Noveller - I get a dozen friend requests from myspace each month from solo artists from Iceland, Italy, Greece, and the US. They are ambient experimentalists that don't have a good outlet through record labels and touring, so the internet gives them a great chance to spread their music around. The music is generally nice, well composed, lush, and perfectly agreeable. I am always a bit mixed as I respect the effort, the sound is good, but it just often does not move me much. Noveller is one woman with guitar and effects and loops and could be one of the dozens described above. After playing some routine notes, she put down the guitar and began bowing what I thought was a synthesizer, but it was a Jimmy Page style double guitar on it's back on a keyboard stand. This was an act that may be ok at a side stage at a large festival, but I would have rather listened to it at home on my computer.
The Jesus Lizard - The crowd finally built up to make a respectable showing for the comeback of the Jesus Lizard. I have only seen the band once, in their infancy when they were hastily added to a Dinosaur Jr. show in Denver where I mostly wanted to see a cool SubPop band that only SubPop followers knew much about named Nirvana. I knew the Lizard's singer was from Scratch Acid who I thought were excellent, so I had high hopes. They were great that night with an interesting rough and nasty precision with one of the worst vocalists yet best frontmen around. And after a ten year hiatus, the Lizard returned, looking only a bit older and playing with the same great style they had back in the day. What struck me was how much they reminded me of Public Image Ltd.'s Second Edition. None of the sounds were the same, but both featured ferociously intense individual singers who command attention like few others. The guitarists are both angular and original and the bassists stand out with entirely different styles. Add killer drums and you have bands that sound brilliant and original. I think the bass playing seems to be the key ingredient to the Lizard--very fluid, rhythmic and adventurous. David Yow still crowd surfs like few others, singing on cue the whole time. And a Chrome cover to boot that I was proud to recognize without seeing a set list (I recognized it instantly, but couldn't come up with the fact that it was a Chrome song until 5 minutes after it ended--oh the slow hard drive that is my brain). Great music, still fresh and exciting.
Quote of the Night: Yow--"Thank-you good people of Bethesda", later nods to Fairfax and Annapolis plus telling the crowd that he heard Baltimore is cooler than DC these days. I heard that once too, from a failed booking agent who had some other issues that may have lead to the failure.