2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Christine Varriale)
by Steven Spoerl
Back in 2014, Christine Varriale (pictured above, center) and I spent a week exploring the city of Toronto and taking in as many NXNE shows that we possibly could. Since then, she’s introduced me to a number of my favorite people (including her Puppy Problems bandmate and fellow A Year’s Worth of Memories contributor Sami Martasian, who she also writes with over at Allston Pudding). Varriale also plays in a band called Gay Sin and remains a fixture of Boston’s constantly thriving music scene. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise then, that she chooses to turn her eyes towards the city for her second A Year’s Worth of Memories piece. Here, she deals with Krill’s loss, the city’s malleability, and expectantly turns towards the future. Read those thoughts below and remember that defeat can give way to hope.
It’s February 5th, and I’m on a train to NYC from Boston, not on a mission for my usual trip to NYC for CMJ. It’s a weird feeling but a great environment to observe my beloved Boston music scene in 2015 from afar both physically and temporally.
Boston is inherently a cyclical city. Many young people move to Boston for college and then leave shortly after to spread their roots in a new city. I’ve never been much for change, so I’ve stayed in Massachusetts my whole life. Sometimes I wonder if this is good or bad, but there’s a piece of me in Boston that I can’t cut out. My roots are too deep.
But back to that cycle thing: Boston’s basement scene is ever-changing. There are staple houses that survive years like Thieves Grotto and Whitehaus, but then there are some that fade away like Butcher Shoppe, The Womb and Gay Gardens. We look back at lost venues fondly, but we do not cry for them. Something new is always beginning like Milhaus, Grandma’s House and The ER. New residents start their own pockets of the scene whether it’s BU bros, Berklee punks or our resident show moms.
And much like the houses, many of the bands cycle through too. We lost our heroes Krill in 2015, and soon we will lose other bands to new cities. More tears should be wept away, because our bumbling music scene is now scattered across this country. With the demise of these staples in our scene, younger bands are forming to take their place in quasi-homage. Bands like Du Vide, Horse Jumper of Love, and Stumpf are our new Krill. Palehound, Lady Pills, Ursula, and Gravel are our new Speedy Ortiz. Some of us stay like Pile, Fat History Month, Kal Marks, and Big Buck Hunter.
How will 2016 spread its branches? Will these bands move or will they thrive within the Boston community to become the next Pile or Krill? It’s always a toss up here, but I can’t wait to see how this year plays out.