Milk Machine - All the normal rock components were here, but some were a bit twisted. There was the bass tuba, the rhythm accordion, and the lead trumpet (with some glockenspiel). But put a guy on a drum kit behind and bang out some songs with attitude and you have good rock music. Cool stuff and fun, gutsy attitude throughout. I liked that they smiled at their few flubs and just kept going and churning out the tunes. The crowd dug them and it was a big one for this club filled out with far more than just friends of the band.
Golden City - A little slow on the start as two members took (bathroom?) breaks while they were standing on stage. It looked like a crowded airplane in this small club. But then we get underway and had a two-guitar four-piece playing good fast rock music with pop hooks--perhaps a bit straighter and stronger than power-pop. I was detecting a trace of the Undertones which was in part due to the singer's voice which wasn't as extreme as Feargal Sharkey, but it had a bit of that tone along with Ben Deily (early Lemonheads). One song had a fantastic break with staccato guitars that resembled some of the creative moves Social Unrest did long ago. Good set and enough quality to separate themselves from the herd in this vast field.
The Gerunds - Second time for me with this band, still at the Red & the Black. I enjoyed the first one a lot and this one hooked me as well. The songs are really good and the players know their stuff. The drummer has a strong precise attack. The bass player is smooth and quick. The two guitarists grind out the chords and fills in grand manner. The two vocalists play off each other very well. There is nothing not to like here. That is to say I find myself enjoying their music very much (if I may speak with a gerund). As a bonus, they invited Bad Religion's Brian Baker up to perform four (!) Dag Nasty songs which was Baker's band back in the 80s with Gerunds singer, Peter Cortner. A very nice highlight and there were a fair number of old-timers like myself who enjoyed this treat. Do see this band when you get a chance. Like the guy I was chatting with who didn't know them, you will be impressed.
Celebrity Sighting: I may be the worst celebrity spotter on the planet, but if you wear a suit of question marks, you are either the Riddler or Matthew Lesko. It appeared Lesko was enjoying the opening band with his wife. I am not sure if there is a child in the band or they just love tubas. Or perhaps he helped get their band a government grant? This reporter did not try to find out.