Live Music: Ryan Montbleau, Christian McNeill, Willy Mason, Alex Karalekas| Not Rated | Music Concert
Through word of mouth and repeat visits, the band has built a devoted following from the Northeast to Chicago, Seattle and Austin. “It’s like watching the grass grow,” says the easygoing Montbleau. When the crowds are dancing, the band digs deeper in the pocket. But Montbleau, who still performs solo, is constantly looking to strike a balance between the contagious energy of moving bodies and making a closer connection. “You can still dance and have a good time,” he says of his fast-spreading fan base, “but I love when you listen.” And listening isn’t hard when you see Montbleau perform with just a mic and a guitar. His presence on the stage and in his songwriting is clear and captivating.
Christian McNeill is an Irish force of rock and soul reckoning. He is one of the hardest working and most electric performers in Boston, earning him “Male Vocalist of the Year” two times running in 2011 and 2012 at the Boston Music Awards. McNeill’s songs are crafted for gritty live shows, anchored in rollicking music and catching hooks. McNeill made a name for himself with Boston’s favorite residency, drawing the area’s best talent together to play his potent songs. His positive energy is always honest and caught the ear of Steven van Zandt who put his single “Zero” on heavy rotation for his globally broadcast phenomenon, Underground Garage. In January 2013, McNeill is releasing his debut album Everything’s Up For Grabs, making this word-of-mouth Boston sensation available for a growing audience of rock and soul believers.
With a sound that recalls Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash along with the cynicism of grunge and punk, nobody could believe wry singer/songwriter Willy Mason was only 19 when he appeared on the indie scene. Born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, Mason grew up with his parents’ love of folk music, and the teenager had plenty of self-penned material ready when a family friend asked him to appear on his local radio show. As luck would have it, Sean Foley — an associate of Conor Oberst and his band, Bright Eyes — was driving through Cape Cod as Mason was on the air. Cut to today and Mason has share the stage with not only Bright Eyes but Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Death Cab For Cutie, KT Tunstall and Radiohead, among others.
‘AK’ sings from deep in his heart about the things that really matter in life, and he doesn’t hold back. His music is blatantly honest – his lyrics range from songs about the things in relationships that no one likes to talk about to the things in big businesses that are destroying our planet. Witty and expressive in his wording, you’ll find he is a lover of stark descriptions and uses them in surprising combinations. From sarcasm to humor to empathy, his songs will lead you places you perhaps never went before.