4/23/16 – The Lilypad

The Lily Pad is nearly a hole in the wall, but it expanded to fit the almost three dozen people who came to see All Together Now, a new multimedia series representing Boston and New York City artists. On April 23, five acts showed off their music, souls, and a 10-year-old roll of film to a full house in Cambridge. The artists agreed upon the experimental nature of the event, and it delivered.

At the door, a woman handed out luminescent orange masks necessary for later. To start, Anna Rae, curator of All Together Now, made some introductions before Boston’s own The Grownup Noise kicked off the night with an orchestral pop groove. The combination of electric cello and electric guitar created a haunting wave of sound that moved the audience to the beat. The Grownup Noise is a household name in Cambridge, and their lyrics flowed from the audience’s mouths throughout the set.

“There’s something about turning 40 that makes you want to write songs about fucking high school,” said lead singer Paul Hansen. The group acted like a family on stage, sharing jokes and smiles before paying  tribute to the late Prince with a rendition of “When Doves Cry.”

Beyond music, the artists utilized every part of the Lily Pad. Experimental film creator, Jeremy Stamas, shifted the audience to the wall adjacent to the stage with a mystery short film. After harvesting a 10-year-old roll of 16mm film from his refrigerator, Stamas premiered his film following a group of men playing frisbee in the park, eliciting a confused but excited response from the audience and staying true to its namesake.

Crichton Atkinson, painted and poetic, then told her spoken word tale of time, bodies, and space while covered in blacklight paint, fluorescent plastic, and masks.  A baby doll head perched on her head and an old man face wrapped around her neck. “We are stardust in action,” she noted. “Time is the equalizer. The actions that happen are the only actions that could happen. And times goes on.” She mesmerized the crowd, whose glowing orange-masked faces remained upturned and focused on her words.

After Atkinson’s poem, the show transitioned into a makeshift intermission before two talented bands rounded out the night with some rock and folk. The somewhat thinned audience mingled to the low key angsty sounds of Hemway while recovering from Atkinson’s emotional ride. Rae, who also played bass for Hemway, encouraged the remainder of the audience to chat and prepare for the final act of the long night.

Jenee Halstead’s almost angelic voice gave off a bit of a country twang as she introduced herself to the crowd. Her bubbly energy was palpable and her spitfire personality showed through each song that rolled out of her acoustic guitar. She squeezed in a few songs on her ukulele before ending on a somber slow-jam, “Juarez,” named for the dangerous but recovering city in Mexico. Halstead couldn’t express enough gratitude, as All Together Now finally came to a close after a long three hours.

The next event in this experimental three-part series is happening June 25 at the Lily Pad. It will include comedy, music, and more. Tickets available here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.