An Anti-Social Music Student's Guide to Boston
  • THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2017

  • Posted by: Robert Steiner

Hello, dear readers. My name's Robert, and I'm a longtime writer here at Baeble. I've written quite a few things for this site, but if I had to sum up my achievements: There are three articles about Rick Astley on this website. I wrote all of them. Anywho, I have the honor of covering Boston Calling this weekend, and it's frankly an understatement to say I'm pretty damn excited. It's always a good thing when your biggest problem with a festival is deciding between overlapping sets (Sylvan Esso or Car Seat Headrest? Which one will up my indie cred more????). I'm considering the weekend a bit of a homecoming as well, because I'm actually a middler at Northeastern "Not Western" University studying Music Industry. I've been on co-op in NYC for the past five or so months (#experientiallearning), so it's been a long time since I've seen a Red Sox-decorated car blasting Dropkick Murphys at four in the morning.

Since I've lived in Boston for a good while, my boss thought it'd be fun if I made a quick little visitor's guide for some BC pre-coverage, encourage out-of-town festival goers to explore the local arts scene and whatnot. On paper, yes that does sound like a fun 'lil blurb to write, but here's the thing: I don't get out much. It's not that there isn't anything to do in Boston, 'cause there definitely is; it's just I find most social gatherings to be completely terrifying panic traps that make me want to rip my right arm off just so I have something to talk about and not drown in sweaty, awkward silence the whole time. So yeah, I'm a bit anti-social. That said, I think I know a decent amount about Boston, I mean I do live there after all, so I can probably think of a few decent suggestions. I usually put a lot of thought, research, and care into my writing, but my boss wants this thing done, I'm running on an hour or so of sleep, and I've got a bus to Boston in like 2 hours, so let's do this.

GO SEE A SHOW AT THE GREAT SCOTT



If you're involved in the Boston music scene to any capacity, you have to go to the Great Scott at least once. I would know because I have been to the Great Scott only once. I had two beers spilled on me, and one dude in the front flaceplanted right in front of Brad Oberhofers feet. All in all, pretty sweet show. The Scott's definitely not spacious, but if you want to experience a hole-in-the-wall club show featuring artists that are going to be huge in a couple years, this is a must-see venue.

GO FIND A HOUSE SHOW

There's seriously no better way to experience Boston's music culture than watching pop punk and/or math rock bands perform in a hot basement at some random house in Mission Hill. These gigs might be harder to find if you're just in for a weekend, because you have to be in a pretty specific loop to know where and when these shows are happening. If you can find people in the scene to bring you along though, it's definitely worth doing if you want to catch some weird and wonderful college acts. As for specific houses to check out, I have no clue...being in the loop takes effort, like leaving your bed and stuff. Flippin' exhausting. Just keep a scenester friend in your circle and leech off of them for cheap gigs.

GO TO THE MIDDLE EAST (the venue)



This one's worth visiting just so you can confuse the hell out of people when you say, "Let's go to the Middle East! Its only like a 20-minute train ride away!" Other than that, I don't know all that much more about it other than a lot of my friends have gone to shows there. I almost went to a show there one time, but I think I needlessly flaked out, forgot, or both. Or maybe that was the day where I got stuck in Salem for 11 hours in a desperate last minute attempt at some "alone time." It's a long story. Anyway...the club's got 3.5 stars on Yelp. That's pretty solid, right? I'm sure it's bushels of fun.

BE PRETENTIOUS AT THE MFA



Are tiny club concerts and basement gigs a little too cramped for you? I know they definitely can be for me, but that's probably because I've never really been a hugger. Or a toucher. Or really anything regarding human contact (Side note: Wow, I'm a mess aren't I?). If you want something with a little more space to roam, then the Museum of Fine Arts is probably right up your alley. The building is mind-bogglingly massive, there are enough exhibits to last at least a day, and the best part: You don't have to talk to anyone. Okay I'm kidding (kinda), the real best part is the fact you feel so goddamn high-art after going that you act like you're a lifelong Lincoln Center member. What's that? You haven't seen the rare, exclusive Frida Kahlo painting yet? Well I have, at the exquisite MFA *pompously adjusts glasses*.

But yeah, the MFA's cool, 10/10 would recommend.

GO HANG OUT AT BERKLEE, I GUESS



If you can't tell already, I'm running out of ideas here. Turns out it's a lot harder to be a tour guide, especially when you know virtually nothing about the city you're presenting. How does Rick Steves do this shit? Money and actual research, I guess, nether of which I have.

Alright, art stuff, what's artsy...Berklee's a pretty sweet music place! Being that it's a music school and all. I imagine people play pretty good music there if that's the case. John Mayer went there I think...but he also dropped out, so maybe he doesn't count. I've worked with Berklee kids, and they're all amazingly talented, so if you know anybody there definitely take them up on a jam session if you think you can keep up. Other than that, there's Cafe 939 on campus, which features cool, small shows. Honestly, cool, small shows is really the through-line in the Boston music scene now that I think about it. Anyway, I'm rambling so let's not drag this out.

THE N.E. AQUARIUM SOUNDS COOL



I was informed by my boss that apparently this list needs to be longer. Fine...but I'm out of art ideas. But if there's one thing I love more than music, it's penguins, and I'm told the New England Aquarium has penguins. That's right, cute little penguins, swimming and tap dancing and such (they probably don't actually tap dance). It's not all that musical, but it's at least adorable, so call it a consolation prize.

FENWAY PARK'S PROBABLY FUN



Remember when I said I wouldn't drag this out? That was a funny joke, right? Let's just cap this thing off with a classic: Eating hot dogs and watching a Red Sox game at the historic Fenway Park. They don't make ballparks like this one anymore, so it's worth seeing even for history's sake. Plus, even if you despise sports, they give general tours of the park as well. So there, fun for the whole family. Not really musical or artsy, but I clearly need to work on my knowledge with that stuff, so this is all I got.


If anything of value came from this article, I can at least see in writing that I seriously need to get out more, or at least read a Boston tourism pamphlet. In all honesty, if you're in town for Boston Calling, you're probably going to only have time for Boston Calling. There are mornings, sure, but who wants to get up early on a weekend? That's just wrong all around. Plus the festival itself is going to pretty awesome on its own, so maybe this list was kinda useless. Bummer. That said, I hope my ramblings helped you plan your Boston weekend to some capacity, or at the very least made you chuckle. If you've read this thing all the way to the end, thank you for indulging/bearing with me. Everyone else, I don't blame you for closing the tab.

See you at Boston Calling, everyone!!!
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