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Boy Harsher w/ Lucy

Boy Harsher w/ Lucy

Sat, Oct 30 - 8pm

Presented by DSP Shows

$15 Adv. / $17 DOS

Music Hall Doors Open at 7pm

16+ unless accompanied by parent or legal guardian.

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For the safety of our artists, venue staff and our community as a whole we will be requiring proof of vaccination for admittance to all shows at Gateway City Arts until further notice. Results from a negative COVID test will NOT be accepted for entry. In addition, masks are required to be worn at all times while at the venue. You may pull your mask down when eating or drinking only.

Please bring your vaccination card, or a photo of it, along with a corresponding state or federal ID for entry.

If you already have tickets to an upcoming show and are unable or unwilling to adhere to this policy, you may request a refund at the following link at any point within the next 14 days (until 8/30 at 12pm). Refund requests: http://eventbrite.com/gettickets

We encourage anyone who has yet to be vaccinated to get their shots as soon as possible.

General admission standing room only.

Food and small bites available from The Famous Cafe next door.

Enigmatic electro-pop duo Boy Harsher’s latest release ‘Careful’ is a timeless and original minimal synth record.

About Boy Harsher

You make me feel like falling through.

I disappear, in my mind.

Boy Harsher return with their second LP Careful – a wild ride that celebrates abandon, while mourning attachment + love.

Boy Harsher began as an urgent need to produce and consume. In the winter of 2014, Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller started to experiment with sound, video, and text. The advent of Boy Harsher! Born out of this tumultuous relationship in swampy Georgia, their first EP Lesser Man is sexy as it is sulking. Lesser Man determined their morose, pop sound. In their second album, the full length Yr Body is Nothing, Matthews and Muller took that dark and ran with it. Both releases reflect the fervor present in their adolescent lust and anger. Yet, before Matthews and Muller recorded any song, their chaos made the project vulnerable and invariably lead to momentary destruction . In what was at the time believed to be their last performance, Matthews had “careful” tattooed across her back, while Muller fried the speakers. A lit candle was thrown. They were not on speaking terms.

At that time “Careful” was meant as a warning: the cautionary understanding of love. The duo felt as though they were disappearing within one another. But, if Boy Harsher’s first two releases narrated the pain and desperation that follows after something goes awry, then this LP, Careful, describes what loves gives you: fear and joy, tenderness and pain. For Boy Harsher, Careful attempts to detail the enveloping trauma of loss combined with the fantasy of escape (a reckless abandon).

Matthews and Muller certainly made amends since that fateful live tattooing, loud as hell performance, however both still have complex relationships to attachments. In 2017 Matthews’ mother was diagnosed with dementia and as the symptoms began to take hold the essence of “careful” became relevant in a new way. Matthews’ relationship with her parents has always been complicated: her father past away when she was a teenager and her mother is an alcoholic, consistently unpredictable with affection and stability. The loss of her father was extreme, yet acute, whereas the persistent sadness of losing her mother (the memories that defined their relationship) is a slow, chronic suffering. The trauma of losing someone is almost in tandem to Matthews’ understanding of love. It with these intensely personal struggles Matthews and Muller began developing their new album. With Careful, Boy Harsher use the medium of minimal electronics to create a compelling narrative of a deteriorating family and the reaction to run away from it.

Careful splits its time between songs that study the trauma imbedded within loss and the compulsion to flee. The track “The Look You Gave (Jerry)” is named after Matthews’ deceased step-father, who passed right before her mother was diagnosed with dementia. The song mourns Jerry, as described through her mother’s perspective: “I close my eyes and I can almost see: The look u gave / when u / you ran from me.” For Matthews the fiercest pain in relation to her mother’s disease is her mother’s loss of comfort, a grasping at an image that slowly fades away. Death for Matthews and her mother has become synonymous with abandonment. Not unlike the pain of losing her father, Matthews conceives the hollowness where intimacy once was – the melancholy of disappearance.

The message of “careful” also plays out as universal warning in these Boy Harsher’s tracks — do not be fooled, loss is inevitable. “Fate” describes the willing lover who knows that there is nothing their love can do to keep their partner. “Hi Hi / Oh No / In spite of me / you always go. Forget the crying / tempt the pain / hi hi / gone again.” In Careful affection vanishes as quickly as it arrives. To understand love, you must accept that it dissolves, leaving sorrow and disappointment in its wake. Yet, Careful reconciles the deterioration of love with the gilded expectation of escapism.

In reaction to these morose conditions, Matthews and Muller created multiple tracks that celebrate flight. Their fantasies in these bleak scenarios play out in the perspective of the runaway. “LA” takes this to a wistful degree. Slow swelling synths cut sharply with fast chugging drum machines as Matthews begs someone to take her away: to go down. The darkness exists in these reveries but in perverse extremes. Boy Harsher proves Careful’s variety with these uptempo club ready tracks that demonstrate escapism through vice and rave. With “Come Closer”, a nod to early EBM, Matthews beckons on top of a pulsing bass: “In the dark, you have nothing left, Let me take it”, the escape route is through another – gesturing to ‘come play’. Even the mascot of Careful, presented in the album’s cover art, is an imagined runaway. This character, stationed in a motel, or combing the beach with an overstuffed backpack, represents the embodied fleeing of Matthews and Muller’s desperate years.

Careful marks Boy Harsher’s most dynamic album to date. The band expands upon the fine-tuned production developed in their last EP Country Girl, but with plenty of nods to the fast tempo and grittiness of Lesser Man. Matthews and Muller attribute the evolution of their sound to the extensive touring they completed in the last few years. “Traveling and connecting with people has been so fundamental;” Muller says “we’re really able to experiment with our material and it feels like the live set as grown into an entity of its own”. Boy Harsher embarked on two US and two EU tours this past year, where audiences recognize their set as faster, harder version of their recorded material. Careful was primarily written at home in Massachusetts, with just a handful of synthesizers and a laptop. For Muller a minimal set up is paramount to his process. Boy Harsher mixed the album in Italy with Maurizio Baggio of La Distilleria Studio who had a big hand in finalizing the sound.

Boy Harsher emphasizes emotive sounds and evocative narratives to generate palpable material in their latest release Careful. Careful is a timeless and original minimal synth record highlighted by a strong narrative and marks the definitive return of the enigmatic duo.

About Lucy

While still in high school, Cooper Handy, of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, started a Facebook page called “lucy” for the sake of anonymity in sharing his music. Most of what appeared here was distant from what “Lucy” would come to represent in the years since, but it was a fitting, could-only-exist-online start for a project that would soon be turning heads. As Lucy, lucy, LUCY, lucyboy, or L U C Y (depending on where you listen) Handy has picked and chosen elements from a wide array of genres to make a sound that is at once ‘outsider’ and unpretentious. The result is exciting, raw, and triumphant music from an artist who has made a career of producing & self-releasing videos and music, unpolished & posted in near-real time.

The plainspokenness of Lucy’s lyrics and the unassuming character of his production inspire a curiosity in his fans and first-time listeners alike—as, despite this straightforwardness, there is undeniably something else going on. Handy is an enigma without the cold-shoulder of mystique. His lyrics spin the sense out of common sense while remaining frank and conversational—his instrumentation clips and distorts but keeps sight of itself as if being a four-piece band. Lucy performs a playfully romantic take on pop music, singing, “too smart to argue or to judge, you know me, I only want to love” (2016), or, “match made in heaven, strike anywhere match” (2017). His music may come out of left field, but it is also immediately familiar. It is the best result of mixing artistic ingenuity with down-to-earth deftness

When asked about his musical background, Handy remembers loving the perceived ‘authenticity’ of early-aughts pop-punk (an interest that traces back to an earlier infatuation with The Clash). This fandom made him realize that he, too, could make music. Since moving from home on the Cape to Hadley, Massachusetts, the practice of music-making has shared with these early influences the pursuit of authenticity and the embrace of the pop-song form. The lessons gleaned from his tastes in earlier years were a humbling realism and a commitment to heartfelt communication. However, as with most of his musical influences, Handy incorporates the feeling and the culture of any given music without hijacking its timbres or other typical signifiers of genre. This keeps his performance grounded and accessible while his material is wildly creative and often experimental.

Since Handy is hesitant to bring up influences—primarily out of concern for forever being tied-down to a short list that might make sense in one moment but not in the next—he does his best to remain vague, compact, and (respectfully) unquotable: Motown/Elliott Smith/Odyshape/Tippa Irie.

good luck tonight my viewers

love,
unity,
communication,
yes?

“Lucy looks like a Hal Hartley character in heaven, and he sounds like one too from the first line: ‘Retire someday if I can make enough.’ In a better world, this masterpiece would make a million dollars.”

Duncan Cooper, The Fader