Neutrinos Throw Their 3rd (Kinda) Annual Holiday Special at the News Café on December 10th

Robert Duguay

It’s the season of giving where cheer and acts of kindness are a bound. Wreaths are nearly on everyone’s front door with a tree covered in ornaments, garlands and all other kinds of decorations standing in the living room. At the News Café in Pawtucket, RI this Saturday on December 10 there will be all of that being mixed in with plenty of rock & roll. Attleboro, MA surf punks Neutrinos will be putting on another holiday special as they’ll be joined by Providence guitar pop doo-wop act Eric & The Nothing, Providence noise punks Hairspray Queen and Allston, MA stoner fiends Idiot Genes. If you hadn’t heard, guitarist Preston Masterson, drummer Andrew Schwegler and bassist John Cook know how to throw a party. It has all the makings for a raucously fun time as the amplified Yule tide takes over the room.

“The idea of the Neutrinos’ holiday show is as old as the Neutrinos themselves, essentially”, Masterson says on the origins of the holiday special. “Outside of the more obvious influences like bubblegum and surf music, we all, or at least John {Cook} and I, really love Christmas music. The first two holiday seasons we were together, we didn’t plan any holiday shows, instead electing to show up to the closest show to Christmas in Santa hats and Christmas sweaters, which garnered mixed reactions from the more serious folk that punk shows tend to attract. The first official Neutrinos holiday show was in 2013 and it included Amherst’s Spirit Ghost, then known as Sexy Girls, Providence’s 1AM, then known as The YaBeautifuls, and Idiot Genes, and it was at the News Cafe. The general idea of the show was that each band member would pick a band we had discovered or befriended over the course of the year that we hadn’t played with yet and put them on the show, regardless of genre cohesiveness, and we just got Sexy Girls because we love playing with them.”

“We picked the News Cafe because we wanted to be among friends and I’ve known Hana Rooney there since my basement metal show days”, Masterson explains on the decision to pick the specific venue. “Despite the fact that each band’s combined Facebook likes probably equaled about 500 at that point, we still managed to get a turnout large enough for my mom to suggest we, and I quote,” Pick a venue big enough for that many people to safely dance in next year.” It was this year that we started giving out gifts and throwing candy canes into the audience between songs, a tradition that surprisingly hasn’t soured our relationship with any venue owners just yet. The “Second Annual NEUTRINOS Winter Ball” took place in 2014 and featured Spirit Ghost, still known as Sexy Girls, Pyramid, who were still maybe spelling their name with some brackets and a colon, and a last minute substitution from Lame Genie. In an attempt to start a tradition, we once again hosted it at the News Cafe. By the time the first band finished setting up, the News was packed and it stayed that way all night, which was really cool, because sonically, these bands couldn’t have been more different. It was this year that we decided that every year, the show would have a new title.”

If you’re wondering why there’s a “(kinda)” in the title this year, it’s because there wasn’t one last year. “We didn’t have a third annual fiesta de Navidad in 2015 because within 12 hours of me booking the News for December 5th and reaching out to Eric & the Nothing to play it, Eric Aguiar from Atlantic Thrills asked us to play their album release show at Dusk for the same night,” says Masterson.  “Realizing that it’d be silly to split our shared fanbases, we hopped on that bill and postponed the holiday show to a later date. We also played Math the Band’s holiday show at AS220 that year while wearing Star Wars masks on top of our holiday sweaters to celebrate the release of The Force Awakens. Between both shows, we were able to disperse enough candy canes and jangly jingles to make up for lost time at the News.”

“This year, I was on top of things and booked the News in like August and immediately started compiling a wish list of bands, “ Masterson says when it comes to preparing for this edition’s festivities. “By September or October, we had it all figured out and began relearning our arsenal of holiday tunes. I’m particularly excited about this year’s show for a lot of reasons. Every year since the inception of the Neutrinos, we’ve tried to learn a specific holiday song, but every year, we’ve decided against it because one of us wasn’t totally comfortable with it. It’s probably the most musically complex song we’ve ever played, despite it being a dumb pop song.”

“Also it’s totally cool that Hairspray Queen is playing,” Masterson mentions.”We’ve known Ian Benoit for as long as we’ve been a band and outside of our families. Ben {Bigelow}, Nathan {Thao Phrathep}, and Ian hold the Neutrinos show attendance record, so finally being able to play a show with all three of them has been a dream we’ve been working towards realizing for most of this year.”

Can you sense the excitement? Preston Masterson and the gang seemed pretty amped for the holiday special happening at the News Café on Saturday. You should see what all the fuss is about and go. You’ll probably get some free candy but it’s also highly recommended to bring a pizza, Neutrinos and everyone else involved would definitely appreciate it. Make sure to come out this weekend and enjoy some holiday rock & roll cheer.

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