live reviews

The Big Takeover

The Pills at Arlene's Grocery, NYC

The Pills are still non-stop energy freaks. Having grown too used to bands nonchalantly performing, all so ho-hum no- biggie like the audience were all their parents and children, it remains a treat to see this band seize the stage like a quartet of Kramers entering Seinfeld's apartment. These Boston nuts rip through their impolite power-pop with mega- soul, mod and R&B influences, with a similar coke, speed and coffee double-time approach that made Aussie band You Am I's sets here such a conversation piece. then, to top it all off, showing dollops of non-ironic humor, they ended with a reverent, note-for-note perfect cover of Paul McCartney's epic 1974 #1 "Band On The Run" with each of the three up front taking turns their usual turns at the mic and then bawling the chorus together (along with special guest, ex-Cousin Oliver Robbie Rist). As they say in beantown, "Dat was wicked good."

-- Jack Rabid

The Big Takeover

the pills
Mercury Lounge, September 4

Another example of the power-pop resurgence going on in America, the Pills mix their bag of influences a little further than most to allow ample helpings of classic Mod-era R&B/soul-pop to meet the punkish/new wavish attack. Like the sexy, smokin' '60s bands they admire, everyone up front takes a turn at the mic while the others ooh and ahh harmonies, in a set filled with sly references to their forerunners: At one point, they broke into the lyrics to THE SMALL FACES' 1965 dubut single (and U.K. #14 hit) "What'cha Gonna Do About It." But aside from the songs and the impolite playing, it's the attitude, the unrestrained glee complete with smiles that make them so much fun. These Boston boys apparently bonzai every bar, barn and banquet they can get their equipment into, and the love of playing and the spit of hard work shows.

-Jack Rabid-


I would just like to take a second to tell all of you on the list who have yet to see The go out and see them whenever you can...!

They were truly phenomenal... I was really and truly blown away. It's very rare in Toronto for a band playing Blow-Up for the first time to get as much response from an audience as The Pills did last night. People are very wary of new bands at first and it usually takes two shows to start getting a following... but The Pills pulled off such an amazing performance last night that it through all of the rules out the window. People were not only clapping but cheering wildly after every song. It was a sight unseen by me in this city.

Thank You Pills, and thank all of you listers who made it out to the show and gave me neato gifts. Thanks for all the stuff and Amanda..., thank you very much for the wonderful birthday cake! It was an incredibly nice thing to do... Why didn't you stick around to chat?

Well I am so very high and it's time to hit the slopes so I will sign off with...GO SEE THE PILLS! Thanks Corin, you Boston folk are all right. You lads are welcome to play here anytime even if you Yanks can't keep up to the all night intake like us Can-eh-dians... (just joking, I know you guys drove for 10 hours and you have 10 more to get home for work) Next time you stay up all night!

Davy Love


Fans who like their retro music served up hard, fast and loud may dig the pills, who will perform tomorrow (Friday) with local outfits Funkshop Loomis and the Bruise Bros. at Valentine's. A Boston quartet who released their brash debut CD, Wide Awake with the Pills, last year on indie label Air Raid Records, the pills mix the early-'80's power-pop stylings of banks including the Plimsouls and the Jam with adrenalized rhythms that remind listeners why punk-music energy is an important element of the power-pop formula. The pills fuel their short, aggressive songs - including the single "Scooter Gurl (She's So Faithful)" - with hooky guitar parts, shouted harmonies and blistering speed, so it's no surprise that they've scored gigs opening for big-name artists including the B-52s, the Smithereens and Reverend Horton Heat. The pills' sound also helped them win the Jim Beam Rising Star National talent search. Hard liquor and hard music - now there's a combination that never goes out of style.


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