Live Music Review //
The City of Meriden / Fred Cracklin / Doom Beach
April 21st, 2023
@ Brown Jug Liquor, Meriden CT

Additional photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::

For the second night in a row there was live music at Brown Jug Liquor and this show packed as much punch as the night before with a three artist lineup.   In terms of artists being diverse but still feeling connected somehow, it didn't get any better than this show as everyone was loud but had their own sound as well.

Doom Beach was up first, a duo from Connecticut consisting of a drummer + guitar/singer.  Since coming out of the pandemic and jumping back into live music late last year, there is only one artist I can think of that I've seen as much as Doom Beach and that's not an accident.  The way they create this sound is just so loud, it feels like there should be an entire army of musicians making this noise.

It is not quite metal and it is not quite hardcore, but it is loud.  The sound of Doom Beach will knock you over like a giant wave in the ocean.   One of my favorite ways to listen to music is incredibly loud and Doom Beach just satisfies that on every level.  But there are also complexities within this sound which just make it all that much more magical.

Fred Cracklin is from right over the border of CT in MA and they are also a duo but have such a unique sound.   At times it feels like it fits in with a hardcore or grindcore show and at other times it just feels like it's spacing out and on the verge of something you might hear from a jam band.   It's that free improv jazz mixed with the math rock and skramz, but altogether in one neat package.

The musical talents of both members of Fred Cracklin are very much on point.  Prior to this show, I was told that Max Goldstein was the best drummer this person had ever seen and I last saw Max Goldstein play with Space Camp and someone standing near me said the same thing.   When every time you see someone they are being hyped up by different people as the best drummer, you have to think it comes with some validation.

I feel like one of the songs that Fred Cracklin played was under a minute- it came and went so quickly- and then another felt like it could've been ten minutes long.   Some of the songs were in between that and the "normal" four minutes or so, but not ever really knowing how long a song would be or the pace really made this set exciting.  This entire set was very technically refined but it was also chaotic within that which just added to the skill.

The City of Meriden headlined this show and they are from Meriden.  They opened with their song about Morrissey, which I've had stuck in my head since I last saw them, and now it makes me wonder how many people will leave this show with that same song stuck in their head for months to come.   It is quite that little earworm that just comes in there and settles down, not always coming back out when you expect it.

A five piece, I last saw The City of Meriden at Willimantic Records as well, where they did more of an acoustic sounding set.   This time they were plugged in and turned up with the keys, guitars, bass and drums out there like some type of psychedelic rock band.   It isn't easy for music to exist in this way and for me to not think of The Doors, but this doesn't really sound like The Doors- the keys just make me think that.

The trick behind this sound is that it's layered and so it doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard before.   It's so complex that you could isolate a small piece of it- such as the keyboard- and think of a specific artist, but when it all comes together and you hear this sound the way it was intended it just takes us into brand new territory.  

Doom Beach can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Fred Cracklin can be found on Bandcamp here :::

The City of Meriden can be found on Instagram here :::


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