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MUSIC: GNaRDS and Secret Lover at the Firehouse

Friday, April 04, 2014


Usually when I get out of work, my first and only order of business is to get home for my nightly Law and Order SVU marathon. Case after case flickers over my laptop as I drift off into a peaceful sleep while, filled with dreams of cracking cases with Detective Stabler and heart to hearts over wine with Detective Benson. Last night however, I broke my usual routine and hauled myself to the Firehouse collective to catch one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.

Worcester bands Secret Lover and GNäRDS opened for New Jersey trio Screaming Females, and the Fat Creeps from Boston shredded everyone’s faces off too. Fat Creeps and Screaming Females were great, but I think that GNäRDS and Secret Lover are highly underrated and deserve way more attention than they are being given. Plus I’m a Worcester xenophobe, so I don’t give one care about anything or anyone outside city limits.

Secret Lover mixes low fi garage rock with spooky psychedelic pop that is impossible not to dance to. I have been to roughly one million shows at this point, and I would put singer Sally Horowitz’s stage presence in the top ten. I’m hesitant to use the word “campy” because of the negative connotation, but she reminds me of Macaulay Culkin’s best friend from “My Girl” mixed with one of the delinquents from “Cry Baby”, or any other number of John Waters characters. Horowitz is so engaging, she never stops moving, and by the second song everyone in the crowd was dancing too. Dave Paquette appeared to be daydreaming while he killed it on the drums, and guitarists John Guida and Lars Paulson helped on backup vocals.

Aside from putting on a great show, Secret Lover reps Worcester hard with songs “St. John’s Cemetery” and “West Boylston”. When Horowitz pumps her fist in the air and advises, “If you want to take a day trip, cruise the West Boylston strip”, you almost believe that the Army Navy store and Meola’s ice cream would be fun for more than one hour tops. Secret Lover has three albums available on Band Camp, where you can also find their upcoming shows, including two in Boston this month.

Peter Camerato started GNäRDS with friends Abdul Sherzai and Jamie Buckmaster less than a year ago, but they already sound like they’ve been together forever. Guitarist/singer Peter Camerato describes his band as “gnardcore junk rock”, which I will translate to “slightly heavy garage rock” for all the non-hipsters out there. Nearly half their songs were instrumental, which isn’t something I normally like, but they pulled it off. Sherzai was fun to watch on bass, and Buckmaster was relentless on the drums.

GNäRDS will be taking a break for the next month while Sherzai wraps up his semester at UMass Amherst, but they plan on going full steam this summer to promote their first record that’s due out in May. Basically, GNäRDS will make you want to put on your oldest tee shirt and rattiest pair of Converses so you can go pound crappy beers behind your friend’s garage while you talk about how much school stinks and other problems of this nature.

Secret Lover and GNäRDS go perfectly together, they both have great energy and a vintage sound that makes it impossible to stand still. By the time I got home last night, I was too tuckered out from the excitement of the show to watch SVU. It felt strange to fall asleep without gunfire or intense interrogations, but spending my nights watching awesome Worcester bands is definitely something I could get used to. 


Related Slideshow: 10 Great Activities for $20 or Less

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The Palladium

Located in the heart of Worcester, The Palladium Nightclub is a historic concert venue which welcomes many local and well known bands. There are numerous events taking place at The Palladium Nightclub every week and you can see may performers for $20 or less. Check out their website for a list of performers and to order tickets. 

The Palladium Nightclub: 261 Main Street, Worcester, MA, 01608

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Sky Zone

Sky Zone is an indoor trampoline park that allows you to have hours of fun while exercising in a unique way. The trampolines reach from one edge of the floor to the other and angled trampolines allow you to literally bounce of walls. Prices range from $9 for a thirty minute jump pass to $20 for 120 minutes. For more information, click here

Sky Zone: 290 Turnpike Road (Route 9), Westborough, MA, 01581

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Tower Hill Botanic Garden

The Tower Hill Botanic Garden is headquarters to the third oldest active horticultural society in the United States. Home to a number of gardens, there is plenty to explore at this botanic garden including a daffodil field, 350 different species of trees, a wildlife refuge pond and much more. Admission is only $12 for adults and $7 for kids. For more information, click here.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden: 11 French Drive, Bolyston, MA, 01505

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Feeling artsy? Get your creative juices flowing at Claytime, Worcester’s largest and most experienced studio. There is no need for an appointment, just stop in and start painting. There are hundreds of different ceramics to choose from. For more information, click here

Claytime: 124 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, MA, 01545

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Elm Draught House Cinema

A new way to enjoy going to the movies, Elm Draught House Cinema is a cinema pub serving beer, wine and soft drinks. Movies tickets are only $5, and in addition to movies the cinema also shows sporting events for free, and houses comedy shows for $15 when tickets are purchased in advance. For more information, click here

Elm Draught House Cinema: 35 Elm Street. Millbury, MA, 01527

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Ball Square Fine Wines

Every Friday night Ball Square Fine Wines offers free wine and beer tastings. This long-standing tradition allows you to taste and learn about their latest finds. The tasting runs from 4:30 until 7:30 and is a great way to spend a night out with your friends or with a date. For more information, click here.

Ball Square Fine Wines: 716 Broadway, Somerville, MA, 02144

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The Institute of Contemporary Art

Located on Boston’s waterfront, not only is this institute home to extraordinary art, but the surrounding view is beautiful as well. The collections at The Institute of Contemporary Art represent the best of the modern art world and the institute is a cultural center for the city of Boston. Come check out their kaleidoscope color exhibition, the world of glass exhibit and much more. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. For more information, http://www.icaboston.org/" target="_blank">click here. 

The Institute of Contemporary Art: 100 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA, 02210

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Swan Boats

Not only are the swan boats a Boston tradition, but a ride is only $3 for adults and $1.50 for children (ages 2-15) making the boats a perfect activity for those on budget. Rides take place on the waters of the Boston Public Garden and mark the beginning of spring. Rides are available seven days a week weather permitting. For more information, click here.

Swan Boats: 4 Charles Street, Boston, MA, 02116

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Brookfield Orchards

Open year round, Brookfield Orchards is the perfect place to go apple picking, enjoy apple dumplings at their snack bar, and order fresh pies. Brookfield Orchards is a great place to spend a spring day with the family and admission is always free. For more information, click here.

Brookfield Orchards: 12 Lincoln Road, North Brookfield, MA, 01525

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American Antiquarian Society

The American Antiquarian Society library is home to the largest collection of printed materials relating to early United States History. This collection covers everything from colonial and early American culture, history, and literature making this one of the most historical spots in all of Worcester. Don’t miss out on their free public tours every Wednesday at 3pm. For more information, click here.

American Antiquarian Society: 185 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA, 01609


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