When Jack Martini, the eight-piece band (you read that right) from Boston took the stage Friday night, it was clear that they quite literally had the biggest stage presence. If you weren’t already amazed at their talent or dancing to their infectious alternative music, you were left wondering how they coordinated 8 people on a small stage and played without missing a note or bumping into each other. Well okay, for full disclosure lead singer-songwriter Jack did at one point hit one of his band members in the head with his guitar. But they laughed it off.
Jack Martini began their headline set with a wonderful offstage performance, where they simultaneously started playing and walking over to the bar on the other side of the venue. As the band crowded around the small dive bar, they played what sounded like a stripped down almost a cappella-like rendition of one of their songs, replacing most of their instruments with wonderful vocals. At which point the casual conversations between customers, now-audience members quickly died and the clapping and cheering began. Admittedly I have never really listened to much of the band’s music before the show, but that moment already felt like a very “Jack Martini” thing to do. After a much deserved round of applause and cheers from the crowd, they headed back to the stage to play their show.
If there’s one thing to highlight with this band, it’s their ability to evoke strong emotions with their simple albeit vivid lyricism; “Sometimes I’m pinned alone in between dimmed lights and tangerine.” It was also Jack’s strong vocal performance that anchored the emotional uncertainty present in his lyrics, making the quieter solo and duet songs just as exciting as when the band played as a whole. Which is saying a lot, since it was very exciting.
Before Jack Martini took the stage, New York based skate punk band Diamond D and the Stargazers put on a raw, headbanger of a show. The band played much off of their debut LP Welcome to New Punk City, including their powerful single “Consciousness Express” with tremendous energy, one which would surely induce a mosh pit with a full house.
With the recent presidential election of Donald Trump, we are already expecting a revival of the punk scene that many considered dead for awhile. The link between radical politics and punk is undeniable. Even though it’s not ubiquitous, it’s hard to pretend it’s not there. That said, Diamond D already made it very clear how they feel about the new president-elect on their social media. When they debuted their single on Facebook, they had some choice words about the orange cheeto of a man to go along with it. Words that may be common in the coming surge of post-election punk bands.
Before an alternative eight-piece band could fill your head with songs about apricots and Kevin Spacey, and before Diamond D could punch you in the face with sound and convulsive head banging, Party of Two opened the show with, yup you guessed it, warm acoustic pop.
If Party of Two’s show at Leftfield was any indicator, then it’ll be hard to watch any of their shows without keeping a smile on your face. The two performers, who happen to be cousins and lifelong friends, have been playing together since they were young. The set consisted of pleasing acoustic guitars and complimentary vocals as they played originals and covers that could easily brighten anyones day.