving up, but we keep pushing on, we keep fighting it.”
LaPrade: “How did you guys come up with the name Twin Brother?”
Raasch: “My father had a twin brother. It's a tribute to his twin. He died of a brain tumor.”
LaPrade: “Do you guys regularly perform at large or small venues? What do you prefer?”
Raasch: “This venue is as big as it gets. We've actually played in some living rooms without a microphone and some house parties. The intimacy of a small show is nice. You know everyone is paying attention, as opposed to a bar situation. The sound is quiet, but powerful. On the other hand, the bigger venues are nice, because they have better sound equipment.
LaPrade: “I noticed that there are some decals on the bass. What's on there?”
Broekhuizen: “That's actually a bass that I bought from someone 'as is'. I didn't want to rip them off. I like the DiMarzio pickups. It's actually a rock and roll bass, perhaps not the most appropriate for this genre, but fun.”
LaPrade: “Lodi, you also play the violin. Is it hard to transition from one to the other? Is it like switching languages?”
Broekhuizen: “In the technical sense, you move your fingers further on a bass, but the bass is easy compared to the violin. I've played the violin my whole life. I picked up the bass, but I'm not Jaco Pastorius. I'm not doing anything particularly innovative with the bass. In your head you just have to make the jump from the melody of the violin to the rhythm of the bass.”
LaPrade: “I noticed that you guys played a lot of the songs from your new album 'Swallow the Anchor,' do you guys have a favorite song?”
Broekhuizen: “I like 'Secret Talks'.”
Raasch: “My favorite is 'If Heart Was Enough'. Tyler's favorite is probably 'Fire Fire Fire'. He likes a lot of ornamentation, anything really textural for an orchestra sound for the percussion. We've even done recordings of just him playing with the cymbals.”