TheAnchors
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TheAnchors

South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, United States

South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, United States
Rock Indie

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"Teen rock band from Dartmouth chases the dream"

By SEAN McCARTHY
CONTRIBUTING WRITER
February 27, 2010 12:00 AM
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The Motha brothers share the rock 'n' roll dream.

And they may have the talent and devotion to make it come true.

The Dartmouth brothers — Ian, 16, and Alex, 13 — have been inspired to make music since they first listened to their parents' record collections. As soon as they could say the word "Beatles" they were captivated by the rhythm-and-blues-based bands of the 1960s such as the Rolling Stones and the Who. Over time they would not only learn the songs of their idols, but they would study the elements of the artists who wrote them, taking the brothers beyond being human jukeboxes to funneling their own creativity.

The brothers form the rhythm section for the rock quartet The Anchors. Ian is the lead singer, bassist and chief songwriter, and Alex is the drummer. They are teamed with lead guitarist Bob Saunders and rhythm guitarist Dylan Comeau, both of Dartmouth. Ansel Duff of New Bedford also makes appearances with the band on guitar. The Anchors have been making music together for four years, practicing in the basement of parents Mark and Jeanne Motha.

The group is having fun, but they also have a vision: They end every practice and performance with their slogan: "To the Beatles and beyond."

"Music is my purpose in life," Ian says. "My biggest influence is the Beatles. Upbeat songs about love — it doesn't get much better than that."

"Being onstage is an awesome feeling," Alex says. "It's a natural high to see people having a positive experience from your music.

"Girls scream loud."

It's New Year's Eve and the stage of the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center is being commanded by a group of teens with "mop-top" hair, dressed alike in sky blue button-downs, ties, and tan chinos. They're making smooth work of classic and contemporary rock tunes, from the Beatles' "She Loves You" to Blink 182's "All the Small Things." But the most interesting thing may be what's happening between the cover songs — the Anchors are performing some of their own material, taking the skills that they have learned from the masters and crafting their own compositions.

Interestingly, the Anchors' talent has them stacking up well with performers much older and more experienced than themselves, developing a sound that recalls rock 'n' roll's more innocent beginnings.

The retro nuevo of the Anchors can be heard live this Sunday at the Fall River club Prodigy, 388 Rhode Island Ave. The band will begin their set at 8 p.m. and tickets are $7. For more information, call (508) 689-4779.

The Anchors also performed a private show Friday at the New Bedford Yacht Club.

The band's passion for expression and entertainment is combined with a sturdy work ethic. The band will rehearse for as long as four or five hours per session, usually on Saturday afternoons. Much of the music comes from the elder Motha, who also plays guitar and piano. Oftentimes he will write an entire song and bring it to his bandmates, creating all of the guitar and bass parts, melodies, vocal harmonies, lyrics and arrangements. He leaves the drum parts to his younger sibling. Ian has a catalog of compositions boasting more than a hundred selections.

The boys are both in strong academic standing in the Dartmouth school system, but for Ian it's not an uncommon experience to get a song idea at some point in the school day and craft it during the rest of his classes, eager to get home and finish it on his guitar or piano.


"The first thing I like to do when I come home from school is to sit at the piano and play something that helps to relax me. I may have a song idea from the school day that I work on when I get home."

And almost every day the brothers practice as a team, rehearsing songs and constructing original pieces. Alex's approach to drumming is modeled after Dennis Wilson, skin pounder for the Beach Boys. Alex's percussion contributes a surf-rock foundation for the band's sound. He has been playing drums since age 9 and treats his drumset like a sports car.

Ian has been making music for almost 10 years. He shares a birthday with Paul McCartney, his greatest influence.

The members of the Anchors believe in the days when the Beach Boys felt "good vibrations" and the Beatles just wanted to "hold your hand." They claim confidently that the music a - The Standard Times


"Paul McCartney's son James to play Dartmouth concert"

By Don Hammontree
Contributing writer

If there's ever been a musical act who fits the bill of true "rock royalty," it's a no-brainer it would have to be The Beatles. Who else holds sway like John, Paul, George and Ringo?

So it's no wonder that many local Beatles aficionados are viewing James McCartney's May 17 performance in Dartmouth as something akin to a royal visit. And perhaps no one is as excited about the show as Ian Motha, a local teen who says he's responsible for coaxing Sir Paul's 35-year-old son into playing his hometown, which — no offense to Dartmouth — is not exactly known as a major stop on the rock 'n' roll touring circuit.

Not only that, but Motha will be performing with a stripped-down version of his band The Anchors as one of the two acts opening the show.

"I knew this guy in Connecticut who is a concert promoter, and James was playing one of his events," explains Ian, a UMass Dartmouth student who books local music shows. "I'm a HUGE Beatles fan, so I wrote this guy a very heartfelt email saying how it'd be an honor if our band could open for James at his Connecticut show, and we got this kind of rude, one-word answer back — 'NO.'"

That failed to deter Ian.

"So I guess I had this rush of adrenaline after reading that and wrote an even more heartfelt email directly to James' agent, saying why we should open for him," he says, "and next thing we knew, not only were we opening for him, but we had convinced his people into scheduling a Dartmouth show!"

While the Beatles connection may have initially been what attracted Ian to James' music, he says James McCartney is an impressive artist in his own right.

"Out of all the Beatles kids who perform music — Dhani Harrison, Julian Lennon — I think James is the best," says Ian. "I've been listening to his material a lot — it's very personal, much less poppy than The Beatles. Obviously his father's phrasing is present in his music, but he's also been influenced by Radiohead and The Cure as well. Face it, anyone who has even one-tenth of Paul McCartney's musical skills would be more talented than most musicians out there now."

After launching two digital-only EPs of his original material last year, James McCartney will be releasing his first full-length album, "Me," on May 21, and is promoting it on a 47-date solo-acoustic tour of the United States.

"For my first album I wanted to make a record that would be intimate, deeply personal and honest," says McCartney on his Web site, www.jamesmccartney.com. "An album that would say, 'This is who I am "» both musically and personally. This is me.'"

His performances have earned him winning praise from reviewers. The New York Daily News writes that McCartney has —» clearly forged a winning sound of his own," and the Boston Globe adds, —» the younger McCartney's promising pop-rock tunes make clear he's learned a few lessons about melody, phrasing and charm."

McCartney, who played guitar and drums and co-wrote songs on his father's albums "Flaming Pie" and "Driving Rain," states he's enthusiastic about this latest stage of his career and the challenges ahead.

"Some artists are happy doing the same thing again and again, but my favorite artists are the ones who evolve and grow, and I want to be one of them," he says.

For their part, The Anchors have no shortage of ambition, either — they've already snagged some impressive gigs, ranging from The Middle East in Cambridge to the legendary Whiskey-a-Go-Go in Los Angeles.

"My goal is to be in a position as a songwriter where my music can move people," says Ian Motha, "to give them some sort of release on a bad day, something to relax them on the drive home from work — that's what I'd like our music to do."

For Alex Motha, playing in The Anchors has helped forge a strong brotherly bond.

"Sometimes Ian and I will go down into the basement and play music for two, three hours straight, just working out ideas," Alex says. "It's great — I mean, I could see us doing this when we're 80."

James McCartney, The Anchors and Jon Sandler will be performing at a club on 104 Allens Neck Road, Dartmouth, at 8 p.m. Friday, May 17. Tickets can be ordered by clicking onto James McCartney's Web site, www.jamesmccartney.com. For more information on The Anchors, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheAnchors. - South Coast Today


"James McCartney delivers solid show in Dartmouth"

After weeks of planning and promotion, Friday night saw singer/songwriter James McCartney take the stage at the Holy Ghost Hall of Horseneck in South Dartmouth for the third show of his United States tour.

It was no ordinary gig for the son of the legendary Paul McCartney.

Passing through miles and miles of farmland, venturing deeper into the wineries and cow pastures of Dartmouth, the concert took place at an uncommon venue: the Holy Ghost Hall, a large community room that looked like it was set up more for a potluck dinner than a rock concert.

But a rock concert it was.

Opening the gig were Dartmouth natives The Anchors. Ian Motha, the band's guitarist and lead singer, was the driving force behind convincing McCartney to make the trek to Dartmouth. The excitement of the group's hard work becoming a reality really took hold as The Anchors took the stage to start the night off.

The Anchor's sunny surf sound was a nice way to open the show. With driving bass lines, jazzy drumbeats and colorful guitar work, The Anchors have a very sweet beach sound that still maintains a garage-band edge to it. Playing originals as well as a cover of Steve Miller Band's "Take The Money And Run" The Anchor's got the audience psyched up for the rest of the night's performances.

Even though the group had to run through five songs very quickly (there were lighting problems at the beginning of their set), the band was visibly excited throughout their set; though McCartney was the night's headliner, this was The Anchors' night as well.

Taking the stage next was Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Jon Sandler. Accompanied only by pianist/keyboardist Dominic Fallacaro, Sandler's set was stripped down — but he knew how to bring out a huge sound for this large hall.

Sandler's soulful tunes and soaring harmonies filled every inch of space. Songs like "Take My Time" and "Stars Align" really caught the crowds attention while a cover of Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" blew everyone away. It's hard to make a cover song your own — especially one by the King of Pop — but Sandler's style shined through the song.

As Sandler and Fallacaro left the stage after their final song, the whole room stood up for a standing ovation. Both musicians looked totally stunned as they packed up their things amid the cheers — had they been the headliner, an encore would have been in order.

But this was the James McCartney tour, and anticipation had been building up to McCartney's arrival. When you're son of such a legendary musician, it's tough not to wonder how (or if) he would set himself apart. Everyone in the crowd was looking around the venue, hoping to get a glimpse of McCartney before he took the stage.

Without any warning, however, McCartney entered from the right wing of the stage, giving a quick smile to the crowd before picking up his guitar and busting into his first solo number.

McCartney strongly resembles his famous father, but he is quick to let the audience know through his performance that he is his own artist. "Thank you Dartmouth Hall" McCartney told the star-struck crowd. "This next one is called 'Snap Out of It.'" Whether that was planned or not, everyone in the crowd let out a laugh as McCartney gave a smirk. From then on you knew, this was James McCartney's show.

While he's a good singer and good piano player, McCartney is absolutely brilliant on guitar. His fluid fretboard work was mesmerizing. He has lightning-fast fingerpicking abilities, and is able to jam out to some great rock 'n' roll guitar riffs. Even though he played alone onstage, McCartney, like Sandler, was able to bring out a great full sound.

Highlighted by a cover of Neil Young's "Old Man," the songs in McCartney's set had an angsty, haunting quality reminiscent of The Cure or Young. Yet McCartney did show a warm side as he played a rousing acoustic version of his single "Strong As You."

Dynamics are also a key part to McCartney's sound; he loves to lead his listener on a roller coaster of soft spoken verses and explosive choruses a few times all within the same song.

McCartney said very little during his set, letting his songs do the talking. For his encore, the crowd was on their feat and up towards the stage to sing and listen tothe last few songs.

Though some may have had preconceived ideas of what McCartney would be like, he proved to be an original, a formidable rock-and-roller who won't be forgotten for coming to play in the rural backroads of Dartmouth. - South Coast Today


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

The Anchors are a college aged indie rock band from Dartmouth MA that has been together for 6 years. Conquering their local/regional music scene filling up local halls with hundreds of screaming teenagers waiting to see them, getting weekly air play on Providence's Radio Station 95.5 WBRU and other college radio stations. Becoming regulars in the Providence and Boston Club scene such as The Middle East and Met Cafe. Rubbing elbows with Passion Pit time and again, and many other notable acts .They've toured the country all the way to LA playing on Venice Beach and in the Whiskey A GoGo club. The music is reminiscent of the 1960's British invasion with influences from modern indie artists as well. Their unique characters that have a charming, charismatic, likable presence that will sure leave an impression. The Chemistry between The Anchors and the audience live or listening keeps a deeper connection that has this synergistic enigma. The band is currently solidifying plans to record in London at Abbey Road late June and is trying to play some of the big summer festivals. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
By the end of 2013 you'll know the name The Anchors...

"The new thing for the new decade"- The Standard Times