Concert Review: Parker Gispert and Futurebirds @ ONCE Somerville 9/22/17

Tonight was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time. I decided to go to a concert by myself, not because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me but because I wanted to be able to totally devote my attention to the music. There’s something about live music that makes me happier than anything in the world. I had to the treat of seeing Parker Gispert and Futurebirds at ONCE Somerville. When I first heard the music of Futurebirds, I was struck by their laid-back country yet psychadelic tinged sound. It took me to a place of relaxation, something I felt I needed to experience on a Friday night.

It was my first time in the Somerville area and I didn’t know what to expect. I ended up grabbing a beer at the Highland Kitchen beforehand. Once at the show, I met a concertgoer named Edward. It was a pleasure to meet and talk music with Edward. I was thoroughly impressed by his knowledge of music and list of concerts that he’s seen. It’s not often that I find someone else who shares the same intense passion and knowledge of music as me. I also had a chance to talk with the drummer of Futurebirds for about 10 minutes at the merchandise table. He was a pretty cool dude and took it as a huge compliment when I told him his music reminded me of the Meat Puppets.

First, Parker Gispert (Lead Singer of The Whigs) came strutting on stage looking eerily similar to Chris Cornell with his lanky figure, sunglasses, and long hair. His vocal presence only confirmed my comparison. Parker played a slew of delicate acoustic songs from his debut solo album that he hasn’t recorded yet. At the end of his set, he invited the members of Futurebirds up on stage to join him for a few songs. In addition to a cover of Lou Reed’s, I’m Waiting For My Man, they played the rollicking Whigs song called Right Hand On My Heart. I ended up walking away with a “Do Some Country” t-shirt, a phrase that Parker said originated from a concertgoer at one of his shows. He then found out that no one had written a song yet called “Do Some Country”, so he set out to write one with that very title.

Futurebirds then hit the stage, each band member rocking a mustache. As the band began to play, I was blown away by their three part harmonies. In addition to their smooth and delicate country sound, Carter King took the band down a psychedelic avenue with his swirling guitar solos. Included in the set were covers of Moonage Daydream by David Bowie, and Till Tuesday’s Voices Carry. Another highlight was Olive Garden Daydream #47, a light and humorous take on a love song. What’s even more crazy is that I’ve long been a fan of Athens based bands such as R.E.M, Drive-By Truckers, Widespread Panic, and Vic Chestnutt. Originally not knowing they were from Athens, hearing that they have opened for DBT before made the band that much cooler to me.

The venue, ONCE Somerville is a concert hall converted from a ballroom, with a capacity of 300 people. They’ve had some pretty big artists come through their venue. The acoustics were pretty incredible and crisp. With only about 75-100 people there, I was able to get nice and close to the stage. It’s worth noting that ONCE Somerville is up for the Boston Music award of Intimate Concert Venue of the Year. I would certainly recommend checking out ONCE if you haven’t gotten a chance already.


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