The Democracy Center attracts local students

Mike Smith  Journal Contributor

The hardwood style of The Democracy Center in Harvard Square reminds one of an old fashioned log cabin in New England. Five groups played on November 30  opening with Au Revior followed by a split set with Native Wildlife and Aviator. A self proclaimed “screamo band,” Old Gray performed next with a powerful intermission from spoken word poet William James, finishing with Cerce headlining.

The music, came with diversity from Au Revior’s ambient post-rock to Old Gray’s screamo. Kimberly, who did not wish to identify her age, facilitates the shows for bookers at usually one to two per month. They have some rules at The Democracy Center, namely, no drinking.

“We want to reach out to everyone who can’t go to 18 or 21+ shows,” said Kimberly.

The common range of ages of both the attendees and performers is 16 to 24. They do not just book shows though, they hold the space for business meetings, yoga classes, meditations and meetings for many leftist organizations, as evident from the posters lining the walls.

The music held good acoustics in the old Harvard extra-curricular building, giving a crisp accentuation to Au Revior’s attention to detail with their sound, pedals constantly turning on and off with an assortment of volume pedals and effects to perfectly control their dynamic and tone.

The fellow emotive hardcore bands Native Wildlife and Aviator that had previously toured with each other performed their split set, with Native Wildlife performing the 15 minutes of their new two-song EP, Blackwood, which can be found on their Bandcamp. Both groups have members coming from a unique background. Two of Native Wildlife’s members, vocalist Steve Massaroni, and guitarist  John  Snyder, both 20, attend BU, Massaroni studying computer science and Snyder, physics. Aviator’s vocalist TJ used to be an amateur wrestling referee, while their bassist Mike Moschetto, running the rhythmically tight bass grooves also runs a recording studio, “The Office Recording,” recording Native Wildlife’s Blackwood as well as an older Cerce CD.

The roots of these groups intertwine somewhat deeply. William James had performed his spoken word at three shows on one of Native Wildlife’s tours.  His performance began with him encouraging everyone to yell “getting out anything they need to get out” feeding into the beginning of his poetry. In Massaroni’s words, he is “unique,” and as opposed to performing at poetry venues, usually performs at these kinds of shows. Common themes in his work include a natural release of aggression, as well as nostalgia and the reminder that people, you, are not alone. He has also gone on tour with Cerce.

Cerce, with almost 3,000 followers on Facebook, booked the venue and headlined.

“They became very popular very fast” said Massaroni. Their group, within its hardcore genre and raw energy created a more legitimate mosh pit than any other, lead by an (almost) 5’4 female vocalist with pink hair.

Becca Cadalzo, 20, a student at Berklee, admitted she didn’t have many influences in the hardcore scene, as opposed to the other band members.

“I was listening to “MMMBop” by Hanson two years ago and heard this… vocal ‘squeak’ and instantly felt overly inspired by it,” she said. She tried to get it right and practicing in the Berklee practice rooms. Their music is available on Bandcamp as well.

The relationships between these people and groups are strong. An unclear, and funny situation, was clarified by Cadalzo.

“At the beginning of “Concussion” I had my eyes closed and when I finally opened them, I saw Will James standing in the back holding a giant wrench above his head. We made eye contact for a second, I started laughing mid-singing/shouting, and I could tell people around him were laughing ‘cause they could tell I was laughing,” he said.

“I just want to make it clear that I hate Will,” he added jokingly.

Many of the groups have and will play shows with each other, proving how open and intertwined the Boston music scene can really be. Each has their own tight following with Native Wildlife and Old Gray’s followers yelling with the singer into the microphone and Cerce’s mosh pit. With the Internet, any information can be easily accessed, and all groups will no doubt be playing somewhere, soon.

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