Shiny Toy Guns 10/28 Brighton Music Hall Boston Review

By Cassandra Paiva

With what seemed like so many things going against the show; the fact that it was a late show on a Sunday night, the fact that Hurricane Sandy was preparing to rip her way through the East Coast, and the fact that because of this Massachusetts was in a state of emergency and the majority of the city shut down, fans awaited an announcement to make sure the show was still on. But Shiny Toy Guns weren’t about to give in or wimp out, and with an assuring tweet stating, ‘Everyone BOSTON show is 100% on… #effsandy,” an almost sold out venue slowly but surely started to fill up like a storm shelter.

Opening band Colourmusic brought more of a rock aspect to the synth rock night. With a traditional 3 piece, guitar, bass, drum set up, their basslines were heavy, drums stompy, and guitar riffs straight out of a garage jam. This wouldn’t have been so bad if all of the songs didn’t seem to blend together. It took until the fourth song to get a recognizable chorus, and the fifth song to get some cowbell mixed in with a groovy drum beat. Most of the crowd wasn’t feeling it, but the night was still early.

Next up was MNDR, a solo all synth act. When she first came on, I was a little confused, “wait, she’s alone, and all of her music is prerecorded?” Yea, I’m still a little confused, but I figured out that that’s her gimmick, so I went with it.

She was actually pretty entertaining; very happy and enthusiastic, dancing around nonstop and interacting with the crowd with wit and sass. She did have a good voice, so it distracted from the fact that her backing track was coming from a box to her left which she hit a key on to start the music and occasionally stood there to play with mixers. Before getting in to her album title track “Feed Me Diamonds,” some guy in the audience started heckling her. She nicely told him off by telling him he could buy her a drink later.

Overall, I think she’d make a great front woman if she could find the right band to fit her, or maybe if she’s going the house music route, she could DJ a little bit more. Either way, she’s got a charm that kind of started to win me over, and the crowd was really digging it.

At almost 11, the stage got dark and mystical as individual members of Shiny Toy Guns started to come on. Keyboard/bassist/various multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Dawson came on (ducking to get through the door) and approached the tilted keys with drawn out notes to set the scene. Drummer Mikey Martin and guitar/vocalist Chad Petree followed, increasing the mystery. Finally, lead singer Carah Faye Charnow emerged in an all-black trench coat before they started new song and slight love ballad “Wait 4 Me.” Their new album III only came out about a week before, but the audience sang along.

One of their biggest hits, third single from We Are Pilots “Rainy Monday” followed with massive approval. Carah Faye even jumped on bass for this song. What’s unique about this band is their way of incorporating alternating vocals between Chad and Carah. Although this isn’t a new concept, they’ve been doing it since their beginning almost 10 years ago, and they’ve perfected their own style. That said, in next song “Carrie,” Chad and Carah playfully pushed each other around as they pretend fought over verses.

“Ghost Town” came next, and if you don’t know the story of the band replacing Carah with Sisely Treasure for second album Season of Poison, all you really need to know is that Carah most definitely sings the song better. Her energy throughout fed off the audience.

“Somewhere to Hide” got a huge crowd reaction, even though it’s a new track, especially because Carah continued to jump around and get in the audience’s face. First album song, “Starts with One” got an equally as excited reaction, and Chad sounded so strong on main vocals. Much like the previous song, “Jackie Will Save Me” was played because of fan suggestion through a poll the band posted on their Facebook. It was nice to hear the alteration between new and old favorites, instead of only promoting the new album.

“Mercy” came next, and Carah’s stunning vocals rang through ever so sweetly as the audience swayed. “If I Lost You” is also a great feature of Carah’s vocal capacity live. While on the album, I personally thought it was too repetitive and a bit droning, the song really shines and features the best aspects of the band live.

Cover turned into their own, Depeche Mode’s “Stripped” garnered lots of applause and singing along. First official III single “Waiting Alone” continued the energy and brought Carah back to the edges of the stage.

The very first song that put Shiny Toy Guns on the map, “Le Disko” followed and created an even big storm than Sandy was outside. The whole place was jumping as Carah was dancing around and singing so powerfully giving the song the rightful female strength and charm it deserves. She may be petite, but she is fierce, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who was questioning their sexuality after the performance of this song.

Another song that the fans chose in the Facebook poll, “Chemistry of a Car Crash” was even better than I remember it from their first album tour. When I saw on setlists from previous nights that they combined it with “Frozen Oceans,” I was curious as to how they did this. However, after the fade out of “Crash,” they faded into the chorus of “Oceans” seamlessly and my curiosity was very much appeased.

The playfulness of my, and apparently a lot of the audience’s, favorite “Don’t Cry Out” had Carah and Jeremy jumping around and Chad holding on to the scream in the bridge for what seemed like a full minute.

Another originally Sisely song, “Richochet!” started the string of absolute wildness that led to the end of their main set. New, edgy tracking “Speaking Japanese” followed and raised the roof with the line “my thunder’s going boom, boom I feel it in my hips.” The same guy who was heckling MNDR asked Carah to wear his hat, to which she obliged as she twisted and turned around the stage. Much like Le Disko, this track shows just how fierce Carah can be. “Rocketship” ending their set with everyone in the air.

By the time the encore came on, the room was buzzing. Jeremy walked back on with “YOLO” sunglasses before the band broke into another cover turned their own, “Major Tom.” III second single “Fading Listening” had the whole place singing and listening wholeheartedly. Saving the biggest song for last “You Are the One” was everyone’s last chance to lose control.

Shiny Toy Guns definitely made going out in the tense of the storm worth it, as they brought their own storm of great music and a fun night of dancing. Seeing how this was a big market III promotion tour, don’t worry if they haven’t hit your city yet, because they’ll be going around for a while, and you don’t want to miss them.

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