featuring Teenender and Zuli
October 24, 2018 at the Middle East
The two expectations I had for the Middle East were that it was part-venue, part-restaurant and “the fries are fantastic”. It turns out that the fries were fantastic and so were the acts performing that night, especially the headliner, Future Generations. I passed through the restaurant crowded with people eating delicious food and walked into a surprisingly empty space. There were maybe ten people in the room, meandering about with a beer in their hands. People awkwardly avoided stepping anywhere near the stage, preferring the anonymity of the dim lighting in the back of the room. Throughout the concert, the room filled with more people, calming the nervous energy.
The three-artist lineup kicked off with Teenender, an underground pop band that perfectly fit in with the neon pink, atmospheric lighting that blanketed the stage. They floated a low-key vibe, at one point shouting “Red Sox!” into a slightly autotuned mic between two of their songs. Their indie pop sound was a feel-good starter to the rest of the concert.
The second artist, Zuli, seemed to be familiar among the crowd. Many of the audience members seemed to personally know the artist, making the performance feel comfortable. Although the surf-rock music got people dancing and happy, Zuli, unfortunately, experienced technical difficulties throughout the set. While he played one of his newer songs, his guitar cut out during an electrifying solo. It was frustrating to him and to the audience because we fell in love with the song. He had explained that he was particularly proud of this song, too, so we all felt his frustration as he tried everything to get his guitar working. The bright side is that even with the aggravation of technology, Zuli built up the energy in the room with music that sounded like an abrasive version of The Beach Boys.
Future Generations packed the stage with their five members and myriad of instruments, including two laptops that contributed to their atmospheric sound. The energy radiated warmth as the band played ‘Suddenly,’ lead singer Eddie Vore’s twangy voice easing the room into a slow sway. Vore’s white jacket stood out amongst the other members’ darker ensembles. My eyes always drifted towards Vore because he had a bounce to him as the music electrified him from head to toe. It also helped that he was at center stage, the spotlight focusing on him.
In the end, I wasn’t exhausted like I was expecting to be after a three-band concert. All three energized the audience without overwhelming the intimate space. I left feeling pleased along with everyone else in the room and knowing for sure that the fries at The Middle East are, in fact, fantastic. I hope Future Generations rewarded themselves after the show with a big plate of them.
All photos by Sarah Sherard