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Mike Viola w/opener Parks - 6/22/18Friday, June 22 2018 6:00pm Doors / 8:00pm Start / Ends 10:00pm
Mike Viola w/opener Parks - 6/22/18
at City Winery Boston
TICKETS ARE $20.00 IN ADVANCE & $22.00 AT THE DOOR.
Mike Viola is a Grammy-nominated producer, musician, songwriter and singer born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Mike found success as the musical architect and frontman for the Candy Butchers, who released 3 critically acclaimed album for Sony/RPM. Starting in 2005 Mike found continued success as a solo artist as well as an in-demand producer and songwriter. He has created music for award-winning films (“That Thing You Do!” , “Walk Hard” , “Get Him To The Greek”) as well as written and produced for other artists (Ryan Adams, Matt Nathanson, Jenny Lewis, Andrew McMahon, Fall Out Boy, New Politics). His next album is slated for release in late 2018.---------
Twists and turns. Ups and downs. Challenges and change. False starts, restarts, and full stops. Parks has been through a lot in its five-year existence. Lineup changes, a biking accident, deaths in the family, a cancer scare, romantic breakups, and a former member’s addiction issues led to a series of delays for releasing the Boston fivesome’s self-titled full-length debut. It also led to more lyrical pathos, darker sonic moments, and better songwriting.
“It’s hard for me to write when I’m happy,” says Parks frontman Brian E. King. A familiar lament for songwriters: creativity’s need for tension, struggle, and change. Then King and co. – Stu Dietz on guitar, Andrew Jones on drums, Rob Johanson on bass, and Robin Melendez on backing vocals – got it in spades. “The shit hit the fan,” he laughs.
“All the delays and the record taking so long to come together gave me the opportunity to explore more abstract and vibe-y sounds to push the songs beyond catchy melodies and average lyrics,” says King. “The songs are deceptive since they never stay on the same path for too long. There are lots of twists and turns.”
The album tacks from summery power pop and starry acoustic strum to harmony-laden melancholy with cohesive ease. “Fools,” the fizzy opener, gives way to the moody tinges of “I Don’t Want 2 Know U.” A sense of impermanence and regret shines on the sonic snapshots of “Old Hotel,” “3x5,” and “Digital Fantasy.” Then there’s the minute-and-half-long throttle of “Headache,” which came after getting doored on his bike.
“I was in the middle of a break up, and we had just gotten in a fight, so I went out for a bike ride at 2 in the morning to clear my head.” One crushed helmet and a concussion later, he was in the ER. “If I didn’t have a helmet on, I probably would’ve died.”
“Sweater Weather,” the album’s magnetic single, has garnered the most attention for the band (including more than 100,000 listens on Soundcloud, invitations to support bands like Tennis and The Lumineers, a placement in the “Rock Band VR” game, and a John Lennon Songwriting Competition award). And rightly so. The skiffle swing, tilt-a-whirl hook, and three-part harmonies are undeniable — and as near to a perfect pop song as a band can get.
“I labored over every note and how the songs felt. I’m very particular about lyrics and can be indecisive and overthink things, to the point of production paralysis,” says the self-admitted perfectionist. “But I’m really proud of his record. I can listen to every word and every note and not cringe.”
“Making this album coincides with worst time in my life. My mom died. The band lineup was in flux. My girlfriend, also my bandmate and best friend, and I broke up. I got diagnosed with stage-zero stomach cancer. It was a complete roller coaster,” says King, before adding with a laugh, “But I couldn’t be happier with this record.”