The Octagon - This band was a little tricky to figure out. One song they had some great catchy pop moves in a grunge setting which did not seem to work. Other songs were grungy rock which sounded good. Then came some average pop sounds. Ultimately, I saw enough smart songs to make it work, but the sound never quite gelled. Good effort, perhaps another night with better sound may work even better.
Cheniers - Local band that is perhaps named for local Wizards announcer Phil Chenier? I know this band never saw him play like I did, but they did choose a nice googlable name at least. I was hearing good grinding, churning moderate pace pop songs with a bit of punkrock style that was not unlike Wire. They are not anywhere near the upper echelons with Wire, but their choices in song and playing were good and quite enjoyable. And for any band that list Swell Maps as an influence, let alone even knowing Swell Maps, well they are my kind of band.
The Capstan Shafts - Apparently this guy named Dean from Vermont has quietly churned out a bit of music over recent years well below the radar. He has put together this band of a couple guitarists and a rhythm section and they are playing together for the first time here (not sure if any of them have worked together in other combinations). Anyway, the vocals were good and delivered good hooks in the pop-rock style. The rhythm section was solid and the guitars were fascinating. One played garage chords as distorted as you would like while the other did some of the most oddball leads and fills I have heard. It had the jarring effect of a Tommy Hall electric jug or Pere Ubu home made synthesizer. Well, not that extreme, but it made me look up and try to make sure I was seeing and hearing a guitar. Good stuff. My notes say "Daniel Johnston backed by the Zeroes?" Maybe, I am not a big Johnston fan but it has the right poptone here, but much more control. Very enjoyable set.
Quote of the Night: From an exchange from a fan and Dean from Capstan Shafts (with apologies as I didn't hear the song title exactly.
Fan: "Fire xxxx"
Dean: "Fire, isn't it illegal to yell fire indoors?"
Fan: "Fire xxxx"
Dean: "Oh Fire xxxx"
Fan: "Fire xxxx... plus there's a fire!"
Dean: amidst laughter "Now that is illegal"