Bright and moody

BY DAN WATSON | MARCH 31, 2009 7:30 AM

mp3 sample: Brighton, MA


The Mission Creek Music Festival kicks off with the worldly lyrics of Matt and his harmoniously melancholic band Brighton, MA.

A chorus of insistent voices swirl in the background of Matt Kerstein’s cell phone when his band is takes an intermission at Chicago’s Swedish-themed Simon’s Tavern.

“Things are going really good for the band, man,” he shouted into his phone on March 28. “Our new bassist seriously has like eight girls hanging on him right now.”

The statement’s cynical tone was established, but as the idiom says, “There is truth in sarcasm.” Kerstein along with the rest of his band, Brighton, MA, bring good vibes to the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., today at 9 p.m. The free show kicks off the Mission Creek Music Festival, and complimentary pizza adds to all the goodness.

Guitarist and lead vocalist Kerstein formed Brighton, MA nearly two years ago. He wanted the band’s name to have a personal touch, so he named it after his birthplace, but the band’s roots lie nearly 1,000 miles away in Chicago.

Along with drummer Sam Koentopp, Kerstein gained respect in the Windy City indie-rock scene with the band Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. The duo formed Brighton, MA and recorded an EP with guitarist Jim Tuerk and Joe Darnaby while still in Scotland Yard.

“I believe we have some of the best musicians in the Chicago area,” Kerstein said. “We all originally started playing together while in different projects, but we got really excited about our prospects in this band, so we are all focusing on that now.”

Over the winter, Brighton, MA gained a fifth member with John Ogaksut on bass, and it typically tours as a quintet but often adds an organist and saxophonist when playing gigs in its hometown.
In October, Brighton, MA released its first CD, *Amateur Lovers*, through Loose Tooth Records to favorable reviews, and the band’s music has been featured on television shows such as “Castle,” “Harper’s Island,” and “Eli Stone.”

Brighton, MA’s début CD brings a poppy edge to traditional folk music. Kerstein’s low and somber voice fills out moody anthems, including “Bet You Never Thought” and “Good Kind of Crazy.” A tear would come to Tom Petty’s eye if he were to hear Brighton, MA’s intricate and catchy instrumental movements.

Kerstein is known as a songwriter as much as a musician in the Chicago indie scene, with lyrics such as “So you abandon your dreams / For a city of screams and a necktie / And you sit and you think / Of the tears you would shed if you let yourself cry,” and his reputation holds up. In fact, the he isn’t confined to songwriting; he is finishing up a screenplay and hopes to publish several of his short stories.

To promote *Amateur Lovers*, Brighton, MA toured the Midwest, New York City, and Boston relentlessly through the winter.

“Our goal is to make campus towns like Iowa City, Madison, and Minneapolis like second homes to us,” Kerstein said. “Having people enjoying our stuff in the college circuit is a big goal for us.”

Daily Iowan Advertising
Today's Display Ads | Today's Classifieds | Advertising Info

Sponsored Links  
T-Shirt Design  
Insurance Leads Charlotte Web Design
Health Insurance Leads Home Equity Loans
Home Service Guides  
Life Insurance DMI Furniture
Custom Magnets Buy a text ad

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.