3/4/14 – Great Scott

When anyone throws out the term “rock star,” my mind immediately goes to old school rock stars— Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, or Robert Plant. Our generation truly lacks any famous performer that I think anyone could call a “rock star.” Sure, we have pop stars— but they have lights, dancers, and props to assist in their performances. Where have all the real rock ‘n’ roll performers gone? I found an answer in Allston on March 4.

I entered Great Scott in Allston with high expectations for my first time at a show with The Orwells. I had heard tales, from friends and people online alike, of the antics of the band’s live performances. To say I was excited would be an understatement— and to put it simply, they did not disappoint.

Chicago three-piece Twin Peaks opened the night. The crowd may have been small when they took the stage, but the energy the band put forth in their performance got the audience dancing (and moshing) right off the bat. They were the perfect opener for The Orwells— they didn’t do anything too crazy, but hyped up the crowd for the headliners.

Then, we anxiously awaited The Orwells. A guy next to me was wearing a wig inspired by lead singer Mario Cuomo’s luscious locks. The band took the stage to sound check and seemed ready to go, except for Cuomo, who had not yet emerged. It had been around 45 minutes since Twin Peaks left the stage, and the energy they had injected into the crowd was slowly starting to fade away into annoyance. A couple people in the front row took the microphone off stage to yell many things, most of them something like, “Get the f*** on stage, Mario!” My patience was wearing thin. But then, around 10 minutes later, the entire band got on stage.

Mario Cuomo entered looking like he was on a multitude of substances. He had a lazy grin on his face, his fly was undone— but as soon as he picked up the microphone, I was hooked— and so was the rest of the audience. Immediately, the band’s catchy punk tunes had the audience moving (some dancing, some moshing, some more accurately having spasms). Cuomo fed off of this energy and upped it tenfold. At one point, as he was belting out the slow jam “In My Bed,” he was essentially in the audience, grabbing everyone’s hands and singing to them. He had a way of seeming incredibly confident in himself but somehow not isolating himself from his audience, and instead connecting with them because of it. During one song, he took off his belt and started whipping the speakers with it— a seemingly strange action, but one the audience ate up. Before the hit song “Mallrats (La La La),” he told the audience to come closer and press up against the stage as if his “come taste[d] like cotton candy.” He threw things into the audience— water, a microphone stand. He was a rock star.

The Orwells were born to play this type of venue— a small bar. They thrive off of their connection with the audience. Guitarist Matt O’Keefe even pointed this out, saying that the last time they played in Boston was at a large venue, and it “f***ing sucked.” They ended the night on a high, playing their latest single “Who Needs You.” All in all, I left with a greater respect for The Orwells as a band and as performers, and excited to see them again in the future.

The Orwells: Modern Rock Stars
Pros
  • Mario Cuomo really fed off of the audience
  • All around good energy from the entire band
  • Mario Cuomo's hair
Cons
  • The mosh pit was out of control at times
  • Mario threw a mic stand into the audience— dangerous stuff
9.5Overall Score

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