Live Review: Boston’s Alternative and Acoustic Showcase

The Middle East // Cambridge, MA // February 19

It was only appropriate that such an eclectic mix of artists from the Boston area congregated at The Middle East. The city’s most well-known venue filled early Saturday night with a receptive, welcoming crowd hoping to enjoy a long night of impressive local talent. They were not disappointed. Walrus Events’ Boston Alternative and Acoustic Showcase featured eight acts, each offering a sound and an experience so unique that quality music and talent was the night’s only constant.

Artists were truly put to the test during the show, playing quick sets of original tracks with the occasional crowd-pleasing cover. Rocco DeRosa’s take on The Band’s “The Weight” brought a folk twinge to his soulful voice. First-timers Billie Edington and Cahill performed decidedly different acoustic sets that were no less impressive. Edington’s slight vocal nerves were gone by her second song, as her performance often harkened back to her hometown of Boston.

Cahill was a true crowd-pleaser as they delivered a beautiful mix of skillful guitar work and harmonies. The clever arrangements of Jared Salvatore could only be matched by his playful lyrics. He blended his acoustic performance with the energy of alternative rock, much like Maverick during their set earlier that night. Dueling guitars and harmonies marked their original material, but it was the bongo-rich cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” that brought screams and panties flying onto the stage. Cousin Johnny and The Idle Kind played back-to-back sets of blistering alt-rock. Cousin Johnny had the cohesiveness and comfort of a band that’s had time to perfect their sound. The Idle Kind swaggered onstage to knock out some serious party anthems with their punk influenced swagger. The night concluded with an appropriately rocking set from Death By Fame, who performed effortlessly with their signature driving guitars and harmonious vocals.

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More than five hours of rock ended all too early. Until they’re headlining their own shows, the showcase gave fans a taste of the talented and diverse acts coming up on the Boston scene.

-Maureen McDermott


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