A sleazy, grinding crescendo of punk noise crashed upon a local burger joint, to usher in the release of Speedy Ortiz’s new EP, Real Hair, and put Tasty Burger on the map as the latest music venue in Cambridge.
When I arrived at 8:33 the line was up the stairs, through the lobby, out the door and around the corner. Tasty Burger (T-Burgz) has a 150 person capacity. Only about half the people that showed up got in. I barely made the cut as the waitress acting as bouncer counted off the last eleven people to be let in, myself making number eleven.
Idiot Genes’ bulldozer of sound reacted with the crowd like a chemical combustion. It was like the earthquake before a volcanic erruption. They screamed, threw themselves around the miniscule stage, made out with each other and set the precendent for the energy that night. The crowd, carving up T-Burgz floor with their Docs, often spilled over onto the stage. Homo-erotic and hardcore, the bar was set for Sneeze.
Among steely guitars, Sneeze presented pop-punk tendencies with their lyrical content and melodies. Grating whirlwinds coaxed the tension up to maximum acerbity. The drummer started the set in underwear and a shirt, but then decided the shirt was too much. Their set ended and the moment we had been waiting for finally arrived.
Speedy Ortiz brought the steeze. Solemn, dark chords marched out from the amps. Thoughts persisted this would not get rough and tumble, and while it was the most tamed performance of the night, it was slickest. They skated the edge between thunderous post-punk and experimental. Progressive breakdowns somersaulted through the rabid hole to a vicious rhythm of power chords, not stopping until the notes tied themselves in knots, crashed to the ground, only to congeal and pick up where the classic thrash left off.
The dust settled. The music left its mark, the pure volume of it rendering any eardrums in the vicinity incapable of hearing anything for the rest of the night. But we had heard all we needed to at Tasty Burger, stomachs full and ears ringing, streaming outside like smoke from a cigarette. The ground beneath us had shifted.
Old and new: an old restaurant is now filled young kids, as Harvard Square is getting a new night life. Tasty Burger is keeping pace with newer entertainment establishments, and feeding the fever of the Boston music scene. Brian Reyelt is the owner, event manager and chef for the Franklin Restaurant group, and subsequently, Tasty Burger. He hopes to continue these shows and establish the downstairs bar and billiards at Tasty Burger as “Underground Tasty.” He plans to add a new, alternative venue to the music scene in Harvard Square. Underground Tasty will distinguish itself online as well as in the music it hosts. Reyelt expressed a desire to represent the country music enthusiasts in the Boston area, potentially with a weekly country night.