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Friends Like These

14 Jan

“For those of you keeping score,” Johnny Solomon announced from the Triple Rock stage, “it’s a Beck’s Non-Alcoholic.” For a guy just coming off one year of sobriety and a band that has practiced five times in the last five years, Friends Like These kept it together well for their ten-song reunion set on Friday night. The show had been a long, strange time coming, as Andrea Swensson detailed in great longform article last week for the Local Current – and for really how long and strange, check out this 2004 Friends Like These City Pages cover story by Melissa Maerz.

Sporting a t-shirt that read “Who the fuck is Johnny Solomon?”, there was a genuine excitement from both the band and the crowd, as well as more than a little self-effacing nostalgia. Looking out into the cheering crowd and grinning, “I used to be somebody,” Solomon quipped. Later on in the set, when pitching the fact that although there was no FLT merch to be had despite promises of a remastered best-of compilation earlier, Solomon noted that Communist Daughter gear was available for sale, adding scathingly, “We do this professionally.” Guitarist Adam Switlick, who also does double-duty in both bands, got in on the action saying, “We’re not that good, we don’t try very hard.” Solomon jibed back, “That was really emo of you.”

Even though all that may not be true, trying hard isn’t always enough to break big, as Solomon & co. can attest to, although it might be enough to keep from crashing again. Back in 2004, Maerz quoted a drunk Solomon pleading with a Boston bouncer after an unfriendly show, “Give us free drinks. Give us five fucking dollars. Give us something. Give us our pride, at least.” There was no need to plead on Friday, except from the crowd, filled with members of Tapes n’ Tapes, We Became Actors, openers Wishbook and other local musical mainstays, who demanded another ten songs at the end of the set. And with the year under his belt and great night with the band, everyone could walk offstage with their pride and good adrenaline buzz. It may only be rock n roll, but it’s good clean fun.

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