He Said, She Said: A Two-City Concert Review of Operators

Posted on: July 16th, 2019 at 5:09 am by

Some musicians are serial frontmen. Count John Boeckner in that category. He currently fronts Operators, but is known for stints in both Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs. We caught Operators in both Boston and on the Bowery for our latest “He Said, She Said” segment.

Show Location

Elie: Bowery Ballroom, Lower East Side

Holly: Great Scott, Allston MA

Beverages Consumed

Elie: Two beers – Tecate and Bud-heavy.

Holly: A pint of brown ale that was decidedly not a Newcastle, but filled to the brim with buyer’s remorse.

Opener

Elie: Doomsquad. Experimental electronic music with flutes, and even a ginormous recorder, that paired elements of Gary Neumann with the un-tiss four on the floor beat. Intriguing at first, then just annoying.

Holly: All I kept thinking about during Toronto-based Doomsquad’s set was “The Safety Dance.” The trio had a lot going on – there were flutes and loops and echoes, offset by jerky bob and weaves, a lot of swaying, and full on gyrations. All signs point to some facet of bedroom pop, but if your bedroom was on Mars in the eighties. They paid homage to Instagram in one song, not only with a name drop, but also the refrain, “I am following you, when I should be following me.” Compelling. It wasn’t my bag, but they had a pretty massive applause from the crowd, so maybe it’s just me.

Expectations

Elie: I liked some of the songs I heard earlier this summer, so I was definitely excited to hear more.

Holly: Expectations weren’t particularly high – I typically favor rock shows over music made by buttons, played live. But I love Great Scott – one of the last venues in Boston still serving beer in glasses during a gig. So I was happy to be there, and ended up being pleasantly surprised.

Favorite Part of the Set

Elie: Boeckner’s energy was pretty great, culminating with his jumping into the crowd during the encore. Fans were quite pleased, especially because Boeckner had plenty of hugs to give.

Holly: Truth be told, it didn’t dawn on me until the third Handsome Furs cover that I knew the lead singer’s voice beyond what I had heard of Operators. A quick internet search confirmed that I was, in fact, watching Dan Boeckner’s (Handsome Furs, Wolf Parade) latest project. It, uh, happens to the best of us?

Boeckner was pretty energetic on stage, despite the limited space to move. “I Feel Emotion” sounded like a peppy War On Drugs song. And despite my preconceived notions of button-based music, they had a guitar, drums – the whole bit. They were tight. Boeckner’s baritone vocals sounded great backed by the band’s blitzy, upbeat melodies. And their sixties video backdrop was perfect eye candy paired with their music.

Gripes

Elie: being soaked head to toe from the deluge last Thursday night. And a sound mix that drowned out the guitar and vocals.

Holly: According to the venue website, Doomsquad was supposed to go on at 9:15pm. Instead, the crowd was treated to space age mood music for an additional eighteen minutes, while they tried to get their shit together. Operators weren’t ready to, well, operate until 10:35pm. C’mon, it’s a mid-week show. What is this, New York?

Wouldn’t have minded a Wolf Parade “This Hearts on Fire” cover.

Best Song Performed

Elie: Half the set was Handsome Furs covers, a band I had not previously seen. I liked hearing “I’m Confused” during the encore. However, of the Operators fare, “Faithless” was as good live as on the record.

Holly: Toss up between “Terminal Beach” and “I Feel Emotion.” Also, the Handsome Furs “Memories of the Future” cover was pretty great.

Operators at Great Scott, Allston

Something You Saw That the Rest of the Crowd Didn’t

Elie: I spent much of the show evading the most annoying of superfans. Or that said superfans appeared to be giving pre-show advice to Boeckner about how to plug in his equipment.

Holly: The two overdressed entitleds standing across the way, right under the “PLEASE DO NOT BLOCK THIS PATHWAY TO THE BATHROOM – YOU’LL JUST WIND UP ANNOYED ANYWAY” sign, getting visibly irritated every time Great Scott staff and weak bladders had to push past them. Kids, don’t be those guys.

Would You See Them Again?

Elie: Damn straight.

Holly: For sure.

Recent Stories

The Ten-Story Development Now Atop the East Village’s Last Gas Station

It was the neighborhood’s last gas station to shutter. Now, it’s a ten-story luxury development. Foundation was first poured for 11 Avenue C way back in December 2016. The timeline upon its conception two years earlier was a fourteen-month construction period. As of this week, the superstructure is pretty much topped out. Rotwein + Blake […]

Eldridge Street’s Formosa Cafe Folds

Casual Taiwanese establishment, Formosa Cafe, is finished. The Eldridge Street hangout hung it up earlier this month. Token tombstone signage now hangs from the cartoony marquee. The Lower East Side location is survived by an outpost in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Formosa debuted at 34 Eldridge back in May 2015. It was a large, accommodating space […]

Bones Discovered at MTA Construction Site on Forsyth Street are Not Human

Yesterday morning, construction workers on Forsyth Street unearthed bones. A subsequent investigation determined that the remains were not human. As we’ve been reporting, the MTA is currently replacing the subway ventilation plant fifteen beneath the roadbed. Already in the works for three years, installation of this new Emergency Ventilation Plant isn’t slated to conclude until […]

Century-Old LaGuardia Bathhouse is Almost Gone [PHOTOS]

It sat vacant for four decades. Now, the long-abandoned LaGuardia Bathhouse is finished. A nub of its former self. Since our last checkup one month ago, the 1909 structure has lost most of its body. Removed brick by brick by men in cherry pickers. The mural on its western exposure – a depiction of Puerto […]

Dormant Red Mango on Allen Street Finally Gets a New Tenant

Red Mango closed its Lower East Side location on Allen Street four years ago. The space remained a dusty dormancy for the duration. Until this month; and henceforth, something completely unexpected. An interior decorator called APex New York that specializes in kitchen and bathroom fixtures. To be honest, this type of commercial occupant is not […]