The Dead Nobodies
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The Dead Nobodies


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"Local bands rock Quincy's Club 58, and the price is right"


By Jay N. Miller
For The Patriot Ledger
Posted Dec 10, 2010 @ 07:41 AM

Club 58 in Quincy center has been offering original rock bands on Thursday nights, and if this week was any indication, it's a low-dough option well worth checking out. This week's $5 cover gave fans a chance to hear three original rock bands from the area in three distinct styles, but all with superbly honed chops.

This week's headliners were Huxster, the trio anchored by Carver drummer Joe Patten, with David Dunn of Mattapoisett on bass and vocals, and Paul Amenta of Boston on guitar and vocals. The trio has just released its debut album, "Snake Oil," recorded mostly at Patten's Joe's Garage studio in Carver.
Dunn had been in the Boston rock band Machinery Hall in the 1990's, which played many gigs with the band Wrench, which included Patten and Amenta. Later on the threesome were part of a covers band called Courtesy Tap. This band came about kind of accidentally, as Dunn had a bunch of songs he wanted to record, and Patten had the home studio, so the trio got together for "Snake Oil." Once the album was finished and the trio wanted to promote it they realized they would have to become a real band.

Based on their 50-minute set last night, Huxster has a real future with its Foo Fighters/Led Zeppelin influenced rock. While Dunn sang most of the lads, Amenta provided a nice alternative on about a third of the songs, and the trio's music was never less than compelling. The songwriting, lyrically at least, tends to be more linear and cohesive than a lot of hard rock, but that doesn't mean it isn't loaded with infectious hooks. If it isn't the pulverizing rhythms set down by Dunn and Patten, the scorching guitar lines laid down by Amenta make Huxster an appealing band.

"Something Better" from the new album, opened the set with a thunderous dose of straightahead rock, yet with a kind of alternative edge behind Dunn's vocals. Amenta sang lead on "Let It Go," which evoked those Foo Fighters comparisons more than any other tune with its catchy rhythmic foundation. There was no denying the pounding momentum of "Island," and Amenta's guitar break was dazzling to say the least.

"The Truth" is another intriguing hard-rocker, with a notable background. Dunn met screenwriter Ernest Thompson, who wrote "On Golden Pond," and the writer asked him to write music for some lyrics he'd written, for use in a forthcoming movie. The film is due out this winter, but in the meantime Huxster has a rollicking rocker.

Amenta wrote and sang "I Believe You're Right," a new song tabbed for the second Huxster CD, and it was an easy-rolling ballad that proved this band has versatility. Dunn returned to lead vocals for the rowdy rocker "Oh No," while Amenta added his most visceral guitar solo.

Opener Suzanne McNeil joined the trio for a rumbling rock take on the classic Christmas carol "We Three Kings," trading verses with Dunn as Amenta provided sizzling guitar chordings. Dunn sang lead on "You" while Amenta crafted a more jangly style of guitar texture, and again the song was almost a ballad. But classic rock a la Cheap Trick was the style for "Their Day to Shine," sung by Amenta.

The serrating guitar lines and frenetic rhythms of "Spark" gave Huxster a most vibrant, even punky finale, which had the small crowd yelping in delight.

"I'm really psyched about the second album we're putting together," said Dunn. "Now that we're a real band, playing a couple times a month at least, trying the new songs out live adds such a great new dimension. The second album will be almost equally divided between my songs and Paul's songs. I think classic rock is where we're coming from--Led Zep, Cheap Trick, Foo Fighters to be sure--but I also think my own songwriting has a lot of Irish folk music influences too."

We have written previously about the quality of Suzanne McNeil's new album, "Willow," but hearing the Quincy songwriter fronting her quintet is truly a revelation. Performing solo, or in her usual duo with protean Braintree guitarist Tim Mahoney, McNeil is a superb musical craftsman navigating a wide variety of covers. But when given the chance to do her own material with her own band, McNeil reaches a level of passion and emotional resonance that elevates her work to the rarified territory of singer-songwriters like Rosanne Cash and Kim Richie.

McNeil's 50-minute set had several highlights, from the soft-to-rocking dynamic tour de force of "Spring," with Mahoney provided espeically scintillating guitar lines, to the brisk two-step of "All About You" where Mahoney's stellar guitar solo channeled his inner Marty Stuart.

But it was McNeil's rendition of "Bend," from its dramatic tom-toms-only start from drummer Jason Nute, to the singer's pulse-pounding vocal catharsis with its stunning sustains, that really raised goosebumps. McNeil's mastery of subtle nuances is usually her strongest point vocally, and to hear her cut loose with such unbridled passion, while maintaining such perfect tone, is frankly breathtaking.

Elsewhere, McNeil's "Cut 'Em Loose" was the hardest rocking tune, a kissoff song that'd make Lucinda Williams proud. And "Mr. Non-Committal," from her 2005 debut album, came across as a Tom Petty-like rocker, with a few tasty dollops of Janis Joplinesque wails at the end.

Hearing McNeil do a set of her own music with a full band, you wish she could do that every night. But in the meantime, until the rest of the music world wakes up to this huge talent among us, Quincy fans can hear her doing mostly covers at tiny places like Paddy Barry's, where she and Mahoney will be gigging Saturday night.

Wareham's quartet The Dead Nobodies closed out the night with a fiery set of their hard rock/metal/punk. This foursome was appealingly melodic for head-bangers, with good vocals, interesting lyrics, and a powerhouse drummer.

The stops and starts in the tune "Set Me Free" showed that the band takes pains to craft really unique arrangements, and set closer "Mexico" was almost mainstream rock. A lot of their music had a brooding quality to it, however, and the downbeat feel got to be a bit disconcerting.

The music sounds and feels like it should be fun to sing and play, and you just ended up wishing the quartet could enjoy its work a little more. But the Dead Nobodies are on to something, and the quartet should start turning heads on the local scene.

Copyright 2010 The Patriot Ledger. Some rights reserved
- The Patriot Ledger


The Dead Nobodies - 3 song demo 2010

Live in Brooklyn - 10 song live album 2011

Endoplastic - 2 song cd-single 2011



The Dead Nobodies - those who have left this world without apparent effect or impact, and the title of a newly formed band hell bent on being the antithesis of their namesake and the polished rock-god wannabes of the post-grunge era.

The Dead Nobodies - hailing from Wareham, Massachusetts, was the brainchild of songsmith Davi Audel Navarro (Mood Driven Sound, Scoff). Armed with an eclectic catalog of material, Navarro sought the right players to bring the music to life. Enter Mario Travaline (Nixon, Escape Artists) on drums and Shawn Gfroerer (Mood Driven Sound) to cover bass duties. Discovering an instant chemistry, the band quickly polished six original songs, recorded three, and wrote an additional four songs in a matter of months, out of which a 3-song demo was created, and they quickly played such venues as the All Asia (Cambridge, MA), The Lucky Dog Music Hall (Worcester, MA), Copperfield's (Boston, MA), and The Trash Bar (Brooklyn, NY).

Their songs meander from caterwauling to crooning, in-your-face riffs to clean strumming, driving rhythm lines to funky grooves, and hard-hitting straight-drive to warm, beachy tones.

Their set list contains a little something for every listener, and is sure to strike a chord with a range of audiences.