Iza Jane and The Greatwood Acoustics
By Jason Savio
Falling victim to another case of the winter blahs? Want to get away but can’t? Then look no further than Sterling, MA-based Iza Jane And The Greatwood Acoustics for your remedy, a band with a slow southern simmer that is sure to catapult you away from the doom and gloom of dreary skies to a warm evening on the bayou.
Led by Sarah Benoit on vocals and rhythm guitar, Iza Jane and The Greatwood Acoustics is a vibrant mix of guitars, banjos, and soulful singing. Avid folk and bluegrass listeners themselves, they play a healthy mix of dusty gems at their shows. “We try not to cover too many main-stream artists of today,” says Benoit, “We tend to stick with older, more obscure stuff. We really like the old traditional folk/bluegrass and blues tunes.”
If you’re starting to think that a band from MA might lack the deep-in-their-souls, coursing-through-their-veins passion needed to play such music, then get ready to be proven very, very wrong, and here’s why:
“I was working out in Northern Colorado for a few summers on a dude ranch called Sundance Trail,” Benoit explains, “You couldn’t escape [the music] there and it captured me. I did a lot of my song writing out there and pulled a lot of inspiration for songs through my experiences there.”
Perhaps somewhat of a musical oddity when put in the same picture as other local bands, Iza Jane and The Greatwood Acoustics provide a breath of fresh air to the local music scene. “We’d probably fit in better down south or out west, but we need bands like us here in Central MA,” Benoit says, “I think we have chosen to take the road less traveled. It’s a bit bumpier, dirtier, maybe sprayed with molasses… but it’s an adventure and a journey we’re willing to take.”
Fri., 3/2, 8:30pm -12am @ The Gardner Ale House
Sat., 3/24, 8 – 11pm @The Blue Plate in Holden
Sat., 4/14, 8pm-12am @ the Celtic Tavern
Artists are constantly challenged to stay honest with themselves as they adapt and grow, and there’s a performer on the scene right now who has done so in spades: DJ Wubson.
A senior at Clark University, Hudson Eakin, aka DJ Wubson, is what one would call a musical chameleon. Starting out as a bass player in a punk band and then entering a hip-hop phase as The Reverend Robot, DJ Wubson is now blowing minds with his mix of Dub-Step, Electro, and Moombahton alongside his crew BDM.
Looks can be deceiving, and despite DJ Wubson’s youth and cartoon swag (he sports a Kermit The Frog hat with a Pikachu T-shirt), his approach to performing is more akin to a selfless elder statesman than a newcomer. “A DJ is a slave to the audience…nobody’s cheering for you directly. They’re cheering for the music and the experience that they’re having,” he says, “My job is to interpret the sounds and emotions that the audience wants to hear in a way they haven’t heard before, not to tell the audience how I feel.”
Wubson’s sage philosophy can be credited to his impressive work ethic and to the people he surrounds himself with: “The four of us in BDM’s original crew learned the basics caveman-style by holing up on cold nights [and] critiquing each other and sharing what we learned, like ‘Oooh, you mix dubstep on the snare instead of the kick!’,” shares Wubson.
Having played house parties in Boston and a gig at Burning Man 2011, and opening for Rusko on February 9 at The Palladium, DJ Wubson now has a weekly show at Tammany Hall in Worcester. He and his BDM crew will also host their first show at The Raven in Worcester on March 24th. As for this summer? “Keep your eyes out,” hints Wubson, “We’ve got something big cooking.”
For more info, visit onesheet.com/djwubson
Photo by Sampson Wilcox (www.sampsonwilcox.com)
The Grand Arkanum
By Katey Khaos
Nerdcore? Yes, please, and in the form of The Grand Arkanum from Worcester ~ who might also call themselves joke rap depending on their mood that day. Whatever you wanna call it, the bottom line is…these guys rock!
The Grand Arkanum is Leon Legacy, Griffen, The Prophet, Danny Fantom, and Big Spoon, and with their name stemming from a popular animé series, Full Metal Alchemist, it’s clear these guys are true geeks at heart and their music reflects just that.
The Grand Arkanum has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with artists such as MC Frontalot, 94.5’s Akrobatik and B. Dolan of Strange Famous Records. “We find ourselves at a lot of different shows with a very varied crowd so that plays to our advantage as far as who we get to play with,” the band admits. They’ve also been fortunate enough to play the 2011 Worcester Latin Festival, which drew a crowd of over 1,000 people ~ many of whom were familiar faces, the band recalls.
Live, The Grand Arkanum is a force to be reckoned with. “We all agree … it makes the performance that much better when the crowd is clapping, or even shouting out the lyrics to your songs. Telling jokes on stage is also a part of our usual performance and it’s always good to get the crowd laughing between tracks on the set list.”
The Grand Arkanum are currently working on an untitled EP as well as a full-length album featuring some awesome local talent from Worcester’s own poets and artists. In the meantime, they have two group mixtapes and a solo mixtape from Leon Legacy available on their blog, which is available in the links below, so be sure to check it out!