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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

State Radio Review 12/15


Courtesy the Nettwerk Music Group




When native New Englander Chad Stokes formed State Radio ten years ago, it’s hard to imagine that he envisioned a scene like the one at the House of Blues Saturday. All of the show’s proceeds went to the band’s charity formed in 2008, Calling All Crows.  The venue was packed with some of the best fans anywhere in Boston. The show drew from every corner of the band’s extensive catalogue of four studio albums, including the most recent release, Rabbit Inn Rebellion. Stokes, Chuck Fay, and Mike “Mad Dog” Najarian are touring veterans and know how to do a simple, great show. You won’t find any fog machines or fancy pyro at an SR concert: It’s very music centered, and when you have music that’s as good as theirs, that’s how it should be. The show was fast-paced with very few breaks in between SR’s reggae-infused hard rock tracks. Some early standouts were “State Inspector” and the new track from Rabbit Inn Rebellion, “Big Man.”

Without a doubt, the highlight of the night was a lead-off performance of 2002’s Flag of the Shiners EP in its entirety. Done as a celebration of the band’s tenth anniversary, the six songs were performed in succession and they were all phenomenal. But the best track was “Gunship Politico,” which featured a snippet of the Cranberries’ “Zombie” at the end. The performance harkened back to the earliest days of State Radio and received a monster ovation when it was over.

The band’s early days were the overwhelming theme of the night. “Camilo” and “Mr. Larkin” took fans back to the guys’ first couple of albums, and an encore of 2007’s “Gang of Thieves” earned the loudest sing-along and applause of the night. The guys punctuated the evening with a very long, intense jam, and a night that had raised a lot of money and satisfied a ton of fans came to a close. “Freckled Mary” was also a fantastically performed track off the new album

This show was special. It wasn’t just a band going through the paces to put another check in their wallets. This show was played with the knowledge that 100 percent of the proceeds would go to charity, and the band still gave it their all, possibly even more than they would if it had been any other show. This was the fifth annual benefit show. Each one has been bigger and more hyped than the last, but State Radio has continued to deliver. Stokes and company have only gotten better as the years have gone on, but on Saturday, they delivered a fantastic throwback performance. If there is one critique to make, it’s that it was far too short.

To donate to Calling All Crows, visit callingallcrows.org.