Big Gold Belt - The Sockets Records showcase begins with a Brooklyn duo--woman with microphone, man with guitar and mac. They had video as well. Lighter music with more of a dreamy soundscape with some dance and psyche touches. Good vocals and very light, tasty guitar sounds filling in with the electronics and drumbeats. A good opening set.
Buildings - An instrumental power trio with gutsy indie rock in more of a post-rock vein I would say. Busy, active playing yet playful and interesting keeping things a bit more upbeat than downer. A bit of a Feelies feel to the set at times. Spirited, well played, enjoyable set. I would be happy seeing this band on a bill with all sorts of different style of bands.
Imperial China - Another trio, but more electronics and synthesizer and switching between extra percussion and guitars and occasional bass. More sonic landscapes but sharper edged in the percussion, guitaring and vocals. Propulsive rhythms were the driving force for their sound and it worked well for the most part. Another solid DC band here.
Hume - A four-piece this time playing a jagged Feelies sort of rock with soft vocals underneath. Two guitars that played together more than dueled. A couple of the early songs had a little bit on an over-reliance on annoying pauses all over the song. An old friend of mine, Ron House (Great Plains), used to say how much he disliked songs that did that. I don't mind nearly as much, but I see his point when it is overdone. But I am getting picky here. The band played on with a good indie rock feel, sometimes in a Modest Mouse vein or other bands of that ilk. The last few songs were janglier with some interesting rhythms and ended the set on a high note for me. There is some quality here for sure.
The Cornel West Theory - A collective of musicians and rappers doing hip hop with an interesting soulful rock backing. Rather than metal guitar work, there was only drums, bass, keys and synth-electronics which created a very nice backing to the vocals. The sound varied from fluid neo-psyche rock to a classic soul backing and some funk. It was never overwhelming but created a great bedrock for the vocals which was the usual sort of thing with some female voices joining in as the set went on. Singing and rapping also kept the songs varied and interesting. A very good DC act here that puts a lot of thought into the music as well as the lyrics. Well worth checking out.
Quote of the Night: "...University of Utah... ...Rick Majerus..." Huh? During the opening set, there was a loud conversation next to me fairly near the stage. The guy kept going on and on and I don't care how little you care about the band on stage, there is no reason to discuss anything about Utah at the Black Cat. And Majerus has not been there in over ten years although I may have misheard that one. Frankly, the only low point of the night was the really loud and constant conversations going on during all band's sets. I was constantly moving around to avoid this until I got hired to watch someone's coat for about a half hour.