We’ve been hyping it for weeks and now that the expanded 2023 edition of In Between Days has come and gone we guess the only thing left to do is… hype it some more??? That’s right! We came, we saw, we looked around, we watched most of the bands, we ate some food and now we’re going to tell you all about it with our full recap of Day 1 of the 2-day In Between Days Festival which happened at Veterans Memorial Stadium over in Quincy, MA on August 19th.
First, the location was rad as hell. Not too far outside of Boston and home of the Major League Rugby championship-winning New England Free Jacks, Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy is a spacious locale to host lots of great music with two stages set up on the “field” (turf) which alternated pretty much non-stop when the tunes started at noon. Add in a killer vintage marketplace (More on that aspect in our Day 2 round up or you can head here for our Instagram stories throughout that day), what we thought were some great parking and public transportation options, a sick Retro Arcade from Bit Bar Salem (Come to find out: we’re pretty rusty at Contra!) and an abundance of local eats drool over/choose from and you have the makings of a fabulous day out! And while mostly cloudy all day, the weather was pretty magnificent. Oh, and if you were curious: We went with The Lunch Box for din (After Cheese Louise sold out for the day around 7ish which was definitely our bad for waiting as long as we did) and HottSmoke BBQ from Quincy for lunch. Both highly recommended if you’re able.
But what to pair with those bites you ask? Luckily, at In Between Days, the drinks were also flowin’! The hydration station was a blessing and readily available for refills, Monster Energy was doling out an assortment of their caffeinated Java Monster beverages FOR FREE (With the OG drink available at assorted beverage booths), and there were plenty of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options during the day (The One Million Strong lounge powered by The Phoenix served up a bevy of non-alcoholic Recess-fueled mocktails in a sober-supportive environment).
As far as friendly environments go, not to mention family-friendly, we can’t think of a better place than In Between Days. And as a first concert experience? This event would be tops! The sound and view was great all over so whether you were sitting in the stands enjoying some delicious chow or were wandering the grounds, the sights and songs were clear as day (The giant screen in front of the shade tent was a great plus to boot!) and speaking of the songs, howzabout we cut to the chase and talk up where we make our bread and butter!
The Arbella Insurance Stage started off the day at noon with a rousing set from Quincy’s own The Gypsy Moths whose brand of Boston Rawk Americana went over especially well with the early attendees (Many a Gypsy Moths tee was spotted in the crowd) as they ripped through a set of hits and selections from their upcoming Sounds On full-length which drops on August 25th. Second on the 2nd stage was Carissa Johnson who expanded the band to a 5-piece for this iteration of The Cure-Alls (Featuring Ryan John Clary on percussion, Nick Hall on drums, Zoey from Dizzy and the Drapes fame on keys, and Steph Curran on guitar) who collectively delivered a high energy set which included the debut of new song “Congratulations” which will officially be released in September. The Dutch Tulips were up next and, getting back to the family-friendly aspect of the fest, gave a shout out to a friend of the band in the audience whose child was having their first concert experience at the event as they delivered some Rawkin’ Rawk like “Frozen Orange” and new tune “Gold Chain” live.
Another Quincy-based outfit, Shallow Pools, created the only chant of “Hydrate!” throughout the day despite the mostly cloudy weather and previewed a lot of what’s to come on their debut full-length I Think About It All The Time (Due on October 13th on Equal Vision Records) including latest single “Nightmare” during their inspired Pop Punk set and then Weakened Friends stopped by with a rambunctious dose of the Rawk with many a song taken from recent record Quitter plus the debut of a new, untitled song. Closing out the Arbella Insurance Stage was New Zealand Indie Rawk darlings The Beths who delivered a ferociously fun set (Complete with a giant fish on stage) to keep the crowd going heading towards the end of the night and headliner Modest Mouse over on the IBD Stage.
And speaking of the In Between Days Stage, Boston’s own Paper Tigers kicked off that particular stage early in the day celebrating not only singer Michael Medlock’s birthday (The vocalist claimed to be turning 14 but we think that might’ve been said in jest) but also the upcoming full-length Charmer which arrives in September and while many a song emanated from that incoming record (“Wedding Cake”, “Soft Focus”), PT also brought out some deep cuts like “Ursa Minor” to their dynamic stadium Rawk ready set. Another local act, SLOTHRUST, got a big ole welcome back when the crowd swelled in size for their performance as the trio (Rounded out by Weakened Friends’ Annie Hoffman on bass) ripped through tracks off recent Parallel Timeline as well as older tracks like “Horseshoe Crab” which vocalist/guitarist Leah Wellbaum described as “my depression song” that they only play in front of Smiths fans.
Fantastic Cat were, ahem, fantastic fun all around as the group, made up of four singer/songwriters from other projects, brought the Americana Folk Rawk, also debuted some new tunes they were working on (There was a LOT of that going around at IBD apparently) alongside songs from 2022’s C’mon Armageddon (“Fiona”, for us, brought up airs of The Doobie Brothers especially), and reminded the audience that they’d be back in November at City Winery Boston. While we had to take a small break to get some juice for ye olde cellular device in order to survive the rest of the evening, we were still able to catch the tail end of Blitzen Trapper‘s spectacular set and the banging jam session that concluded it.
Next up on the IBD stage, Sunny Day Real Estate were nothing short of legendary. Having been a fan for over 20 years now but never taking the opportunity to see them live, the performance at In Between Days made us question why we ever waited as long as we did. Just the second day into a brand new tour that started the night before at AURA in Portland, SDR sounded as vibrant as ever with the addition of Shiner’s Allen Epley on guitar especially with the 30th anniversary of debut album Diary fast approaching and a set that was nicely split between each of their four full-lengths. And then Modest Mouse did what they do best which is brilliantly close out the day with an epic 19-song set that definitely continued the momentum and energy and, yes, featured that song (“Float On”).
The ONLY gripe we had all day was that, as a self-proclaimed band merch-a-holic, we wished there were more options of the physical media variety (We love us some vinyl!) from the band merchandise tent but we’re sure that’s something that can be fixed when In Between Days comes back bigger and badder in 2024, right?