by Adam McGrath
From talking to Shark Tape frontman Stephen Lorek earlier in the week, I knew that Saturday night’s show at MilkBoy meant the world to him. He and his bandmates were bringing their new album, Marathon, into the world, and plenty of friends and fans were there ready to cradle it in their arms.
Supporting Shark Tape on this special night were the rockers in Pine Barons, who emerged from their wooded corner of New Jersey to bring an infectious brand of indie-psych to the good cityfolk. Comprised of guitarist and vocalist Keith Abrams, guitarist and vocalist Brad Pulley, bassist Shane Hower, and drummer Collin Smith, Pine Barons played a tight-knit set featuring tracks from their self-titled 2013 album.
While I enjoyed seeing Pine Barons for the first time, I would like to see Abrams attack the mic more, because it’s obvious he has the pained howl of a rock star somewhere inside him. In the same vein, the band might want to rethink their stage setup, as a huge floor tom and keyboard took up valuable space with minimal return, and both singers lingered in the shadows instead of taking center stage. Just this concertgoer’s opinion.
Shark Tape bounded onto the stage to an introduction by WXPN DJ Dan Reed, with Lorek, guitarist Niles Weiss, and drummer Dylan Mulcahy full of energy. The boys wasted no time as they plunged into just about every track from Marathon. The title track is so damn catchy, and reminds me of Cheap Trick in the best way. To make another comparison, it’s easy to trace Lorek’s baritone back to Joe Strummer, which nicely fits the band’s hook-laden lo-fi sound.
The band charged through one three-minute song after another, with the best block featuring a cover of The Replacements’ “Alex Chilton”, followed by “Bronco” and “Eyes on You”. Weiss took on a few vocal assignments to fine effect, but it’s possible the band peaked a bit early in the set, as they were left to fumble through a few covers when the crowd demanded an encore. An easy enough sin to forgive given the emotional circumstances.
Anyone who had the pleasure of taking in Shark Tape and Pine Barons at MilkBoy on Saturday night left with full confidence in the strength of our local music scene, and if you weren’t there, make sure to check out Marathon as soon as possible.