Misterwives, Smallpools, & Vinyl Theatre: Connect the Dots Tour Review

On October 20th in Boston’s historic Back Bay, it seemed to be just another day. People rushed to and fro along the commuter rail, and the handful of bars in the neighborhood filled with blue collar workers talking football and weekend plans. But in the shadow of Fenway Park, something beautiful was happening inside the walls of the House of Blues. There, a crowd sang, danced, and celebrated all there was to life during a mystifying set from New York band Misterwives. Just one of many stops along the band’s Connect The Dots Tour, they and openers Vinyl Theatre and Smallpools managed to bring 2500 New Englanders to their feet in hopes of reminding everyone how to smile a little more and worry a little less.

Buzzing and bright-eyed, first openers Vinyl Theatre came on right at eight to the delight of the crowd. The abbreviated set consisted almost solely of highlights off of the band’s latest album, Origami, and their latest single entitled “Me, Myself, and I”. The three-piece was pragmatic, charming, and emitted a pure, unbridled passion for the music they shared. In an unprecedented move for a band of their genre, Vinyl Theatre even covered Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”, which featured keyboardist Chris Senner’s surprisingly smooth flow. The band’s ever-present emphatic energy and deep-rooted love of music shined and set extremely high standards for the next two acts to come.

Based on how thoroughly engaging and confident Los Angeles-based Smallpools were, it was obvious that they're going places as a band. Though given only a 9-song slot on the bill, the trio was able to bring the crowd to its feet and put what felt like a genuine all-or-nothing effort into every song. The set was full of small touches that helped highlight Smallpools’ dedication; from an inflatable killer whale during the song of the same name, to the xylophone solo during “American Love” (to which lead singer Sean Scanlon remarked, “we’re here to promote xylophone wars, not nuclear wars”), there was no downtime and no lull in the action. But it was during the band’s most successful single, “Million Bucks”, that they really pulled a power move. Before beginning, the band introduced Dr. Blum to the crowd and brought out the Misterwives trumpeter and musician to perform with them. The set interwove new work from the band’s latest release, The Science of Letting Go, and older songs from both Lovetap! and their early EP’s. The sheer performance energy and attention to detail helped propel Smallpools over the top and made anyone who was in the room feel suddenly at home.

There was a distinct buzz in the air as the clock crept closer to nine that night. Powered by the two previous bands and propelled further by the excitement of the headliners to come, there was an unmistakable energy as people milled about, buying drinks and catching up with friends. Meanwhile, onstage, the production was slowly revealed; Geometric shapes and a multitude of lights brought the cover of Connect the Dots to life. Visible to the front of the crowd was a pedal board with “Hello everyone, I hope you are having fun!!!” scrawled in black sharpie. As the lights went out and Misterwives took the stage, the cohesiveness of the setup truly came together. The band’s white ensembles were accented by triangular patches of color strewn across (in correlation with the geometric animals featured on the album’s cover), and suddenly the pieces scattered across the stage were covered in rich colors. Visually, the set was stunning and felt almost surreal.

Misterwives opened with “Machine”, the first single off of Connect the Dots, to much approval from the audience. They then quickly transitioned into crowd favorite “Chasing This”. It was evident that they were holding nothing back this tour, and the energy in the venue from both the band and the crowd was tangible, hanging in the air like the pause before a series of powerful choruses. It was a party, and all two thousand concertgoers were invited and welcomed with open arms. The atmosphere encouraged open hearts and open minds, something Misterwives have always endorsed through their music.

Interspersed between high-energy singalongs were a small handful of tender emotional moments. For example, before launching into a mashup of “Vagabond” (off Our Own House) and “Revolution”, Lee gave a moving speech about the power of music to heal our pains- that those struggling aren’t alone, and that they’re surrounded by support. It was chill-inducing, and to hear the audience emphatically singing back words charged with emotional vulnerability was enough to move anyone to tears.

If the true mark of a good band is its ability to make transitions smooth, to switch from one track to another without a hitch, then Misterwives can be considered among the best of the best. Their talent in connecting songs with shared ideas tied the entire set together, ingeniously removing any clunky breaks or rests. In one major feat of the night, the band even managed to meld together the anthemic feminist ballad “Not Your Way”, “Best I Can Do”, and the dreamscape “Oceans”. It made for a high-energy, highly enjoyable show, objectively among the most sonically smooth for bands of their feather.

The feel-good celebrations of the evening came to a roaring conclusion with a thrilling encore version of “Our Own House”. The song epitomized everything about the show, from its drum line, to its lights, to the energy behind every lyric and kick and dance move. As the confetti fell and the band took their final bows, it became obvious that one thing really mattered that night- that music is the purest form of joy. It was a storybook ending to a fantastic show, one that will be talked about for ages among Boston concertgoers. Though the Connect the Dots Tour came to a close recently, Misterwives fans can look forward to more surprises from the band in 2018 and beyond. With an album less than a year old and the support of so many enthusiastic fans, they’re on track for bountiful success and countless possibilities- Misterwives are far and wide not a band to be slept on.


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