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Live and kicking: 10 bands that keep Boston a musical hub
Music/by Brett Milano

Friday, October 15, 1999

Boston's rock scene has been hot for nearly as long as there's been rock 'n' roll. The city is full of musical historians who'll tell you about the days when Kenmore Square was a punk hotspot, when Jonathan Richman's Modern Lovers played at Harvard mixers, when the Cars owned a Newbury Street recording studio, and when giants like the Neighborhoods, the Pixies and Mission of Burma roamed the earth. Or even earlier, when Freddie Cannon busted out of Revere and the Remains toured with the Beatles.

The good news is that you don't have to know the history to get in on the action. The Boston scene is by no means played out. New bands form just as fast as the old ones break up. The scene is especially diverse right now, with everything from '50s-inspired rockabilly to ultramodern techno-pop finding a home in the clubs.

What follows isn't a complete list of the best Boston bands - just a selection of 10 acts guaranteed to provide a hot night out and make your friends in other cities jealous.


Rockabilly has become a local trend the past couple of years, and it's always a kick to see '90s kids modeling themselves after juvenile delinquents from the '50s. You couldn't ask for a better throwback than the Raging Teens, who realize that rockabilly was the original punk rock and serve the '50s sound straight up.

Along with their pals on the local circuit (the Bourbonaires, the Racketeers), the Teens have the spirit that separates the true believers from the posers. The first time you see this band, you may wonder what time warp they just escaped from. They've got a faithful sound complete with stand-up bass, and singer Kevin Patey struts at the mike like an eternally cool cat. (He's also the main songwriter, with an occasional assist from his wife, renowned singer Mary Lou Lord.)

But the band's not-so-secret weapon is guitarist Amy Griffin, a 20-something prodigy who dresses like a debutante and plays like a demon. She can recapture the solos that Scotty Moore played with Elvis in the '50s without messing up her hair.

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