December 28, 2009

Live Review: Lowell and Behold: Volume 2 Record Release Parties

Gemstones & 119 Gallery // Lowell, MA // Dec. 11 & Dec. 12, 2009

Beneath the Sheets

The beginning of December always marks a special time for the city of Lowell. Residents, students and artists alike have reason to come together and bear the brunt of the gnarly winter winds in celebration of warmer sentiments – the hope that Lowell’s future will bring more music and more art into its communities.
Although it seems a cliché predilection, it may be that this year’s Lowell and Behold fundraiser has given the city yet another reason to expect their dreams will soon find themselves realized.

Three Dub Mice

For two years in a row, college students and local musicians Seth Bailin (Nice Bass Productions) and Nicholas Congelosi (Audio Park Productions) have successfully produced and promoted a fundraiser that provides a Lowell high school senior with the opportunity to pursue music education in college. Last year’s CD and two-night benefit release party raised and awarded $1,750 in the direction of this goal.


This year, Bailin and Congelosi partnered up with the rest of Audio Park Productions to create a more established team with a scope that aspired to reach out to all corners of the city. Lowell and Behold: Volume 2 is a two-disc compilation, one electric and one acoustic, featuring 30 Lowell bands. The release parties shared the theme, plugging in on Friday night at the downtown club, Gemstones, and mellowing out on Saturday at Lowell’s 119 Gallery. Both releases were a huge success and the atmosphere was thick with spirit, a tangible community mentality of young and old Lowellites all out for the same cause – more music and more opportunities for the kids.

Joshua Beetler

The first night was an eclectic clash of spacey electro-jazz, punk infused alt-rock outfits, progressive power metal and classical guitar-led thrashcore. Bands like Manifest, Hetfield & Hetfield, Three Dub Mice, and Sinbusters provided the audience with a powerful array of Lowell’s musical offerings.

The second night was no different in terms of variety. An interesting hodgepodge of singer-songwriters and their respective bands showcased a multifarious release of talent. Guitarist Joshua Beetler erupted in a land of his own with the cranky, diabolical soloing of a virtuoso. He led us through the walls of his mind with soft, sweet, weird and angry inflections from fingerpicking to pedal play.
Other musicians Brandon Downs, Clara Berry and Arielle Natale surprised audiences with their talent and growth as artists. They played their sets backed by abstract art, with kids and adults lining the walls cross-legged and contemplative.

This year, Lowell and Behold has already covered their expenses and raised over $900 for the second-annual scholarship fund.

-Amanda Macchia; photos by Ali Lipman

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