6/14/15- Great Scott

The DIY ethic needs updating.

Do-it-yourself has been around since the late 1970s, but some have revised it for the 21st century: DIT, or do-it-together, a concept embraced by the Massachusetts bands of Exploding in Sound Records.

This cooperative attitude was at its best when friends, fans, California X, and Krill gathered at Great Scott in Allston on Sunday to bid farewell to Ovlov, the recording project of Steve Hartlett. It was an unassuming farewell, more of a “see you later!” than a “bye forever,” which was to be expected; this isn’t the last we’ll hear from Steve, who has already begun recording under the new moniker Stove.

Most of the members of the audience at Great Scott seemed to know each other, or at least know of each other. It spoke to the closeness of the Boston music scene, a scene led in part by Krill, the first act on the night. After a brief delay, a slow setup, and a teasing soundcheck, Krill made their way through a relatively short set consisting mostly of tracks from this year’s A Distant Fist Unclenching.

Krill’s typically low-level of enthusiasm was virtually unchanged for the occasion. Their characteristic nonchalance and indifference, personified in Jonah Furman’s listless stare, didn’t add to the impression of a farewell show. There was no rousing farewell speech or impassioned thank-you for Ovlov, but instead ironically lackluster recognition of the band and their dissolution. But hey, that’s just part of their shtick – Krill’s presence alone spoke to their respect for Ovlov as did guitarist Aaron Ratoff’s Ovlov t-shirt.

California X did a bit more to recognize the occasion, shouting “Ovlov is the best!” and “This is the best!” between songs. The Western Mass quartet played fuzzy garage rock that has garnered more than a few Dinosaur Jr. references. Chugging guitar, grungy riffs, and doomy bass made for pretty good punk music not just reminiscent of the 90s, but seemingly part of it. They even looked like it — frontman Lemmy Gurtowsky and bassist Dan Jones could easily pull off a Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar halloween stunt.

Finally, Ovlov took the stage. For the uninitiated, of whom there were probably very few, they may have been surprised by Steve Hartlett, the brain behind Ovlov. The dude is a goofball– and that’s a good thing. He played his guitar as if it were a Guitar Hero controller, wildly gesticulating and aiming the neck at the crowd, at times playing with his guitar parallel to his body. He made silly jokes and by the end of the set, the stage was littered with PBR and ‘Gansett cans that had been skilfully chugged and carelessly dropped.

The music at times was sloppy too, with Steve even grimacing knowingly at minor mistakes, but the crowd, made up of friends and longtime fans, couldn’t care less. The farewell show was thrown together two days before, with nothing but a Facebook event page to its name. On top of that, the show started at 9pm on a Sunday, Ovlov didn’t take the stage until after 11pm, and the Game of Thrones season finale was on. Everybody who turned out wanted to be there. They bobbed their heads, moshed when appropriate, and yelled words of encouragement between songs.

After playing most of the phenomenal AM, Ovlov convened in front of the drum set to confer on the last couple of tracks. They promised two more songs, and then added a third, “Nü Pünk,” a chugging punk anthem. As the song came to a close Steve haphazardly fretted his guitar parts while holding his other hand in front of his mic, palm open and facing inward, like a warrior commanding his troops and going out like a legend.

If you missed Ovlov’s Boston farewell you still have two chances if you are willing to travel. Ovlov plays the Heirloom Arts Theatre in Danbury, CT on June 18th and Shea Stadium in Brooklyn, NY on June 19th.

Farewell to Ovlov
  • Krill
  • California X
  • Twas a long night
9Overall Score

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