Mistle Thrush - Live Review - Lillis December 9th, 2000 - The Boston Globe

No question that Mistle Thrush is one of the most improved bands in town. It has evolved from a somewhat predictable goth group into a more expansive, psychedelic-spiced rock unit with influences from Jim Morrison to Kate Bush. Singer Valerie Forgione is the real surprise, having achieved a new expressiveness helped by her recent performance as Mary Magdalene in the Boston Rock Opera's "Jesus Christ Superstar." Said fellow cast member (and former Van Halen singer) Gary Cherone, who was in attendance: "Theater will do that to you - it will really open up your expression." Mistle Thrush members Scott Patalano (guitar), Todd Demma (drums), and Matt Klain (bass) flesh out this formidable act.

(Steve Morse)

  Mistle Thrush - Live Review - Middle East March 29, 1996 - Instant Magazine May/June 1996

CAMBRIDGE, MA -TWO THIRDS OF THE WAY THROUGH Mistle Thrush's 50-minute set, Sean turned to me and said, "As of this moment, there is no other band." This means a lot coming from Sean. That, as I remember it, was the moment that we realized it was all worthwhile; blowing off a Friday afternoon, hopping on the bus to Boston from the remote outpost of Lewiston, Maine, and loitering uncomfortably for several hours in a small McDonalds in the heart of Central Square.
Mistle Thrush's first full length album, Silt, was our indie find of 1995 and one of our favorite records of the year, and the live show matched the intensity and musicianship on the album. Formed in May 1993, the Boston-based quintet consists of Valerie Forgione (vocals, occasional instrumentation), Scott Patalano (guitars), Ruben Laymen (bass), Matt Kattman (guitars), and Todd Demma (percussion).
Hearing the power behind both their studio work and live performance, it comes as no surprise that some of the band members were formally trained. As a student at Berklee, Ruben studied bass and vibes. Although Valerie was classically trained on both vocals and piano, she admits to some trouble converting that training to her experience with the band. "[When] I first started singing in a band" says Forgione, "I couldn't deal with the volume of things....and not having an easy, natural progression for classical music to sing to. So I had to really unlearn everything and learn how to phrase things differently, and found my own voice. I'm still working on that."
Examining the contrast between their recorded material and live performance reveals a juxtaposition. Agus Amarach (debut EP) and Silt offer heavenly vocals rising above lush, warm soundscapes of sparkling melody; whereas live, Mistle Thrush turns up the intensity resulting in a commanding, captivating indie rock sound complete with crescendos of sonic guitarwork and tightly controlled drumming. The duality between the shimmering moods on disc and their dynamic live sound is reflected within the band name. When asked about the significance, Valerie explains, "[The mistle thrush] is a nice, ironic kind of bird being that it.....eats the mistle toe, the symbol of love, and it has the capability to digest the poisonous berries." Like the band, the bird has a beautiful side bellied by a darker undercurrent.
During Friday night's performance, Mistle Thrush disproved the notion that both power and sweetness cannot be simultaneously attained. With their 9-song setlist, Mistle Thrush captivated the audience, revealing six unreleased tunes, including "Moth Like" and "Train Song," alongside two gems from Silt ("Flowereyed" - the opener, as well as "Some Poet"). During "Escapades in Glass" (the sole representative from Agus Amarach), the band achieved a collective musical unity that most musicians only dream of, leaving everyone in awe. Midway through the set, they unveiled their latest song, appropriately titled "New Song" which was, to our surprise, written the night before. Closing with the droning feedback of "Sha Sha," the eerie lighting cast shadows on the band members who appeared as though they were frozen in time. A remarkable end to a remarkable show.

(Sean "bLuE" McGonagle & Tim Ruback)